When composing sentences in Japanese, the verb tends to be last right? For example,

バナナを食べました。 --> I ate a banana

But recently I came across a sentence where the verb was at the beginning of the the sentence.


How is this possible? 「折れた」 means "broken; bended," would it translate as " broken fleeting wings"?

This is the first line in a song that I am trying to translate. The first verse is as follows:





I am not worried about the translation but rather why the verb is in the beginning of the sentence and why there is no need for 「を」.

Thank you!

  • OT, but, a tip while you're here, if you're doing songs. Discard any preconceptions you might have of Japanese lyrics being nonsensical. Often they are, but it's awful when people butcher a meaningful song because they expect shallow/meaningless lyrics. This group (Aqua Timez)'s songs in particular, mostly always tell a cohesive story. Within each verse there are cohesive thoughts whose grammar spans multiple lines (e.g.: 時にこの世界は // 上を向いて // 歩くには少し眩しすぎるね, all one sentence). A line break is not a full stop or even a space. Always consider metaphor and the bigger picture. I hope this helps. :)
    – Hyperworm
    Nov 5, 2011 at 2:07
  • 1
    As you said, it's usually at the end.
    – Axioplase
    Nov 5, 2011 at 8:51

2 Answers 2


It happens in sentences where the verb acts kind of like an adjective. I mean, not exactly but here is an example:

In English you might say "The person I met yesterday" which turns into "昨日会った人" (きのうあったひと) in Japanese or "The banana I ate yesterday" => "昨日食べたバナナ"。I think this is called noun phrase in English.

The important thing about this is that it's one complete part of a sentence. So if you have "I want to meet X again" you can replace X with "the person I met yesterday":

"X また会いたい" => "昨日会った人にまた会いたい"

Hope this helps.

  • 1
    昨日会った人また会いたい is ungrammatical. If you want to say “I want to see the person I met yesterday again,” it is 昨日会った人にまた会いたい. Nov 4, 2011 at 21:07
  • @TsuyoshiIto: Thanks for pointing it out! I corrected it. Nov 4, 2011 at 21:52

For one thing, it's not a complete sentence. It looks a lot like a song title.

折れた淡い翼だ would be a properly formed sentence, if a somewhat odd one in isolation.

One of the things you can do with plain-form sentences in Japanese is use them to modify nouns. In Japanese, there's a general rule that when X modifies noun Y, the ordering is "X, then Y".

A sentence ending in Xだ changes to modify noun Y with XのY (usually).

A verb or i-adjective simply uses its plain form directly before the noun Y.

In this case, both the adjective (淡い) and the past-tense verb (折れた) modify the same noun (翼).

  • You are correct. It is the first line in a song.
    – Sydney
    Nov 4, 2011 at 17:18

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