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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4
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1answer
266 views

When should the polite form of 〜たり be used?

I've noticed that I don't see 〜ましたり used very often, but it does seem to be an accepted form. I believe this form can be broken down like this: 動詞{どうし}の連用形{れんようけい}+「ます」の連用形{れんようけい}+「たり」 My ...
5
votes
2answers
480 views

Plural in ancient Japanese?

It is known to Japanese learners that the Japanese verb isn't affected by the subject (number or gender). Today, a linguistics professor of my university told me he heard from his teacher that ancient ...
2
votes
1answer
233 views

Limitations of に for emphasis?

I remember having learning that に can be used for a simple emphasis of the word before it, like so: 私はケーキを食べた - I ate cake 私にはケーキを食べた - I ate cake (the others may or may not have, but I did) ...
5
votes
1answer
308 views

Does the 助動詞「ます」 still have a 連体形 in modern Japanese?

Does the 助動詞「ます」 have a 連体形? According to 大辞林, it's ます, and I see the old forms ます/まする on 学研全訳古語辞典. However, in the comments on this question, Darius Jahandarie wrote the following: @snailplane ...
9
votes
1answer
858 views

Expressing hope: to nozomu and koto wo negau

I have a question about these two verbs for 'hope': と望む (to nozomu) ことを願う (koto wo negau) I also write down two examples, since I have a particular question about their use: ...
2
votes
0answers
158 views

Can't parse なるうるわけ [closed]

The full sentence is 数学的性質をもつ現象はすべてこの科学の対象となるうるわけであるから、それは数限りなくあり、また日々増えていて、これらをもらさず解説することは不可能に近い。 But I can't parse "なるうるわけ". Ignoring that part, I interpret the sentence as "All phenomena with ...
24
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the difference between “に” and “には”?

The title should be pretty self-explanatory. What meanings does each convey? And in what kinds of circumstances would one be used instead of the other? For example, what are the differences between ...
5
votes
1answer
221 views

How wrong is my constructed poem?

I tried writing a classical Japanese poem: 赤き空 青かりたり根 夢がごとし 元を返るべし 汚さざらまし And here is a rough literal translation: The red sky, The origin that was once blue, Like seeing a dream, It would be best ...
8
votes
5answers
502 views

A は/が difference [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What’s the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)? I've been trying to wrap my head around the は/が differences, and I'm trying to figure out the differences between the ...
6
votes
2answers
324 views

What's wrong with using 内に in this sentence?

My textbook claims that this is an incorrect usage of uchi ni: 彼が会社に行っている内に、贈り物が届きました While he is commuting to the office, a present arrived. Why is this wrong? It looks fine to me.
3
votes
1answer
90 views

Where is the personal comparison in this phrase?

I was browsing a language exchange site and came across: 私のように明るく、前向きな方がいいです。 And the text under it (translation from the user who posted the entry) was: I'm hoping that you are cheerful and ...
5
votes
1answer
252 views

The difference between (な形容詞)さ and (な形容詞)性?

I'm in the middle of writing a paper in Japanese, and I can't quite figure out which is right. If I want to nominalize a な形容詞, should I affix さ or 性 at the end? I've been checking on search engines, ...
14
votes
4answers
495 views

What are the fundamental differences between the ~と一緒に and the ~とともに fragments?

I'm accustomed to saying together with using the ~ to issho ni fragment, but I've been noticing that some people I talk to phrase this using ~ totomo ni instead. i.e. 彼女と一緒に日本へ来た。 Kanojo to issho ni ...
8
votes
2answers
277 views

What function does 「しいて」 serve in this sentence?

I have this sentence in a JLPT study textbook, as an example of the use of しいて: 食{た}べたくなければしいて食べることないから、食べられるものだけ食べてね。 The translation is, "If you don't want to eat it, you don't have to, so ...
10
votes
2answers
328 views

Double subject construction?

I've recently been having trouble with constructions that seem to mark two subjects in the same clause. I've only encountered them in ~の方が... constructions, but I can't seem to make sense of them ...
6
votes
1answer
616 views

What does のですが mean in the following sentence?

焼き鳥屋さんで集まったのですが、とても楽しい、かつ有意義な時間を過ごしました。
4
votes
1answer
277 views

How is ほか used as a conjunction?

What does ほか mean when it is used in a sentence like this: [situationA] ほか, [situationB]" Specifically I would like a little help clarifying the following sentence: ...
4
votes
1answer
192 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
212 views

Function of に in 怒るに怒れない

In the book I'm reading, I came across the following sentence: あたしは[怒]{おこ}るに[怒]{おこ}れなくなった。 (furigana added by me) My translation is something like "I couldn't stay angry [at him]". ("My anger ...
2
votes
1answer
352 views

Explanation / Meaning of らしく in 例文

Hi in this sentence 'らしく' is used, but I am not really sure about the meaning of らしく. I found this explanation for it, but it doesn't helps me to understand its meaning in the sentence: way to use ...
16
votes
2answers
930 views

What is the difference between ~げ and ~そう

How do these two differ, for example: 寂しそう vs 寂しげ 楽しそう vs 楽しげ 言いたそう vs 言いたげ 大人げ vs 大人っぽい(...? Not sure if this one works.)
3
votes
1answer
198 views

足って used in Ponyo Song [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are these forms: かけちゃお, つないじゃお? Is this って equivalent to 「と」? From the Ponyo theme song: ペータペタ ピョーンピョン 足っていいな かけちゃお! Why is 足 given the て conjugation, as if ...
4
votes
1answer
259 views

General confusion ("Volitional+ともせず”, redundancy, uses of と, )

I'm having trouble understanding the grammar in some sentences even if I understand the basic idea of the sentence. I may post with more questions later. ...
5
votes
2answers
225 views

How can I express that X is as big/small/fast/… as Y?

I would like to know how to express that something is equal in some aspect to another thing (or person, if that makes a difference), as you would express in English by saying: X is as (adjective) as ...
28
votes
5answers
2k views

i-adjectives used as na-adjectives: is there a difference? (e.g. 大きい versus 大きな)

There are at the very least several i-adjectives can be used as na-adjectives by dropping the final い and adding な in its place. The most common examples of this, as far as I am aware, are 大きい and ...
3
votes
1answer
199 views

形容詞 ending in /ei/ and /ii/

This page discusses the "adjective" べき and mentions that if it had evolved like other adjectives, it would have been べい. That made me think: Why are there no 形容詞 ending in /ei/ or /ii/ (except for ...
5
votes
2answers
702 views

What is the difference between ずに and ない-form?

My wife is studying for the JLPT exam, and came across the following question: 2時間、_____立って話しました。 She narrowed the choices down to: すわらずに すわらないと Or another similar question: ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Is this a proper use of tara and toki for “when”?

Consider: 気がついたら皆さんは寝ていた。 気がついたとき皆さんは寝ていた。 My English interpretation: When I woke up (came to), everyone was sleeping. Is "when" enough to capture the nuances of the Japanese sentences? ...
9
votes
3answers
541 views

Typo or am I missing something? 「ドイツ語も勉強しないとですね。」

Context: I have been chatting with a Japanese girl who is going to move to Germany, and I asked if she had any experience with the German language and told her I had been considering learning German ...
3
votes
1answer
209 views

Etymology of それはそうと

Can anyone explain the etymology of それはそうと【其れはそうと】and possibly the grammar of how it fits into a sentence, which does not seem to follow the normal rules (It should have a copula だ、そうだと?)? I think of ...
5
votes
2answers
155 views

Noun followed by 「っぱだ」

I'm currently reading a Japanese children's book, and a character says 「金色の葉っぱだ」 I'm assuming the 「っぱだ」 is like saying 「たくさん」 or 「いっぱい」, but I don't actually know. Any help is appreciated!
7
votes
4answers
1k views

の cannot be used as a pronoun meaning “one” for “highly abstract objects” but what is a “highly abstract object”?(amended)

(Italics are used to indicate revisions to the orginal question made in response to feedback so far) According to "A students' guide to Japanese grammar", by Naomi McGloin, の is used as a pronoun ...
9
votes
4answers
349 views

How to translate: “Keep/leave something”. So, how to express intention to leave something unchanged

Consider questions like: Please leave the door open, thanks! Could you please keep the lift's doors open? Thankyou Please, leave it as it is. They all imply something common: not changing the ...
2
votes
0answers
51 views

What is the difference between using なる with the particles に and と [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between 〜となる and 〜になる? What is the difference between using なる with the particles に and と? When should which be used?
2
votes
3answers
110 views

Omitting ようだ at the end of a sentence

父はデジタルカメラの講習を受けに行ったが、あまりの難しさにびっくりしたようだ。 So this sentence is saying, "my dad went to take a short course on digital cameras, but it was difficult to the point of surprising him." Could you say ...
4
votes
3answers
323 views

What makes に基づいて instead of に応じて the correct choice for this question?

I'm working on some example questions from my grammar textbook. One of them I listed below:  税金はこの表(  )計算されています。  ア)につれて イ)に応じて ウ)に比べて エ)に基づいて I'm unsure why 「に基づいて」is the only correct ...
5
votes
3answers
334 views

Trouble understanding this use of あっての

I've previously asked two separate questions regarding あっての, (and there's a third on here from Pacerier) and I thought I had it figured out, but then I found this sentence (from a JLPT practice ...
1
vote
2answers
131 views

Questions about this sentence

"当時の関係者何人かにあたって記憶を確かめてみたが、人の記憶の欠落部分というのは、捏造で補われる仕組みになっているらしく、共通の体験が、しばしば、お互いに矛盾する記憶になっていることに驚かされた。" What does "にあたって" mean there ? "驚かされた" is referring to what/whom exactly ? Does "関係者何人か" mean ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Grammar dictionary [closed]

The dictionary that I use primarily is http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/ . I wanted to know of good sources online for looking up how different aspects of Japanese grammar work. I would prefer it if the ...
3
votes
1answer
251 views

Can't quite understand this sentence

この間、時間を見つけては、過去の歴史をひもといてみたのだが、再認識させられたのは、人間というのは、どれほど多くの涙とともに飲み下した教訓であっても、喉元を過ぎたとたんに忘れてしまう生き物であるということだった. Especially what "忘れてしまう生き物" is supposed to mean in "喉元を過ぎたとたんに忘れてしまう生き物であるということだった".
9
votes
2answers
281 views

Using により to specify method

Here are two examples: [電話]{でんわ}による[通報]{つうほう} // Fine 電話により通報する // Okay? I feel like using により is strange in my second example, but I'm not sure. Is the second example perfectly fine ...
13
votes
2answers
578 views

Can someone explain the logic of the grammar “とは限らない”

I found this example sentence in "A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar" under a grammar point unrelated to "とは限らない": "運動をよくする人が必ずしも長生きするとは限らない。" I understand the meaning of the sentence ...
3
votes
1answer
154 views

Help with a usage of 自慢

私は彼が自慢だ。 I'm Proud of Him 彼は私が自慢だ。 He is proud of me. I am confused by this pattern with 自慢. It kind of looks like 自慢 is being used as an adjective (?), but the definition in ...
8
votes
4answers
479 views

How does the use of いかんによっては in this question determine one answer over another?

In my JLPT practise book, in a section explaining the use of いかんによっては, which roughly means "depending on", they have the following question: ...
3
votes
2answers
252 views

Why is も used instead of が in the sentence 「日本ではクモを見ると良いことがあると言う人もいますよ」

What is the exact sentiment expressed by も in this sentence as opposed to が? 日本ではクモを見ると良いことがあると言う人もいますよ It's a sentence in response to someone saying "I saw a spider in my room, I was scared".
5
votes
2answers
410 views

How do I say “the reason why” or “the purpose of” in Japanese?

While studying this morning, I became interested in how to say "When you were a child, did you read books for fun?" in Japanese. In this case, would I use ため? Or would it be something like this: ...
28
votes
2answers
3k views

Why does Japanese have two kinds of adjectives? (-i adjectives and -na adjectives)

Japanese has two kinds of adjectives known by several terms but the ones I know are i-adjectives and na-adjectives - why? I recall that Japanese adjectives are much more like verbs than in English ...
0
votes
1answer
177 views

Problems with particles

I'm trying to understand when to use appropriate particles in a sentence, and keep up with vocab too! Please someone help. customer: "そのぼうし[の, を, か, ね] ください" "たけしさん [か, の, よ, or no particle] ...
12
votes
3answers
350 views

Positioning of quantities (using counters)

Example 1 ビール一杯を飲む 一杯のビールを飲む ビールを一杯飲む Example 2 ネジ2本を取り付ける 2本のネジを取り付ける ネジを2本取り付ける Is there any difference between the above examples with the positioning of the ...
5
votes
1answer
164 views

Function of the first の in とかの他の

Are ...とか他の... and ...とかの他の... equivalent? What is the function of the first の in the latter example? And why can't a の follow とか in ...とかその他...? Or can it?