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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11
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1answer
897 views

Where does the verbal form しとく come from?

In a manga I am currently reading, one of the character exclaims: 安心しな。秘密に しとく から。 The general meaning of the second part ("I'll keep it a secret") is quite obvious, and it seems that "しとく" ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between なぜなら、だから、and なので?

I'm trying to get clarification on how to use these three pieces of grammar and whether or not they all hold some kind of "Because" meaning.
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What exactly is a “taru adjective”

On the talk page of the Wikipedia article on "Japanese adjectives", user Dougalg suggested nearly two years ago: I know these are falling out of use, but still exist. If anyone can give an ...
12
votes
3answers
704 views

In what situations can you use "ぞ” as a sentence ender

When can one use the sentence ender ぞ? I've only ever heard it anime, so I'm unsure of it's actual usage in the real world. Is it not used that often or limited to specific age/gender groups?
10
votes
2answers
556 views

When is 「だ/である」required between a noun and the quotation particle と?

Note: Edits in response to comments have been added in italics The sentence prompting this question is: 時下ますますご清栄のことと、お喜び申し上げます Which I have always "loosely" taken to mean: I am glad to ...
7
votes
1answer
198 views

Splicing である with a topic

I came across this sentence: [意気地]{いくじ}なし!そして全くその通りで私はあったのだ。 "Coward! And that was, in fact, exactly what I was." (From 苦の世界, my translation.) I found in pretty weird that 私は dropped in the ...
7
votes
2answers
184 views

Varying word order for stylistic effect

Sometimes, for stylistic or rhetorical effect, one wants to delay mentioning a word/concept until the end of a sentence. For example, it's often best to save the punchline for the very end: I was ...
6
votes
4answers
560 views

When do you use するには as opposed to するため(には) to mean “in order to”?

I keep having するため(には) corrected to するには when writing sentences, but how interchangeable are they and when should each be used? Taking some Japanese sentences from Space ALC with my own English ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the difference between は and のは?

The following sentence means "seeing all the different foreign people was interesting." This, according to my Japanese friends is incorrect: 色々な外国人を見ているは面白かった。 ... and this is correct: ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Passive vs. active form of verb (past) What is the difference?

I was wondering what the difference is if I use passive form or active form of a verb. For example: ネズミは猫に食べられた。The mouse was eaten by the cat. 猫は、ネズミを食べた。The cat ate the mouse. What EXACTLY is ...
5
votes
2answers
340 views

What is the function of と when it's not quoting, or doing exhaustive listing?

Consider these two sentences:  (1) 母はついてくるようにアリスに合図した (Mother signaled to Alice to follow her)  (2) 父は手で私に部屋を出ていくようにと合図した。 (Father gestured to me to go out of the room) And another sentence ...
4
votes
3answers
503 views

What does "Xの一つにYがある” mean?

I have a sentence in my book like this: 日本が アメリカによく聞かれて困る質問の一つに、”How are you?" は 日本語で何と言うか、というのがある。 and found a similar example here: アメリカでは大学への申込の手続きの一つに「なぜX大学に行きたいのか」ということに関してエッセイを書くというのがあります。 The ...
4
votes
1answer
318 views

Origin of ~なければ ならない

The expression ~なければ ならない if I learned correctly means "must not not do ..." as in: 日本語を勉強しなければなりません。 You must not not learn Japanese. (i.e. you need to learn Japanese) However, taken on face value ...
4
votes
3answers
297 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
268 views

Unifying concept for noun-adjectives of the pattern Xかな

Consider these: ~か: 静か 愚か 厳か ~やか: 穏やか 鮮やか 賑やか ~らか: 柔らか 滑らか 明らか There are many more that I've not listed. The か/やか/らか at the end of these words ...
10
votes
2answers
895 views

What is the difference between “〜がる” and “〜がっている”

I want to know the difference between 〜がる and 〜がっている, and in what situations I can use them. My friend said 〜がる is used for a regular activity that someone does every day or every week, and the ...
9
votes
3answers
447 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
291 views

Can a noun + suru have an adjective modify the noun as well?

”I did some difficult studying last night." Could I say, "昨夜、難しい勉強しました。”? Basically, my question is: can an adjective, relative clause, or adjectival phrase modify a noun that has する attached. For ...
8
votes
3answers
587 views

How can I come to terms with the animate/inanimate distinction in Japanese?

According to this answer, "This made me laugh" would translate literally into Japanese as: これが僕{ぼく}を笑{わら}わせた。 However, the same answer explains that this would be an odd thing to say in ...
7
votes
1answer
220 views

What is going on with 書けている? What is Potential Form+ている?

I'm having difficulty in understanding 書けている (initially observed from an answer to "パソコンが 得意だ/わかる/上手だ"). Also observed from SPACEALC: この小説は上手に書けている。 最もよく書けている記事。 ...
6
votes
2answers
662 views

How to use the inflection “やがる”?

こんなくそみたいな帽子かぶせやがって! "こんな仕事させやがって!" "こんなまずいものを食わせやがって!" "あいつは本当に良いものを作りやがる" I was recently acquainted with the inflection "やがる," as illustrated in the examples above. Would it be ...
6
votes
2answers
365 views

に and で revisited

Consider the statement A: ホテル(に/で)泊まる. For both cases would translate to "I stay at a hotel" in English. However they are answers to different questions. Consider the questions 1.どこに泊まる and ...
3
votes
2answers
300 views

Does ~たり~たりする mean “and” or “or” in dictionary definitions?

I think that ~たり~たりする generally means "do things like (among other things)", but in dictionary definitions, can the pattern ~たり~たりする mean "and", "or" or "and/or"? In e.g. XたりYたりする would it imply ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

How can I improve my Japanese vocabulary, grammar, and listening skills? [closed]

I consider myself at a lower intermediate level. I want to improve my Japanese vocabulary and grammar in order to expand my reading and speaking skills. I know enough Japanese to get around and have a ...
12
votes
2answers
393 views

Why is 一緒に correct and 一緒で incorrect?

This is a mistake I habitually make, even though I know what the right form is. Earlier tonight, I wanted to tell my friend "Let's go together!", so I sent a mail saying: 一緒{いっしょ}で行{い}こう! My ...
8
votes
1answer
141 views

What is the difference between あっての and とあって?

From what I can tell they both mean "Because of", and the only differences in meaning I can see seem to be very subtle. あっての: Because of A (strong emphasis), B Thanks to (various ...
8
votes
4answers
469 views

なんか after て- form of a verb

I am confused by the use of なんか, especially after the て-form of a verb. What do: あきらめてなんかない, 消えてなんかない mean? How do they differ from simply saying あきらめていない, 消えていない? What is the purpose of なんか?
8
votes
2answers
396 views

What is the nuance when は directly follows a verb in plain form?

It seems like this is a remnant of (or reference to) older forms of Japanese. Is that all there is to it, or does it have special meaning? Examples from songs: 歌声 笑い声 満ちる大空 目指すは憧れ ...
8
votes
1answer
519 views

Ending sentence with ~だもの or ~ですもの

I've been listening songs and anime dialogues that end sentences with ~もの or even cuter version ~もん for so long that I am able to see how the word denotes reasons or excuses like: おなか空いたもん (when ...
7
votes
5answers
463 views

Shouldn't this phrase using だけのこと mean “just for that”?

In a grammar textbook I have, there is this phrase: 幸{さいわ}い日本{にほん}で日本語{にほんご}を勉強{べんきょう}して、かなり話{はな}せるようになりました。日本{にほん}に行{い}っただけのことはありました。 The translation given is: Fortunately, I studied ...
6
votes
1answer
844 views

Stative verbs: ~ている vs ~てある vs ~(ら)れる

I'm not sure if I'm wording this properly, but I want to know the nuances of these "stative" type verb forms that act kind of like adjectives. For example, you could describe an open window with any ...
6
votes
1answer
327 views

Understanding “よりを戻す” and “止めておこう”

I don't think us getting together tonight is such a good idea. やっぱり今夜、よりを戻すのは止めておこう。 I would like to understand this sentence better, specifically the (idiomatic?) expression, "よりを戻す." I ...
5
votes
3answers
343 views

AはB emphasizing B, rather than A

There are quite a few comments on another question discussing the sentence 彼が持っているのは二百円です, in which the emphasis apparently falls on 二百円. I posted a comment asking if this could be explained as the ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I say “I am the best” ? の,は or が and 私 or 俺?

I'm making a shirt for a (rather egotistical) friend of mine and so am trying to do something with the slogan "I am the best" for fun. I need something with four characters only, and would like to ask ...
4
votes
1answer
271 views

から ending a sentence

I've seen this in a few texts now and since it's appeared with some frequency I thought to post the question here. I tried searching online but came up with no real conclusions. ありませんから or plain form ...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

隠れていなくて??! Is this correct?

I found this in a phrase: 隠れていなくて. I can translate it simply as "aren't hiding" or "were hiding"? By the way, is it correct or is better "隠れていません" By the way, the whole phrase is: ...
2
votes
1answer
294 views

Is there a term for using conjugating verbs such that the sentence continues with another clause?

I'm referring specifically to using the て form to form a pseudo conjunction, and specifically the transformation of verbs in formal writing by using the verb stem instead of て form. For example the ...
16
votes
4answers
940 views

Are there cases when two or more particles will occur next to each other without intervening lexical words?

Most particles seem to be postpositions but I'm sure I've seen say a noun followed by a location particle followed by "wa" or "ga" or possibly "wo" but when I've tried to use it I've only confused my ...
18
votes
3answers
769 views

How do I express sentences like: He is dying?

For instance, "He is eating" is "Kare wa tabete iru". However, "He is dying" is not "Kare wa shinde iru". Another example is "He is going to Japan" is not "Kare wa nihon ni itte iru". So if I can't ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

Difference between にかんして and について?

What is the difference between にかんして and について? Example usage would be much appreciated!
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is it 日本語がわかります instead of 日本語をわかります?

From what I understand, は is the topic marker, が is the subject marker, and を is the object marker. One of the first sentences I learned doesn't seem to fit the rules I described above. The sentence ...
17
votes
3answers
956 views

The reason for using 何も+negative, but 何でも+positive

In one of the Japanese classes I attended, I've been taught that while we use 「何も出来ない」to say "He cannot do anything", to say "He can do anything" we use 「何でも出来る」 instead of 「何も出来る」. Why is there a ...
17
votes
1answer
428 views

What are the differences between 〜ので and 〜から?

When I was studying this, my 先生 kind of brushed over the point, and then years later, I realize that they are different, but I don't know exactly how. The only thing I understand is that ので is more ...
14
votes
2answers
253 views

Can't に always replace へ?

Me and the particle へ don't get along. It's not that we don't like each other, it's that we don't get each other. I'm in a pretty committed relationship with に. I mean, I think I understand what へ ...
14
votes
8answers
1k views

What are other language equivalents to Japanese particles?

When a person is learning は and が in terms of particles, what are the best way to relate them to English equivalents? The closest I can come to explaining them to others is "the" and "a" but I'm not ...
22
votes
3answers
30k views

でも (demo) versus けど (kedo) to mean “but”

I learned that you can use でも (demo) at the beginning of a sentence to mean "but," and that you can use けど (kedo) at the end of a sentence to mean "though." However, I don't see a difference between ...
15
votes
2answers
727 views

How to say 'X, let alone Y' in Japanese?

How to say X, let alone Y in Japanese? For example, how would one translate: I don't know hiragana, let alone kanji. He couldn't boil water, let alone prepare a dinner for eight. I ...
11
votes
1answer
4k views

Why does そう in 「美味しいそう」 not mean “seem” the way I think it should?

Here's another habitual mistake I make. I'm looking at a sign for a restaurant with pictures of great food. So I remark to my friend: 美味{おい}しいそう、ね? ... intending to mean, "that looks good, don't ...
16
votes
1answer
481 views

what is the difference between ごとに and おきに?

Both ごとに and おきに appear to mean "repeatedly at intervals". What is the difference between these two expressions?
16
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between その and あの?

Superficially, I get the sense that あの is for something far away from both speaker and listener, and その is for something closer to the listener than speaker. However, I seem to get in trouble when ...