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Consider this sentence:

私は[大抵]{たいてい}朝{あさ}にコーヒーを飲{の}みます。

Usually, I drink coffee in the morning.

I am trying to understand how to use emphasis with this construct. In English, this statement seems open-ended, if not ambiguous.

I am trying to understand which of the following implied meanings is closest to the original sentence; otherwise how would I modify the original sentence to add the emphasis:

  • Usually, morning is the only time when I drink coffee.

  • Usually, I don't drink anything other than coffee in the morning.

  • I drink coffee in the morning usually, but not everyday.

EDIT:

Thanks for the interesting answers so far. My synopsis of what has been presented:

I surmise that 大抵朝に, owing to the に, describes an action as happening “in the usual morning”. This form sounds open-ended.

(?) 大抵コーヒー: This construct doesn't make sense to me. 大抵 is an adverb, so it wouldn’t be correct to use it to qualify a noun/object.

Use of しか:

Based on some cursory searching, しか describes an amount of something, so it is not analogous to "only" as used in this context; だけ should be used instead. But, running with that meaning nevertheless:

The first one confuses me, since しか is a noun, not a particle like だけ. 「私は大抵朝しかコーヒーを飲みません。」Does this mean "I, in the usual morning, only drink coffee.", or, "I, only in the morning usually, drink coffee."

「私は大抵朝はコーヒーしか飲みません。」This form seems straightforward. "Considering my usual morning, it is coffee only that I drink."

だけ seems to be the correct way of saying "only" in this context. Without 大抵, I can say「私は朝だけコーヒーを飲みます。」, "Morning is the only time I drink coffee."

As far as alternate adverbs, I understand that I can use ほとんど毎日 to state that the action happens "almost everyday".

I can also use 日課 to say "coffee is a daily routine." But I don't understand the grammar since its lacks the action. What sense does it make to say "coffee is a [daily] routine."?

The use of different particles to tag 朝: I understand that に describes an action as happening in the morning. I understand that using は invokes contrastive emphasis. What I am saying about drinking coffee only applies in the morning, but not to any other time of day.

が can be used to invoke exhaustive subject form; i.e. coffee is the preferred object. 「私は大抵朝にコーヒーが飲みます。」"In my usual morning, coffee is the only thing I drink."

3

Though it depends on context, the following two are both possible as implied meanings of the sentence [私は大抵朝にコーヒーを飲みます].

Usually, morning is the only time when I drink coffee.

I drink coffee in the morning usually, but not everyday.

Without any context, the latter is more likely.

The difference can be explained as one of grammatical interpretation. In the former case, [大抵] modifies [朝に]. In the latter one [大抵] modifies [飲みます].

Not to be ambiguous, you can say:

私は大抵朝しかコーヒーを飲みません。

Usually, morning is the only time when I drink coffee.

私はほとんど毎日朝にコーヒーを飲みます。

I drink coffee in the morning usually, but not everyday.

If you want to say:

Usually, I don't drink anything other than coffee in the morning.

You can say:

私は大抵朝コーヒーしか飲みません。

  • +1 but I'm confused about 私は大抵朝はコーヒーを飲みます. Isn't that emphasing that you drink coffee in the morning rather than drink coffee in the morning? – user3856370 Sep 24 '16 at 7:48
  • Yes, you are right; I was confused when writing my answer. changed my answer to delete that example. Thank you. – Faily Feely Sep 24 '16 at 8:21
  • Can you clarify what exactly しか and ほとんど毎日 mean in this context? I assume ほとんど毎日 literally means "not everyday". Also, can you explain why しか is placed differently in your first and last example? – stands2reason Sep 24 '16 at 16:23
  • ほとんど means "nearly/almost" and 毎日 means "everyday", so ほとんど毎日 for "nearly everyday." Next, しか means "only A" when used in a form "Aしか". So 朝しか for "only in the morning" and コーヒーしか for "(I drink) only coffee." – Faily Feely Sep 24 '16 at 21:55
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The first and second translation sound right to me while the middle one doesn't. Yes. The sentence,

私は大抵朝にコーヒーを飲みます。

is ambiguous. If you need to be clear about what you mean, you can rewrite like:

私は大抵朝にだけコーヒーを飲みます。= Usually, morning in the only time when I drink coffee.

私は大抵の朝、コーヒーを飲みます。= I drink coffee in the morning usually, but not everyday.

Hope this helps.

  • The first and second translation sound right to me while the middle one doesn't. -> The first and third... でしょうかね・・? – Chocolate Sep 24 '16 at 0:00
  • Can you explain the use of の in your second example? Also, since you are emphasizing "in the usual morning", would it be better to move 私 out of that clause and into the main sentence ? – stands2reason Sep 24 '16 at 18:15
  • sorry for my slow response, @chocolate, Sorry, I'm not sure if I got what you mean, but I was trying to say 2nd one does not sound right. Hope this clarifies... – Mari Oct 5 '16 at 13:59
  • @stands2reason sorry for my slow response. In this case, I used "の" in order to clarify "usual" is for "morning" only, instead of the entire sentence. Instead of make it sound hazy if "usually, coffee is the one I'd have in the morning." You can omit "私", but in this case, it does not help making the meaning more clear because what is confusing in the original sentence is "what is usual?" Is that "usual morning" or "usually drink coffee?" or "drinking coffee in the morning is usual." It is clear it is "私" in any case. Hope this helps. – Mari Oct 5 '16 at 14:06
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私は たいてい朝に コーヒーを飲みます。 -- (slight emphasis on ASA.) Since this is prob. the default position to put たいてい, there may be no emphasis on anything.

Two anwers so far have been good. I'd add :

朝、たいていコーヒーを飲みます。
朝は、たいてい コーヒーを飲みます。
朝には、たいてい コーヒーを飲みます。
朝に たいていコーヒーを飲みます。 <---- emphasis on coffee. (it's coffee that i usually drink in the morning)

朝には、たいてい コーヒーが日課です。
朝は、たいてい コーヒー2杯が日課です。
朝は、 コーヒー たいてい 2杯が日課です。

コーヒーが好きで、毎朝 豆を挽いてドリップで入れ、妻と味わうのが日課です。

For even more emphasis, one can re-arrange the order of the phrases.


(Thank you for the question.)

In the morning, I usually drink 2 cups of coffee.
In the morning, I drink usually 2 cups of coffee.
In the morning, I drink 2 cups of usually coffee.

I think たいてい is the same -- grammatically, it modifies the verb/predicate no matter where you put it.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%89%AF%E8%A9%9E

  1. もっと上を探しなさい。(名詞を修飾)

( (もっと) (上を) ? )

I don't think たいてい can modify a noun or NP, but i may be wrong.

  • 「たいていコーヒー」 confuses me, since 大抵 is an adverb; how can it modify a noun? Also, I understand that with 日課 you are saying that "Coffee is a daily routine." But your examples lack a verb, as opposed to, "Drinking coffee is a daily routine." – stands2reason Sep 24 '16 at 18:01
  • 私は寝起きのコーヒーが日課です。 最近セブンのコーヒーが日課です。朝イチのブラックコーヒーが日課です。Maybe this is a variant of the famous Unagi-bun -- matome.naver.jp/odai/2144975037956141501「ぼくはウナギだ。」「こんにゃくは太らない。」 ---「朝はウナギだ。」 「朝はコーヒーだ。」 「朝はコーヒーが日課だ。」 ( 象は鼻が長大だ。) -- Let me think. Thanks. – HizHa Sep 24 '16 at 18:45

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