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I would like some help understanding this sentence.

あの真面目できちんとした性格の母さん(が動詞をする)

I don't understand the した性格 part, because how can した modify "personality" which can't do anything?

I also don't understand the function of 真面目で, especially what the で particle means.

If I had to give a translation, I would say: Given her real personality, my mother ....

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I don't understand the した性格 part, because how can した modify "personality" which can't >do anything?

きちんと on it's own is an adverb, for example きちんと掃除をする/do the cleaning properly.

It's one of those words you can add する to afterwards to make it into an adjective. For example: 母さんは性格がきちんとしている / (My) mother has a proper/orderly/impeccable personality.

This gets put in the past tense* when it is brought in front to modify the noun (性格): きちんとした性格の母さん / (My) mother who has an proper personality.

I also don't understand the function of 真面目で, especially what the で particle means.

Let's look at another sentence where it might be easier to understand: 真面目で誠実で優しい人/ a serious and sincere and kind person.

You connect na-adjectives together with で the same way you might connect i-adjectives together with ~くて, for example: 安くておいしいケーキ/cheap and tasty cake.

So 真面目できちんとした性格の母さん here means: (My) mother who has a stiff and proper personality.

*I swear there was a question about this and I wanted to link to it but I couldn't find it...

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  • I hope this is helpful and understandable. It's so hard trying to put these concepts into words. At least for me anyway. I guess its both the fun and frustrating part of answering questions on here ^^;
    – Robin
    Jun 2, 2013 at 23:22
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    I don't like the part "add する to afterwards to make it into an adjective", because する is a verb, right? It can modify a noun just like an adjectival verb ("i-adjective"), but still it doesn't feel right to call it an adjective.
    – Earthliŋ
    Jun 2, 2013 at 23:27
  • I'm not sure.. It felt a bit weird to call it an adjective, but きちんとしている or きちんとした are basically describing the state of a something - that's pretty much what adjectives do right? What do people think? Is there a better way of phrasing it?
    – Robin
    Jun 3, 2013 at 0:04
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    Glad it helped :) I think it's very rare to see 真面目 as しんめんぼく. I just did some googleing now and it looks like しんめんぼく will often have を after it (ex.真面目を発揮する/show one's true colors) which might help you pick it out.
    – Robin
    Jun 3, 2013 at 0:16
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    I couldn't find it>>> Neither could I, but maybe it has something to do with "double-subject construction" that Tsuyoshi-Ito mentioned in his comment? japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/316/…
    – user1016
    Jun 3, 2013 at 13:31

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