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I'm trying to play around with words I know already to form simple sentences and I thought of making short sentences using the verbs 行きます and 前記{ぜんき} (it should mean "said"; I only use Google translate, because that's the only translator I could use for Japanese. Suggestions on a better one will be appreciated.)

So, here's my example sentence in English:

And he said, 'Do I go to the store?'
I said 'Yes.' He went.

Here's what I written in Japanese:

と 彼は 前記 「私は みせ へ 行きます か。」
私 前記「はい。」彼 行きました。

Is this correct?

If you type using Kanji in your answer, please show Hiragana next to it in parenthesis, too. (I do not know a lot of Kanji yet.)

  • You may want to use a dictionary instead of a "translator". You can't learn Japanese using Google Translate. Kodansha's Basic English-Japanese Dictionary is a good one for beginners :-) – snailboat Dec 2 '15 at 22:25
  • In the second line: I said 'Yes.' He went. - the "he went" part outside of quotes means it was not what you said, just a separate statement? – macraf Dec 2 '15 at 22:26
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    Google translate and other automatic translators don't work that well for Japanese, but they are even worse if you're just using them to translate individual words. When I put your whole English sentences in it the result was a lot better. "And he said, 'Do I go to the store?' I said 'Yes.' He went." そして、彼は「私は店に行くのですか?」と言いました 私は「はい。」と述べました 彼が行ってきました。 (Disclaimer: this is Google's translation, not mine.) – Darcinon Dec 2 '15 at 23:13
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    To make kanji less of a barrier, I recommend the Rikai-chan/Rikai-kun browser extension. It lets you hover over words to see readings and definitions. – Darcinon Dec 2 '15 at 23:15
  • Thank you for all the suggestions and answers. Yes 'He went' was supposed to be outside of the quote, indicating he went without another answer. It is rare for me to use Google Translate to translate individual words, instead I normally use it to help my sentence structure. Thanks, though. ^^ – Jess L. Dec 2 '15 at 23:41
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This is very close to a question on translation and may get closed. You should try to ask more specific questions if possible, but I'll try to give you a few pointers.

1) The verb 'to say' is 言{い}う. Past tense is 言{い}った.

2) When you want to quote something e.g I said "...." then you use the quote marker と after the quote (note that this is very different from the と which means 'and'.

「はい。行{い}きました」と言{い}った。
I said, "Yes. He went".

Note that you do not need to say 'He' in the quote. The previous sentence asks "Did he go" so we know that the topic of the conversation is 'he'. It is unnatural in Japanese to repeat the topic when it is already clear.

3) Verbs go at the end of sentences.

4) と does mean 'and' but it is used for exhaustive lists. It cannot be used to mean 'and then...'. そして or something similar should be used for that.

In summary, I think there are a quite a few basic concepts that you need to learn before you can start constructing sentences like this. Japanese grammar is very diffferent fom English grammar and just translating the individual words and putting them in the same order as English will not work most of the time. Finally, don't ever rely in Google translate it is rarely correct. Good luck in your studies.

  • Thank you. I am aware verbs go at the end of the sentence and the simple sentence "he went" isn't supposed to be in the quote. It's outside the quote. Ah, thank you for answering the "to say" verb. I rarely ever use Google translate for an individual word, I just used it for a very quick reference. These words were something I studied from different studying apps and websites. (Including grammar) I just didn't know how to say "said" or "say" in Japanese. However, I appreciate your help and I'm sure I will improve with your detailed answer. :) – Jess L. Dec 2 '15 at 23:59

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