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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2
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1answer
122 views

How to parse 汚れた物ででもあるかのように、捨てるように

I wonder if someone could confirm my understanding of the grammar in the following sentence on p32 of the Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar: ...
3
votes
4answers
324 views

How do I make sense of this use of だったのである?

In my JLPT practise book, there is this section of text. Sorry, it's a little long, but I hope the question isn't overly complex. ...
7
votes
3answers
253 views

What does it mean when この is in front of a personal pronoun?

As in このオレさま and この僕も. I know the literal translation, but I never understand what the intent of it is.
6
votes
3answers
161 views

Having trouble parsing this triple negative sentence

In my JLPT practise book, there is this sentence, which is designed to test if one can track all the negations: その仕事{しごと}ほどおもしろくない仕事{しごと}はないのではないかと、私{わたし}は思{おも}った。 Up to の, I think it's saying, ...
3
votes
1answer
134 views

-sou + negative past - what is the meaning? e.g. 行けそうで行けなかった場所, 解けそうで解けなかった謎

Still with the Zelda guidebook translation :) I cannot understand the meaning of the third line. It uses ・・・そう・・・なかった. I understand -そう as "seems like" and なかった as past negative, but how do these go ...
7
votes
2answers
197 views

How does 話{はなし}が噛{か}み合{あ}わない work?

I saw this phrase discussed on esaura.cc 話が噛み合わない 'There's a gap in their conversation.' 'They can't meet on common ground.' 'They have been at odds with each other.' 'They have not been ...
3
votes
0answers
38 views

Is 「出なくては。」 the same as 「出なくてはいけない。」? [duplicate]

I guess the novel I'm reading (「キッチン」 by 吉本ばなな) will be a source of many questions. The part I want to ask about now is the passage where the main character is thinking about moving house. The ...
2
votes
2answers
194 views

How do you express “In exchange/In return”?

I am trying to figure this out, but online searches don't seem to be helping. In particular what I'm looking for is something like "In exchange for helping you, please help me" or put more simply "In ...
9
votes
2answers
401 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
275 views

〜たい form vs. 〜てほしい

When first learning Japanese grammar, one is usually taught that to express a desire to do something one should use the 〜たい form of the verb: 東京へ行きたい On some occasions, however, I've also seen ...
3
votes
0answers
124 views

Are there any restrictions on the usage of the て-form as a continuation? [closed]

How freely can sentences be combined with the て-form? Are there any cases where it cannot be done?
3
votes
1answer
210 views

Using “page” in these sentences? (using counters and の to modify a noun)

I always get confused with these kinds of Japanese sentences. Which is correct? ​ 1. 六ページの本を読んで。 ​ 2. 六ページ目の本を読んで。 Are sentence 3 & 4 ungrammatical?  ​3. 本の六ページ目を読んで。 ​ 4. 本の六ページを読んで。
3
votes
1answer
152 views

Are all 3 sentences the same?

1。本を六ページ読んだ。 2。本の六ページ読んだ。 Is sentence 2 the same as sentence 3? 3。本の六ページを読んだ。
4
votes
1answer
156 views

Why does the grammar structure for “I think [statement]” work the way it does?

In my Japanese class, I've been taught that the structure for "to think" is "~と思う", but no explanation was given for why this is the way it is. For instance: 日本の中で食べ物は高いと思う。 Obviously the first ...
7
votes
3answers
388 views

たり sentence without the final たり

I just read a sentence in an answer key as follows: 雨が降ったら、買い物をしたり、おいしい物を食べるつもりです。 I would have thought that the sentence should be: 雨が降ったら、買い物をしたり、おいしい物を食べたりするつもりです。 Is there any ...
1
vote
1answer
183 views

A little question about polite Japanese

I can't understand why is it used polite form in -「いらっしゃい。逃げ切れるとは思わないで」, I would translate it like this - "Come! Don't think you can run away!". And as far as I can guess シオン is telling it to an ...
5
votes
1answer
190 views

Does Japanese have free indirect speech?

In English (and, I assume, its relatives), there is a style of narration called free indirect speech, some examples of which are given in the linked article. I'm having trouble figuring out whether ...
4
votes
1answer
176 views

Why are 来る and する irregular?

I know that there are more irregular verbs than just this, but their changes are mostly euphonic and not really of any interest to me. What I would like to know is why 来る and する have developed the way ...
17
votes
3answers
992 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
401 views

What is the etymology of べき? How should I visualize it?

I like to visualise things to try and understand them as an idea not a rehearsed rule. I like to think of hazu in terms of it being a notch in a bow for the arrow as I hear the meaning stemmed from ...
2
votes
1answer
99 views

What word is a good replacement for から used as “because” in informal speech?

What word should I use in informal speech for connecting cause and effect just like から does in polite form?
5
votes
1answer
216 views

I am struggling with the sometimes conflicting uses of 先

Rikaisama's definition of 先 includes meanings like previous; prior; former; some time ago. However it also includes meanings such as front; ahead; the future; destination. I am struggling to make ...
4
votes
0answers
98 views

ゆく used in auxiliary sense - instead of いく?

I'm reading a novel 「キッチン」by 吉本ばなな at the moment and I noticed that she uses ゆく in some places as an auxiliary verb to signify the action progression from here or from now (if my understanding is ...
3
votes
2answers
104 views

What are some different ways to use これから?

I know the basic usage of it, e.g. これから (thing the speaker wants to do), but there are some contexts where the usage doesn't seem to make any sense, like when someone just says it by itself. Anyone ...
4
votes
1answer
104 views

When is “事” used instead of こと for past experiences?

In the "ことがあります" construction about past experiences, when is "事" used, and when is "こと" used? The textbook used in class uses "こと": 六本木の おんせんに 行った ことがあります。 If it wanted to use "事" instead of ...
5
votes
2answers
118 views

センスで嗅覚も研ぎ澄ます - “sense of sense of smell?” Why use センス?

In the Zelda video game guidebook I am translating there is a part of the game where you transform into a wolf and have to rely on your senses. The title of this section of the guidebook is ...
3
votes
2answers
149 views

Verb + うる form. What is this?

Can't really understand this form: I've seen already this form with 考える and translated it like this: 考えうることだ - conceivable (possible) However how do you translate with other verbs? is this ...
6
votes
1answer
169 views

よると or よれば? Which one is “according to”?

I read some of your post (very very helpful!) and I was wondering if you could write a post about the difference between よると and よれば. Which one is used to mean "according to"?
4
votes
3answers
157 views

How to express “X is the most important for Y”?

I am not certain how to say "X is the most important for Y". For example, "A teacher is the most important person for a student." It could be 「先生は学生にいちばんたいせつな人です」 or 「がくせいは先生がいちばんたいせつな人です」, but I ...
3
votes
1answer
171 views

Why is the particle の used instead of が in these phrases? [duplicate]

Why is the particle の used instead of が in phrases like 身寄りのない人 or the sentence 琵琶湖の向こう岸に虹の立つのを、麻子は見た。? While I understand the meanings of these examples, I would have expected to find the nominative ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

How to interpret indirect passives?

While looking up some grammar points I stumbled across this paper which describes something that it calls "indirect passives". I can't think of anything similar in English, and I'm having trouble ...
5
votes
1answer
207 views

What does 「VほうもVほうだ」 mean?

I've noticed a grammar pattern recently: 「V方{ほう}もV方{ほう}だ」. From what I can tell, it always repeats the same verb twice, and it seems like ほう is often written in kana: 行くほうも行くほうだ And if it's a ...
6
votes
2answers
170 views

How to write about something in the future where something will have happened

How could I write about something in the future where something will have happened? That is, I'm writing from the perspective of the current time, about a perspective in the future where something has ...
4
votes
2answers
97 views

What are ある and わけ in 「どこにでもあるわけではありません」?

Here is the sentence for context. 独立系の映画館はシネコンと違っていて、チケットが安いのですが、どこにでもあるわけではありません。 My translation - Independent cinemas are different from multiplex ones as they have cheaper tickets but not ...
3
votes
1answer
180 views

Difference between ~そう and ~見える when saying “how something looks” / “what something looks like”

Difference between 大きそう and 大きく見える when saying "how something looks" / "what something looks like" When talking about how something looks we can use ~そう. However, I have realized that the verb 見える ...
1
vote
1answer
167 views

The use of “で” and "を” in this sentence

こうえんをさんぽします。 Why in this sentence do we use を and not で。
3
votes
1answer
127 views

When do I use できます as opposed to わかります in a sentence?

I know the difference in meaning between the two: できます being "to be able to" or "can do", and わかります being "to understand how to" or "to know". I also know a simple sentence structure for both: "Person ...
7
votes
2answers
712 views

How to say “To start liking something”

As far as I know, one can say "I started doing X" by adding X-はじめました。 However, I don't think this applies to "to like", which is an adjective. So how to say for example "I started liking science"
5
votes
2answers
285 views

Causative-Passive Verbs: Vせられる and Vされる

Looking at the answer to this question, it seems that both 行かせられる and 行かされる are valid forms of the causative-passive of 行く. I've only been taught the first usage, so I have a number of related ...
3
votes
2answers
625 views

How to say “I hope you liked it” or “I hope you found it interesting” as a conclusion for a formal speech?

I am preparing a speech, and would like to finish it by saying "I hope you found it interesting" or "I hope you found my speech interesting", or similar. However, I am not certain of the different ...
22
votes
3answers
1k views

ことができる versus V~える form

Way back in the day when I was first learning Japanese, I learned that you could add ことができる to a verb to indicate potential. Like so: 食{た}べることができる (I) can eat (something) It became my ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

What is the difference between using こと and かた in a sentence with できます and わかります?

e.g. はなすこと and はなしかた I am trying to learn about this grammar point for a test My notes for できます and わかります
4
votes
4answers
207 views

S1 と S2 conditional S2 being in past tense

ごんは、家に着くと、ウナギを家の外に置いて、言いました。 In this sentence, a fox called ごん has run all the way home to escape an angry fisherman who he stole an eel from. Why is と the conditional used here? I could understand ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

How to express “Today I would like to talk about X” when opening a speech

Can one use 「本日、Xを話したいです」 when opening a speech, or is it too rough? For example, translations for the sentence "Today I would like to talk about my past" that I can think of are 「本日、私の過去を話したいです」 or ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

Question about ようにと

Could somebody please explain me the grammar in ようにと. Is there something omitted between ように and と? As far as I can guess the author is saying something like - "For now I'll try to not think about ...
3
votes
1answer
104 views

How can transitive and passive be combined in 茎を編んで作られる?

In the following sentence, taken from an article about tatami the transitive and passive verbs (編む&作る)seem to be combined into one phrase to express what I have said translation but it does not seem ...
3
votes
1answer
113 views

わけ accompanied by な particle

What exactly does な particle mean when used with わけ? Example (pulled from Google): あいつが犯人なわけがないじゃないか. I know exactly what this sentence means, but I'm just a little unsure on what the な is ...
3
votes
3answers
299 views

Use of と in this sentence

I'm confused about how と is used in this sentence (乗るとすぐメールを・・・)... What purpose does it serve? 電車の中では携帯で話すことはできませんが、みんな電車に乗るとすぐメールを熱心に打っているのにびっくりしました。 Thank you!
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
217 views

Other uses of “imperative prohibition” form eg わかるな ・すわんな

I saw a film where in two separate scenes the characters seemed to use the "imperative-prohibition" to invite the opposite action: 1.In one scene a father after explaining something to his son ...