The following excerpt is taken from a conversation with my languagepartner. For context:

私が Skype のインスタントメッセージ機能で、リアルタイムに日本語の会話をすることはあまりありません。お互いにオンラインで、会話を楽しみたいときは、英語を使うことが多いです。

基本的には italki と同じです。時間があるときにメッセージを読んだり書いたりします。Skype の便利なところは、イラスト、写真、リンク、ファイルなど、いろいろなものを送れるところです。文章を読むだけではわかりにくいことも、イラストや写真、時にはYouTubeの動画なども使って説明することができます。モチベーションを保つためには、楽しみながら学ぶことが大切だと思います。

The sentence in question: 文章を読むだけではわかりにくいことも、イラストや写真、時にはYouTubeの動画なども使って説明することができます。

My attempt at translation: "Though it is hard to understand at reading essays, while using Youtube videos and the like when/in times of (???) Illustrations and photos, you can explain/expose."

Beforehand, has anyone got a better idea for わかりにくい instead of "hard to understand"? At least in my translation, it isn't optimal, but I kind of lacked the creativity to come up with something better.

To the matter at hand: I think 使って and 説明することができます are connected in the way that "while doing X, I can expose/show (Y)." I think in this context "to expose" is more suitable than "to explain", although basically both are very well possible here. Still, especially with the phrase イラストや写真、時には I have no idea how to integrate the parts inside the 使って phrase so that I can properly attach the 使って phrase to the 説明 phrase. In the 時に phrase, there is a lack of verb isn't there?

Also in 文章を読むだけではわかりにくいことも, I wonder wether ことも connects to できます? I guess not, but I can't rule it out yet since my understanding of the full sentence is less than optimal. I think こと simply references back to SKYPE in the usecase of 文章を読む: "Only at reading essays, it (=usecase "read essay with Skype") is hard to understand".

1 Answer 1


I think it's 時には that mainly threw you off.

  • Aも説明することができます。
    I can explain also/even A. (Note that も is replacing を)
  • 文章を読むだけではわかりにくいこと
    things which are hard to understand just by reading text (um, why "though"?)
  • 時には
    sometimes (This 時には is not "when" because it doesn't follow a verb or noun + の)

    私は時にはコーヒーも飲みます。 I sometimes drink coffee, too.

  • イラストや写真、時にはYouTubeの動画など
    things such as illustrations, photographs or sometimes YouTube videos
  • ~も使って
    also using ~; also with the aid of ~

My attempt is as follows:

Things which are hard to understand just by reading text can be explained with the aid of illustration, photographs or sometimes YouTube videos.

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