Rules governing construction of phrases and sentences in a language.

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16
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4answers
823 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 ...
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?
14
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2answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
297 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. ...
11
votes
2answers
171 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
10
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1answer
254 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
185 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
362 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
317 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 ...
8
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2answers
175 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
499 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
1answer
423 views

Rules governing formation of adjectival and genitive modifications for Noun-Phrase

The following was observed in sawa's answer to "Can ごとに be replaced by それぞれ in this question?":  ◯ 正月はそれぞれの家が門松を立てる。  × 木村さんはそれぞれの会う人に挨拶している。  ◯ 木村さんは会う人それぞれに挨拶している。 それぞれの会う人 is said ...
7
votes
2answers
409 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
182 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 ...
7
votes
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
755 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"?
6
votes
2answers
141 views

Sentence structure for complex sentences

I've been reading up on the uses of the particle から, particularly when it is appended to the -te form of a verb where it takes on the meaning similar to "after [verb], [sentence 2]" However, when ...
6
votes
1answer
223 views

Can two consecutive の particles be used in the following way?

We can use の as a substitute in successive sentences for something we've already mentioned so that we don't need to keep saying what it is: どのTシャツが好き? → 赤いのが好き。 Then there is the ...
6
votes
1answer
279 views

“unfinished” sentences ending in particles like を, に and が

This is something I've always wondered about, but can't find any info about. When native speakers come across a sentence that ends ...を。, ...と。 or ...が!*, how do their brains parse it? Is it just a ...
6
votes
2answers
246 views

Do we use odd day pronunciations outside of calendar ranges?

After reading @jkerian's comment in this post, I started thinking about this. Here's the comment in full: On a side note, all days ending in '4' are also irregular, and use ~よっか. So the 14th is ...
6
votes
1answer
147 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
319 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
236 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
1answer
98 views

Truncated adjective まっすぐ

I have a sentence in a book that goes like 甘い匂いのするまっきいろな花です。It is a kids book, so everything is in kana. I'm having trouble figuring out the bolded part. It talks about a dandelion in the context, so ...
5
votes
1answer
169 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
128 views

夏名漱石‘s use of question marker かい for an open instead of closed (ie yes/no) question

Can anybody explain why かい is used in the following sentence from 第三夜 (Dream #3 - from NatsumeSoseki's Ten nights of dreams, 夢十夜): 自分が御前の眼はいつ潰れたのかいと聞くと、何昔からさと答えた。 "I asked [him] when [he] ...
4
votes
2answers
184 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: ...
4
votes
2answers
322 views

How to know if a sentence ending in the て form of a verb is imperative or not

I know that a sentence that ends in the て form of a verb can be imperative. How do you know for sure if it is? Why is「~しようとして」not imperative?
4
votes
3answers
804 views

How to separate words in a Japanese sentence?

Unlike some languages (English, French ...) , written Japanese sentences don't have spaces between words. I know that it is the same in Chinese for example, but the fact that the Chinese language ...
4
votes
4answers
295 views

Examples of ambigious sentences

I'm looking to test some Morphological Analysis tools, which split sentences into tokens and provide part of speech and pronunciation information (specifically, providing kana when given kanji). I'm ...
4
votes
1answer
144 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?
4
votes
1answer
149 views

Simultaneous actions with the -te form

In English you can use conjunction to express two simultaneous actions: I was standing in front of an audience and presenting a new technology. Or simply juxtapose two participles where one ...
4
votes
1answer
152 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
135 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
165 views

Does this Japanese sentence sound right?

I'm trying to translate a line from an English song (Journey) and it goes like this: "She took a midnight train going anywhere" So far, I've ended up with this: 彼女は真夜中列車が乗りましたどこ でも行きます (Kanojo wa ...
4
votes
1answer
130 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
2answers
247 views

What are the ways to conjugate “I” and “to be” (in romaji)

I think being able to to specify who you are talking about and yourself is very crucial in a language so, how do they do it? To clarify I know in French there is 6 ways to specify a person: Je (I), ...
3
votes
1answer
479 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
2answers
235 views

Nominalization with のが、のを

I've just learned to nominalize verbs with のを but as I was looking for more info on the web I saw that this is also done with のが and こと. The question "What is the difference between the nominalizers ...
3
votes
4answers
635 views

Natural way to command “call <someone>”

In English and most languages I understand, the natural way to tell your phone to call someone (when using Bluetooth for example) is: Call . I was told that in Japanese, it is more natural to say the ...
3
votes
2answers
258 views

Proper use of ため to thank someone for doing x?

I know ため can be translated into English as "for" such-and-such. But is it appropriate to use it to thank some one for doing something? For example, "Thank you for your email address." Would it be ...
3
votes
2answers
312 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
90 views

Sentence structure and meaning

here is an extract from a manga that gives me troubles : (|| = column breaks in the manga) ただし||お前達の相手は||私一人でいい||一対一で闘い||私が勝ったら||次の者が||また 私と闘うのだ... First : can you confirm that there are 2 ...
3
votes
2answers
383 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
309 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
votes
1answer
122 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" ...
3
votes
1answer
159 views

How does のは work in this sentence?

彼が持っているのは二百円です。 Supposedly this means "It is 200 yen that he has.". But I am really not familiar with this sentence construction. Therefore, I'm not sure how everything before の works with the rest of ...
3
votes
1answer
173 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
349 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
201 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 ...