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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17
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3answers
1k views

The reason for using 何も+negative, but 何でも+positive

In one of the Japanese classes I attended, I've been taught that while we use 「何も出来ない」to say "He cannot do anything", to say "He can do anything" we use 「何でも出来る」 instead of 「何も出来る」. Why is there a ...
3
votes
2answers
409 views

What is the etymology of べき? How should I visualize it?

I like to visualise things to try and understand them as an idea not a rehearsed rule. I like to think of hazu in terms of it being a notch in a bow for the arrow as I hear the meaning stemmed from ...
2
votes
1answer
103 views

What word is a good replacement for から used as “because” in informal speech?

What word should I use in informal speech for connecting cause and effect just like から does in polite form?
5
votes
1answer
276 views

I am struggling with the sometimes conflicting uses of 先

Rikaisama's definition of 先 includes meanings like previous; prior; former; some time ago. However it also includes meanings such as front; ahead; the future; destination. I am struggling to make ...
4
votes
0answers
130 views

ゆく used in auxiliary sense - instead of いく?

I'm reading a novel 「キッチン」by 吉本ばなな at the moment and I noticed that she uses ゆく in some places as an auxiliary verb to signify the action progression from here or from now (if my understanding is ...
3
votes
2answers
125 views

What are some different ways to use これから?

I know the basic usage of it, e.g. これから (thing the speaker wants to do), but there are some contexts where the usage doesn't seem to make any sense, like when someone just says it by itself. Anyone ...
4
votes
1answer
120 views

When is “事” used instead of こと for past experiences?

In the "ことがあります" construction about past experiences, when is "事" used, and when is "こと" used? The textbook used in class uses "こと": 六本木の おんせんに 行った ことがあります。 If it wanted to use "事" instead of ...
5
votes
2answers
119 views

センスで嗅覚も研ぎ澄ます - “sense of sense of smell?” Why use センス?

In the Zelda video game guidebook I am translating there is a part of the game where you transform into a wolf and have to rely on your senses. The title of this section of the guidebook is ...
6
votes
1answer
271 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"?
4
votes
3answers
172 views

How to express “X is the most important for Y”?

I am not certain how to say "X is the most important for Y". For example, "A teacher is the most important person for a student." It could be 「先生は学生にいちばんたいせつな人です」 or 「がくせいは先生がいちばんたいせつな人です」, but I ...
3
votes
1answer
197 views

Why is the particle の used instead of が in these phrases? [duplicate]

Why is the particle の used instead of が in phrases like 身寄りのない人 or the sentence 琵琶湖の向こう岸に虹の立つのを、麻子は見た。? While I understand the meanings of these examples, I would have expected to find the nominative ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

How to interpret indirect passives?

While looking up some grammar points I stumbled across this paper which describes something that it calls "indirect passives". I can't think of anything similar in English, and I'm having trouble ...
5
votes
1answer
235 views

What does 「VほうもVほうだ」 mean?

I've noticed a grammar pattern recently: 「V方{ほう}もV方{ほう}だ」. From what I can tell, it always repeats the same verb twice, and it seems like ほう is often written in kana: 行くほうも行くほうだ And if it's a ...
6
votes
2answers
194 views

How to write about something in the future where something will have happened

How could I write about something in the future where something will have happened? That is, I'm writing from the perspective of the current time, about a perspective in the future where something has ...
4
votes
2answers
109 views

What are ある and わけ in 「どこにでもあるわけではありません」?

Here is the sentence for context. 独立系の映画館はシネコンと違っていて、チケットが安いのですが、どこにでもあるわけではありません。 My translation - Independent cinemas are different from multiplex ones as they have cheaper tickets but not ...
3
votes
1answer
212 views

Difference between ~そう and ~見える when saying “how something looks” / “what something looks like”

Difference between 大きそう and 大きく見える when saying "how something looks" / "what something looks like" When talking about how something looks we can use ~そう. However, I have realized that the verb 見える ...
1
vote
1answer
176 views

The use of “で” and "を” in this sentence

こうえんをさんぽします。 Why in this sentence do we use を and not で。
3
votes
1answer
152 views

When do I use できます as opposed to わかります in a sentence?

I know the difference in meaning between the two: できます being "to be able to" or "can do", and わかります being "to understand how to" or "to know". I also know a simple sentence structure for both: "Person ...
7
votes
2answers
861 views

How to say “To start liking something”

As far as I know, one can say "I started doing X" by adding X-はじめました。 However, I don't think this applies to "to like", which is an adjective. So how to say for example "I started liking science"
5
votes
2answers
511 views

Causative-Passive Verbs: Vせられる and Vされる

Looking at the answer to this question, it seems that both 行かせられる and 行かされる are valid forms of the causative-passive of 行く. I've only been taught the first usage, so I have a number of related ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How to say “I hope you liked it” or “I hope you found it interesting” as a conclusion for a formal speech?

I am preparing a speech, and would like to finish it by saying "I hope you found it interesting" or "I hope you found my speech interesting", or similar. However, I am not certain of the different ...
22
votes
3answers
1k views

ことができる versus V~える form

Way back in the day when I was first learning Japanese, I learned that you could add ことができる to a verb to indicate potential. Like so: 食{た}べることができる (I) can eat (something) It became my ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

What is the difference between using こと and かた in a sentence with できます and わかります?

e.g. はなすこと and はなしかた I am trying to learn about this grammar point for a test My notes for できます and わかります
4
votes
4answers
223 views

S1 と S2 conditional S2 being in past tense

ごんは、家に着くと、ウナギを家の外に置いて、言いました。 In this sentence, a fox called ごん has run all the way home to escape an angry fisherman who he stole an eel from. Why is と the conditional used here? I could understand ...
2
votes
1answer
132 views

How to express “Today I would like to talk about X” when opening a speech

Can one use 「本日、Xを話したいです」 when opening a speech, or is it too rough? For example, translations for the sentence "Today I would like to talk about my past" that I can think of are 「本日、私の過去を話したいです」 or ...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

Question about ようにと

Could somebody please explain me the grammar in ようにと. Is there something omitted between ように and と? As far as I can guess the author is saying something like - "For now I'll try to not think about ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

How can transitive and passive be combined in 茎を編んで作られる?

In the following sentence, taken from an article about tatami the transitive and passive verbs (編む&作る)seem to be combined into one phrase to express what I have said translation but it does not seem ...
3
votes
1answer
120 views

わけ accompanied by な particle

What exactly does な particle mean when used with わけ? Example (pulled from Google): あいつが犯人なわけがないじゃないか. I know exactly what this sentence means, but I'm just a little unsure on what the な is ...
3
votes
3answers
308 views

Use of と in this sentence

I'm confused about how と is used in this sentence (乗るとすぐメールを・・・)... What purpose does it serve? 電車の中では携帯で話すことはできませんが、みんな電車に乗るとすぐメールを熱心に打っているのにびっくりしました。 Thank you!
7
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
230 views

Other uses of “imperative prohibition” form eg わかるな ・すわんな

I saw a film where in two separate scenes the characters seemed to use the "imperative-prohibition" to invite the opposite action: 1.In one scene a father after explaining something to his son ...
7
votes
1answer
298 views
3
votes
1answer
132 views

Imperative before と言う

Does using the imperative form (i.e., よこす → よこせ) before と言う mean "[He] said I have/had to..."? I saw this sentence used: シートが砂で汚れたから、クリーニング代よこせと言いました! I think this sentence basically means: Because ...
4
votes
1answer
197 views

How do I determine the indirect object of a command?

I'm working my way through the core 2000, and came across this: [明日]{あす}、6[時]{じ}に[起]{お}こしてください。 I immediately thought, "Please wake up at 6am tomorrow." But the translation in the deck instead ...
7
votes
3answers
272 views

When is it acceptable to use “Newspaper grammar”?

It is often said that Newspapers use grammatical forms/ellipses not used elsewhere and, on the whole, these do not present a problem to read and understand. However the ellipses do not seem to be ...
9
votes
2answers
483 views

Usage of と at the end of a sentence

I'm having trouble translating this sentence from a manga. A guy who's already dead is talking to another. He says: 私を殺したあの時と And then the next page, it's only this speech bubble: 何一つ I would have ...
1
vote
0answers
95 views

Meaning of 自慢の目利き [closed]

Could you please tell me how should I understand and translate 自慢の目利き in the following sentence. この季節は、町内の市場は休みがないため、下苧坪さん(he's a 魚の仲買人- fish dealer) は、毎朝漁港に出かけ、その自慢の目利きで、新鮮な海の幸を仕入れる。 Source: ...
7
votes
2answers
267 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
120 views

Why is an anachronistic modern conjugation thrown into the lyrics of 軍艦行進曲?

軍艦行進曲 seems to be written mostly using Classical Japanese grammar. Here's the first stanza: 守るも攻むるも黒鐵{くろがね}の 浮かべる城{しろ}ぞ頼{たの}みなる 浮かべるその城{しろ}日{ひ}の本{もと}の 皇國{みくに}の四方{よも}を守{まも}るべし ...
4
votes
1answer
250 views

The use of passive voice to describe the Emperor's activities

The Imperial Palace gardens were opened to the public recently to celebrate the Emperor's 80th birthday. Can someone confirm the use of the passive voice in the following sentence on the subject in ...
4
votes
1answer
191 views

Difference Between 僕たち and 僕ら?

Both 僕たち and 僕ら mean we. But is there any difference between them? I.e. one of them is more formal than the other, or any grammatical nuances? Edit: How is this a duplicate? The question linked by ...
4
votes
1answer
136 views

Need help with understanding X ことは X construction

I need some help with this grammar point ’ことは'. The definition I have is "Indeed one does something alright, but ~" Verb / い adj ことは V2/ い2 adj "話すことは” ”高いことは” Examples: ...
8
votes
1answer
168 views

Does なりやした mean なりました?

I received this message:「行けることになりやした」. Doing a quick Google search for なりやした, I found a few phrases like 「新米母になりやした!」and 「遅くなりやした。」 Is it a kind of slang for なりました?
4
votes
1answer
201 views

How 聞いてた differs from 聞いた in this context?

I think ていた/ている is often used in the following context. A:Bla Bla Bla A:話、聞いてた? B:ごめん。聞いてなかった。ちょっと、ボーッとしてた Another context A said something to B before he left, but B didn't hear it. ...
5
votes
1answer
216 views

Usage of 「なり」 with nouns

What is なり means in the following sentence, as far as I can guess it's close to the second one here. 「少なくとも、いきなり挑戦される可能性は低い。その間に、戦う準備なり勝つ方法を考えていかないといけないが…」 Some sort of translation: "At the ...
5
votes
1answer
193 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
849 views

ち suffix I've never heard of before

Ok, so I've been reading よつばと recently, and I've been seeing a suffix coming up that I cannot seem to find a meaning for. It's not in any dictionary, and I'm not sure if it's a name suffix, or some ...
6
votes
1answer
153 views

What is wrong with お書きになられたり?

I have the following sentence to translate for class. 岩田先生は、 退職なさるまで 全世界で貝の化石の御研究をされていて 雑誌などに記事をお書きになられたり テレビで放送された教育番組にも出られた So far I have the following. Professor Iwata until he honorably ...
2
votes
1answer
124 views

Translation of することになっている

I have the following sentence to translate for class. 森田さんは、 ヴァージニア州立大学を卒業してから 日本の映画の会社に就職することになっている So far I have the following. Morita-san after graduating from Virginia State University became ...
4
votes
1answer
136 views

Variations on sentence-ending 「〜だと!?」 (used when repeating something in surprise)

In a recent question, we talked about using sentence-ending 〜だと after a verb, quoting something you found surprising. The example given in the linked question is as follows: A「なんでもします!」 ...