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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3
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1answer
576 views

Volitional + と in ひとまず心を落ち着けようと、[…]

ひとまず心を落ち着けようと、飲みかけのオレンジジュースに手を伸ばす。 Please help. I came across this line and I don't really understand use of と here. How exactly does と work here?
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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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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, ...
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775 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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What are the functions of というのは, かというと and がですね in this sentence?

その場面というのはどういった場面かというと、ナチスの兵士がですね、ユダヤ人を職業別で分けていきます。 Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xs-XWk_oQA 0:55 Translation from subtitles: There’s a scene where the Nazi’s are separating the ...
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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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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 ...
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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? ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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what is the difference between ごとに and おきに?

Both ごとに and おきに appear to mean "repeatedly at intervals". What is the difference between these two expressions?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Difference between 書かないようになった and 書かなくなった?

Example sentences: ぜんぜん長い手紙を書かないようになった。 ぜんぜん長い手紙を書かなくなった。 My Translation: I never write long letters anymore. I believe they both mean the same thing but there's obviously some difference I don'...
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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 ...
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Usage of doubled non-past tense “た”

I've recently been noticing some patterns which look like two repeated past-tense verbs, but I think which indicate a command rather than the past tense. For example: さあ、行った行った。 "Get along with ...
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The uses & etymology of で

In Japanese, the particle で seems to have multiple uses: Instrumental: 車{くるま}で大阪{おおさか}に行{い}った。 "I went to Osaka by car." Locative: 図書館{としょかん}で数学{すうがく}を勉強{べんきょう}している。 "I'm studying math in the library....
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Does ところを always mean the same thing as のに? What is the difference between ところへ and ところに?

One of my JLPT books, 総まとめ文法N2, uses the following examples to explain the grammar pattern ところだ: お忙{いそが}しいところをすみません。(=忙{いそが}しいのに) → I am sorry to bother you at this busy time. 会{あ}いたいと思{おも}...
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In what situations can you use ぞ as a sentence ender

When can one use the sentence ender ぞ? I've only ever heard it anime, so I'm unsure of it's actual usage in the real world. Is it not used that often or limited to specific age/gender groups?
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Expressing a regretful wish

What is a good way to express a wish about something that won't or is unlikely to happen? For example: I wish I were tall enough to be allowed on that roller coaster. I wish I could eat that ...
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Varying word order for stylistic effect

Sometimes, for stylistic or rhetorical effect, one wants to delay mentioning a word/concept until the end of a sentence. For example, it's often best to save the punchline for the very end: I was ...
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2answers
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What is the meaning and application of ren'youkei?

My knowledge about ren'youkei is limited to "tabe is the ren'youkei of taberu". I would like to know what the meaning of ren'youkei is, what linguistic idea lies behind this term and for what it is ...
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In what way is the negative form of a verb an adjective?

I was reading the wikipedia page on "predicate," where it mentioned that in Japanese, the negative form of a verb is an adjective. I thought that this was too expansive a statement to be true, but ...
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Meaning of 寝てない

昨日{きのう}も全然{ぜんぜん}寝{ね}てない。* Yesterday I didn't sleep at all. Is it 寝る in て-form followed by ある in negative form? Or a contraction of 寝ていない? Also, why is it not in past form? I thought one should ...
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What is the difference in terms of grammar between きり and っぱなし?

I'm pretty sure there is a difference between the use of these two words. I came across the example sentences: 息子は、自分の部屋に入ったきり出てこない。 母は入院している父をつきっきりで看病している。 電車が混んでいて、東京まで立ちっぱなしだった。 I ...
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Why don't we use ~なくて instead of ~ないで?

Background In my understanding that might be wrong, I think the ~ない form of a verb becomes an i-adjective. For example, 納{なっ}豆{とう}を食{た}べない人{ひと}が多{おお}いです。 where 納{なっ}豆{とう}を食{た}べない modifies 人{ひと}. ...
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How can I come to terms with the animate/inanimate distinction in Japanese?

According to this answer, "This made me laugh" would translate literally into Japanese as: これが僕{ぼく}を笑{わら}わせた。 However, the same answer explains that this would be an odd thing to say in Japanese, ...
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What does “nanode” mean? What are its grammatical rules?

What's the meaning of this sentence and what does なので mean here? If possible, I would like to know the grammatical rules of なので as well. 英語と日本語なので私にとっても良い勉強になります。
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What is the function of と when it's not quoting, or doing exhaustive listing?

Consider these two sentences:  (1) 母はついてくるようにアリスに合図した (Mother signaled to Alice to follow her)  (2) 父は手で私に部屋を出ていくようにと合図した。 (Father gestured to me to go out of the room) And another sentence ...
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What's the difference between ~てある and ~た (past form)?

As I understand it てある is rather different to ている in that it refers to a resultant state rather than an ongoing action. However I wonder, what then is the practical difference between a resultant ...
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When is と added to onomatopoeia?

While at first I believed it was simply bound to each individual word, I've noticed that the same onomatopoeic word sometimes has と after it and sometimes it doesn't. Here's a case I stumbled upon: ...
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Is this って equivalent to 「と」?

Is the って in the following sentence equivalent to 「と」 as in AはBと変わる/違う? 昔から好きな曲って変わらないみたい。 My favourite songs have not changed for many years. Does this mean it is equivalent to the と used ...
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Correct use of かけて

I'm confused by the use of かける in the sentence : 雑誌の占いコーナーを読んでいたら、「日本人は占いが好きです」と、外国人の友達が話しかけてきた。 I thought かける was used to express an activity on going, which gets interrupted by something else. eg ...
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て form and adverbial meaning

While reading I sometimes come across some sentences like 包丁を使ってたまねぎを切った。  Where 使って is word just like an adverb which modifies 切る. So I looked up a little more about the Te form and I ...
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What exactly is this でね construction?

The following dialogue is from the video game Final Fantasy VI: 宿屋{やどや}の[親父]{おやじ}は、[余所者]{よそもの}が[嫌]{きら}いでね。 I think I understand this sentence. It means something like "the old man at the inn ...
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Use of なんと to begin a phrase, but not as a question

学校は創立一年目にして、なんと天文部が存在していたんですよ in the first year the school was established, (なんと?) the astronomy club existed. what purpose is it serving here?
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Syntax and peculiarities of this sentence/text

2) For full context, see the following document: https://www.docdroid.net/6ruXJ6r/img-20170802-0002-new.pdf This excerpt was taken from line 8-10: イギリスの少女はキノコ雲をかき、「科学者は時にダメージを与える」、...
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ですら・でも・さえ・だろう(と/が)。 Are there any differences?

I am just wondering if anyone can explain the differences between these in terms of nuances. When I say nuances, can you give examples of whether one is for more polite situations, or whether one is ...
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349 views

Meaning of 誰もいはしない in this sentence

どうせ誰もいはしないと高をくくっていたところもある。 This one's throwing me for a bit of a loop. The translation says "He also didn't really take the possibility of anyone being there seriously." It makes sense to me except ...
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「」 don't seem to be 'quotation marks' in news article titles, what do they mean?

A recent headline: 「レッドブル」飲んだ米国人「死亡報道」で大騒ぎ 日本のまとめサイト「デマ情報」に引っかかり、相次ぎ「謝罪」 Can someone help me understand how this works? 「」=Is this a quotation mark? I can't understand what modifies what.
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Does the 助動詞「ます」 still have a 連体形 in modern Japanese?

Does the 助動詞「ます」 have a 連体形? According to 大辞林, it's ます, and I see the old forms ます/まする on 学研全訳古語辞典. However, in the comments on this question, Darius Jahandarie wrote the following: @snailplane ...
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Commas and relative clauses

Can't find rules on how commas work with relative clauses. Paragraph [click for full text] すると石の下から斜{はす}に自分の方へ向いて青い茎{くき}が伸びて来た。見る間に長くなってちょうど自分の胸のあたりまで来て留まった。と思うと、すらりと揺{ゆら}ぐ茎{くき}の頂{いただき}に、心持首を傾{かたぶ}...
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What is the difference between 忘れないで and 忘れるなよ?

These two forms, ~ないで and the ~な particle seem to have similar meanings. Can someone please explain the difference between the two?
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Purpose of ~とは in 「あなたにとって仕事とはなんでしょうか」

あなたにとって仕事【しごと】とはなんでしょうか What is the purpose of とは above? Would using は alone have been any different? If とは is a grammatical construct, I would appreciate additional examples clarifying its ...