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
250 views

“きのう、何をしていた。” vs. “きのう、何をした。”

What is the difference in nuance between きのう、何をしていた。 vs きのう、何をした。? To be fair, I can't really tell the difference between these two english sentences: What were you doing yesterday ? What did you do ...
4
votes
1answer
224 views

How does うんざり work in the Present Indicative, Causative, Passive, and Causative-passive tenses

Consider the following: そいつはひどく鼻持ちならないやつで、私をすっかりうんざりさせる。(That guy is so obnoxious that he really turns me off.) あなたをうんざりさせるものは何ですか?(What turns you off?) 痛み以上に私をうんざりさせるものはない。(Nothing turns ...
13
votes
2answers
642 views

The differences between ~がたい、〜にくい、〜づらい

I was wondering what the differences are between these three: ~がたい、〜にくい、〜づらい They all seem to be some sort of variant of "Hard to do ~". But it seems they are used with different verbs and/or imply ...
10
votes
2answers
896 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
225 views

「悪気があっての答え」 vs 「悪気がある答え」

Hi all I was wondering what is the difference between these two sentences: 「決して悪気があっての回答ではないです。」 「決して悪気がある回答ではないです。」 I can't really make out the gist of the meaning of 「あっての」. WWWJDIC's ...
11
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4answers
1k views

Does Vて+いる always mean an action already completed?

For the longest time, I thought that a verb ending in て+いる meant that one was currently doing an action, similar to how we use ~ing in English to mean a contuinuing state. So 食{た}べている means "eating". ...
3
votes
1answer
530 views

What would be the literal meaning of the causative form here? 暴風警報発令中のため本日の営業はお休みとさせていただきます。

暴風警報発令中のため本日 bōfū keihō hatsurei chū notame honjitsu の営業はお休みとさせて no eigyō wa oyasumi to sasete いただきます。 itadakimasu. 暴風 bōfū = storm winds 警報 keihō = warning 発令 hatsurei = official ...
4
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1answer
255 views

"一生懸命な”のニュアンスを説明してもらえませんか。Nuances of 一生懸命な

一生懸命な彼に申し訳ない気がしました。そこで、私は一度彼と会って面と向かって断ろうと思ったのです。 'I felt I had to do something so I decided to meet him face to face and tell him I wasn't interested.' 一生懸命を副詞として使ったら 'eagerly, with utmost ...
15
votes
2answers
331 views

What are the various ways to express 'or' and when are they appropriate?

I'd like to get an idea of when it is appropriate to use different expressions for expressing disjunction (of the inclusive AND exclusive variety). 「AとBとCの中で...」、「どちら」、and 「か] come to mind, but I ...
8
votes
1answer
494 views

Can I use 行っている間(に) in the sense of a habitual action?

Knowing that 行く is punctual, stative, and a motion verb, I also know that, 日本に行っている means "I/he/she have gone to Japan (and am still there)" rather than "I am currently going to Japan." I also feel ...
2
votes
1answer
153 views

Help with tense/aspect (past vs. non-past in Verb and Verbている)

I'm having difficulty with this sentence: Tense appears inconsistent to me. I need help understanding the correct use of verb forms. 冬休みにずっと九州に [Fill in the blank] おばあさんのうちにいました(past) 住む ...
5
votes
1answer
259 views

Is this は or はいる: ~わかってはいるものの

たばこは体に悪いとわかってはいるものの、なかなかやめられない。 If it's は, does omitting は change the meaning in verb-te~はいる? And also, could you talk about what いる is doing? If it's はいる, in what sense would you describe はいる's ...
3
votes
2answers
592 views

What is the とも in this sentence? 日本人は英語を学ばずとも暮らせる環境に居ます。

日本人は英語を学ばずとも暮らせる環境に居ます。 Japanese people are in an environment where they can live without having to learn english. Is the とも in this sentence one word or is it two words: と and も ? I guess it is one ...
3
votes
1answer
174 views

Finding the subject in Japanese. 自分だったら、これを大きくなってから見たら感動するだろうな

This is from the comments on this youtube page where an infant is cuddling with a bemused cat. The commentator is writing on how cute the scene is. I am having trouble figuring out some of the ...
6
votes
3answers
330 views

What is the significance of the “の” in the sentence “誰が盗んだのか、誰か知りませんか。”

In another forum, someone said the difference between 誰が盗んだのか、誰か知りませんか。 and 誰が盗んだか、誰か知りませんか。 is that the former has more emphasis on the verb 盗む. Another person said that that's not the ...
2
votes
1answer
255 views

Name/Title at the end of a sentence. Vocative case?

Consider these stanzas taken from the opening song of Aria the Animation: Undine. Translations taken from this site Background information: An Undine as a mythical concept is a female water ...
2
votes
1answer
117 views

Extracting from, and introducing to Universe of Discourse using は and が with こそあど-demonstratives

Consider the following: このりんご( は / が )食べないでください。 Person A: どちらが東ですか。  Person B: こちら( は / が )東です。 Workbook answers are は for 1. and が for 2. In 1., I would expect the person to ...
2
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1answer
132 views

How is the あげたい working here?

On a TV show, an idol was given this task to think of: 心が晴れやかになる一言 'A word (or phrase) to lift someone's mood'  (My loose translation) The idol responded: アナタの心の雨を[止]{や}ませてあげたいな 'Let me ...
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vote
1answer
166 views

幼いときに老けて、老いて子供に戻る。Can anyone explain the nuances of this sentence?

幼いときに老けて、老いて子供に戻る。 I can make a few guesses as to the specific meaning but I'm not sure which one is right.. does anyone know what would be the most correct translation of this sentence?
4
votes
1answer
100 views

Is this the denial of a statement, or a statement of denial?

This sentence originally came from a newspaper article. Unfortunately, I copied it onto a flashcard for later study and then lost the original context. 彼は、可能性について「念頭に全くない」と否定した。 【かれは、かのうせいに ...
3
votes
1answer
333 views

Is 「なので」actually a short-form for「それなので」?

In Tae Kim's Guide there is a conversation that goes like this: Tom: 時間がなかった。 Mary: だからパーティーに行かなかったの? I was wondering is 「だから」 actually a short-form of 「それだから」 ? Similarly, in the ...
2
votes
1answer
178 views

それは彼の身に応えだした。 Can anyone explain this?

それは彼の身に応えだした。 [ex #4531] It is beginning to tell on him. can anyone explain this sentence? is it useful or archaic? is it related to this? 骨身にこたえる
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votes
1answer
351 views

“訳分からない” various uses of 訳

Here are a few examples of 訳 that I am having trouble with: 僕は決して農業が嫌いな訳じゃない。 Boku wa kesshite nōgyō ga kiraina wake janai. By no means do I dislike farming. (Lit: The reason is not that I dislike ...
4
votes
1answer
130 views

Is と necessary after a quoted phrase?

Hi all I was wondering if we want to treat a quoted phrase as a "noun", is it necessary to put a と particle behind the quoted phrase? For example: A) The "received" in "received from Tom" ...
4
votes
1answer
166 views

When is disjunctive-が appropriate in connecting sentences?

Consider the following: [1] 僕は日本人ではなく, シンガポール人です。 (I'm not Japanese, I'm Singaporean) [2] 僕は日本人ではないが, シンガポール人です。 (I'm not Japanese but Singaporean) Comparing my sentences to the worked ...
5
votes
1answer
161 views

Particle-が in restaurant's name. Genitive particle?

I was at a Japanese restaurant called 星岡 (ほしがおか). And I was trying to figure out what the が does in it. I instinctively translated it to "Starry hill" (Not sure of my translation though). ...
1
vote
1answer
853 views

Verbs +「~てくる」 , which verbs? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Difference between -て行く and -て来る my doubt is which verbs I can use with ~てくる (~ていく) ABOUT ME I don't want to say "I undestand", but I'd like to say "I'm understanding" ...
5
votes
2answers
192 views

Is this a valid use of どころか?

In the following, I feel it should be 会話が出来るどころか. ジムは日本語で会話が出来ないどころか、簡単な挨拶も出来ない。 Jim is not only unable to converse in Japanese; he cannot even make simple greetings. I was expecting the ...
5
votes
1answer
186 views

Using あまりに(も) in a sentence with <verb stem>過ぎる, is it redundant?

Using あまりに(も) in a sentence with 過ぎる, is it redundant because they both mean too much/excessive? In the following example stolen from Lukman (thank you), does the sentence change if you drop the あまりに ...
3
votes
1answer
809 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 ...
11
votes
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" ...
6
votes
2answers
414 views

Is it grammatical to have more than one “WH question” words in a sentence?

In English it would be strange to have more than one "WH question" word in a sentence, For example: Tomorrow, where are we meeting, at what time and to do what ? It sounds like it's grammatical ...
8
votes
1answer
386 views

How the ~にあって form works - situations, places, times, what?

I finally started going through some JLPT N1 grammar the other day, and one of the ones I'm looking at has me a bit confused: the ~にあって・~にあっても form. The book describes its usage as such: ...
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votes
3answers
1k views

When is Vている the continuation of action and when is it the continuation of state?

Last night, when I asked my wife to send an email to me, she said もう送っている which I took to mean that she was "sending the message". (The message had a big attachment so I imagined that it could take a ...
9
votes
1answer
936 views

How does -ki form of i-adjectives work? (e.g. 愛しき)

In one of the Bleach anime ending songs, "Hanabi" has the following line: 繋ぎゆく この想い 愛しき 君 "itoshiki" seems to come from "itoshii", but how does this -ki form of i-adjective work? I found a few ...
6
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1answer
225 views

Another example where I don't know if 欲しい or 欲しがる is right

私の祖母は私が欲しい以上のものをくれた 私の祖母は私が欲しがる以上のものをくれた I want the meaning to be "my grandmother gave me more then I wanted." Is the second sentence right and the first sentence wrong? I learned 欲しがる for ...
4
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2answers
384 views

How to parse わけじゃなし

A novel I'm reading contains this snippet of dialogue. The manager of a love hotel is explaining why she doesn't return to her apartment between shifts: ...
8
votes
1answer
326 views

Can と and を be interchanged with 思う the way I think they can?

Compare the following two sentences: あそこに[行]{い}こうと[思]{おも}っている あそこに[行]{い}こうを[思]{おも}っている If I'm right about this, they both mean that the speaker is thinking of going somewhere. However, the ...
6
votes
1answer
340 views

ねばねば食べねば, relation between ねば and なければ

I would like to know a bit more about the "ねば" grammatical construction. Every now and then, I hear people say sentences like 東京に行かねばならぬ 粘々丼を食べねば倒れる なんとかせねばいい It's quite clear that ねば ...
5
votes
2answers
237 views

Where's the negation in 〇〇も書けなりました?

I'm not sure what this example sentence is trying to teach. The translation is really throwing me off. 易しい漢字も書けなりました I cannot even write easy kanji anymore I see the "even ... easy kanji" and ...
5
votes
2answers
268 views

Colloquial use of「〜て〔い〕ない」, maybe instead of 「〜なかった」

It's not the first time I hear it, but I've found it in this scene. I understand that, as in 知る or 始まる, a started action whose consequence remains is expressed in continuous form. However, I thought ...
8
votes
1answer
157 views

Amount of time and 間

When expressing "It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes", would it be best to say 1時間15分掛かる。 or 1時15分掛かる。 or maybe 1時15分間掛かる。 ?
6
votes
1answer
197 views

Using に twice in the [Verb-連用形]に行く sentence pattern

Consider these example sentences given by my grammar dictionary: (1) 私はデパートへ贈り物を買いに行った。 (2) そこへ何をしに行くんですか。 Observation: The location is marked by へ instead of に. Considering that a ...
7
votes
1answer
335 views

Producing なる adjectives

I found this adjective from 7!!'s song 「ラヴァーズ」(Lovers): 無邪気なる Dictionary entries categorises 無邪気 as a noun and な-adjective. For reference, I shall extract parts from two different stanzas in ...
7
votes
2answers
365 views

Translating “barely”, “hardly” etc

In English, "barely"/"hardly" can be used both with a connection to time ("just finished"): I had barely finished eating when he arrived. (食べたばかり...) or to express the idea that a goal was ...
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
238 views

Is it true that only movement verbs can take [V-stem]に to express a purpose?

I decided to split this into a thread by itself because I was afraid of cramming too much into the first thread. Is it true that only movement verbs can take [V-stem]に to express a purpose? Will it ...
5
votes
2answers
368 views

Does [V-stem]に行く works for verbs whose stems are not stand-alone words by themselves?

I was taught that there is a grammatical form which goes like this: [V-stem]に行く For example: 遊びに行く, which means "Go. Reason: to 遊ぶ" I was wondering does this grammatical form work for verbs whose ...
5
votes
2answers
281 views

How to unambiguously express sentences with lots of relative propositions?

Background, problem statement Very often, I find myself in situations where I have to build structurally complex sentences in Japanese, and find myself struggling, trying to put all I want to say in ...
9
votes
3answers
313 views

相手の日本人 or 日本人の相手?

If I wanted to describe the person I was speaking about as being Japanese, to me it seems natural to say: 日本人{にほんじん}の相手{あいて} ... however, one time a Japanese teacher told me it's more correct to ...