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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2answers
422 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
5answers
788 views

Who scolded whom in Aに怒られる?

I can see that someone got mad or someone made someone else mad. The things that make it difficult are に and the られる form of 怒る. What does this mean? How do you figure out who did what in these types ...
8
votes
2answers
186 views

sometimes だけ gets mildly confusing..

If someone says それだけ、食べないでください, does it mean: Please don't eat only that [eat other things too!] or [You can eat anything you like but] only that, please don't eat it. What about それだけ、たべてください? ...
8
votes
2answers
797 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
4k 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
453 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
476 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

what is the past tense of お腹が空いた?

if お腹が空いた means "I'm hungry", then what would be the past tense of お腹が空いた since (i think) it's already in the past tense?
7
votes
2answers
624 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
5answers
326 views

Can we use negative form before ~てしまう : f.ex. なく+~てしまう?

Using the form ~てしまう we mean, that something happened in a way we did not expect. But what if we use a negative form before the ~てしまう ending? Will it be also grammatically right? For example: ...
6
votes
2answers
213 views

Usage of plain i-adjectives or た form (悪かったv悪い、良かったvいい etc)

Example: 美人じゃなくて悪かったですね! (sarcastic) compared to someone who is using a room and is told あんまり広い部屋じゃなくて悪いな Or for example the difference between 無事でよかった and I can't think of the corresponding ...
6
votes
1answer
861 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
226 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
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2answers
2k 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
203 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
961 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
288 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
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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
268 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
341 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
1answer
299 views

Is there a relationship between ~たところで and するところだった?

I am studying an JLPT book on listening, and in two questions very close to each other, the grammatical forms ~たところで and するところだった came up. My book defines ~たところで as giving an impression of giving up ...
5
votes
2answers
814 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
246 views

Function of に in 怒るに怒れない [duplicate]

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
3answers
433 views

Trouble understanding this use of あっての

I've previously asked two separate questions regarding あっての, (and there's a third on here from Pacerier) and I thought I had it figured out, but then I found this sentence (from a JLPT practice ...
5
votes
2answers
569 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
262 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
3k 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
2answers
262 views

In front of “ほうがいい,” is it always past tense?

ほうがいい means: the particular way "ほう" is "が" good "いい" So, for example, if it looks like it's going to rain, I might say to a friend: "今日は雨らしい。傘を持った方がいい。" But what I'm curious is, why is "持った" ...
4
votes
2answers
147 views

Activity verbs vs Change verbs

My textbook makes a difference between verbs that describe activities and verbs that describe changes. Two examples given are: 話す - activity 結婚する - change It then goes on to say that 話している ...
4
votes
1answer
330 views

I can't quite understand the meaning of 自分でも

I can't quite derive the meaning of 自分でも from the parts that make it up. Here are the example sentences I don't get with the offered translations. 自分でもそれをやってみます。 Do it by yourself. ...
4
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1answer
322 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
274 views

What is meaning of 「〜ないように思えてなりません」?

Can somebody explain the grammar and meaning of this expression in the sentence below? It may be just my poor understanding of how なりません functions in the language but I'd appreciate an explanation. ...
4
votes
1answer
209 views

The use of でも and ででも in this sentence

A: あ……えっと……何か手伝うことは、ありますか? B: ん? あぁ、この辺はドシロウトにできるこっちゃないからな。 邪魔にならねぇように先にメシでも食って、後は舞台袖ででも大人しくしてな Pretty much in general でも and ても don't sit well in my mind. There have been a lot of times I ...
4
votes
2answers
2k 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
478 views

Why is は appropriate for てはいけない?

Why does てはいけない use は? I know it's a construction, but where did it come from? て form verbs are not nouns, it doesn't make sense to me that は could be used with them.
4
votes
1answer
208 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
571 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
280 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
762 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
1answer
593 views

What is the equivalent use of need and need + Verb?

If I see someone struggling to pick up a box, I'd say: "Do you need help with that?" Or I have to run an errand very soon, I could say: "I need to buy this gift by 4 pm." Or if someone's car has ...
4
votes
3answers
268 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
106 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

Do 〜によれば and 〜によると differ regarding the speaker's opinion of the following statement being true?

From a newspaper: 16日の発表によると、ドイツ経済の今年の成長率は2.1%、来年が1.8%の見込み。 I think that means: According to the report of April 16th, it is expected that the growth of the German economy will be 2.1% ...
3
votes
1answer
95 views

X times bigger than

How can I say: X is 5 times bigger than Y (?)
3
votes
1answer
221 views

Is saying 「XはYは…」 acceptable?

In いっすんぼうし, a very popular fairy tale, this line appears: だいじんは からだは ちいさいけれど げんきな いっすんぼうしを たいそう きにいり じぶんの いえで はたらかせることにしました。 Is 「だいじんは からだは」 grammatically correct? What would be done to make ...
3
votes
1answer
232 views

What is the difference between ふくむ and ふくめる

The Progressive-Japanese English Dictionary suggests 含める is the same as one meaning of 含む but it is not explained. Is this correct? I have two theories: 1. 含める= 含む when the latter means ...
3
votes
1answer
816 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 speaker wonders about something to himself? For example what would be translation of those sentences: ...
3
votes
1answer
880 views

What's the meaning of “という” at the end of a sentence?

I'm reading about this grammar in my book but I don't get it. According to the book it means - そうだ and - らしい. Here is an example: UPDATE: Full Sentence: 従来、病院といえば白い壁が基調の空間であった。 しかし、白くて冷たい壁を見ていると ...
3
votes
1answer
260 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
155 views

What is と in this sentence?

部品が取り寄せになりますので、 少々お時間をいただきませんと。(We will have to order the parts, so it will take a little time.) Is と at the end here some abbreviation of かと思います? といけません? just a question marker like か?