Questions regarding the special words or particles (such as です and だ) which allow a noun to be the predicate of a sentence, somewhat equivalent to English "am", "be", "is", "was", "were".

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31
votes
6answers
1k views

What does っす at the end of a sentence mean?

I saw a sentence like "それ使ってるっす" and none of my dictionaries have an entry for just "っす". Is it a verb form, gobi, or something else?
18
votes
4answers
8k views

What exactly is “なの” (nano)?

I asked a female Japanese friend to translate a sentence for me and it ends in "nano" which I took to be either an alternative question particle to -ne or -ka; or possibly two particles I don't know ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

What connotation does なんだ add?

Specifically, in the expression 好きなんだ (I love you) why not just say 好きだ or 好きです?
12
votes
2answers
393 views

や in Kansai-ben when it is not だ

The following sentence occurs in The Legend of Zelda: ナンカ コウテ クレヤ (This would be なんか買うてくれや! and was famously translated as "Buy somethin', will ya!".) From the 買うて, it's obvious he's speaking ...
10
votes
4answers
396 views

correctness of い adjective + です

Generally, in all Japanese language classes, the rule you're taught is that です does not follow い adjectives. Instead, い adjectives can act like stative verbs, and as such terminate a sentence by ...
10
votes
2answers
364 views

Can だ ever be used in a question?

I learned in Tae Kim's Grammar Guide that だ cannot be used when asking a question. But in the book Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication by Taeko Kamiya, I found several example ...
9
votes
1answer
208 views

What is じゃ in じゃない?

Since there is possibility of "じゃありません" instead of "じゃないです" (which is logical, given "ありません" is polite "ない"), and it also seemed that I have seen "じゃ" used without "ない", I'd like to ask, what "じゃ" ...
9
votes
1answer
380 views

Is 「3人いるだと」 grammatical?

3人いるだと!? Can you say 3人いるだ as a statement? If だと is simply だ + と, I would expect 3人いるんだと. Is だと considered a particle in its own right, with different rules than だ? Transcription of the ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

のだから vs のだ (んだから vs んだ)

When I learnt this grammar point a while ago, my teachers told me not to use it with "から". There reasoning for this was that のだ already implies a reason or supporting information for a conclusion. ...
7
votes
4answers
341 views

Analyzing sentences like 日本がピンチだ and 明日は雨だ

How are sentences like 日本がピンチだ (Japan is in a pinch) and 明日は雨だ (tomorrow it will rain) analyzed? Translating them trivially, as 日本がピンチだ Japan is a pinch 明日は雨だ Tomorrow is rain doesn't make ...
7
votes
2answers
565 views

What is だって when it's at the beginning of a sentence?

I have read several definitions of だって but none of them seem to make sense when I see it at the beginning of a sentence and I read the context. I saw one example Japanese sentence and in the English ...
7
votes
3answers
404 views

Usage of noun-modifying である

I'm pretty sure I understand the usage of「である」 here: ピアニストである私の姉は、いつも手に怪我をしないように気をつけています My sister, a pianist, is always careful not to injure her hands. (My translation) But I'm wondering if ...
6
votes
2answers
372 views

Strange use of であった in narrative

In the middle of the Famicom game Bucky O'Hare, a cutscene starts with this text: こうして 4人を きゅうしゅつした バッキーであったが・・・じつは それは バッキー オヘアを とらえる ために トードぐんが しくんだ わなだったのだ!! The meaning of the sentence is ...
6
votes
2answers
147 views

「どちら様でしたか?」 - why past form?

In a novel I'm reading there's this situation where the door opens and a woman enters the room asking for the main character by name. The main character, being surprised and not knowing the woman, ...
6
votes
1answer
194 views

What makes using ある for people okay in this context?

Yep, I'm reading a lot of Tintin in Japanese recently, and he keeps throwing me curve balls with the language. Here's another one. The situation is that the car he was in has been run off the road ...
5
votes
1answer
137 views

過去形+のだ versus 現在形+のだった

I'm puzzled by the bold part of the following paragraph which occurs in my Japanese learner's version of 雪女: 二人は毎日、川まで来ると、渡し守に船で川の向こう側へ運んでもらった。 山から帰るときは、また、渡し守に船で川のこちら側まで運んでもらうのだった。 My current ...
5
votes
1answer
133 views

だが attached to the subject/topic

だが is often attached to the subject/topic of a sentence as follows, with my supposed translation. 近くに住む叔父だが, 最近具合が悪いと聞いている. 'Speaking of my uncle who lives close-by, I've heard lately he's isn't ...
4
votes
2answers
208 views

Grammatical justification for でしかない

The song eX Dream by Myuji (which appears in an anime OP) contains the sentence: [夢]{ゆめ}は夢でしかない The general point of the sentence is fairly clear, meaning "a dream is just a dream". But what is ...
4
votes
1answer
202 views

Etymology of the copula だ

I think of だ as being the only copula, which can be inflected to で and な. In my mind all other copula-like words are derived from these forms, i.e. です ⇔ であります じゃない ⇔ ではない だろう ⇔ であろう etc. ...
4
votes
2answers
255 views

Meaning of でもない in this context?

While listening to the song "Yasashisa no Riyuu", I noticed the following sentence: 今は誰の名前でもない 輝きの彼方へ Which by the fansub is translated like this: Now it doesn't matter whose name it may ...
4
votes
1answer
179 views

「こわいだから。」 versus 「こわい、だから[…]」

In an answer on another question, @TsuyoshiIto wrote: [U]nlike commas in English, 読点 in Japanese is rarely (if ever) grammatically required. Authors are free to use 読点 wherever they feel that it ...
4
votes
2answers
542 views

Sentence ending のを(だ)

I do not understand the meaning of のを: a. 彼は家を買った。 しかも大きい庭付きのを(だ)。 (だ is indicated as optional) Is it different from: b. 彼は家を買った。 しかも大きい庭付きだ。 (I'm not sure if this is grammatical) c. ...
3
votes
1answer
788 views

Why does replacing だ to である changes the meaning of a the sentence?

「彼は映画スターであり、政治家もだ。」 means "He is a movie star, and a politician is a movie star, too" (from Tsuyoshi's comment below this other post) 「彼は映画スターであり、政治家でもある。」 means "He is a movie star and also a ...
3
votes
2answers
195 views

Why does 好き use な?

If 好き is a noun, then why does it take the な copula in things like 好きなこと? I thought that copula was reserved for adjectives, and I thought nouns took on the の copula.
3
votes
1answer
108 views

わけ accompanied by な particle

What exactly does な particle mean when used with わけ? Example (pulled from Google): あいつが犯人なわけがないじゃないか. I know exactly what this sentence means, but I'm just a little unsure on what the な is ...
3
votes
1answer
132 views

Why does そっくり(な?) take the な particle?

I was reading this page: http://helps.ameba.jp/faq/pigg/5301/post_362.html and I found そっくりな, however my dictionary says it's an adverbial noun... and I though those took の as their particle-Then ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

When is it possible to split である in で+ある

It is very difficult to find literature on this topic and the only related question is Splicing である with a topic whose answer is (to my view) a bit elusive and the reference provided by snailboat is ...
1
vote
1answer
152 views

Do adjectives/adjective-like verb forms in informal speech need a copula?

The class I go to uses the «Minna no Nihongo» textbook, and according to it you can say the following in informal language: そのカレーライスおいしい? わたしは富士山にのぼりたい。 (See book 1, lesson 20) So I ...
1
vote
2answers
164 views

What does だ mean at the end of a sentence or following a noun

The sentence in question is それはとってもいい話【はなし】だ。 Which is translated as "That's a really nice story". I don't understand what だ is doing at the end though. 話 seems to mean story with or without it and ...