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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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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ねば in 食べねば; relation between ねば and なければ

I would like to know a bit more about the "ねば" grammatical construction. Every now and then, I hear people say sentences like 東京に行かねばならぬ 粘々丼を食べねば倒れる なんとかせねばいい It's quite clear that ねば ...
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How does -ki form of i-adjectives work? (e.g. 愛しき)

In one of the Bleach anime ending songs, "Hanabi" has the following line: 繋ぎゆく この想い 愛しき 君 "itoshiki" seems to come from "itoshii", but how does this -ki form of i-adjective work? I found a few ...
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Particles following ところ (に, を, and で)

料理をしているところに電話がかかってきて困った。 デートをしているところを友だちに見られてしまった。 電車に乗ったところで今日は祝日だと気づいた。 In the above sentences, what decide the particle following ところ? They all seem to indicate a happening during/while ...
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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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Looking for an explanation of the usage "あったものじゃない”

I'm looking for an explanation of the usage "あったものじゃない”. 例文 1)ムードも何もあったものじゃありませんね (context:Girlfriend and boyfriend were out on a date and the boyfriend's stomach made a large noise because he ...
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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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How to use the inflection “やがる”?

こんなくそみたいな帽子{ぼうし}かぶせやがって! "こんな仕事{しごと}させやがって!" "こんなまずいものを食{く}わせやがって!" "あいつは本当{ほんとう}に良{い}いものを作{つく}りやがる" I was recently acquainted with the inflection "やがる," as illustrated in the ...
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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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Is 寝る a stative or active verb?

Looking at past questions I am still confused with the answers given: The answer to this post suggests that 寝る is a continuation of some state. 昨日も全然寝てない。 Yesterday I didn't sleep at all. ...
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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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Dictionary form of verb followed by に

I've recently begun noticing that occasionally I'll see a dictionary form of the verb followed by the particle に, for example: 1.)まだ学校へ行くには早い時間です。 It's still too early to go to school. I've been ...
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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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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 are the grammar rules behind this clause, 「才能があろうがなかろうが」?

才能があろうがなかろうが、そんなもん他人が決める事じゃない。どこの部に所属するかなんぞ俺が決める事だ I'm asking about the bolded clause. This is casual dialogue, in case there's any confusion about that. I don't normally put Japanese through Google ...
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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 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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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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How ~てある and ~ておいた differs?

晩ご飯が作ってある Dinner has been made. (intentional) 晩ご飯を作っておいた. (I) made dinner (so I can eat it). They seem quite the same. Btw what are some cases in which -てあった are used? I can't recreate one.
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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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Masu stem to connect sentences

When using masu-stem to connect sentences, is the short form for shimashita = shi? 昨日無事に大学を卒業しました。日曜日に国へ帰ります。 = 昨日無事に大学を卒業し、日曜日に国へ帰ります。 Is his correct?
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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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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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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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Can a noun + suru have an adjective modify the noun as well?

”I did some difficult studying last night." Could I say, "昨夜、難しい勉強しました。”? Basically, my question is: can an adjective, relative clause, or adjectival phrase modify a noun that has する attached, for ...
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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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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 ...
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でありません(でない) vs ではありません(ではない) vs でもありません(でもない)

でありません (でない) ではありません (ではない) でもありません (でもない) Can anyone tell me the differences between these three? And in what kinds of context would people use these three?
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Is saying 「XはYは…」 acceptable?

In いっすんぼうし, a very popular fairy tale, this line appears: だいじんは からだは ちいさいけれど げんきな いっすんぼうしを たいそう きにいり じぶんの いえで はたらかせることにしました。 Is 「だいじんは からだは」 grammatically correct? What would be done to make ...
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Is there a difference between 最高の and 最高な?

A dictionary lists 最高 as being both a no-adjective and na-adjective. I've also seen other examples of this. However, is there a difference between using it either form since they're both attached to ...
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What is being abbreviated as っちゃあ in 「忙しいっちゃあ忙しいけど…」?

I see the pattern [Adj1]っちゃあ[Adj1](けど) relatively often, and I know that I've learned it before... I even know what it means. ...but what is it an abbreviation of? It is an abbreviation of something, ...
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Using も in place of を

I'm currently trying to get back into studying Japanese. I want to take the JLPT N3 this summer. To get myself in the mode for this I am first looking at the N4 tests on the JLPT website. The ...
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What does 「VほうもVほうだ」 mean?

I've noticed a grammar pattern recently: 「V方{ほう}もV方{ほう}だ」. From what I can tell, it always repeats the same verb twice, and it seems like ほう is often written in kana: 行くほうも行くほうだ And if it's a する ...
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Why でも is used rather than も in this sentence?

もし時間がないなら、明日でもいいよ。Why is the particle で used? With time expressions the で particle expresses time limit. So it's weird to see the で with 明日. 明日もいいよ seems better(?). でも here can be the "even though/...
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Embedded question followed by と

What is the grammar behind the use of the quote marker と in this sentence? 雨がいつ降るかと大変楽しみにしていましたが、なかなか雨が降りません。 He was looking forward to when the rain would come, but... Can I also write ...
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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 ...
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~ましょうか vs ~ませんか

I have been working on these types of sentences, but I am having trouble figuring out the difference between: In this context it is an invitation to go eat. [食]{た}べましょうか。 and [食]{た}べませんか。 ...
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What does ため do in this sentence?

ダンジョンへもぐる時点でサポーターも等しく危険に晒されているため、一概にはそう言えない筈なのだが、リリは訂正することなく持論を続ける。 I'm not sure how to interpret ため in that part of the sentence. Does it still mean for the sake of? Thanks!
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Meaning of と in 友蔵が出おくれまいと言いそえた

「わしもじゃ」 友蔵が出おくれまいと言いそえた。 "Me too" added Tomozou, not wanting to get a late start. So I eventually figured out that まい was negative volitional (I hope I'm right) then got stuck thinking that と was ...
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Meaning of 「半日相撲をとりつづけに取ったら…」

夏目漱石の「坊っちゃん」から 大工の兼公【かねこう】と肴屋【さかなや】の角【かく】をつれて、茂作【もさく】の人参畠【にんじんばたけ】をあらした事がある。人参の芽が出揃【でそろ】わぬ処【ところ】へ藁【わら】が一面に敷【し】いてあったから、その上で三人が半日[相撲]【すもう】をとりつづけに取ったら、人参がみんな踏【ふ】みつぶされてしまった。 Regarding the phrase in ...
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The difference between くらい and ほど in hyperbole

The following two sentences, I believe, are grammatically okay, however I'm not sure on how they differ in nuance. もう歩けないほど疲れた! (もうあるけないほどつかれた) もう歩けないくらい疲れた! (もうあるけないくらいつかれた) Additionally, why is it ...
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Positioning of quantities (using counters)

Example 1 ビール一杯を飲む 一杯のビールを飲む ビールを一杯飲む Example 2 ネジ2本を取り付ける 2本のネジを取り付ける ネジを2本取り付ける Is there any difference between the above examples with the positioning of the quantity?
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The differences between ~がたい、〜にくい、〜づらい

I was wondering what the differences are between these three: ~がたい、〜にくい、〜づらい They all seem to be some sort of variant of "Hard to do ~". But it seems they are used with different verbs and/or imply ...
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What are the differences between 〜ので and 〜から?

When I was studying this, my 先生 kind of brushed over the point, and then years later, I realize that they are different, but I don't know exactly how. The only thing I understand is that ので is more ...
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だって (datte) meaning

What are the possible uses for だって?