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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49
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9answers
3k views

What is the こと in sentences such as あなたのことが好きだ?

There were a lot of great answers here. I gave the checkmark to ento's answer because I felt it most completely explained all aspects of this use of こと. But many of the other answers are excellent, so ...
3
votes
3answers
288 views

Asking “have you tried X” or “have you ever Y”?

This has always been a problem for me, so I'm hoping you guys can answer it once and for all. Often, I want to ask somebody if they've ever done something before. For example, in an email yesterday I ...
8
votes
2answers
224 views

Meaning of 「生きるにしても死ぬにしても」

In the video game Mother 3, there is a group of beings called the Magypsy, who are rumored to be very old. While talking to humans, one of them says the following: 人間なんて生きるにしても死ぬにしても精々たった100年。 ...
0
votes
1answer
130 views

Is there a difference between the particle お (o) and the particle を (wo) [duplicate]

So I'm just confused. I've read that when writing を is used, but when talking お is used. Is this true or are they entirely different?
7
votes
2answers
423 views

Which verb receives a negation in a Japanese sentence?

I can say 歩いて渡る which translates to "to cross by walking". However, if I would like to say "I am not going to cross by walking, but by some other means", would I say 歩かないで渡る or 歩いて渡らない? There are ...
9
votes
3answers
456 views

Imperative used instead of conditional form

This quesion: と言っても vs とは言え . reminded me of a similar case: どっちにしても vs どっちにしろ which are also synonymous as far as I can tell. That got me thinking: Is this coincidental? Are there ...
1
vote
2answers
338 views

What separates the different ways to ask a question in Japanese (何, どう, どんな, etc.)?

It's been something I've been thinking about for a while, but could never answer in a more concrete way. This is most apparent when I compare the functions of 何 and どう. I know that 何, どう and どんな are ...
1
vote
1answer
542 views

までに, まえに and うちに to express “before doing X, Y happens”

I've come across this sentence: 主人が帰ってくる までに 晩御飯の買い物と支度をしなければいけません.  I would have used まえに instead of までに. Is it correct? How does the meaning change? Furthermore, is it correct to say ...
3
votes
2answers
211 views

Meaning of そうして

I can't completely understand the meaning of そうして in the following dialogue. As far as I can guess it is similar to こうして, but what is the point of using そう? ...
0
votes
1answer
122 views

can I get away with not having a subject in a sentence if the subject is not relevant to the meaning?

I would like to reference a question I have about this thread that I asked a few days ago: 「思っているようです。」or 「思っている。」 for describing another person's opinion That question was clearly answered. This ...
7
votes
2answers
222 views

Does 友達 have the plural marker たち “built-in”?

I cannot recall this very clearly so I'm sorry if this is all not correct but someone once told me that the word 友達{ともだち} has the plural marker たち "built-in" and therefore you cannot say 友達たち about ...
4
votes
2answers
232 views

Why do we have to use ている form of 思う with third person subject [duplicate]

I've read from many grammar books that when we are talking about a third people thinking about something, we must use 思っている, and it means "think" instead of "be thinking". For example: ...
24
votes
3answers
2k views

Difference between -ていく and -てくる

Can someone explain the differences between v-ていく and v-てくる for me. I know that they both express some kind of ongoing action (like a place getting crowded). For example, what's the difference between ...
4
votes
1answer
144 views

What's the meaning of も and また in 「これほど無駄な本というのもまた珍しい」?

I saw this scathing review of KY式日本語 on Amazon JP. This is the full sentence I'm asking about: 出版する意味を感じられない本は多数世に出ているが、これほど無駄な本というのもまた珍しい Ignoring the もまた part, what I get from this is ...
3
votes
1answer
718 views

Can うちは mean the same thing as うちに?

Tell me please in the sentence below, can うちは means the same as うちに? Or it's just うち like "we" ? Thank you very much for help!
9
votes
3answers
255 views

How do ことになる and ようになる differ? (When ことになる cannot = “It has been decided that”)

I understand that ことになる has the meaning "It has been decided that" and can be used to point to a ritual or habit of a society like taking off your shoes. However, I don't get what it means when it is ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

What is the difference between ~あろうが and ~あろうと?

I'm writing a report for a class, and at first I wrote:  […]どのような批判があろうが[…] But then I sat back and thought, maybe it should actually be:  […]どのような批判があろうと[…] But now I'm not sure if ...
3
votes
1answer
126 views

ではないか Grammar translation

what does ではないか mean in the sentence below? And can someone please translate it? 耳に馴染みのない方も多いのではないかと思いますが、 (after that he explains the word)....
3
votes
1answer
138 views

な, の, である and ために

When used with a noun ために could have two meanings : (1) 学生のために、奨学金がある。 There are scholarships for (the sake of) students. (2) 学生のために、学校の規則に従わなければならない。 Since s/he is a student s/he ...
1
vote
1answer
129 views

What is the meaning of masu-stem + proposition

Example sentence: オオカミのことばに従い、 森に行った。 What is the meaning of this construction? Does it have a special meaning?
2
votes
1answer
96 views

When is it possible to split である in で+ある

It is very difficult to find literature on this topic and the only related question is Splicing である with a topic whose answer is (to my view) a bit elusive and the reference provided by snailboat is ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

How to say “As a <position>, …”

Example : As a friend, I think we should... What do you add to ともだち to add the "As a" prefix? Also, after that part, does the rest of the sentence follow the normal rules of a Japanese sentence? ...
3
votes
1answer
189 views

What does adding お at the end of a word change?

An example would be: "watashi wa cake o(お) tabetai". What does the お do? I tried on google translate and it seems it gives pertenence to that thing..like it belongs either to you or me..but I still ...
3
votes
1answer
186 views

How to read 連体形 + 上

Taking an example from a page naruto linked in another thread: 外国人が日本語を習得する上で難しい点がたくさんあります。 My inclination is to read this as うえ since it's followed by で, however I've got a nagging feeling it ...
4
votes
1answer
211 views

What's the analysis for たりとも?

Quoth Edict, たりとも means "(not) even; (not) any", and is probably used as such: 一問たりとも答えられなかった。(even one question, cannot answer) Is たりとも made up of the individual portions たり ("such things as") ...
3
votes
2answers
139 views

Use of 自分を and もらう

I have trouble understanding the following sentence: ルーカスさんは、自分をファーストネームで呼んでもらいたいと言うけれども、三年も年上の人なので、どうも「トム」とは呼びにくい。 Is it. Mister Lukas wants to get called by his first name but it's hard to do ...
11
votes
3answers
330 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
143 views

When should I use で or を particles? [duplicate]

Newcomer here. Trying to learn Japanese on my own for years now. Here's a first question. How can I make sure to learn correctly the difference between using を and で in the context of an action ...
1
vote
1answer
109 views

Using the stem form of a verb like the て form, as in 燃えゆく or 飲みほして

What is the significance of sometimes using the stem form of a verb like how the て form would be? For example: 燃えゆく (from HANABI) 飲みほして (from Ambiguous) It's something I hear now and again, ...
9
votes
3answers
465 views

Problems with は and が

Consider: [A] 猫が好きだ To me this means [A']"I like cats." Contrast this to: [B] 猫は好きだ To me this means [B']"I like cats (among other animals)" I based my understanding of [B] from Derek ...
6
votes
2answers
152 views

What is “koto” used for?

I know "koto" means thing, but I've seen it used like this in my Self-Study Japanese book: Nihon no koto ga yoku wakarimasu ka. and Chiimu no koto o kangaete imasshita Does this mean Japan's thing ...
10
votes
3answers
566 views

Is ~も really marking the word just prior to it?

I'm translating an excerpt for fun, but this section struck me as odd: ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

となる - Grammatical explanation please [duplicate]

can someone please explain となる ? I read it everywhere but still don't know what it exactly means. Here's just an example sentence: この世界が心つなぐ鍵となる
3
votes
1answer
158 views

“は + verb” instead of “を + verb”?

I have stumbled upon instances where "は + verb" is used in situations where I thought "を + verb" should be used. For example recently I've seen "その覚悟はしてました" (I was prepared for that) and "楽な道は選ぶな" ...
7
votes
1answer
159 views

How to list numbers of things

Where do you place the counter in Japanese when you want to specify how many of something there are, especially if you're listing multiple things? I believe the counter usually goes after the ...
3
votes
3answers
162 views

Valid interpretations of the (first) て-form in 何かを犠牲にして、その上で、平和は成り立っている。

What are the valid interpretations of the (first) て-form in the following sentence? 何かを犠牲にして、その上で、平和は成り立っている。 I'm having difficulties assigning a definite meaning to this sentence. There seems ...
2
votes
1answer
174 views

Meaning of 虚ろに in this particular case

I was doing my daily dose of reading and I came by this particular sentence, which I had a little bit of trouble finding the meaning for. 「このあたりからまた意識が虚ろになってしまいました」 The context is a patient who had ...
2
votes
1answer
210 views

に - same meaning as として?

Could somebody please give me a hint about the meaning of に in 「反抗的な態度に映ったのか、隊長は舌打ちして前を向く。」. If I'm understanding correctly, に here has the same meaning as として. 内容・状態などを示す。「ーとして」の意。「ほうびにもらう」 Some ...
10
votes
3answers
505 views

Confusion about “Seemingly not ~”

So there are several ways to express something is "seemingly not ~": ~なさそう ~そうにない ~そうもない ~そうにもない (is this one even real?) I was always taught ~なさそう in my Japanese classes, and it was ...
5
votes
1answer
331 views

あなたがこの文のおかしいと思うところは?

The structure strikes me because the underlying transformation seems to be like this: [ あなたが ] [ この文の  ~ところを ] [ おかしいと ] 思う [ あなたが ] [ この文の  _____ ] [ おかしいと ] 思う ところは~ Another similar example is: ...
1
vote
1answer
156 views

「〜そうにない」 unfamiliar usage of そう [duplicate]

I'm playing a video game in Japanese, and one of the characters said 僕にもわかりそうにない。 I understand that (verb stem)そう means "it seems" or "it appears", but I've never seen (verb stem)そう used with ...
3
votes
2answers
212 views

Is setting a topic obligatory?

For instance, if I say the following as the first phrase in a conversation: おはよう!ピクニックでリナさんを探していましたが、どこもみえませんでしたね。 Hi! I was looking for you at the picnic, but couldn't find anywhere. Is it ...
4
votes
1answer
160 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? ...
6
votes
2answers
505 views

Is there a special way of asking hypothetical questions?

I'm not really sure there is an equivalent for hypothetical questions in Japanese, but here's hoping there is. In English, hypothetical questions are generally prefaced by "What would you do if..." ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

Unnecessary に in “どんなに” in this sentence?

The following sentences are from a reading passage. I'm confused on the third sentence - the previous two are just given for context. 日本ではどこに行っても、「きまりですから」という言葉を耳にする。 これを言われてしまうと、こちらにはもう反論の余地はない。 ...
6
votes
1answer
529 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
42 views

~に~があります vs ~は~です in this sentence [duplicate]

The following sentence was found in a book: 日本社会の「きまり」にかかわる例の一つに、 会社への就職活動がある。 I'm wondering, assuming the translation is "An example of one of these "rules" related to Japanese society is ...
1
vote
2answers
142 views

“verb+ものです” has an additional meaning?

I am trying to remember if the following sentences have the meaning of "it is a custom/habit." (1)「日本では、家に入る前に、靴を脱ぐものです。」 (2)「日本業界では、自己紹介をする時に、名刺を交換するものです。」 (3)「日本社会において、3月の14日に、男は女の子にチョコを上げるものです。」 ...
6
votes
1answer
245 views

Forming a “habitual” sentence: “I usually get up at 7.15”

私は大抵七時十五分に起きます Would this be a correct way to say 'I usually get up at 7.15'? Not sure 大抵 is correctly placed before the time+に
69
votes
3answers
5k views

What's the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)?

When is it correct to use は but not が, and when is it correct to use が but not は? Are there any times when you can use either without changing the meaning of the sentence? How does switching change ...