Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

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.

13
votes
2answers
443 views

Conflict among teachings of なら and ば

I recently read a helpful answer on a question asking for clarification on the ways to say "if" in Japanese: と, たら, なら, ば. The link is here: Differences among -たら、なら、-んだったら、-えば, etc According to the ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

how do we tell if ばかり means “about” or “only” ?

If ばかり could mean approximately; about; and could also mean only; merely; nothing but;, then how should we know if this sentence 5000円ばかりもっている。 means: 1) I have about 5000 yen. or 2) I have only ...
13
votes
1answer
864 views

What grammatical function is や performing here?

それで何だっけ? 昨日の夜の話 全然覚えてないや 「電話が鳴って君からだってわかったら 急に変な気分になったんだ。」 This is an excerpt of lyrics from Indigo la End's song 彼女の相談. I can't figure out what function the や in line 3 performs. Does ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

what does しにみえてる mean?

The phrase in question is: 広瀬さんが指導碁をお願いしにみえてるんだけど  In context, I think it means something like "Hirose-san came to ask for a teaching game, but..." but I still have not been able to break down my ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

why is it that some 形容動詞 accepts の after it while some only accepts な after it?

why is it that some 形容動詞 accepts の after it while some only accepts な after it? Examples: の only: 普通、大勢 な or の: 初心、特別、特殊 Is there a way for us to tell if a 形容動詞 needs a の or な particle after it....
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Difference between てもいい and ていい?

寝ていい? I've learned that to ask permission for doing something, you needed to use ~てもいい but the more I read japanese, the more I come across ~ていい. What is the difference ? Is the latter a colloquial ...
13
votes
1answer
603 views

How to parse 中国人で日本語が話せる方は、お電話ください。

I have a difficulty to parse the following sentence. 中国人で日本語が話せる方は、お電話ください。 I just understood the following partial phrases. 中国人で means "with Chinese" 日本語が話せる方 means "person who can speak ...
13
votes
1answer
617 views

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 ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the difference between 広める 広げる and 広まる 広がる?

I find the difference between 「広める (他動詞) 広げる (他動詞)」 and between 「広まる (自動詞) 広がる (自動詞)」 to be complicated. Can someone explain?
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Is 「でいい」 the same as 「でもいい」?

For example in the sentence: 書くだけでいいですか.
13
votes
1answer
3k views

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。
13
votes
2answers
5k views

Difference between volitional +と思う and volitional+ と思っている

I've looked around the site for anything related but i couldn't find any clues. My take at it is that using the volitional form with と思う you're expressing your plans in the near future as in ...
13
votes
2answers
624 views

Choice of tense with そばから

When using そばから in the sense of "as soon as", everything I find says that you can use either た form/past tense before it, or dictionary form, but not what the difference is. Sometimes people even use ...
13
votes
4answers
5k views

The という in things like 〜ということ・〜というの・〜という感じ・〜というわけ etc

I have been trying for ages to understand the reason という is used so frequently. In other words, what does it add to the sentence and what connotations does it have in Japanese? I understand the ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between 残念ながら and 残念なことに

I hear both 残念ながら and 残念なことに when expressing that something was unfortunate before the actual sentence, much like the English "Unfortunately, ...". However, I'm not sure on where these two phrases ...
13
votes
2answers
996 views

て versus combining-form for joining clauses

Is there a difference between these two sentences 昨日はビールを飲んでパイを食べました。 昨日はビールを飲みパイを食べました。 More generally, when should I choose one form over the other? Thanks.
13
votes
1answer
559 views

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: ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Origin of ~なければ ならない

The expression ~なければ ならない if I learned correctly means "must not not do ..." as in: 日本語を勉強しなければなりません。 You must not not learn Japanese. (i.e. you need to learn Japanese) However, taken on face value ...
13
votes
2answers
919 views

The nuance of ことなく compared with ないで

What nuance does "ことなく" have? If we compare the following two sentences: (For example, at a footrace:) 最後まで、あきらめないで走ります! vs 最後まで、あきらめることなく、走ります! Is ことなく stronger than simply saying ないで? Does ことなく ...
13
votes
1answer
8k views

ぜ at the end of sentence?

What's the meaning of ぜ at the end of sentence? Is ぜ a particle? What's the difference between: おい、逃{に}げるぜ。 and おい、逃{に}げる。 I found a couple of explanations on the web but none I could fully ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

How to use 〜かのよう{に・な・だ}

I understand fine how to use 〜(の)よう{に・な・だ}, but I'm not sure when or how you can add in the か. Here's an example from my book: 4月になって雪が降るなんて、まるで冬が戻って来たかのようです。 How is this different than if it had ...
13
votes
2answers
977 views

What is the subject when time passes in a narrative (eg 1ヶ月を経る)

(This might be a quick easy question but sometimes the answers to these are unexpected.) What is the subject in the following sentences? I've given my best efforts for the examples 1-4 below. (I am ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Difference between 向かう, 向く, 向ける

From my understanding 向ける is transitive and means to face/turn something towards something. 安藤は日本国内から世界に目を向けたのです。 -Andou turned his eyes from inside Japan to the world. 向く on the other hand ...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

usage of「ご迷惑をおかけ・・・」variants for a business apology

I have to apologize for a procedural error at work, and am unsure about selecting the right form of apology from the variants of 「ご迷惑をおかけ・・・」: 1.「ご迷惑【めいわく】をおかけして申【もう】し訳【わけ】ございません。」 2.「ご迷惑【めいわく】...
13
votes
1answer
3k views

あまり meaning “too much”

When using あまり in the sense of "too much" (as opposed to "not very"), until recently I had always seen it as あまりにもA, with A being the thing that there was too much of. I never really tried to relate ...
13
votes
7answers
1k views

How does the present tense work in a relative clause?

そんなわけで、まだ日も暮れない夕方の通学路を、駅に向かってゆっくりと歩く俺と加藤。 I encountered this quote in a light novel and am stuck on how to interpret it. It feels like 歩く should be "walking" in this context, but it is not 歩いている. The ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

How does the particle を relate to the verb 行く in the structure「A を + B に行く」?

I came across this sentence in my japanese practicing material (the point is I didn't make up the sentence so I assume it's correct or at least commonly used) 日本についてのアンケートを中国人100人に行った。 and It doesn'...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Is a palindrome a thing?

A palindrome is a word or phrase that is the same backwards and forwards, such as "Bob", "aibohphobia" or "A man, a plan, a canal: Panama." In English, as well as many other languages, this is a ...
12
votes
3answers
13k views

What's the difference between でしょうか and ですか at the end of a question?

I am having a little trouble understanding the nuance of でしょうか in comparison to ですか. People say it makes it more hesitant and polite, but that doesn't explain the nuance enough for me. Why would you ...
12
votes
4answers
899 views

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{...
12
votes
3answers
6k views

~ておく or ~とく for preparation (conjugation and nuance)

A few quick questions regarding ~ておく and the casual form ~とく Firstly, when changing from ~ておく to the more casual ~とく I'm assuming the verb is first conjugated to the ~て form then the ~て is dropped ...
12
votes
3answers
453 views

心配でたまらず - what is the verb and its form?

Could someone explain the grammar/words behind this and similar phrases? I did some research and probably found the explanation, but I am not sure if this is correct. The phrase may be found in a ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

What does 食べたいものを好きなだけ食べる mean?

食べたいものを好きなだけ食べる seems to be weird for me because in my understanding this sentence mean I just eat the food I like from the food that I want to eat The complete sentence is as follows. ...
12
votes
2answers
848 views

Why is を used in this situation? 私は先生がネコを好きだと思います

私は先生がネコを好きだと思います Why を and not が twice?
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What is a subsidiary verb?

What is a subsidiary verb? Could one explain it and give some examples of its application?
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How to say regrets [I should not have X]

How in the world does this: 晩ご飯を食べるんじゃなかった。 translate as "I should not have eaten breakfast"? This roughly translates as "It was not that I eat breakfast."
12
votes
2answers
712 views

Do “direct object を” and “directional を” occupy the same slot?

A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (ADoBJG) lists more than one を particle. In particular: On page 347, it lists o1, a particle which marks a direct object. On page 349, it lists o2, a particle ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Range of numbers

How would one express a range of numbers regarding an action? Example: I usually study anywhere between 2 to 4 hours a day. Would the からーまで grammar structure be appropriate here? 一日に普段2から4時間までを勉強する。...
12
votes
3answers
703 views

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"?
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you say “if and only if” in Japanese?

I would like to know how to express mandatory conditions in Japanese. Since Japanese distinguishes between different types of languages, I should probably ask more precisely: What is the right way to ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

What's the meaning of 〜ておきます?

What exactly does 〜ておきます mean in this context? 旅行{りょこう}する前{まえ}にホテルを予約{よやく}しておきます。 Is this trying to say something like "Before traveling, reserve a room". Is this a suggestion? An order? (If so, why ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

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
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a difference between からすると and からして?

These two phrases seem to have very similar usage and I'm unable to determine the difference between them. The examples I have are: 彼は服装からしてだらしない。きっと他の面も同じだろう。 kare ha fukusou karashite ...
12
votes
2answers
318 views

Is there a subtle difference between 少なくても and 少なくとも?

My sense is that the meaning is identical but that 少なくとも is somewhat more formal than 少なくても. Is that observation valid?
12
votes
1answer
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 ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

「とおり」と「ように」の違いは何ですか

I have a question about the difference between とおり and ように. 先生が言ったように、試験は難しかった 先生が言ったとおり、試験は難しかった
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What does it mean when この is in front of a personal pronoun?

As in このオレさま and この僕も. I know the literal translation, but I never understood what the intent of it is.
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Do all verbs have an honorific and humble form?

I was reading about this phenomenon in a few places and saw, for instance, this table of transformations and substitutions for various verbs. Is it only these common verbs which change, or do all ...