A collective term for syntax (the way sentences are put together) and morphology (forms of words, including the way new words are put together). Often used to describe function words such as particles, to describe word endings, and to talk about general sentence structure.

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1answer
86 views
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Why do we have to use ている form of 思う with third person subject

I've read from many grammar books that when we are talking about a third people thinking about something, we must use 思っている, and it means "think" instead of "be thinking". For example: ...
4
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1answer
57 views

What's the meaning of も and また in 「これほど無駄な本というのもまた珍しい」?

I saw this scathing review of KY式日本語 on Amazon JP. This is the full sentence I'm asking about: 出版する意味を感じられない本は多数世に出ているが、これほど無駄な本というのもまた珍しい Ignoring the もまた part, what I get from this is ...
3
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1answer
598 views

Can うちは mean the same thing as うちに?

Tell me please in the sentence below, can うちは means the same as うちに? Or it's just うち like "we" ? Thank you very much for help!
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3answers
124 views

How do ことになる and ようになる differ? (When ことになる cannot = “It has been decided that”)

I understand that ことになる has the meaning "It has been decided that" and can be used to point to a ritual or habit of a society like taking off your shoes. However, I don't get what it means when it is ...
3
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1answer
106 views

What is the difference between ~あろうが and ~あろうと?

I'm writing a report for a class, and at first I wrote:  […]どのような批判があろうが[…] But then I sat back and thought, maybe it should actually be:  […]どのような批判があろうと[…] But now I'm not sure if ...
3
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1answer
80 views

ではないか Grammar translation

what does ではないか mean in the sentence below? And can someone please translate it? 耳に馴染みのない方も多いのではないかと思いますが、 (after that he explains the word)....
3
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1answer
116 views

な, の, である and ために

When used with a noun ために could have two meanings : (1) 学生のために、奨学金がある。 There are scholarships for (the sake of) students. (2) 学生のために、学校の規則に従わなければならない。 Since s/he is a student s/he ...
1
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1answer
85 views

What is the meaning of masu-stem + proposition

Example sentence: オオカミのことばに従い、 森に行った。 What is the meaning of this construction? Does it have a special meaning?
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 ...
3
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1answer
79 views

How to say “As a <position>, …”

Example : As a friend, I think we should... What do you add to ともだち to add the "As a" prefix? Also, after that part, does the rest of the sentence follow the normal rules of a Japanese sentence? ...
2
votes
1answer
171 views

What does adding お at the end of a word change?

An example would be: "watashi wa cake o(お) tabetai". What does the お do? I tried on google translate and it seems it gives pertenence to that thing..like it belongs either to you or me..but I still ...
3
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1answer
176 views

How to read 連体形 + 上

Taking an example from a page naruto linked in another thread: 外国人が日本語を習得する上で難しい点がたくさんあります。 My inclination is to read this as うえ since it's followed by で, however I've got a nagging feeling it ...
4
votes
1answer
207 views

What's the analysis for たりとも?

Quoth Edict, たりとも means "(not) even; (not) any", and is probably used as such: 一問たりとも答えられなかった。(even one question, cannot answer) Is たりとも made up of the individual portions たり ("such things as") ...
3
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2answers
120 views

Use of 自分を and もらう

I have trouble understanding the following sentence: ルーカスさんは、自分をファーストネームで呼んでもらいたいと言うけれども、三年も年上の人なので、どうも「トム」とは呼びにくい。 Is it. Mister Lukas wants to get called by his first name but it's hard to do ...
10
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3answers
276 views

私は猫が好き and 猫は私が好き

I'm an absolute beginner. I've learned Japanese in my spare time for less than two months. This is my first question here. Even though I think this question is potentially trivial, it's perhaps the ...
4
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1answer
122 views

When should I use で or を particles? [duplicate]

Newcomer here. Trying to learn Japanese on my own for years now. Here's a first question. How can I make sure to learn correctly the difference between using を and で in the context of an action ...
0
votes
1answer
87 views

Using the stem form of a verb like the て form, as in 燃えゆく or 飲みほして

What is the significance of sometimes using the stem form of a verb like how the て form would be? For example: 燃えゆく (from HANABI) 飲みほして (from Ambiguous) It's something I hear now and again, ...
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3answers
441 views

Problems with は and が

Consider: [A] 猫が好きだ To me this means [A']"I like cats." Contrast this to: [B] 猫は好きだ To me this means [B']"I like cats (among other animals)" I based my understanding of [B] from Derek ...
5
votes
2answers
114 views

What is “koto” used for?

I know "koto" means thing, but I've seen it used like this in my Self-Study Japanese book: Nihon no koto ga yoku wakarimasu ka. and Chiimu no koto o kangaete imasshita Does this mean Japan's thing ...
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3answers
544 views

Is ~も really marking the word just prior to it?

I'm translating an excerpt for fun, but this section struck me as odd: ...
1
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1answer
66 views

となる - Grammatical explanation please [duplicate]

can someone please explain となる ? I read it everywhere but still don't know what it exactly means. Here's just an example sentence: この世界が心つなぐ鍵となる
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1answer
139 views

“は + verb” instead of “を + verb”?

I have stumbled upon instances where "は + verb" is used in situations where I thought "を + verb" should be used. For example recently I've seen "その覚悟はしてました" (I was prepared for that) and "楽な道は選ぶな" ...
7
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1answer
127 views

How to list numbers of things

Where do you place the counter in Japanese when you want to specify how many of something there are, especially if you're listing multiple things? I believe the counter usually goes after the ...
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3answers
132 views

Valid interpretations of the (first) て-form in 何かを犠牲にして、その上で、平和は成り立っている。

What are the valid interpretations of the (first) て-form in the following sentence? 何かを犠牲にして、その上で、平和は成り立っている。 I'm having difficulties assigning a definite meaning to this sentence. There seems ...
2
votes
1answer
160 views

Meaning of 虚ろに in this particular case

I was doing my daily dose of reading and I came by this particular sentence, which I had a little bit of trouble finding the meaning for. 「このあたりからまた意識が虚ろになってしまいました」 The context is a patient who had ...
2
votes
1answer
163 views

に - same meaning as として?

Could somebody please give me a hint about the meaning of に in 「反抗的な態度に映ったのか、隊長は舌打ちして前を向く。」. If I'm understanding correctly, に here has the same meaning as として. 内容・状態などを示す。「ーとして」の意。「ほうびにもらう」 Some ...
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votes
3answers
454 views

Confusion about “Seemingly not ~”

So there are several ways to express something is "seemingly not ~": ~なさそう ~そうにない ~そうもない ~そうにもない (is this one even real?) I was always taught ~なさそう in my Japanese classes, and it was ...
5
votes
1answer
306 views

あなたがこの文のおかしいと思うところは?

The structure strikes me because the underlying transformation seems to be like this: [ あなたが ] [ この文の  ~ところを ] [ おかしいと ] 思う [ あなたが ] [ この文の  _____ ] [ おかしいと ] 思う ところは~ Another similar example is: ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

「〜そうにない」 unfamiliar usage of そう [duplicate]

I'm playing a video game in Japanese, and one of the characters said 僕にもわかりそうにない。 I understand that (verb stem)そう means "it seems" or "it appears", but I've never seen (verb stem)そう used with ...
3
votes
2answers
200 views

Is setting a topic obligatory?

For instance, if I say the following as the first phrase in a conversation: おはよう!ピクニックでリナさんを探していましたが、どこもみえませんでしたね。 Hi! I was looking for you at the picnic, but couldn't find anywhere. Is it ...
5
votes
0answers
150 views

In 君が代, what's the function of の?

I've got a question about the two instances of の in 君が代: さざれ石の巌となりて 苔の生すまで First, is さざれ石の巌 to be interpreted as a boulder made of pebbles (analogous to, say, 木製の槍)? Second, is the の in 苔の生すまで ...
4
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1answer
125 views

Grammar との - What is the meaning

so here in this sentence below "との" were used 2 times. What stand's との for? Can someone please explain it to me? ...
6
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2answers
419 views

Is there a special way of asking hypothetical questions?

I'm not really sure there is an equivalent for hypothetical questions in Japanese, but here's hoping there is. In English, hypothetical questions are generally prefaced by "What would you do if..." ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Unnecessary に in “どんなに” in this sentence?

The following sentences are from a reading passage. I'm confused on the third sentence - the previous two are just given for context. 日本ではどこに行っても、「きまりですから」という言葉を耳にする。 これを言われてしまうと、こちらにはもう反論の余地はない。 ...
4
votes
1answer
395 views

Addressing strangers without knowing the name

How does one address a stranger in a casual conversation when name is unknown? For example, I had a conversation with an older Japanese lady and I wanted to compliment her on her English (but in ...
2
votes
0answers
42 views

~に~があります vs ~は~です in this sentence [duplicate]

The following sentence was found in a book: 日本社会の「きまり」にかかわる例の一つに、 会社への就職活動がある。 I'm wondering, assuming the translation is "An example of one of these "rules" related to Japanese society is ...
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2answers
120 views

“verb+ものです” has an additional meaning?

I am trying to remember if the following sentences have the meaning of "it is a custom/habit." (1)「日本では、家に入る前に、靴を脱ぐものです。」 (2)「日本業界では、自己紹介をする時に、名刺を交換するものです。」 (3)「日本社会において、3月の14日に、男は女の子にチョコを上げるものです。」 ...
6
votes
1answer
194 views

Forming a “habitual” sentence: “I usually get up at 7.15”

私は大抵七時十五分に起きます Would this be a correct way to say 'I usually get up at 7.15'? Not sure 大抵 is correctly placed before the time+に
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3answers
4k views

What's the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)?

When is it correct to use は but not が, and when is it correct to use が but not は? Are there any times when you can use either without changing the meaning of the sentence? How does switching change ...
6
votes
1answer
136 views

「どこでもある」と「どこにもある」の使い分け

I have come across this sentence: 一九七0年頃までは、どこでも銭湯がありましたが、今は、少なくなりました。 Why is it that it says どこでも X がある instead of どこにも X がある I understand that で and に are very similar as they have ties in ...
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3answers
556 views

Examples of Japanese nouns that seem like adjectives when translated into English eg 曇り

As above. This sentence came up in my test: 今日は曇りで、寒かったです。 and I was a bit puzzled why it wasn't kumokkute (I translated it as cloudy = adj) until I looked it up on Jisho.com. But I'm still ...
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votes
2answers
94 views

読みます or 読んで form to express habit

In my textbook it says you can use the 読みます form to talk about habitual actions, such as 私はよく本を読みます But I read on the internet (source) that the correct form for this is 読んで and the sentence should ...
4
votes
2answers
436 views

うちに spot the difference

うちに has two rather confusingly different meanings. One is in line with its never seen kanji form. Whilst. Do x whilst y. Another means do x before y's situation changes. The two are quite ...
5
votes
2answers
139 views

The meaning of v-ta+であろう

What does v-た+であろう mean? For example: ほんの一、ニ分のやりとりであったであろうが、いかに屈託のない若い人たちの闊達さがさわやかであった。 Does it mean something is likely to be that way? But what then if it appears that this thing has already ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

Meaning of 「のでは」

What does のでは mean in the following sentence? What changes if we write this sentence like this - デカイ腹に集中した、というのが? ...
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, ...
9
votes
2answers
362 views

Imperative used instead of conditional form

This quesion: と言っても vs とは言え . reminded me of a similar case: どっちにしても vs どっちにしろ which are also synonymous as far as I can tell. That got me thinking: Is this coincidental? Are there ...
8
votes
4answers
550 views

How does “ ~ずにはいられない ” work?

時代の流れを感じずにはいられない。 I can't help but feel time passing by. 彼のことを同情せずにはいられない。 I can't help but to feel sorry for him. 私は、彼の才能を賞賛せずにはいられない。 I can't help but admire his talent. Would ...
2
votes
2answers
186 views

「日焼{ひや}け」 is not representative of a means to nominalize verbs?

I was just thinking about the sunburn I will get during the upcoming 4th of July holiday. Then, I wondered if 「日焼{ひや}け」is a verb nominalization. If it is, I am not aware of such a pattern. Is it an ...