文法. 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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9
votes
2answers
786 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
671 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
271 views

When to use Dono or Nan?

I am learning Japanese using "learn Japanese in the car". It has the following sentences: Which seat is it? / Dono seki desu ka. Which train car is it? / Nan gosha desu ka. Why does one use Dono ...
8
votes
2answers
947 views

What is the difference between “verb+て+みる” and “verb+(よ)う+とする”?

In Japanese there are words which mean "to try something or attempt at doing something", e.g. 試す, 試みる and つとめる. However, at the same time we also have two grammatical constructions "verb+て+みる" and ...
8
votes
2answers
535 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
9k views

Saying something is like/not like something else

How does one say "this is like/similar to that" or "this is not like that" in Japanese in essence? An example sentence is "In this way, the English are like the Japanese" ; I have not been able to ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the various uses of あまり?

I'm a beginner and I would like to know how あまり is used.
13
votes
4answers
560 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
879 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?
10
votes
1answer
292 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
228 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
325 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
1answer
726 views

History of だ、です、 and である

Historically where did all of these different forms arise, and when are they used? I noticed that だ and である both have their place in different 文法形, what is the difference in their meaning? I know that ...
8
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
339 views

Meaning of pattern 「XがXなら、YもYだ」

While reading, I came across this sentence: 「上官が上官なら部下も部下だな」 What does this 「XがXなら、YもYだ」 pattern mean? "Like X, like Y"? "X will be X, and Y will be Y"?
7
votes
3answers
168 views

How to tell よく (often) apart from よく (good)?

Whenever I see 「よく」, I have to ask someone whether it means "often" or "good". For example, here is a sentence from my book: クラスへ行って、先生の講義をよく聞いて、ノートをよく取り、それをよく覚えれば、試験でいい点がもらえる。 I thought all ...
7
votes
3answers
3k 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
1answer
450 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

“causative of negative” vs “negative of causative”?

Wikipedia (Japanese Verb Conjugation): Negatives [verb negative-conjugations] are not normally made into causatives. Instead, a negative ending is added to the causative of the verb. Thus, for ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Meaning of のだろう?

I'm not sure when should I use particle の in front of だろう/でしょう? Is のだろう used when the speaker wonders about something to himself? For example, what would be the translation of these sentences: ...
5
votes
3answers
1k 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。」 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
131 views

Grammatical construction「placeはsubplace、story」 as an introduction

In old stories I often find the following structure: general place は specific place 、 story unfolds for example: ① 江戸は芝、増上寺門前町で (例: ◯◯人が歩いた) ② 東海道は宮宿、ただいま名古屋市の熱田神宮辺で (例: ◯◯浪人の二人が出会った) I ...
4
votes
1answer
177 views

How to appropriately pair tenses in subordinate and main clauses?

Consider the following combination. Which is the correct one? テレビが私の国で 《できた》 のは1960 《です》。 テレビが私の国で 《できる》 のは1960 《です》。 テレビが私の国で 《できた》 のは1960 《でした》。 テレビが私の国で 《できる》 のは1960 《でした》。 Note: The important ...
4
votes
2answers
906 views

What exactly does the grammatical form NがNなだけに mean?

In my JLPT textbook, it has a section explaining the verb form [Noun]が[Noun]なだけに. By way of explanation, it says that this means, "unlike other things, [Noun] is special, so..." I'm having a hard ...
13
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
353 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
4answers
449 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? ...
10
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
549 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
2answers
330 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
2k 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
1answer
619 views

What is the difference between 〜を〜とする and 〜を〜とした before nouns?

In everything I can find online, the constructions [N1]を[N2]とする[N3] and [N1]を[N2]とした[N3] are lumped together as basically having the same meaning. Is there any difference between them? My textbook ...
8
votes
2answers
435 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。 ...
8
votes
2answers
1k 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
383 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
2k 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"?
7
votes
1answer
6k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
387 views

How to unambiguously express sentences with lots of relative propositions?

Background, problem statement Very often, I find myself in situations where I have to build structurally complex sentences in Japanese, and find myself struggling, trying to put all I want to say in ...
7
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What does する means when it does not mean “do”?

What does する means when it does not mean "do"? Like: あなたも血のにおいがするな
7
votes
2answers
823 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
2answers
238 views

When do you mark きょう or other similar relative time expressions with は

I've been trying to make proper sentences using the word きょう when I realized that I'm not really actually sure when I'm suppose to mark it with は. I know relative time expressions tend to stand alone ...
6
votes
1answer
199 views

Dictionary form of verb followed by に

I've recently begun noticing that occasionally I'll see a dictionary form of the verb followed by the particle に, for example: 1.)まだ学校へ行くには早い時間です。 It's still too early to go to school. I've been ...
6
votes
3answers
186 views

The meaning of に in [切り出すに切り出せず]

I don't understand the meaning of に in this sentence: 切り出すに切り出せず、今日まできてしまいました Is 切り出すに切り出せず fashioned after some particular grammar? I can't really think of an interpretation that sounds ...
6
votes
2answers
426 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
504 views

Usage (correctness) of だと after verbs

I've noticed だと showing up after verbs for a while now in various forms of media, such as blogs, anime, regular TV shows & also when speaking to Japanese people. However, I was originally told ...
6
votes
2answers
554 views

What function did あり perform in classical Japanese 形容詞?

In classical Japanese, many uses of 形容詞{けいようし} had あり "embedded" in them, e.g.: 熱からず = 「熱し」の連用形+「あり」の未然形{みぜんけい}+「ず」 熱かりたり = 「熱し」の連用形+「あり」の連用形{れんようけい}+「たり」 熱かれ = 「熱し」の連用形+「あり」の命令形{めいれいけい} 熱かる人 = ...
6
votes
3answers
405 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
150 views

Adverb followed by って

おいらなんて、怒られっぱなしの人生だもんねーー。アハハ。でもおもしろくって仕方ないもんねー。 For me, it's the life of being got angry at. Ha Ha. But, interesting(ly)...it can't be helped ?? I'm guessing this is おもしろく (interestingly) ...