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Questions tagged [copula]

コピュラ. Words such as だ・です or constructions such as である which link a noun or adjective to a subject. Similar to English 'be'.

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What exactly is "なの" (nano)?

I asked a female Japanese friend to translate a sentence for me and it ends in "nano" which I took to be either an alternative question particle to -ne or -ka; or possibly two particles I ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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52 votes
6 answers
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What does っす at the end of a sentence mean?

I saw a sentence like: 「それ使{つか}ってるっす。」 and none of my dictionaries have an entry for just "っす". Is it a verb form, gobi, or something else?
sartak's user avatar
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20 votes
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Why can't だ be used after an I-adjective?

I have been constantly told that だ can not be placed after an I-adjective. Why is that?
Herb's user avatar
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のだから vs のだ (んだから vs んだ)

When I learnt this grammar point a while ago, my teachers told me not to use it with "から". There reasoning for this was that のだ already implies a reason or supporting information for a ...
phirru's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
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や in Kansai-ben when it is not だ

The following sentence occurs in The Legend of Zelda: ナンカ コウテ クレヤ (This would be なんか買うてくれや! and was famously translated as "Buy somethin', will ya!".) From the 買うて, it's obvious he's speaking Kansai-...
Kef Schecter's user avatar
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17 votes
4 answers
8k views

correctness of い adjective + です

Generally, in all Japanese language classes, the rule you're taught is that です does not follow い adjectives. Instead, い adjectives can act like stative verbs, and as such terminate a sentence by ...
Zach's user avatar
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17 votes
5 answers
19k views

When to use だ before と思います?

If you want to state what you think you can put と思います at the end of a sentence. However I noticed that sometimes you're supposed to put だ before と思います so that it becomes だと思います, and sometimes you're ...
language hacker's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Can だ ever be used in a question?

I learned in Tae Kim's Grammar Guide that だ cannot be used when asking a question. But in the book Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication by Taeko Kamiya, I found several example ...
Miguel's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is 「3人いるだと」 grammatical?

3人いるだと!? Can you say 3人いるだ as a statement? If だと is simply だ + と, I would expect 3人いるんだと. Is だと considered a particle in its own right, with different rules than だ? Transcription of the contents of ...
Axe's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
2k views

です after some verbs (ほしいです)

I've learned that です means something like the state of being, or close to the "be" verb. Recently I found the following phrase: 犬がほしいです。 Why does it end with です if I am saying that "I ...
Thiago Fassina's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

「です」, what is it really? Is my analysis correct?

At an elementary level, often, Japanese learners are taught that です is equivalent to the verb "to be" in English. Typical example: 私は学生です, I am a student. That's fine, after all, it works. And to ...
Tommy's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
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Difference between どこですか and どこにいますか/どこにありますか?

(1) 本はどこですか。 (2) 本はどこにありますか。 Unless I'm mistaken, both those sentences mean something like "where is the book", what's the difference between using です and あります to indicate position? I ...
Teleporting Goat's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

-的 adjectives modifying nouns without な

Am I correct in thinking that these are ok without a na: 1) 印象的な事実 2) 印象的事実 3) 客観的な事実 4) 客観的事実 But these need a na?: 5) 明らかな事実 6) *?明らか事実 7) 簡単な事実 8) *?簡単事実 (From a quick look, ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
515 views

Can one say なそうです instead of だそうです when expressing hearsay?

At first, I thought the answer was simply that you can only use だそうです (because that's all I have ever seen), but today I read the entry for そう in the Handbook of Japanese Grammar (1940s) by Henderson (...
Nicholas's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
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Usage of noun-modifying である

I'm pretty sure I understand the usage of「である」 here: ピアニストである私{わたし}の姉{あね}は、いつも手{て}に怪我{けが}をしないように気{き}をつけています My sister, a pianist, is always careful not to injure her hands. (My translation) But I'...
Shane's user avatar
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2 answers
2k views

What is だって when it's at the beginning of a sentence?

I have read several definitions of だって but none of them seem to make sense when I see it at the beginning of a sentence and I read the context. I saw one example Japanese sentence and in the English ...
language hacker's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
606 views

What is じゃ in じゃない?

Since there is possibility of "じゃありません" instead of "じゃないです" (which is logical, given "ありません" is polite "ない"), and it also seemed that I have seen "じゃ" ...
herby's user avatar
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2 answers
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Difference between さえ、でさえ

Could you explain to me the difference between さえ and でさえ? Example: そんなこと、子どもでさえ知っている。 Can I use さえ instead of でさえ in this sentence? そんなこと、子どもさえ知っている。
Melissa's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
528 views

Why is 高いです acceptable but 高いではあります not acceptable?

This interesting thread got me thinking about the various forms of the copula and how です is a contraction of で(は)あります. I am wondering why the standard X は Y で(は)あります does not seem to work for certain ...
kandyman's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
453 views

Attributive だろう

I came across this sentence (下町ロケット, p.239): 「どうだ、そろそろウチに戻ってこないか」 そんなことをいいはじめたのは、六十五歳を過ぎ、体力的な衰えを感じはじめただろう頃だ。 Meaning-wise, it seems hard to imagine it means anything other than 感じはじめた頃だろう. ...
Darius Jahandarie's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

The uses of である

I understand that である is most commonly used to replace だ/です at the end of a sentence in written expressions. But outside this usage, I can't find much explanation on how to use this structure. In ...
shade549's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
10k views

Is だ (plain form of です) omittable?

After studying copula verbs だ and です in japanese grammar books by myself a couple of months ago, I was under the impresion that だ is omittable as it is implied by the context. Moving on, I recently ...
Christopher Francisco's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
713 views

Strange use of であった in narrative

In the middle of the Famicom game Bucky O'Hare, a cutscene starts with this text: こうして 4人を きゅうしゅつした バッキーであったが・・・じつは それは バッキー オヘアを とらえる ために トードぐんが しくんだ わなだったのだ!! The meaning of the sentence is ...
Kef Schecter's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
287 views

When can AはBです mean 'A has B'

国土交通省は、港がある県や市などと一緒にクルーズ船のための岸壁をつくる計画です The ministry, together with cities and prefectures that have ports, has a plan to build wharfs for cruise ships. If I strip the example sentence to the ...
user3856370's user avatar
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8 votes
4 answers
929 views

Analyzing sentences like 日本がピンチだ and 明日は雨だ

How are sentences like 日本がピンチだ (Japan is in a pinch) and 明日は雨だ (tomorrow it will rain) analyzed? Translating them trivially, as 日本がピンチだ Japan is a pinch 明日は雨だ Tomorrow is rain doesn't make sense. So ...
dainichi's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
430 views

で in the copula である

I have always wondered where the で in ~である (and ~でございます) comes from. In the answer to the question 「です」, what is it really? Is my analysis correct?, Eiríkr Útlendi states that the で in ~である is the ...
Kaskade's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Grammatical justification for でしかない

The song eX Dream by Myuji (which appears in an anime OP) contains the sentence: [夢]{ゆめ}は夢でしかない The general point of the sentence is fairly clear, meaning "a dream is just a dream". But what is ...
AlanSE's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
998 views

Etymology of the copula だ

I think of だ as being the only copula, which can be inflected to で and な. In my mind all other copula-like words are derived from these forms, i.e. です ⇔ であります じゃない ⇔ ではない だろう ⇔ であろう etc. But ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
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Origin of the usage of な in ~なんだ

In their answer to the question Usage of nan desu?, Earthliŋ described the な in the ~なんだ-construction to be "the inflection of the copula だ, if you like". I guess this is the same inflection ...
Kaskade's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
952 views

Is 〜でなかった valid?

I have from the entry for 実際 of ウィズダム英和・和英辞書 the following sentence: 彼は医者だと言ったが実際はそうでなかった。 He said he was a doctor, but in fact he was not. From what I understand, the 「〜でなかった」 here is ...
lightweaver's user avatar
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7 votes
5 answers
3k views

When does omission of です constitute casual speech?

In many textbooks, polite style speech is taught, which means です and ます endings are introduced, and used in many sentences. However, I have encountered sentences with omissions, for example sentences ...
rhyaeris's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
823 views

Adnominalisation (Relative clause - noun - copula structure): What does it mean? How can we translate it?

I have two examples of this structure which does not obviously correspond to a pattern in English although it is quite common. I'd like to know what it means, why it is used and how it should be ...
Tim's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
995 views

Why is this で wrong, and を preferable? 「信号を左です」

日本語 知り合いに道案内していた時に、 次の信号で、左です と言ったら、 次の信号を、左です という言い方のほうがいいと言われました。 「です」は本物の動詞ではありませんし、「を」と繋がっているのは間違いではないのでしょうか。省略された動詞があるという分析のほうがいいのですか?そして、どうして「で」はだめなのですか? English While giving an acquaintance ...
WeirdlyCheezy's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the difference between formal and polite verb forms?

In the answer to this question I asked (When to use である vs であります?), sazarando responded by saying that "である" is formal but not polite, and "です" is polite but not formal. I sort of understand the ...
charlieshades's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
314 views

Nominal connectors in embedded sentences: 名詞・形容動詞 +「である」「だという」「な」等 (+ こと) の使い分けについて

This is a general question about what to place after nominals when connecting them to constructs like こと. Lately I've realized I've either forgotten or never knew when I should be using だということ over ...
weirdalsuperfan's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

「だが」は単なる「が」に言い換えることができますか

このリンクにある「ちょっと〇〇するだけのつもりが、つい〇〇してしまった」の「つもりが」は実際は「つもりだが」の意味になっていると思えるんですけど、これは例外なのですか。それともどんな名詞の後ろにでも「だが」ではなく単に「が」が来られるということですか。 よろしくお願いします。
lightweaver's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
392 views

「どちら様でしたか?」 - why past form?

In a novel I'm reading (「キッチン」 by 吉本{よしもと}ばなな), there's this situation where the door opens and a woman enters the room asking for the main character by name. The main character, being surprised and ...
Szymon's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
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When to use である vs であります?

I understand that である is the "written" form of だ/です. Because it's a "written" form, doesn't that already imply a certain level of formality? So when would one use であります as opposed to just である? If you ...
charlieshades's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Sentence ending のを(だ)

I do not understand the meaning of のを: a. 彼は家を買った。 しかも大きい庭付きのを(だ)。 (だ is indicated as optional) Is it different from: b. 彼は家を買った。 しかも大きい庭付きだ。 (I'm not sure if this is grammatical) c. 彼は家を買った。 ...
Flaw's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
680 views

過去形+のだ versus 現在形+のだった

I'm puzzled by the bold part of the following paragraph which occurs in my Japanese learner's version of 雪女: 二人は毎日、川まで来ると、渡し守に船で川の向こう側へ運んでもらった。 山から帰るときは、また、渡し守に船で川のこちら側まで運んでもらうのだった。 My current ...
Wenzel Jakob's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
631 views

What makes using ある for people okay in this context?

Yep, I'm reading a lot of Tintin in Japanese recently, and he keeps throwing me curve balls with the language. Here's another one. The situation is that the car he was in has been run off the road ...
Questioner's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
13k views

Is なんです the same as んです?

I know what んです and its inflections mean, however, I've seen some set expressions such as そうなんです use exclusive なんです, I've never seen そうんです. Do both なんです and んです mean the same? If so, is there some ...
Viktor's user avatar
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3 answers
8k views

What does "da" mean in "tabeta bakari da"?

I understand (correct me if I'm wrong) that da is a short casual form of desu. But what does it mean in this phrase? or why it is used? Tabeta bakari da.
Pablo's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
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Difference between だと vs と before 認める

そのため、税務上の課税所得の計算は、「一般に公正妥当と認められる企業の基準」に基づく収益・費用の認識を原則としながらも、一定の調整を加えることとなっています。 I'm wondering what the difference is between 公正妥当と認められる and 公正妥当だと認められる
doru's user avatar
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3 answers
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What is the meaning of で in this sentence

I got very confused with the meaning of this sentence because of で. What does it mean here? オーストラリアは大陸で、それから国です。
Dav7n's user avatar
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5 votes
4 answers
2k views

Function of であって

Is であって a -て form of the copula である and used for chaining, or it has a special meaning in the following examples? どこの出身{しゅっしん}であっても問題{もんだい}ではない。It doesn't matter where he is from. 私{わたし}は彼女{かのじょ}が幸{...
user1602's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why does 好き use な?

If 好き is a noun, then why does it take the な copula in things like 好きなこと? I thought that copula was reserved for adjectives, and I thought nouns took on the の copula.
user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Meaning of でもない in this context?

While listening to the song "Yasashisa no Riyuu", I noticed the following sentence: 今は誰の名前でもない 輝きの彼方へ Which by the fansub is translated like this: Now it doesn't matter whose name it may be. ...
Daniel Safari's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why does replacing だ to である changes the meaning of a the sentence?

「彼は映画スターであり、政治家もだ。」 means "He is a movie star, and a politician is a movie star, too" (from Tsuyoshi's comment below this other post) 「彼は映画スターであり、政治家でもある。」 means "He is a movie star and also a ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
365 views

Overall syntax of this sentence

この部屋はシャワーだけでお風呂がないんですが。 => "This apartment only has a shower but no bathtub" This would be what I think this sentence says contentwise. I also think it could be a viable translation, but the way ...
Narktor's user avatar
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