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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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i-adjectives used as na-adjectives: is there a difference? (e.g. 大きい versus 大きな)

There are at the very least several i-adjectives can be used as na-adjectives by dropping the final い and adding な in its place. The most common examples of this, as far as I am aware, are 大きい and 小さい,...
16
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4answers
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Difference between そうです、 ようです and らしいです.

Here are the example sentences. デイビットは料理が上手そうです。 デイビットは料理が上手なようです。 デイビットは料理が上手らしいです。 Firstly, what does デイビット mean as based on reading alone its sounds like 'debit' to me which is a strange name ...
18
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5answers
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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 conclusion. ...
14
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1answer
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「どこでもある」と「どこにもある」の使い分け

I have come across this sentence: 一九七0年頃までは、どこでも銭湯がありましたが、今は、少なくなりました。 Why does it say どこでも X がある instead of どこにも X がある I understand that で and に are very similar as they have ties in the past, ...
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2answers
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What's the difference between「~と言いました」and「~と言っていました」?

「~と言{い}いました」and「~と言{い}っていました」 basically the difference between します and しています.
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3answers
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Can 「XければXほどY」 clause pattern be shortened to 「XほどY」?

There is a clause pattern 「XければXほどY」. For example, 「近【ちか】ければ近【ちか】いほど便【べん】利【り】」 which means something like "the nearer it is, the more convenient it will be". Can I shorten the clause to 「近【ちか】いほど便【べん】...
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2answers
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Can't に always replace へ?

Me and the particle へ don't get along. It's not that we don't like each other, it's that we don't get each other. I'm in a pretty committed relationship with に. I mean, I think I understand what へ ...
14
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2answers
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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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2answers
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How does this ように work?

今年も良い年でありますように! I hope you have another good year! What is going on exactly where the ように means hope? Does the よう derive from a verb? I would also like to know how to describe this word in the ...
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2answers
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In front of “ほうがいい,” is it always past tense?

ほうがいい means: the particular way "ほう" is "が" good "いい" So, for example, if it looks like it's going to rain, I might say to a friend: "今日は雨らしい。傘を持った方がいい。" But what I'm curious is, why is "持った" ...
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1answer
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Past Unreal Conditional

After my first question was answered so beautifully, I would like to ask some more. :D I wanted to know how to use conditionals for events in the past, like: "If I had saved my money, I would be rich ...
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1answer
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Understand the difference between [dictionary/ない + ようとする] and [volitional + にする]

I have come across a couple of concepts that seem relatively similar, but I would like an understanding on their differences, if any. The first is the dictionary/ない form + ようとする. And the other is the ...
12
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2answers
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Zero-nominalisation - Why and When?

Building on from Zhen Lin's answer to "The grammar of ~かれ~かれ", Brief explanation of Zero-nominalisation: Nominalisation refers to the process of turning a word, or more generally a phrase, into a ...
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4answers
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How does the use of いかんによっては in this question determine one answer over another?

In my JLPT practise book, in a section explaining the use of いかんによっては, which roughly means "depending on", they have the following question: 学生{がくせい}:先生{せんせい}、台風{たいふう}が近{ちか}づいていますね。明日{あした}のゼミは休講{...
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3answers
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Meaning of pattern 「XがXなら、YもYだ」

While reading, I came across this sentence: 「上官が上官なら部下も部下だな」 What does this 「XがXなら、YもYだ」 pattern mean? "Like X, like Y"? "X will be X, and Y will be Y"?
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2answers
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Proper form of なさる - なさります or なさいます

In Genki II (second ed.), page 168 we are given polite forms of some verbs, among them する with なさる. They have also written that some of them have irregular conjugations in long forms, among them なさる, ...
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2answers
193 views

Can を used with だ/です

I came across the following passage in a mystery manga. The main character is explaining that the as of yet unknown criminal intentionally made the listener think that Kimisawa was the criminal (...
19
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2answers
601 views

When does a suru-noun require し in front of a purposive-に?

According to Chocolate's comment to a question, some suru-nouns can be followed by the purposive に directly, but others require (the stem of) する in between.  面会しに行く  面会に行く  料理しに行く × 料理に行く ...
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1answer
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What does のですが mean in the following sentence?

焼き鳥屋さんで集まったのですが、とても楽しい、かつ有意義な時間を過ごしました。
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4answers
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なんか after て- form of a verb

I am confused by the use of なんか, especially after the て-form of a verb. What do: あきらめてなんかない, 消えてなんかない mean? How do they differ from simply saying あきらめていない, 消えていない? What is the purpose of なんか?
12
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2answers
378 views

How does one use the “[V ます stem] に [Vタ]” pattern (as in 待ちに待った)?

Every now and then I hear 待ちに待った, as in: 待ちに待ったライブ a long-awaited concert I started wondering if this pattern can apply to other verbs, and it certainly seems to, if Google is any indication. I ...
9
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1answer
321 views

Use of とは when there doesn't seem to be comparison

I've seen とは used for the first time and understand from the explanation given on this question, What are the uses of に and とは in this sentence? that とは is (or at least in one specific type of context)...
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2answers
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<動詞の辞書形> + がよい ― How is this allowed?

I've come across this form many times in my Japanese Bible. The meaning is quite obvious based on context, and seems to be one of the following: ~べきです, ~ほうがいい, ~なさい, or ~ように (let it be ~). Here are ...
9
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1answer
201 views

What does the に do in 表情から察するに?

その表情から察するに魔剣を所持している人は少ないみたいだ。 I'm having trouble figuring out what に does here. Does it have the same meaning as と?
9
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1answer
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思っている/言っている with third person subject?

So i was reading A dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, and in the part where it explains the uses of いる as an auxiliary verb after て、 it says something like that: "(...) Also, verbs like 言う and 思う ...
4
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1answer
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Using i-adjective color words

Why is the sentence 「車はあかです。」 not 「車はあかいです。」? Since 「あかい」 is an i-adjective.
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2answers
247 views

Grammatical name of the form used before -て, -たり, -た, -たら?

I'm looking for the Japanese name of the specific verbal form used before -て, -たり, -た, -たら: verb → 連用形 ren.yōkei → XXXX → + -て, -たり, -た, -たら 書く → 書き → 書い → 書いて, 書いたり, ...
3
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1answer
442 views

Use of も with counter

The writer is complaining that men are useless at cooking. They burn pans, they make more mess than is necessary and: ...、何枚も皿をつかう、... I can't fully understand this construction. I know the ...
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1answer
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Ending sentence with ~だもの or ~ですもの

I've been listening songs and anime dialogues that end sentences with ~もの or even cuter version ~もん for so long that I am able to see how the word denotes reasons or excuses like: おなか空いたもん (when ...
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2answers
523 views

Is the grammar of 心の冷たい人 idiomatic?

The phrase 心の冷たい人 (which is given by Japanese-English dictionary on OS X) looks wrong to me, but given that it's an example in a respected dictionary and confirmed by tens of thousands of Google hits, ...
7
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1answer
746 views

The use of でも and ででも in this sentence

A: あ……えっと……何か手伝うことは、ありますか? B: ん? あぁ、この辺はドシロウトにできるこっちゃないからな。 邪魔にならねぇように先にメシでも食って、後は舞台袖ででも大人しくしてな Pretty much in general でも and ても don't sit well in my mind. There have been a lot of times I see ...
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1answer
460 views

Contraction of ~てるのか

伸ばしてんのか?髪。。。 I was under the impression that the て form followed by ん was a contraction of ~てるの. However, in this sentence we have a のか following it. The のか sounds like it's supposed to nominalize ...
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1answer
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Use of く-form over くて in an い-adjective

何事も最初は難しく、やがてやさしくなる。 All things are difficult before they are easy. I've never seen an い-adjective used in this way (難しく). Would using 難しくて (which is what I would have used) change the meaning of ...
7
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1answer
752 views

Is it true that only movement verbs can take [V-stem]に to express a purpose?

I decided to split this into a thread by itself because I was afraid of cramming too much into the first thread. Is it true that only movement verbs can take [V-stem]に to express a purpose? Will it ...
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1answer
409 views

Why can は and を sometimes be used interchangeably?

For example: 肉は食べますが、すしを食べません。
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1answer
211 views

Use of quote marker と before unusual verbs

I'm happy with the purpose of と when it precedes verbs like 言う、聞く、思う etc. The following sentence puzzles me: おじいさんは「雀は大丈夫かな。」と、大変がっかりしました。 I understand that the man feels disappointed and wonders ...
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1answer
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上手ではありません or 上手じゃありません

I've read somewhere that to say you are not good at something say for example Japanese language, you use: 日本語は上手ではありません but can I also use: 日本語は上手じゃありません Is there anything wrong with this? ...
3
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1answer
171 views

Meaning of ように in this sentence

吉野家は「私たちが出した広告ではありません」と話しています。そして、うその広告に書いてあるアドレスにメールを送らないように言っています。 Yoshinoya say that "It's not an advert that we put out". And, they are saying it so that you don't send mail to the address that ...
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3answers
167 views

How is the subject of this subclause made clear?

For full context: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/k10011229751000/k10011229751000.html The sentence in question: このほか、体につけると普通の30%ぐらいの力で重い物を持つことができる機械もあります。 => "In addition, there were also machines ...
2
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1answer
278 views

Meaning of でも or ちょうだい in テレビでも見てちょうだい

Two kids are playing 'house' ままごと. The speaker is happy. The person she is speaking to has just suggested that it's pointless. 「まったくおとうさんは現実的なんだから。さあ、テレビでも見てちょうだい。ほら、キンちゃんがでてるわよ」 Good grief, it's ...
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4answers
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でも (demo) versus けど (kedo) to mean “but”

I learned that you can use でも (demo) at the beginning of a sentence to mean "but," and that you can use けど (kedo) at the end of a sentence to mean "though." However, I don't see a difference between ...
35
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4answers
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What is the meaning of 「読むには読んだ」?

I have the following sentence and I can't find any material pointing out the usage of this grammar. 薦められた本を読むには読んだが、よく理解できなかった。 In general, what is the usage of 「VるにはVた」?
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When do you use するには as opposed to するため(には) to mean “in order to”?

I keep having するため(には) corrected to するには when writing sentences, but how interchangeable are they and when should each be used? Taking some Japanese sentences from Space ALC with my own English ...
23
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1answer
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What exactly is a “taru adjective”

On the talk page of the Wikipedia article on "Japanese adjectives", user Dougalg suggested nearly two years ago: I know these are falling out of use, but still exist. If anyone can give an ...
14
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1answer
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Habitual aspect

My (poor) understanding of things is that there are two ways to get habitual semantics in Japanese: use the dictionary form of the verb: 毎日、映画{えいが}を見に行く "I go to the movies every day." use the -...
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1answer
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What's the difference between 歩んでいった and 歩んできた?

私はまっすぐな人生を歩んできた。 私はまっすぐな人生を歩んでいった。 Could someone explain to me the difference between the two? Thanks a lot! Edit: I still find ていった confusing even after reading the other post. So ...
16
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3answers
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How do ことになる and ようになる differ? (When ことになる cannot = “It has been decided that”)

I understand that ことになる has the meaning "It has been decided that" and can be used to point to a ritual or habit of a society like taking off your shoes. However, I don't get what it means when it is ...
13
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2answers
7k views

Passive vs. active form of verb (past) What is the difference?

I was wondering what the difference is if I use passive form or active form of a verb. For example: ネズミは猫に食べられた。The mouse was eaten by the cat. 猫は、ネズミを食べた。The cat ate the mouse. What EXACTLY is ...
16
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2answers
7k views

What is 〜からです and when is it used? How does it differ from 〜ですから and 〜んです?

I have seen this expression a few times, and have never quite understood it. In particular, it seems to be equatable both to ですから and to んです, but I can't figure out where it would be used over either ...
15
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2answers
2k views

Is there a difference between んがため and ために?

My JLPT textbook has a section about the use of んがため, which they define as "making an effort in order to realize the intended purpose." Which to me sounds like plain ol' ために. For example, they have ...