Rules governing construction of phrases and sentences in a language.

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2
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1answer
214 views

Is みんな being used as a “counter”?

This is from Minna no Nihongo Chapter 15. It's a description of Santa Claus. でも世界の子供はみんな私を知っています。 みんな seems like a counter of sorts (I don't know how else to describe it) for 世界の子供. I always thought ...
5
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1answer
326 views

I have no idea what this is saying. Can you have two topics in a sentence?

白い箱はカウチの上に緑のランプは机の上にあります。 This sentence looks like it has two topics in it. But when I try to translate it, it doesn't make sense (to me obviously). My direct translation is: A white box on top of ...
4
votes
1answer
200 views

How do I say “course duration” in Japanese?

I want to say something along the lines of "all engineering courses are four years long". Should I say something like this?: 各技術コースの専攻期間は4年くらいです。 Is there a more natural way to phrase what I'm ...
1
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1answer
84 views

How should I intepret より in this sentence

きのうは きょうより ひとが すくないです。 Is it saying: X number of people yesterday < Y number of people today? or X number of people yesterday > Y number of people today? I'm getting the ...
15
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2answers
2k views

When asking 'What is your name?' or 'What is your job?', why is it 'は' not 'か'?

As per the title, when asking 'What is your name?' or 'What is your job?', why is it 'は' not 'か'? For example, we are taught this: おしごとは。 'What is your job?' But I don't understand why it ...
3
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2answers
341 views

<動詞の辞書形> + がよい ― How is this allowed?

I've come across this form many times in my Japanese Bible. The meaning is quite obvious based on context, and seems to be one of the following: ~べきです, ~ほうがいい, ~なさい, or ~ように (let it be ~). Here are ...
7
votes
2answers
439 views

Difference between sentence final ものだ and ことだ

My understanding is that ものだ is used to assert things which are mostly known to everyone. 誰かの家に招待されたときは、何か手土産をもっていくものだ 'When invited to somebody's home it's customary to bring presents'. On ...
9
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1answer
321 views

How did やわらかい gain its い?

As we know, there is a class of adjectives that end in 〜らか: 滑【なめ】らか, 明【あき】らか, 清【きよ】らか, 安【やす】らか, etc. やわらか (柔らか or 軟らか) is also in this class of adjectives. However, it can also be written as the ...
3
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3answers
358 views

Interpreting a specific Japanese sentence

In one song (lyrics link) the line "Watashitachi no kore ga precious heartbeat" ("It's our precious heartbeat") appears, and I'm not sure how best to analyze it due to one particular grammatical ...
13
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3answers
304 views

Sentence structure/element order

In the textbook Japanese for Busy People I, the order of the elements in a sentence is always the same (subject - when - with whom - by what means - to where - verb) at least as far as I have made it. ...
4
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1answer
145 views

What is this や in 大きすぎや?

Is this a contraction along the same lines of なければ → なきゃ? 反乱を抑えるためだけが目的だとしたらリスクが大きすぎやしないか Also, can you contract 言えば or あれば?
5
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1answer
175 views

What does ending a statement with 「っ」signify when coupled with 「・・・」?

I have seen a few sentences or exclamations that end a sentence with 「っ」. Specifically, I read the example below: ちなみに純文学について語れなんて言われても私には、無理・・・っ! The following sentence is listed below (However ...
10
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1answer
265 views

Unifying concept for noun-adjectives of the pattern Xかな

Consider these: ~か: 静か 愚か 厳か ~やか: 穏やか 鮮やか 賑やか ~らか: 柔らか 滑らか 明らか There are many more that I've not listed. The か/やか/らか at the end of these words ...
7
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2answers
183 views

Varying word order for stylistic effect

Sometimes, for stylistic or rhetorical effect, one wants to delay mentioning a word/concept until the end of a sentence. For example, it's often best to save the punchline for the very end: I was ...
4
votes
1answer
165 views

Can もはや also mean “or rather” or “actually”?

I heard this sentence pattern watching an anime (where A and B have similar meanings, but B is much stronger): ....[description A] いや、もはや [description B]と言っていい。 I looked up もはや expecting a ...
2
votes
3answers
278 views

Does contraction and elision affect formation of relative clause?

For example, やらなければならない can modify 時 to form やらなければならない時 and I know that the adjective い ending can simply have a noun appended after it. However when it's contracted to やらなきゃ can I simply add a ...
4
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1answer
134 views

Difference between 「来ませんでした」and「来なかったです」 [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is じゃないです equally correct as じゃありません? Both have the same meaning ("did not come") and according to my Japanese co-workers both are acceptable while they can't define the ...
3
votes
1answer
106 views

Is 一緒に needed in this case?

Is 一緒に needed in this case? A: 買い物へ行きたい。 B: そう。 A: 一緒に行きましょうか? Or is it just ->> 行こう?
6
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1answer
149 views

Ambiguity issues with と when performing multiple roles

My understanding of と: と performs listing と indicates reciprocal action The above two uses are indivisible from each other. That is to say that this particle is special in a sense that it always ...
4
votes
1answer
144 views

Can the volitional form be used to nominate yourself for something?

I did a quick search on this site to see if I could find any answer to this and found this question: Does the volitional form of a verb mean both "lets" and "I want to"? But ...
15
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2answers
2k views

How to end a sentence in わけ

The is a certain way of talking where you can end just about anything you say in わけ. What is the sentence structure for this way of talking?
3
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1answer
332 views

Is 「なので」actually a short-form for「それなので」?

In Tae Kim's Guide there is a conversation that goes like this: Tom: 時間がなかった。 Mary: だからパーティーに行かなかったの? I was wondering is 「だから」 actually a short-form of 「それだから」 ? Similarly, in the ...
3
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2answers
436 views

Sentence ending に and のに compared to their non-sentence-ending form

Consider these: [A] 僕はいい仕事があったら美智子さんと結婚出来ただろうに [B] 僕はいい仕事があったら美智子さんと結婚出来たのに Is に in [A] related to the case particle に? Is のに in [B] related to the use of のに as a conjunction in ...
4
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2answers
202 views

Subject following verb?

I'm translating bits of Hyrule Historia to test myself a bit and I'm a little confused by this sentence structure. お面を使うリンク I'm inclined to say this translates to something along the lines of: ...
6
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3answers
1k views

What is the correct way to say: “where are you going?”

What is the correct way to say "where are you going?"? Is it: あなたはどこに行きますか or あなたはどこに行くの Also, can someone please explain that の in "あなたはどこに行くの"?
3
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1answer
153 views

Understanding a JLPT practise question with ものなら

This sentence comes from a question in my JLPT practise book that is part of an explanation of the use of ものなら: 一度{いちど}仕事{しごと}を手伝{てつだ}おうものなら、それをいいことにあの人{ひと}は何度{なんど}でも頼{たの}んでくるから、気{き}をつけたほうがいい。 ...
3
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1answer
207 views

An i-adjective immediately before 「ください」?

Does it make sense to have an i-adjective (in て-form) immediately before 「ください」? For example, when asked to choose between hot and cold coffee, can I use 「温かくてください」, or must I turn it into nominal ...
4
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1answer
130 views

Is と necessary after a quoted phrase?

Hi all I was wondering if we want to treat a quoted phrase as a "noun", is it necessary to put a と particle behind the quoted phrase? For example: A) The "received" in "received from Tom" ...
5
votes
2answers
245 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
8
votes
2answers
181 views

How to break down who did what in AにBをCさせる

I'm trying to understand the following: 後輩にサイフを開かせることはないよ I guess this could be generalized as AにBをCさせる. It's confusing. Maybe if someone can break down how to understand this and then I can ...
7
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2answers
1k views

Is there a study available on the similarities between Japanese and Turkish grammars?

No I'm not claiming the Altaic hypothesis so try not to bring that up in answers. Still there are grammatical similarities between Japanese and Turkish such as agglutination and use of postpositions ...
9
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2answers
188 views

Is there a difference between この小さな街で and 小さなこの街で?

I noticed in songs, there are lyric lines that push the demonstrative adjective (*) この, その etc to the middle of sentences by switching it with an adjective/verb that describe the subsequent nouns. For ...
16
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4answers
912 views

Are there cases when two or more particles will occur next to each other without intervening lexical words?

Most particles seem to be postpositions but I'm sure I've seen say a noun followed by a location particle followed by "wa" or "ga" or possibly "wo" but when I've tried to use it I've only confused my ...
11
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2answers
179 views

The use of -さん when answering about oneself

If someone says, あなた は Chris-さん です か。 Are you Chris? Do you answer Chris です Or Chris-さん です Thanks