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

8
votes
3answers
511 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
407 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
353 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
240 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
647 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
405 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
266 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
503 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
552 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
236 views

「どこでもある」と「どこにもある」の使い分け

I have come across this sentence: 一九七0年頃までは、どこでも銭湯がありましたが、今は、少なくなりました。 Why is it that it says どこでも X がある instead of どこにも X がある I understand that で and に are very similar as they have ties in ...
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
193 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
678 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
314 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
252 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
3answers
896 views

Are there verbs that are neither intransitive nor transitive?

i was taught that verbs are either transitive or intransitive. but what kind of verb is 分かる ? WWWJDIC lists it as intransitive. Yet the replies/comments from this thread Why is it 日本語 [[が]] わかります ...
6
votes
1answer
228 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
228 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
459 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
211 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
395 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
440 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
252 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
164 views

Grammar との - What is the meaning

so here in this sentence below "との" were used 2 times. What stand's との for? Can someone please explain it to me? ...
4
votes
1answer
247 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
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
2answers
457 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
266 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
599 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
233 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
337 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
190 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
173 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
696 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
210 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
697 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
395 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
393 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
387 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
369 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
631 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, ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the significance of の in 「鳥の詩」?

I've seen it used in many places, and sometimes it feels like a connection between words. For example in 「鳥の詩」 (tori no uta), it looks as if the の is connecting 鳥 (tori) and 詩 (uta), and I would like ...
10
votes
1answer
415 views

Different ways to report one's impression/guess (~そう/~みたい)

雨が降りそうです 雨が降るみたいです Is there any difference between the two? Which one would be the most common way to say this? このセーターは家で洗えそうです このセーターは家で洗えるみたいです Both these also seem valid, but ...
10
votes
2answers
291 views

What's the difference between 悪 and 惡 ?

I'd like to know what the difference between 悪 and 惡 is. And also what usage you should do between both. I heard that they both mean "bad"
9
votes
1answer
421 views

Is 「3人いるだと」 grammatical?

3人いるだと!? Can you say 3人いるだ as a statement? If だと is simply だ + と, I would expect 3人いるんだと. Is だと considered a particle in its own right, with different rules than だ? Transcription of the ...
9
votes
1answer
425 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: ...
9
votes
2answers
167 views

Combining に/で particles with 等【など】(or other “etc.” stand-ins)

I was recently trying to make an open-ended enumeration of places in a construction that would require the use of a に particle. E.g.: AやBに行こう or even: A[and the like]に行こう Preferably using ...