I'm learning Japanese and using busuu. A native speaker corrected my exercise but I dont understand what the green corrections mean. They teach me vocab and not much grammar. Please help!
In Japanese it is required that you add a counter word to virtually any number. Just “一” by itself has little practical meaning; one-what exactly?
This is a somewhat foreign concept in English, but is not without precedent. For instance, you need to say “one sheet of paper”. Just “one paper” can be understood, but can also be misunderstood and sounds unnatural at the very least. The thing in Japanese is that you need something like “sheet of” for everything, even where it might sound redundant in English.
- 紙一枚: one sheet of paper, 枚 counts flat things
- 車一台: one car, 台 counts machines
- りんご一個: one apple, 個 counts smallish roundish things
- 一人: one person, 人 counts people and means “person”
And yes, the list of counter words is sheer endless.
The thing specifically with 一人 is that it can also mean “lonely” or “only”, and the correct construction for “one daughter” is 娘一人 or, if you turn it around, 一人の娘. Just 一人娘 would mean something like “only daughter”.