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Relatively new learner here. In a forum on Duolingo, as the app itself only teaches by example, there's a discussion regarding translating this phrase:

窓{まど}は全部{ぜんぶ}閉{し}まっていますか?

Without「全部」it seems to be: "Is the window closed?" or "Are the windows closed?"

With the introduction of「全部」however, how would you distinguish between:

  • Are all the windows closed? / Is every window closed?
  • Are the windows completely closed?
  • Is the window completely closed?

And if some of these are invalid, how would you rephrase / translate them?

Edit: Duolingo's suggested translation was: "Are the windows all shut?", which just adds to the confusion. Here, "all" could be being used as an adverb to mean, "completely shut", or as a predeterminer (I think that's the right term) as in, "all the windows".

Someone left an answer indicating that they thought 全部 was acting on the verb, & I added this comment; however, they then deleted their answer. So now I'm back do being uncertain, lol.

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    That someone was me. Sorry. I left a comment explaining that I was having doubts about my answer, but maybe you didn't see it because I deleted the answer. Nov 1 '20 at 12:40
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    According to this Japanese dictionary, 全部 describes quantities and not extents. Poring over example sentences on renshuu.org, 全部 always appears in a way that means 'all of the X', rather than 'completely Xed'. You probably want 全く if you want to say 'completely shut'.
    – frog
    Nov 1 '20 at 14:12
  • Thanks for that, frog. I've got a feeling you are right. Looking around elsewhere, this seems to be a fair description. In these three different threads on HiNative, 全部 is described as, "all of something; every object in a group; everything (many objects)" by various posters. Indicating that it shouldn't mean "completely". It is interesting that it's being used adverbially, but seems to apply to the subject however. (seemingly not modifying "shut") Nov 1 '20 at 15:57
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All Japanese quantifiers are adverbs. 全部 is an adverb too, meaning "wholly" or "entirely". That means, it is true that it can be ambiguous like "Are the windows all shut?" between "all windows" and "completely". That said, the "all of" reading usually prevails, and also the most common way to say "all windows are shut".

But it is not impossible to distinguish your three sentences.

  • Are all the windows closed? / Is every window closed?
    → 全部の窓が閉まっていますか?

  • Are the windows completely closed?
    → 窓は全部完全に閉まっていますか?

  • Is the window completely closed?
    → 窓は完全に閉まっていますか?

As definiteness and number are not essential in Japanese, they can be translated in many other ways depending on context, but those are I think the most concise examples.

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