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A Does だけ replaces any particles or do I have to combine every particle with だけ? e.g. だけを、だけが、だけに ...

B How does the meaning of a sentence change when I put dake behind a noun or before a verb?

  1. だけ in combination with a verb: 私は日本の本をだけ読む。

  2. だけ in combination with a noun: 私は日本の本だけを読む。

Both sentences have the same meaning, right? And only the word order changed? Can I always choose whether to put だけ behind the noun or in front of the verb?

  • Your actually asking about the order of だけ and the accompanying particle, right? That seems more salient than the position relative to a verb or noun. Also, your example is unfortunate. I think は, が and を all have to come after だけ. Other particles can work in either position and it apparently makes a difference, but I can't pretend to understand it. – user3856370 Sep 6 at 15:04
  • Well, I'd like to know if the meaning of that sentence changes when I place だけ infront of the verb instead of the noun. Or if the sentence still means the same. – Leliana Sep 6 at 15:08
  • @user3856370: there quite a few hits on Google for "をだけ" so apparently it is used. I think I've also seen "にだけ" before. – Igor Skochinsky Sep 6 at 15:28
  • @IgorSkochinsky Not disputing にだけ. Looking at をだけ on Google, it seems that many/most of the entries are をだけを. That seems really weird. Might be worth its own question. – user3856370 Sep 6 at 15:44
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A Does だけ replace any particles or do I have to combine every particle with だけ? e.g. だけを、だけが、だけに ...

For the most part, it depends on the formality level of the sentence or rather, the context or situation. In informal speech, we often use 「だけ」 without a particle attached to it. This is true especially with 「を」.

Girls occasionally tell me 「アタシだけ見て!」 instead of 「アタシだけ見て!」.

When they tell me that I am the only man they can depend on, they would say 「レレさんだけ頼{たよ}りなの!」. The only girl who omitted that 「が」 was a foreigner. So I had to correct it for her.

B How does the meaning of a sentence change when I put dake behind a noun or before a verb?

1.だけ in combination with a verb: 私は日本の本をだけ読む。

2.だけ in combination with a noun: 私は日本の本だけを読む。

It is difficult (or actually impossible) to compare the two sentences because native speakers would rarely, if ever, form the first sentence using 「だけ」. I would not recommend that you use 「をだけ」 even if you learned to use it someplace.

The second sentence is natural for using 「だけ」.

This may not be what you wanted to know, but a more natural way to say this among us native speakers would be:

「私は日本の本しか読まない。」

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A. You can use しか~ない. For, example, 私しか彼女の秘密を知らない is the same meaning as 私だけ彼女の秘密を知っている.

B. 私は日本の本だけを読む is natural, but 私は日本の本をだけ読む is unnatural.

To modify a verb with だけ, だけ is placed behind a verb. not in front of a verb. It is 私は日本の本を読むだけ。For example, 後は、家に帰って寝るだけ.

To modify a noun with だけ、だけ is generally placed behind a noun. However I notice that にだけ and とだけ are exceptions. あなただけに(と)話す and あなたに(と)だけ話す are both natural.

  • 2
    Doesn't 私は日本の本を読むだけ mean "I do nothing but read books" i.e. I don't watch TV etc. Whereas, I thought 私は日本の本だけを読む is natural and means "I only read books" i.e. I don't read magazines newspapers etc. – user3856370 Sep 6 at 15:54
  • I say 私は日本の本をだけ読む is unnatural. – Yuuichi Tam Sep 6 at 15:58
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    I'm not disagreeing with anything you wrote. It's just that you didn't mention the だけを case, and then you said that you must use verb+だけ. I think it may be a little confusing. – user3856370 Sep 6 at 16:03
  • I seem to have been a bit unkind. I add it. – Yuuichi Tam Sep 6 at 16:07

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