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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15
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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 ...
14
votes
2answers
388 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
538 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
788 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
378 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
429 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
242 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
524 views

What's the difference between 広める 広げる and 広まる 広がる?

I find the difference between 「広める (他動詞) 広げる (他動詞)」 and between 「広まる (自動詞) 広がる (自動詞)」 to be complicated. Can someone explain?
8
votes
3answers
411 views

What's the function of the particle も in 「かわいい写真たてもうれしかったけど、…」?

If you look at my translation of the sentence below from a text book (総まとめ N3 読解), I think you will agree that I have guessed the meaning correctly but can anyone explain the grammar to the first ...
8
votes
2answers
366 views

“Grammatically-correct” particle-less phrases/sayings

I know that within an informal/familiar setting, people often leave out particles. Whether or not this is grammatically correct I'm not positive, but for the sake of this question, I'll say that it's ...
8
votes
2answers
248 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
668 views

Can placements of adverbs be altered freely?

I'm curious if there is any difference in nuance between these two sentences: 彼は少なくとも週に一度車を洗う。 彼は週に少なくとも一度車を洗う。 I'm aware that grammatically speaking both are 100% right, but this question is not ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I say “Right now”, or “At that exact moment”?

Saying "now" is easy, with 今, but in my experience that doesn't express so much "right now, this instant" as it does "currently". I am looking for structure that translates these examples well: I ...
7
votes
3answers
413 views

けれども as a neutral connector

In this thread on appositives, @OskarLindberg had mentioned that けれども could be used as a neutral connector. My understanding up until now was that it presented contrasting ideas, being translated as ...
7
votes
2answers
285 views

Sentence (question) ending かい - how is it different from just か?

I sometimes find questions that are normally ended with the question particle か to end with かい. For example: いいかい? そうかい? あいつがどうかしたかい? And sometimes with just い without か (if I ...
7
votes
2answers
518 views

What is the difference between 特殊 and 特別?

I've got two questions. Firstly, what is the difference between 特殊 tokushu and 特別 tokubetsu? Secondly, is it true that all these grammar forms are correct: 特別な tokubetsu na + [noun] 特殊な tokushu na ...
6
votes
1answer
586 views

Addressing strangers without knowing the name

How does one address a stranger in a casual conversation when name is unknown? For example, I had a conversation with an older Japanese lady and I wanted to compliment her on her English (but in ...
6
votes
1answer
211 views

When is と added to onomatopoeia?

While at first I believed it was simply bound to each individual word, I've noticed that the same onomatopoeic word sometimes has と after it and sometimes it doesn't. Here's a case I stumbled upon: ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
194 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
704 views

The meaning of and difference between ~を中心に and ~をめぐって

What is the meaning of and difference between ~を中心に and ~をめぐって? Space ALC defines ~を中心に as "with a focus on" and ~をめぐって as "centering on", but I'm having trouble figuring out the meaning and ...
6
votes
2answers
316 views

Why is を used in this situation? 私は先生がネコを好きだと思います

私は先生がネコを好きだと思います Why を and not が twice?
6
votes
2answers
257 views

ひき or 頭 for horses?

Initially I'd thought ひき is for small animals and 頭 is for animals that are not small ("big" animals) however EDICT (http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?1MUE%E3%81%B2%E3%81%8D) ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Contrasting 〜てならない、〜てしょうがない and 〜てたまらない

These three phrases can be used to express emotions and feelings that cannot be controlled. For example in the following sentences: a) 1点差で負けたので、悔しくてならない。 b) 1点差で負けたので、悔しくてしょうがない。 c) ...
6
votes
1answer
234 views

is 随分 of a higher degree than なかなか (with positive verb) ?

my dictionary shows both 随分 and なかなか (with positive verb) as "very/considerably" I was wondering is it true that 随分 is of a higher degree than なかなか? Like あんたなかなか勇敢だな。= 75% and あんた随分勇敢だな。 = 85%?
5
votes
1answer
241 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
501 views

Can you use the polite form ます with ので?

I was recently told by someone that you cannot use the polite form ~ます and ので; that is, ので must be used with the plain form. (Specifically, he was saying that 「勉強していますので」 was wrong, and had to be ...
5
votes
1answer
214 views

Function of に in 怒るに怒れない

In the book I'm reading, I came across the following sentence: あたしは[怒]{おこ}るに[怒]{おこ}れなくなった。 (furigana added by me) My translation is something like "I couldn't stay angry [at him]". ("My anger ...
5
votes
1answer
402 views

How do I interpret this question that ends with よ?

In the 7th book of the awesome High School of the Dead, there's this page: The situation is that the main characters, a group of mostly teenagers who are surviving a zombie apocalypse, are walking ...
5
votes
2answers
457 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
255 views

Is it true that all nouns must be able to accept a が particle and a を particle?

Is it true that all nouns must be able to accept a が particle and a を particle? I was curious about how we could form a sentence with: 特別が 特別を 出色が 出色を
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How to say, “things like”

If you want to say "things like" you can use とか、など、and し。 What if you don't want to list out several things. You want to say, "things like A." Then what do you do?
4
votes
1answer
257 views

Use of が vs を with transitive verb, 受け入れる(+もらえる)

This is probably fairly basic but, not being a native speaker, I'd like to confirm if my understanding of grammar of the following sentence (from 中上級日本語, Feb'14) is correct and what is natural. In ...
4
votes
1answer
137 views

using 〜ば〜ほど with adverbs

You can use this construct with verbs: 食べれば食べるほど太る and with adjectives: ジェットコースターは高ければ高いほど楽しい but what about adverbs? if, for example, I wanted to say of a windmill "the faster it turns, the more ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

童貞が許されるのは小学生までだよね - translation of まで

I'm interested in an exact translation of the particle まで used in this Internet meme: In case you can't read the image, here's a transcription: 「えーマジ 童貞!?」 「キモーイ」 「童貞が許されるのは小学生までだよねー」 ...
4
votes
1answer
195 views

I don't understand this phrase もっとだ

I am watching a certain show at the moment where someone is talking about wanting to kill evil creatures. Please don't judge this question as childish just because the extract is from an anime. He ...
4
votes
2answers
477 views

The topic is the restaurant, or the conversation is at the restaurant?

I have this sentence in my JLPT textbook: 話{はなし}の種{たね}に、新{あたら}しくできたレストランに食{た}べに行{い}ってみた。 I think I understand the part after the comma, which I believe is saying, "... tried to go eat at the new ...
4
votes
1answer
269 views

When should the polite form of 〜たり be used?

I've noticed that I don't see 〜ましたり used very often, but it does seem to be an accepted form. I believe this form can be broken down like this: 動詞{どうし}の連用形{れんようけい}+「ます」の連用形{れんようけい}+「たり」 My ...
4
votes
3answers
619 views

How does だからって usually work?

馬鹿だからって知らないわけじゃない I translated this sentence as "It's not like I don't know that I'm stupid," while my friend who wrote it translated it as "I'm stupid, but I know that." So I feel I understand ...
4
votes
3answers
236 views

Is this grammatical: 彼は映画スターであり、政治家もだ。

I was about to ask a question but I can't without first confirming, Is this sentence: 彼は映画スターであり、政治家もだ。 grammatically correct, and mean: He is a movie star and also a politician. ==Follow-up ...
3
votes
1answer
359 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
1answer
175 views

Using two or more quotes

How would one combine two or more quotes together? In English we just do something like "He said 'Quote A', 'Quote B' and 'Quote C'". In chat, snailboat gave these possibilities: 「Quote A」「Quote ...
3
votes
1answer
709 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
215 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
725 views

Does anyone know which おり this is?

彼女は表情が生き生きとしておりとてもかわいい。 was translated awkwardly on ALC as She is very pretty for the liveliness of her expression. Which おり is this? I think I know it from the polite しております but is it here ...
3
votes
1answer
407 views

What are the “slots” in the Japanese agglutinative verb system?

In another question we established that Japanese is an agglutinating language (more here), if only in its verb system. Since it is not traditional in Japanese grammar or teaching to go into this ...
2
votes
2answers
416 views

What's the difference between the に祈る【いのる】 and を祈る【いのる】 forms?

What's the difference between the に祈る and を祈る forms? Like what's the difference between (1.) and (2.): うまく行くのに祈ってくださいね。 うまく行くのを祈ってくださいね。 EDIT: What's the difference between the ように祈る and のを祈る ...
1
vote
1answer
394 views

Can に mean the same thing as から?

あの野郎、どんだけジークさんに恩を受けたと思っていやがるんだ! In this sentence, does に mean the same thing as から ? Thank you very much for help!
13
votes
2answers
374 views

When does a suru-noun require し in front of a purposive-に?

According to Chocolate's comment to a question, some suru-nouns can be followed by the purposive に directly, but others require (the stem of) する in between.  面会しに行く  面会に行く  料理しに行く × 料理に行く ...
11
votes
1answer
647 views

verb た-form + そう, hearsay or observation?

Verb る-form + そう indicates hearsay. 帰るそうだ 'I hear he will go home.' 帰らないそうだ [Negative] Verb masu stem (i.e. conjunctive form 連用形) + そう shows information obtained through the senses, ...