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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

19
votes
4answers
2k 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!
19
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 ...
18
votes
1answer
490 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
8answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the general principles of using verbs to modify nouns (e.g. 焦げるトースト/焦げたトースト)?

In all the time I've studied the language, I've never heard or seen anybody even hint at whether the principles from a given language (like using “burnt toast” vs. “burning toast”) carry over, or if ...
15
votes
2answers
827 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
263 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 ...
13
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Difference between ために and ように

I've got a question regarding difference in usage of 辞書形+ように and 辞書形+ために with verbs' dictionary forms, i.e. 飛行機に乗り遅れないように、前日早寝したのです。 彼は質問をするために手を上げました。 The notion I get is that the first is used ...
3
votes
1answer
365 views

The uses & etymology of で

In Japanese, the particle で seems to have multiple uses: Instrumental: 車{くるま}で大阪{おおさか}に行{い}った。 "I went to Osaka by car." Locative: 図書館{としょかん}で数学{すうがく}を勉強{べんきょう}している。 "I'm studying math in the ...
16
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
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 ...
12
votes
2answers
350 views

<adv> versus <adv>+と versus <adv>+に

I often see adverbs used in one of three ways: 1) Adverb appears in isolation in a sentence: あまり 好きじゃないんですが。 2) Adverb is followed by に 別々に お願いします。 1970年代後半、多くの罪もない日本の一般市民が 次々に 失踪した。 ...
10
votes
2answers
489 views

ご~いただけます vs. ご~になれます

I know that you can use ご~いただく toward "clients" (which is something I've never really understood; maybe better as a question of its own) such as ご来店いただき、まことにありがとうございます ("Thank you (customer) for ...
9
votes
1answer
205 views

Usage of doubled non-past tense “た”

I've recently been noticing some patterns which look like two repeated past-tense verbs, but I think which indicate a command rather than the past tense. For example: さあ、行った行った。 "Get along with ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What´s the difference between による, により and によって?

I don't understand when you use it and what the difference is between each other. For example, when you say: 火事によって多くの森林が焼けてしまった。 今回の地震による津波の心配はない。
9
votes
2answers
194 views

How does one use the “[V ます stem] に [Vタ]” pattern (as in 待ちに待った)?

Every now and then I hear 待ちに待った, as in: 待ちに待ったライブ a long-awaited concert I started wondering if this pattern can apply to other verbs, and it certainly seems to, if Google is any indication. I ...
8
votes
2answers
466 views

how do we tell if ばかり means “about” or “only” ?

If ばかり could mean approximately; about; and could also mean only; merely; nothing but;, then how should we know if this sentence 5000円ばかりもっている。 means: 1) I have about 5000 yen. or 2) I have only ...
7
votes
1answer
294 views

Why is it である not にある in this sentence?

Today I saw this sentence: イラクで戦争がある。 I didn't understand why that would be the case instead of イラクに because if it is で I feel like it could be rewritten: 戦争はイラクである。 which just sounds like Iraq is ...
7
votes
2answers
366 views

are there any concrete rules for using いっぱい たくさん and よく?

Of course I can use these but sometimes I am corrected by Japanese people when I use them in the wrong circumstance. For example, 「よくしってるやん」 = "You know it quite well don't you!" 「よくいきます」= "I go ...
12
votes
1answer
263 views

Does a list using と end with が?

Asking this other question has reminded me of another confusion I often have, one of my long standing bad habits that you'd think I'd have sorted after all this time in Japan. I'm never quite sure ...
11
votes
3answers
338 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
275 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? ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

How to use から and だから as conjunctions?

Recently I was studying the use of から and だから as conjunctions. Could anyone explain why one is used in these examples while the other is not? Are there rules as to whether から and だから can follow a ...
9
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
225 views

に vs で: 映画に見る vs 映画で見る

Branching off from the comments to this question: Do I say えいがにみました or えいがをみました ?: Preamble: The comment says 映画に見た is valid for "I saw it in a movie". I went to search for example sentences and ...
8
votes
2answers
794 views

Help on a specific usage of こそ

好きこそものの上手なれ。 We tend to be good at those things we like. / People become best at what they love the most. How does the こそ work here? Is this use of こそ common outside of proverbs?
8
votes
1answer
238 views

Difference Between べんきょう する And べんきょうを する

What is the difference between べんきょう する and べんきょうを する.
8
votes
1answer
337 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
294 views

What form is 恐るる?

In Final Fantasy VIII, Bahamut has a little speech: …G.F.とは我らのことか 我らを力として使うとは… 恐るるべきは人間どもよ I'd never seen two るs doubled up like that. Which conjugation is this? It seems to have plenty of ...
7
votes
3answers
836 views

How do I express “this made me laugh”?

This is the kind of simple question I'm often too embarrassed to ask, because I should probably know this by now. But here goes... I was ordering something at a cafe, and I noticed some slightly ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Does the volitional form of a verb mean both “lets” and “I want to”?

I was taught ages ago that the volitional form of a verb means "let's" do something. For example, if you take 行{い}く and change it to 行{い}こう, you get "let's go". However, I feel like I can use the ...
7
votes
2answers
574 views

What's the purpose of な in なのに?

I don't understand the role of "な" when used before "のに" as in these two sentences (with given translations): 朝目がさめて初めて、外が雪なのに気がついた。 He noticed that there was snow outside only after he woke up ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Is this the correct way of saying attending a school?

My friend and I were having a debate. Basically, the line 「あんたは一人でこの家から学校に通っている。」 in an anime was translated as "And you live here alone, attending school." A direct literal translation of the ...
6
votes
3answers
319 views

より not used for comparing?

The title of a piano arrangement of a Touhou song (Hakurei Reimu's Theme) is: 「東方永夜抄 - Imperishable Night.」 より 博麗霊夢のテーム (Question) What does より do in the title? If it were to mean "from the ...
5
votes
2answers
666 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
2answers
619 views

Using げ to turn adjectives and nouns into adverbs

「自慢げに話す」「得意げに話す」「誇らしげに話す」 Is this げ a simple way to turn adjectives and nouns into adverbs? (are the first two examples nouns turned into adverbs, or were they adjectives as well to begin with?)
4
votes
2answers
277 views

What is the connection between volitional よう form and であろう

I was wondering, what does the よう form of ある even mean? Does あろう act as volition of the object being spoken about? For example... if someone says 雨が降るでしょう(であろう)... is it the same as "It WILL rain" in ...
4
votes
3answers
788 views

Why use あんなに instead of こんなに when expressing one's memories?

My textbook contains the following dialog where 鈴木さん interviews her 課長 about what he did last evening: 鈴木「焼き鳥屋ですか。その店、いかがでしたか。」 課長「安くて、おいしかったよ。あんなにおいしい焼き鳥を食べたのは初めてだなあ。」 鈴木「そんなにおいしかったんですか。」 ...
3
votes
2answers
650 views

Proper use of ため to thank someone for doing x?

I know ため can be translated into English as "for" such-and-such. But is it appropriate to use it to thank some one for doing something? For example, "Thank you for your email address." Would it be ...
2
votes
1answer
124 views

Translation of することになっている

I have the following sentence to translate for class. 森田さんは、 ヴァージニア州立大学を卒業してから 日本の映画の会社に就職することになっている So far I have the following. Morita-san after graduating from Virginia State University became ...
2
votes
1answer
196 views

What is the difference between ふくむ and ふくめる

The Progressive-Japanese English Dictionary suggests 含める is the same as one meaning of 含む but it is not explained. Is this correct? I have two theories: 1. 含める= 含む when the latter means ...
15
votes
7answers
1k views

the different usages of つもり?

Hi all I understand that つもり means "intention" like say 夏休みにはゆっくり休むつもりです。 = I intend to rest during the summer vacation. But what does 分かっているつもりだ。 means? Well if I translate directly, it seems to be ...
13
votes
2answers
380 views

What's the difference between くる and やってくる?

Can someone explain the nuance between them? They both mean "come", but I'm unsure of when they are interchangeable. My perception is that やってくる seems to put more emphasis on the actual action of ...
12
votes
2answers
531 views

Is 「でいい」 the same as 「でもいい」?

For example in the sentence: 書くだけでいいですか.
12
votes
2answers
765 views

What is the proper use of だろう, is it “masculine”, and how is it different from と思 【おも】う?

Like a lot of foreign guys, some Japanese I picked up from imitating the women I spoke to. Certain affectations made me sound unwittingly effeminate in the early days when I had less grasp on the ...
11
votes
4answers
365 views

“Unsolvable problem”

What is the correct construction of "unsolvable problem"? Is it "解{と}けられない問題{もんだい}"?(Question 1) Plain(intransitive): 解{と}ける "To be solved". Potential form(of intransitive): 解けられる "can be ...
10
votes
4answers
419 views

correctness of い adjective + です

Generally, in all Japanese language classes, the rule you're taught is that です does not follow い adjectives. Instead, い adjectives can act like stative verbs, and as such terminate a sentence by ...
9
votes
2answers
239 views

How close are なりつつある and なっている?

語学学習は私の新しい習慣の一部になりつつあるのでしょうか? "Is learning languages becoming a part of my new daily routine?" なりつつある here seems similar to なっている... are they often interchangeable? Would I be able to ...