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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
191 votes
5 answers
40k views

What's the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)?

When is it correct to use は but not が, and when is it correct to use が but not は? Are there any times when you can use either without changing the meaning of the sentence? How does switching change ...
user avatar
  • 6,958
139 votes
6 answers
51k views

Differences among -たら、なら、-んだったら、-えば, etc

The Japanese language has a lot of patterns for "if" clauses. What are the differences among the following patterns and how do we choose to use one over the others?: 行くと 行ったら 行くなら 行けば 行くんだったら 行くのなら ...
user avatar
  • 19.2k
135 votes
9 answers
31k views

What is the こと in sentences such as あなたのことが好きだ?

There were a lot of great answers here. I gave the checkmark to ento's answer because I felt it most completely explained all aspects of this use of こと. But many of the other answers are excellent, so ...
user avatar
  • 23.1k
125 votes
1 answer
57k views

What is the difference between the nominalizers こと and の?

As Derek mentioned in his postscript, both こと and の are nominalizers that can turn a verb into a noun. ピアノを弾く【ひく】。 I play the piano. ピアノを弾く【ひく】のが好き【すき】です。 I like playing the piano. ピアノを弾く【ひく】ことが好き【すき】...
user avatar
  • 3,159
89 votes
4 answers
80k views

What is the difference between "に" and "には"?

The title should be pretty self-explanatory. What meanings does each convey? And in what kinds of circumstances would one be used instead of the other? For example, what are the differences between ...
user avatar
  • 1,715
78 votes
3 answers
12k views

When is Vている the continuation of action and when is it the continuation of state?

Last night, when I asked my wife to send an email to me, she said もう送っている which I took to mean that she was "sending the message". (The message had a big attachment so I imagined that it could take a ...
user avatar
  • 883
73 votes
3 answers
34k views

Difference between -ていく and -てくる

Can someone explain the differences between v-ていく and v-てくる for me. I know that they both express some kind of ongoing action (like a place getting crowded). For example, what's the difference between ...
user avatar
  • 6,958
72 votes
4 answers
244k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,701
67 votes
2 answers
14k views

Why does Japanese have two kinds of adjectives? (-i adjectives and -na adjectives)

Japanese has two kinds of adjectives known by several terms but the ones I know are i-adjectives and na-adjectives - why? I recall that Japanese adjectives are much more like verbs than in English ...
user avatar
  • 14.8k
65 votes
8 answers
26k views

When going somewhere, is there any difference between e (へ) and ni (に)?

Can you use へ and に interchangeably, as in: 北海道へ行く and 北海道に行く ? Are there any subtle differences in the use of these two?
user avatar
  • 6,958
61 votes
4 answers
14k views

ことができる versus V~える form

Way back in the day when I was first learning Japanese, I learned that you could add ことができる to a verb to indicate potential. Like so: 食{た}べることができる (I) can eat (something) It became my ...
user avatar
  • 24.2k
60 votes
3 answers
19k views

The difference between が and を with the potential form of a verb

When using the potential form of a verb, I was taught that the particle を becomes が. However, in real life this seems to not always be the case. I've even heard Japanese people use を instead of が ...
user avatar
  • 6,448
58 votes
6 answers
12k views

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,...
user avatar
  • 7,389
56 votes
7 answers
17k views

What is the difference between 〜となる and 〜になる?

Is it a nuance difference? Is it formality? EDIT For example: 請求書のお支払いは現金のみとなりますので、ご了承くださいませ。 請求書のお支払いは現金のみになりますので、ご了承くださいませ。 I just made that example up, but for some reason, my gut tells me it's ...
user avatar
  • 3,955
50 votes
3 answers
29k views

What's the difference between なぜ、どうして and なんで when meaning 'why'?

I've been meaning to ask this for a while. What is the difference between these 3 words. I was taught they all mean "why", but obviously, being different words they convey different nuance and would ...
user avatar
  • 6,448
44 votes
4 answers
5k views

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」?
user avatar
  • 1,161
40 votes
3 answers
13k views

Usage of なんて and なんか as emphasis

When are なんて and なんか used as emphasis in casual speech? Are they used when you're surprised, angry or can it be both? What sort of feeling does it convey to the listener compared to a normal sentence ...
user avatar
  • 6,448
39 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why is Katakana not pronounced Katagana?

I am a beginner in Japanese and I've noticed that when two words are compounded into one word the first letter of the second word changes. hira + kana = hiragana ko + hayashi = kobayashi ori + kami ...
user avatar
  • 2,222
38 votes
3 answers
27k views

Usage of commas in Japanese sentences

This might sound like a strange question, but how does the usage of commas differ when used in Japanese compared to English? I believe りんご、オレンジとバナナ wouldn't work, but that it's OK to list like りんご、...
user avatar
  • 13.3k
36 votes
3 answers
18k views

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]{ある}けないほど[疲]{つか}れた! もう歩けないくらい疲れた! Additionally, why is it that: [死]{し}...
user avatar
  • 6,448
36 votes
3 answers
14k views

Contrasting っぽい、らしい、みたい

For example, the following 3: 女っぽい (おんなっぽい) 女らしい (おんならしい) 女みたい (おんなみたい) In what situations would you use っぽい over らしい? Does っぽい have negative connotations? Are 女らしい and 女みたい interchangeable as in ...
user avatar
  • 6,448
35 votes
3 answers
11k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 6,448
33 votes
1 answer
16k views

Japanese Buts: でも, しかし, ただ, ただし, ところが, が, けど, けれど, けれども

I'm sure someone asked a similar question but I did a search and couldn't find any. Usually I just translate everything into but, but (no pun intended) I think it's about time I got into the nitty ...
user avatar
32 votes
3 answers
5k views

The reason for using 何も+negative, but 何でも+positive

In one of the Japanese classes I attended, I've been taught that while we use 「何も出来ない」to say "He cannot do anything", to say "He can do anything" we use 「何でも出来る」 instead of 「何も出来る」. Why is there a ...
user avatar
  • 19.2k
31 votes
4 answers
47k views

Difference between ために and ように

I've got a question regarding difference in usage of 辞書形+ように and 辞書形+ために with verbs' dictionary forms, i.e. 飛行機に乗り遅れないように、前日早寝したのです。 彼は質問をするために手を上げました。 The notion I get is that the first is used ...
user avatar
31 votes
4 answers
15k views

Difference between にかんして and について?

What is the difference between にかんして and について? Example usage would be much appreciated!
user avatar
  • 311
31 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why is the topic marker often used in negative statements (ではない, ~とは思わない)?

What function does は provide in statements such as 本ではない or 本だとは思わない? I notice the は after と is often left out, at least if a Google search for 思わない is any indication, but there still seems to be a ...
user avatar
  • 2,380
30 votes
5 answers
14k views

Why is it 日本語がわかります instead of 日本語をわかります?

From what I understand, は is the topic marker, が is the subject marker, and を is the object marker. One of the first sentences I learned doesn't seem to fit the rules I described above. The sentence ...
user avatar
  • 1,701
30 votes
1 answer
15k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 14.8k
29 votes
3 answers
17k views

When to use 欲しがる instead of 欲しい

When does one use 欲しがる instead of 欲しい? For example, in phrases like: 先生は野菜を食べて欲し​{いです・がっています}。 My incomplete understanding is that the がる form is more formal/polite, but it can only be used when ...
user avatar
  • 6,861
29 votes
3 answers
29k views

What's the difference between による, により and によって?

I don't understand when you use them and what the difference is between the three. For example, when you say: 火事によって多くの森林が焼けてしまった。 今回の地震による津波の心配はない。
user avatar
  • 291
28 votes
1 answer
24k views

So-called の-adjectives - how does の *really* work?

Ok, so there seems to be some controversy over whether we can really say that there are 'の-adjectives', or whether we simply use a noun in an "attributive" way (a term which I don't actually really ...
user avatar
27 votes
3 answers
72k views

だって (datte) meaning

What are the possible uses for だって?
user avatar
  • 930
27 votes
1 answer
7k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 3,955
27 votes
2 answers
3k views

Adjectives functioning both as イ- and ナ-adjective

This question has made me think about the class of adjectives, which can function both as イ- and as ナ-adjective, e.g. 大きい 大きな 小さい 小さな 真っ白い 真っ白な (etc.) 細かい 細かな 暖かい 暖かな 四角い 四角な (etc.) 柔らかい ...
user avatar
  • 47.3k
27 votes
1 answer
5k views

ないで vs なくて: combining phrases with negative verbs

Can you use 〜なくて instead of 〜ないで in the following sentence without changing the meaning? 病気になると、一切化学薬品や抗生物質を使わないで、鍼や指圧や漢方薬で直します。風邪の時は何もしないで暖かくして、寝ているだけです。 In general, what's the difference between ...
user avatar
  • 635
26 votes
3 answers
14k views

I don't understand what のも means in 生まれたのも育ったのも京都なんですよ

Here's the sentence in question: 生まれたのも育ったのも京都なんですよ I thought using の in a sentence signified possession (e.g. 私の本 [My book]). If I interpret the sentence as such, it doesn't make any sense. Then I ...
user avatar
  • 499
26 votes
7 answers
9k views

the different usages of つもり?

Hi all I understand that つもり means "intention" like say 夏休みにはゆっくり休むつもりです。 = I intend to rest during the summer vacation. But what does 分かっているつもりだ。 means? Well if I translate directly, it seems to be ...
user avatar
  • 11.6k
26 votes
5 answers
36k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,421
26 votes
3 answers
6k views

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?
user avatar
  • 10.7k
26 votes
1 answer
2k views

Particle に to enumerate things / to list items?

I encountered several sentences where に was used—from my deduction of the context—to enumerate things. For example a character about to go somewhere, checks his bag if he has everything he needs : 2:「...
user avatar
  • 273
25 votes
2 answers
7k views

The meanings of ものだ

Could someone please explain to me the different meanings that ものだ can have at the end of a sentence ? Here are some examples I understand the general meaning of, but I don't understand the logic/...
user avatar
  • 377
25 votes
1 answer
7k views

What is the meaning of りゃ in this phrase?

I came across this phrase while reading an interview. そういう時はなんて答えりゃいいんだ。 I think it means "At a time like that, such a reply/response is good." But I don't understand the usage of りゃ. I couldn't ...
user avatar
  • 1,061
25 votes
2 answers
1k views

Can we optionally include (or exclude) an を particle in between the noun of the する-verb and the する itself?

When we have a する verb (e.g. 支{し}度{たく}する、案{あん}内{ない}する、心{しん}配{ぱい}する), is it true that we could optionally insert an を particle in between the noun and the する? Because in the example sentences here and ...
user avatar
  • 11.6k
25 votes
2 answers
3k views

"太ってる猫" vs "太った猫"

I saw this sentence and its translation in a textbook 彼女は太った猫が好きじゃない。 She doesn't like fat cats I was under the impression that 「太ってる猫」 means something like “cat that is in the state of becoming ...
user avatar
  • 11.6k
25 votes
2 answers
3k views

What's the difference between くる and やってくる?

Can someone explain the nuance between them? They both mean "come", but I'm unsure of when they are interchangeable. My perception is that やってくる seems to put more emphasis on the actual action of ...
user avatar
  • 42.4k
25 votes
2 answers
5k views

Usage of ~を好き outside of embedded clauses

日本語文法の初心者です :D In general, を is not used with 好き because 好き is a na-adjective: 彼は猫が好きです。 — correct 彼は猫を好きです。 — incorrect If this part is "embedded" as a clause, を is also ...
user avatar
  • 267k
25 votes
2 answers
5k views

<adv> versus <adv>+と versus <adv>+に

I often see adverbs used in one of three ways: 1) Adverb appears in isolation in a sentence: あまり 好きじゃないんですが。 2) Adverb is followed by に 別々に お願いします。 1970年代後半、多くの罪もない日本の一般市民が 次々に 失踪した。 3) ...
user avatar
  • 1,396
25 votes
2 answers
5k views

What is the usage of 〜げ and how does it differ from 〜そう or 〜っぽい?

How do these two differ, for example: 寂しそう vs 寂しげ 楽しそう vs 楽しげ 言いたそう vs 言いたげ 大人げ vs 大人っぽい(...? Not sure if this one works.)
user avatar
  • 6,448
25 votes
2 answers
2k views

Reading (and usage) of 他: when is it 【た】, when is it 【ほか】?

他 is one of these common words that still to this day confuses me... My general assumption is that: used as a prefix, it should always be read 【た】, e.g.: 他人【たにん】 when treated as a "substantive" (...
user avatar
  • 8,929

1
2 3 4 5
158