Questions tagged [grammar]

文法. A collective term for syntax (the way sentences are put together) and morphology (forms of words, including the way new words are put together). Often used to describe function words such as particles, to describe word endings, and to talk about general sentence structure.

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What is あっちゃう in this sentence? [closed]

My friend sent me an email saying her mobile phone is having problems. Specifically, she said this: 携帯{けいたい}の電池{でんち}が電話{でんわ}すると5分{ふん}でなくあっちゃうようになった I get the overall meaning, which is that when ...
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What is the difference between 「食べるいいですか」 and 「食べていいですか」

They both mean "Can you/I eat?" So can they be used interchangeably? I know that the て-form is used when speaking a command to someone so is it a more direct(?) form of asking a question? Like asking ...
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What is the underlying grammar in the difference between `足らない` and `足りない`?

Based on the comments from Tsuoyshi Ito's answer to Translation of 竜すらも恐るるに足らない, 恐るるに足らない/恐るるに足りない is a set phrase meaning "not worth fearing". Based on my understanding of 一段 verbs like 足りる, ...
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What are the “slots” in the Japanese agglutinative verb system?

In another question we established that Japanese is an agglutinating language (more here), if only in its verb system. Since it is not traditional in Japanese grammar or teaching to go into this ...
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How does this で work?

日本女性で電車の中で化粧をする人を見ると恥ずかしいくて嫌な気持ちになる。 In my understanding, the で following 日本女性 could correspond here to the english "of," or "speaking of." Thus one interpretation of this sentence (though in ...
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What is the difference between なぜなら、だから、and なので?

I'm trying to get clarification on how to use these three pieces of grammar and whether or not they all hold some kind of "Because" meaning.
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What is the correct way to say: “where are you going?”

What is the correct way to say "where are you going?"? Is it: あなたはどこに行きますか or あなたはどこに行くの Also, can someone please explain that の in "あなたはどこに行くの"?
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Usage and reading of the Ampersand

In English, & is rather frequently used to mean "and". How should & be read in Japanese? I think these are some likely readings: や と アンド Case 1: Assume sentence structure is of the form "A &...
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How to use から and だから as conjunctions?

Recently I was studying the use of から and だから as conjunctions. Could anyone explain why one is used in these examples while the other is not? Are there rules as to whether から and だから can follow a ...
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Comparing three or more things

To compare two things, I would use: りんごのほうがみかんより美味しいです。 i.e. noun のほうがnoun よりadjective But how can I say, "Out of these five fruits, apples are the most delicious"? Or "Out of Seoul, Tokyo, and ...
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Is there a form for “I have never heard of”?

Some examples of what I'm trying to convey: I have never heard that song before. I have never heard of Miyazawa Kenji I have never heard of that before? I've never heard of that store? ...
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Who is performing the actions in this sentence?

I have a question about the last sentence here taken from this essay: やっぱり旅っていいな…としみじみ感じます。 'Then you will know the true joy of travelling.' 食事の後はちょっと外へ出てみましょう。 'After your meal, go ...
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The different ways of producing nouns

What are the different ways to produce nouns from other parts of speech and how are they different? For example, 高い has these nouns produced from it: 高さ 高み For 近い : 近く Also nouns can be formed by ...
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When to use 他【ほか】の or 他【ほか】に

I always thought only 他の existed, but my teacher uses 他に a lot. Are there differences between when each can be used? Here are two examples of each from my online dictionary: だれかほかの人に聞いてごらん (Ask ...
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Does this use of だろうか indicate assertion of an opinion?

I always get a bit confused with だろう, which I've asked about before. In my other question, I got the impression that たろう meant a certain amount of assertion, and だろうか left some room for uncertainty. ...
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What is the difference in these two keigo terms?

My JLPT practise book has these two sentences to help explain the difference between お目{め}にかける and お目{め}にかかる in a context of keigo. それでは新製品{しんせいひん}お目{め}にかけましょう。 鈴木{すずき}さんという人{ひと}に初{はじ}めてお目{め}...
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“Instead” using 代わりに

Excerpt from A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar: Consider the difference in the sentences below: [a] 昼間遊ぶ代わりに夜遊ぶつもりだ。 I intend to play at night instead of having fun in the daytime. ...
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What's the difference between “な感じ” and “という感じ” when written after quotation marks?

な感じ was crossed out and replaced with という感じ in a sentence that I wrote that was similar to this one: その文には「それは私にはもったいない」 な感じ という感じ があると思う。 I think that sentence has a feeling of "that's more than ...
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Can things hope?

This sentence in my JLPT book is explaining the nuance of 映{は}える, but actually it's the use of ほしい that's a puzzling me a bit: このピンクのスカーフが映{は}える服{ふく}を選{えら}んでほしい。 This is saying that the pink scarf ...
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How is なっている different from なっていた?

I apologize if I am beating a dead horse with this question but is this correct? なっている: have (already) become as opposed to なっていた: had become so often the meaning of なっている can be thought of as ...
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Emphasis instead of negation in 「そんなバカなことはありません」

In this quote by Akihiro Miwa, 「そんな~ことはありません」 isn't used the way I'd expect it to be: 努力{どりょく}をしない人も[平等]{びょうどう}になどと、そんなバカなことはありません。 It's (extremely?) foolish to treat people who don't make an ...
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Use of に and を with 触れる

The verb 触れる challenges my concept of what を does; to mark a direct object. Consider these uses of 触れる: (人)の頬に指を触れる (Touch a finger to someone's cheek) (人)の頬に手を触れる (Touch someone's cheek with ...
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Does には in this sentence imply vagueness of the source?

This comes from a friend's post on Facebook. The situation is that my friend had injured his leg a while back, but it has since healed and he's now in for a checkup. His leg is in great condition, so ...
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Who is doing the thinking?

Observe the change: 彼女は行かないと思う。 "I think that she will not go" 彼女は行くまいと思う。 "She thinks that she will not go" 彼女は and と思う are conserved in the sentence, yet the person who is doing the ...
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Is this sentence making a comparison?

This sentence comes from my JLPT practise book: 宗教{しゅうきょう}とは何{なん}か、迷信{めいしん}とは何{なん}かを正確{せいかく}に定義{ていぎ}するのは困難{こんなん}だ。 I think it's basically saying: Things like religions and supersitions are hard ...
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How do the two ideas in this sentence come together?

I have this sentence as part of a question in my JLPT practise book: スリのグループがボスの合図{あいず}で乗客{じょうきゃく}から金{かね}を盗{ぬす}むのを目{ま}の当{あ}たりにして恐{おそ}ろしかった。 Part of the sentence means, "the pickpocket group steals ...
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How do I express sentences like: He is dying?

For instance, "He is eating" is "Kare wa tabete iru". However, "He is dying" is not "Kare wa shinde iru". Another example is "He is going to Japan" is not "Kare wa nihon ni itte iru". So if I can't ...
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How are 〜上, 〜上は and 〜上に different?

I'm wondering about these, mainly because I don't see how they change the meaning. これほど確かな証拠がある上は、Aが犯人だと認めないわけにはいかない。 Since there's such solid evidence, there's no denying that A's the culprit. [?...
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What kind of conjugation is 済{す}ませた?

This is from the anime Noir, Episode 1 starting at 23:13 at the school: [The two characters A and B are leaving the country.] A: 出国{しゅっこく}の手配{てはい}は済{す}ませた。  'I've made the arrangements to leave ...
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らしい / っぽい / みたい question: Why 黒{くろ}っぽい車{くるま} and not 黒{くろ}みたいな車{くるま}?

I'm using Nihongo So-Matome 文法{ぶんぽう} while preparing for JLPT N3, and having some issues with some of the grammar descriptions. This StackExchange answer was awesome in clearing up most of my らしい / ...
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what does 可哀想{かわいそう}でならない mean?

I came across this expression in my JPLT N2 study materials. I deciphered the parts as 可哀想{かわいそう} means pitiable, pathetic でならない means can't help feeling so does it mean "can't help feeling ...
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Dictionary entry and derived forms, were they equal at some point?

I will first state the dictionary entry, and then other formations that also yield the dictionary entry. Consider the following : 思える - to seem/appear, potential form of 思う - can think 合わせる - to ...
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Does a list using と end with が?

Asking this other question has reminded me of another confusion I often have, one of my long standing bad habits that you'd think I'd have sorted after all this time in Japan. I'm never quite sure ...
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“きのう、何をしていた。” vs. “きのう、何をした。”

What is the difference in nuance between きのう、何をしていた。 vs きのう、何をした。? To be fair, I can't really tell the difference between these two english sentences: What were you doing yesterday ? What did you do ...
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“トムと話した” vs. “トムと話し合った”

This book (Chap. 29) says that for some verbs which can be unilateral or bilateral (like 相談する, 話す, 合う), The particle と implies that the verb is shared 50/50 between the two participants (bilateral), ...
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What is the difference between “〜がる” and “〜がっている”

I want to know the difference between 〜がる and 〜がっている, and in what situations I can use them. My friend said 〜がる is used for a regular activity that someone does every day or every week, and the ...
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Does this と mean “and” or “with”?

Recenly, with Facebook's new "feed" feature, whatever the heck that is, I've been seeing this notification coming up a lot: [Friend One]さんと[Friend Two]さんがフィード購読{こうどく}を許可{きょか}しています。 I have to admit,...
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Usage of まるで with 見ているようだった.

その翼はとても滑らかに動くため、まるでコンピュータ・グラフィックスを見ているようだった。 Its wings were moving so smoothly that it almost looked like CGI. or would a more accurate translation be: Its wings were moving so smoothly that ...
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へ or に particle for 曲がる?

i was wondering what may be the difference in nuance between 右へ曲がる and 右に曲がる ? Example: Take a right turn and you'll see the library. 1) 右へ曲がると、図書館がある。 2) 右に曲がると、図書館がある。 As for [noun-location] ...
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Is there even 1 na-type adjective that can't be used as a real noun?

The passage suggests that not all na-type adjectives can be used as real nouns as shown in (b). It doesn't seem to be a case of careless choice of words, since in the 2nd para, the passage uses "some" ...
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“一目ぼれから長持ちする関係は望めません。” この表現のニュアンスを説明して頂けませんか?

一目ぼれから長持ちする関係は望めません。 Falling in love at first sight won't bring you a lasting relationship. I found this sentence and translation without any other context, and have a few questions about the ...
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Does this athlete intend to play in the street or for the street?

In a bizarre and transparently ineffective attempt to try and change the culture of Shibuya's central shopping district, the shopowners promotion association (商店街{しょうてんがい}振興{しんこう}組合{くみあい}) has changed ...
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Help with adverbs with とする and としている

Taking yadokari's sentence: 彼女は表情が生き生きとしておりとてもかわいい。 The part that I need help understanding is the relation of 生き生きとして with 表情 and 居る. Looking up the dictionary entry for 生き生き, it is "an adverb ...
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ほんの時々私の中で顔を出し、しばらくすると消えてしまうもの。Are there any other options to replace the で here?

ほんの時々私の中で顔を出し、しばらくすると消えてしまうもの。 My attempt at translation: "Every once in a while my inner feelings show themselves, only to disappear again." The above was taken from the following dialogue: ...
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How do I ask about two different possible options?

Is this the correct way to ask which of two options is true? あの CD は トルコご の ですか えいご の ですか? ("Is that CD in Turkish or English?")
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それは彼の身に応えだした。 Can anyone explain this?

それは彼の身に応えだした。 [ex #4531] It is beginning to tell on him. can anyone explain this sentence? is it useful or archaic? is it related to this? 骨身にこたえる
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What would be the literal meaning of the causative form here? 暴風警報発令中のため本日の営業はお休みとさせていただきます。

暴風警報発令中のため本日 bōfū keihō hatsurei chū notame honjitsu の営業はお休みとさせて no eigyō wa oyasumi to sasete いただきます。 itadakimasu. 暴風 bōfū = storm winds 警報 keihō = warning 発令 hatsurei = official announcement 中 ...
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What are the various ways to express 'or' and when are they appropriate?

I'd like to get an idea of when it is appropriate to use different expressions for expressing disjunction (of the inclusive AND exclusive variety). 「AとBとCの中で...」、「どちら」、and 「か] come to mind, but I ...
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Can I use 行っている間(に) in the sense of a habitual action?

Knowing that 行く is punctual, stative, and a motion verb, I also know that, 日本に行っている means "I/he/she have gone to Japan (and am still there)" rather than "I am currently going to Japan." I also feel ...
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Is this は or はいる: ~わかってはいるものの

たばこは体に悪いとわかってはいるものの、なかなかやめられない。 If it's は, does omitting は change the meaning in verb-te~はいる? And also, could you talk about what いる is doing? If it's はいる, in what sense would you describe はいる's ...