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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5
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3answers
370 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
269 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".
6
votes
1answer
627 views

What is the difference between でなくand ではなく?

This is the sentence I have just read: 外国へ行くとしたら、ただの旅行ではなく、勉強を 目的として 行きたい。 If I ever have a chance to go abroad then I would like to go to study rather than just travel. The は feels ...
14
votes
3answers
670 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
165 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
257 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".
4
votes
4answers
3k views

How do I say “before” or “used to” in Japanese?

朝、作文を書いた時、疑問に思いました。 How can I say something like: I didn't used to like this band.  Before, I didn't like this band.
5
votes
2answers
500 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: ...
0
votes
1answer
180 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
400 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
295 views

Range of numbers

How would one express a range of numbers regarding an action? Example: I usually study anywhere between 2 to 4 hours a day. Would the からーまで grammar structure be appropriate here? ...
3
votes
2answers
280 views

How does は apply itself to によっては?

From the question: "How does the use of いかんによっては in this question determine one answer over another?", it is observed that: The use of によって means to change state or behaviour depending on, or ...
6
votes
1answer
186 views

Why does 考えて need も in the “て + ごらん” pattern?

Consider these three lists: てごらん 考えてもごらん てもごらん In the verb-te form + ごらん structure, it seems that only the verb 考える needs to have も. (It seems that 考える can be used without も, but a cursory look ...
4
votes
1answer
249 views

What is the difference between どころか or ものか?

This is a sentence from my JLPT prep book: 新しい首相に代わったが、景気は回復する (  )、悪化する一方であった。 The answer is: ものか, but I thought it was どころか. I can't figure out why どころか isn't correct or is unnatural. They ...
8
votes
2answers
344 views

Obligatory zero particle

Sometimes, particles are omitted. I've read, however, that this can be analyzed as inserting a "zero particle" instead. See for example Particle omission or zero particle by Mitsuaki Shimojo. See ...
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?
2
votes
1answer
136 views

Grammar problem [closed]

I'd like to ask how can I say in Japanese 'a friend of mine reminded me this great band'? I thought I should use the ~思い出させてくれる form, but I guess it still too difficult for me.
8
votes
2answers
380 views

What is the difference between べからず and べからざる?

In my JLPT practise book, I have the following question: A:噂にまどわされる_____、とは言うものの・・・。 B:つい、信じちゃうよね。 べく 2.べき 3.べからざる 4. べからず I knew the answer was between 3 and 4, but I couldn't ...
8
votes
4answers
495 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: ...
5
votes
1answer
432 views

What is “masu-stem + ざま”?

Here is a part of a sentence from my book: ・・・・手裏剣をよけざま・・・・ I can't find any help in any of my references on the pattern of "masu-stem + ざま", which makes me hesitant to say that's exactly what ...
3
votes
1answer
690 views

Why do we use 楽しめそう and 楽しみ rather than 楽しい・楽しそう in these sentences?

Could someone explain why we use 楽しめそう instead of 楽しそう in the first sentence and what exactly 楽しみ means and why? (The translations are my best guess at what the sentences might mean.) ...
10
votes
2answers
593 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
218 views

Can けれども be analysed further?

Consider the conjunction ども, e.g.: 行けども 言えども Formation rule: Verb Hypothetical form (仮定形) + ども This leads me to hypothesise that the conjunction けれども (meaning "but; however; although") is ...
11
votes
3answers
240 views

心配でたまらず - what is the verb and its form?

Could someone explain the grammar/words behind this and similar phrases? I did some research and probably found the explanation, but I am not sure if this is correct. The phrase may be found in a ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What is -からです, and when is it used?

I have seen this expression a few times, and have never quite understood it. In particular, it seems to be equatable both to ですから and to んです, but I can't figure out where it would be used over either ...
4
votes
2answers
587 views

what does “mata ha” stand for in this sentence?

くるまはみぎ、ひだりまたはまっすぐいってもいいです i understand what mata normally means but, it doesn't seem to work in this sentence. please & thank you.
3
votes
1answer
252 views

What does そこによるところは大きい mean?

could anyone help me with a sentence? It was from an article in the Asahi about the leadership change in North Korea. The full sentence is 拉致被害者の早い救出も、そこによるところは大きい。I understand the first part of the ...
6
votes
1answer
196 views

How do we roll a ball along a street from A to B?

This question is a follow up to この道をまっすぐ行ってください。Why “を” and not “で”? posted earlier. If: 道で転ぶ = fallover on the road ボールが道を転がる = a ball rolled along the street 〜を転がす = roll something ...
5
votes
2answers
746 views

Help with the difference between causative and the causative-passive for the verb 笑う

I've always had a hard time immediately understanding the differences between passive, causative, and causative-passive. If I really sit down and try to work out the meaning I can generally get it, ...
5
votes
1answer
107 views

Equivalence of Traversal Verb + て and で of Means/Instrumentality

Consider: XにYで行く 学校に自転車で行く "Go to school by bicycle" ("means/instrumentality" interpretation) "Is* bicycle and go to school" (Questionable?) (Verb conjunctive interpretation) XにTraversal ...
11
votes
2answers
704 views

What does 逃げっこなしにしよう mean?

So, I was reading a children's story and came across this sentence: 「いいか、この最後のローソクが消えたら、本当のお化けが出るかもしれん。だが、どんなお化けが出ようと、お互いに逃げっこなしにしよう」 What I'm having trouble understanding and dictionaries haven't ...
7
votes
1answer
269 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。 ...
3
votes
1answer
753 views

Examples of when passive form in English takes active/non passive form in Japanese

Can anyone give a few more common examples (or even more insight) of when we should be "switching" from English passive into Japanese active/non-passive? (A joint effort might help a lot of us to ...
3
votes
1answer
225 views

What is the difference between 「Adj-さと言ったらなかった」&「Adj-いと言ったらなかった」?

Could someone explain the difference between the following two expressions: 恐ろしさといったらなかった 恐ろしいといったらなかった I am struggling with the first which my text book tells me means とても恐ろしかった. Why is ...
1
vote
1answer
164 views

~なければならない and ~によって auxiliary meanings

I am having trouble with the bold part of this sentence from wikipedia: バブル経済(バブルけいざい、economic ...
4
votes
2answers
401 views

<動詞の辞書形> + がよい ― How is this allowed?

I've come across this form many times in my Japanese Bible. The meaning is quite obvious based on context, and seems to be one of the following: ~べきです, ~ほうがいい, ~なさい, or ~ように (let it be ~). Here are ...
4
votes
1answer
218 views

Is 「~べくして」 related to 「~べき」 / 「~べく」?

How I understand it, ~べく, meaning "for the purpose of..." / "In order to....", is the conjunctive form of ~べき, which indicates something that should be done. たくさん本を読む べき (you should read many ...
7
votes
2answers
784 views

〜しては is this a grammar pattern?

I was trying to translate this sentence: 僕はアルバイトしてはレコードばかり買っていたから、一日半働けばLP一枚買えるな、と思って働いていた。 I think I get the overall meaning as: Because I spent all my wages on records I went to work thinking "If ...
9
votes
2answers
544 views

What is the purpose of the suffix “さ” on adjectives?

What is the purpose of the suffix "さ" on adjectives like 美しさ and 多さ? The former is the title of an essay by Banana Yoshimoto, so I don't have much context for it. The book editors translated it as ...
6
votes
2answers
620 views

How to use に with “masu-stem (連用形 stem) + に + Verb” structure

Could somebody provide a bit more explanation, possibly giving correct and incorrect examples on how to use に with "masu-stem (連用形 stem) + に + Verb" as illustrated in the following examples? Both ...
4
votes
2answers
589 views

Please help me understand this grammar: ようになるだけではなくて

I'm having trouble understanding this grammar. Could someone please help. 「ようになるだけではなくて」 Taken from the sentence: 本を読めるようになるだけではなくて Thanks in advance.
10
votes
2answers
6k views

How to say “also” or “too”

The sentence "I also ate in Tokyo" can mean three different things: (Aside from my friends who ate there), I also ate in Tokyo. (Aside from the other places where I tried local cuisines), I also ate ...
1
vote
2answers
337 views

What does the construction “passive voice + ままに” mean? (~{ら}れるままに)

I generally know ~まま as used in the sense that something is left in a certain state, for example: 窓を開けたまま寝る. Does this have a different meaning or connotation when used following the passive voice? ...
6
votes
2answers
308 views

Expressing desire of a third party using したいそうです

姉は学校を卒業後は海外留学したいそうです。 ane ha gakkou wo sotsugyougo ha kaigairyuugaku shitai sou desu. My sister says that she wants to study abroad after graduating from school. I found this ...
4
votes
1answer
667 views

Meaning of 「そればかりか、〜Vーるというようなことさえ、始めはしない。」

I am struggling to grasp the meaning of this expression 「そればかりか、〜Vるというようなことさえ、始めはしない」It comes up in the following sentence. The English translation is my best effort but I am guessing from the ...
3
votes
1answer
191 views

Making sense of the N1にN2 construction (「パンにバター」=「パンにバターをぬる」)

I understand from my previous question on the N1 に N2 construction that it is usually a phrase with omission of a verb (eg パンにバターをぬる makes パンにバター, which comes from パンにぬる and バターをぬる). If this is the ...
3
votes
1answer
220 views

What is よ doing as a connector before a comma?

I saw this as a comment someone posted on Google+ in response to NHK announcing a show: 本気{ほんき}なら地上波{ちじょうは}でやれよ、受信料{じゅしんりょう}返{かえ}せ I think it's saying "If this is really what you intend to ...
6
votes
2answers
687 views

Are times after noon expressed in military time?

How are times after noon expressed when speaking? I assume that if it's obvious from context that it's after noon, then people will just say 5時. But what if it's not obvious from context? My ...
7
votes
2answers
238 views

What does 「のいう」 mean in this sentence?

I'm familiar with 「という」 and was somewhat confused why I saw 「のいう」 in the following sentence: 人間対応能力は、ドラッカーのいう「他の人間とともに働く能力」のことです。 What is the role of 「のいう」 in this sentence? Is it incorrect to ...
3
votes
2answers
211 views

More fun with the present progressive

I found this example sentence in grammar book: 門の前に車が止まっています。 A car is parked in front of the gate. I was told that instead of 止まる, 停まる would be a more accurate fit for "parked". Does that ...