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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9
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2answers
6k views

How is なっている different from なっていた?

I apologize if I am beating a dead horse with this question but is this correct? なっている: have (already) become as opposed to なっていた: had become so often the meaning of なっている can be thought of as ...
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Emphasis instead of negation in 「そんなバカなことはありません」

In this quote by Akihiro Miwa, 「そんな~ことはありません」 isn't used the way I'd expect it to be: 努力{どりょく}をしない人も[平等]{びょうどう}になどと、そんなバカなことはありません。 It's (extremely?) foolish to treat people who don't make an ...
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2answers
299 views

Use of に and を with 触れる

The verb 触れる challenges my concept of what を does; to mark a direct object. Consider these uses of 触れる: (人)の頬に指を触れる (Touch a finger to someone's cheek) (人)の頬に手を触れる (Touch someone's cheek with ...
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1answer
180 views

Does には in this sentence imply vagueness of the source?

This comes from a friend's post on Facebook. The situation is that my friend had injured his leg a while back, but it has since healed and he's now in for a checkup. His leg is in great condition, so ...
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337 views

Who is doing the thinking?

Observe the change: 彼女は行かないと思う。 "I think that she will not go" 彼女は行くまいと思う。 "She thinks that she will not go" 彼女は and と思う are conserved in the sentence, yet the person who is doing the ...
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1answer
156 views

Is this sentence making a comparison?

This sentence comes from my JLPT practise book: 宗教{しゅうきょう}とは何{なん}か、迷信{めいしん}とは何{なん}かを正確{せいかく}に定義{ていぎ}するのは困難{こんなん}だ。 I think it's basically saying: Things like religions and supersitions are hard ...
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1answer
334 views

How do the two ideas in this sentence come together?

I have this sentence as part of a question in my JLPT practise book: スリのグループがボスの合図{あいず}で乗客{じょうきゃく}から金{かね}を盗{ぬす}むのを目{ま}の当{あ}たりにして恐{おそ}ろしかった。 Part of the sentence means, "the pickpocket group steals ...
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How do I express sentences like: He is dying?

For instance, "He is eating" is "Kare wa tabete iru". However, "He is dying" is not "Kare wa shinde iru". Another example is "He is going to Japan" is not "Kare wa nihon ni itte iru". So if I can't ...
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How are 〜上, 〜上は and 〜上に different?

I'm wondering about these, mainly because I don't see how they change the meaning. これほど確かな証拠がある上は、Aが犯人だと認めないわけにはいかない。 Since there's such solid evidence, there's no denying that A's the culprit. [?...
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279 views

What kind of conjugation is 済{す}ませた?

This is from the anime Noir, Episode 1 starting at 23:13 at the school: [The two characters A and B are leaving the country.] A: 出国{しゅっこく}の手配{てはい}は済{す}ませた。  'I've made the arrangements to leave ...
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1answer
699 views

らしい / っぽい / みたい question: Why 黒{くろ}っぽい車{くるま} and not 黒{くろ}みたいな車{くるま}?

I'm using Nihongo So-Matome 文法{ぶんぽう} while preparing for JLPT N3, and having some issues with some of the grammar descriptions. This StackExchange answer was awesome in clearing up most of my らしい / ...
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1answer
629 views

what does 可哀想{かわいそう}でならない mean?

I came across this expression in my JPLT N2 study materials. I deciphered the parts as 可哀想{かわいそう} means pitiable, pathetic でならない means can't help feeling so does it mean "can't help feeling ...
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268 views

Dictionary entry and derived forms, were they equal at some point?

I will first state the dictionary entry, and then other formations that also yield the dictionary entry. Consider the following : 思える - to seem/appear, potential form of 思う - can think 合わせる - to ...
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1answer
577 views

Does a list using と end with が?

Asking this other question has reminded me of another confusion I often have, one of my long standing bad habits that you'd think I'd have sorted after all this time in Japan. I'm never quite sure ...
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1answer
323 views

“きのう、何をしていた。” vs. “きのう、何をした。”

What is the difference in nuance between きのう、何をしていた。 vs きのう、何をした。? To be fair, I can't really tell the difference between these two english sentences: What were you doing yesterday ? What did you do ...
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1answer
302 views

“トムと話した” vs. “トムと話し合った”

This book (Chap. 29) says that for some verbs which can be unilateral or bilateral (like 相談する, 話す, 合う), The particle と implies that the verb is shared 50/50 between the two participants (bilateral), ...
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What is the difference between “〜がる” and “〜がっている”

I want to know the difference between 〜がる and 〜がっている, and in what situations I can use them. My friend said 〜がる is used for a regular activity that someone does every day or every week, and the ...
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Does this と mean “and” or “with”?

Recenly, with Facebook's new "feed" feature, whatever the heck that is, I've been seeing this notification coming up a lot: [Friend One]さんと[Friend Two]さんがフィード購読{こうどく}を許可{きょか}しています。 I have to admit,...
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1answer
340 views

Usage of まるで with 見ているようだった.

その翼はとても滑らかに動くため、まるでコンピュータ・グラフィックスを見ているようだった。 Its wings were moving so smoothly that it almost looked like CGI. or would a more accurate translation be: Its wings were moving so smoothly that ...
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へ or に particle for 曲がる?

i was wondering what may be the difference in nuance between 右へ曲がる and 右に曲がる ? Example: Take a right turn and you'll see the library. 1) 右へ曲がると、図書館がある。 2) 右に曲がると、図書館がある。 As for [noun-location] ...
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492 views

Is there even 1 na-type adjective that can't be used as a real noun?

The passage suggests that not all na-type adjectives can be used as real nouns as shown in (b). It doesn't seem to be a case of careless choice of words, since in the 2nd para, the passage uses "some" ...
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1answer
191 views

“一目ぼれから長持ちする関係は望めません。” この表現のニュアンスを説明して頂けませんか?

一目ぼれから長持ちする関係は望めません。 Falling in love at first sight won't bring you a lasting relationship. I found this sentence and translation without any other context, and have a few questions about the ...
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Does this athlete intend to play in the street or for the street?

In a bizarre and transparently ineffective attempt to try and change the culture of Shibuya's central shopping district, the shopowners promotion association (商店街{しょうてんがい}振興{しんこう}組合{くみあい}) has changed ...
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1answer
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Help with adverbs with とする and としている

Taking yadokari's sentence: 彼女は表情が生き生きとしておりとてもかわいい。 The part that I need help understanding is the relation of 生き生きとして with 表情 and 居る. Looking up the dictionary entry for 生き生き, it is "an adverb ...
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1answer
415 views

ほんの時々私の中で顔を出し、しばらくすると消えてしまうもの。Are there any other options to replace the で here?

ほんの時々私の中で顔を出し、しばらくすると消えてしまうもの。 My attempt at translation: "Every once in a while my inner feelings show themselves, only to disappear again." The above was taken from the following dialogue: ...
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2answers
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How do I ask about two different possible options?

Is this the correct way to ask which of two options is true? あの CD は トルコご の ですか えいご の ですか? ("Is that CD in Turkish or English?")
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1answer
226 views

それは彼の身に応えだした。 Can anyone explain this?

それは彼の身に応えだした。 [ex #4531] It is beginning to tell on him. can anyone explain this sentence? is it useful or archaic? is it related to this? 骨身にこたえる
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What would be the literal meaning of the causative form here? 暴風警報発令中のため本日の営業はお休みとさせていただきます。

暴風警報発令中のため本日 bōfū keihō hatsurei chū notame honjitsu の営業はお休みとさせて no eigyō wa oyasumi to sasete いただきます。 itadakimasu. 暴風 bōfū = storm winds 警報 keihō = warning 発令 hatsurei = official announcement 中 ...
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1answer
983 views

Can I use 行っている間(に) in the sense of a habitual action?

Knowing that 行く is punctual, stative, and a motion verb, I also know that, 日本に行っている means "I/he/she have gone to Japan (and am still there)" rather than "I am currently going to Japan." I also feel ...
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1answer
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Is this は or はいる: ~わかってはいるものの

たばこは体に悪いとわかってはいるものの、なかなかやめられない。 If it's は, does omitting は change the meaning in verb-te~はいる? And also, could you talk about what いる is doing? If it's はいる, in what sense would you describe はいる's ...
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1answer
343 views

Help with tense/aspect (past vs. non-past in Verb and Verbている)

I'm having difficulty with this sentence: Tense appears inconsistent to me. I need help understanding the correct use of verb forms. 冬休みにずっと九州に [Fill in the blank] おばあさんのうちにいました(past) 住む ...
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What is the とも in this sentence? 日本人は英語を学ばずとも暮らせる環境に居ます。

日本人は英語を学ばずとも暮らせる環境に居ます。 Japanese people are in an environment where they can live without having to learn english. Is the とも in this sentence one word or is it two words: と and も ? I guess it is one ...
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287 views

Finding the subject in Japanese. 自分だったら、これを大きくなってから見たら感動するだろうな

This is from the comments on this youtube page where an infant is cuddling with a bemused cat. The commentator is writing on how cute the scene is. I am having trouble figuring out some of the ...
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297 views

Where's the negation in 〇〇も書けなりました?

I'm not sure what this example sentence is trying to teach. The translation is really throwing me off. 易しい漢字も書けなりました I cannot even write easy kanji anymore I see the "even ... easy kanji" and ...
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1answer
708 views

Name/Title at the end of a sentence. Vocative case?

Consider these stanzas taken from the opening song of Aria the Animation: Undine. Translations taken from this site Background information: An Undine as a mythical concept is a female water spirit ...
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1answer
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Extracting from, and introducing to Universe of Discourse using は and が with こそあど-demonstratives

Consider the following: このりんご( は / が )食べないでください。 Person A: どちらが東ですか。  Person B: こちら( は / が )東です。 Workbook answers are は for 1. and が for 2. In 1., I would expect the person to be ...
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1answer
146 views

Is this the denial of a statement, or a statement of denial?

This sentence originally came from a newspaper article. Unfortunately, I copied it onto a flashcard for later study and then lost the original context. 彼は、可能性について「念頭に全くない」と否定した。 【かれは、かのうせいに ...
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“訳分からない” various uses of 訳

Here are a few examples of 訳 that I am having trouble with: 僕は決して農業が嫌いな訳じゃない。 Boku wa kesshite nōgyō ga kiraina wake janai. By no means do I dislike farming. (Lit: The reason is not that I dislike ...
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1answer
180 views

Is と necessary after a quoted phrase?

Hi all I was wondering if we want to treat a quoted phrase as a "noun", is it necessary to put a と particle behind the quoted phrase? For example: A) The "received" in "received from Tom" 「...
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1answer
309 views

When is disjunctive-が appropriate in connecting sentences?

Consider the following: [1] 僕は日本人ではなく, シンガポール人です。 (I'm not Japanese, I'm Singaporean) [2] 僕は日本人ではないが, シンガポール人です。 (I'm not Japanese but Singaporean) Comparing my sentences to the worked ...
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249 views

Another example where I don't know if 欲しい or 欲しがる is right

私の祖母は私が欲しい以上のものをくれた 私の祖母は私が欲しがる以上のものをくれた I want the meaning to be "my grandmother gave me more then I wanted." Is the second sentence right and the first sentence wrong? I learned 欲しがる for the ...
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1answer
249 views

Particle-が in restaurant's name. Genitive particle?

I was at a Japanese restaurant called 星岡 (ほしがおか). And I was trying to figure out what the が does in it. I instinctively translated it to "Starry hill" (Not sure of my translation though). (Question)...
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362 views

Is this a valid use of どころか?

In the following, I feel it should be 会話が出来るどころか. ジムは日本語で会話が出来ないどころか、簡単な挨拶も出来ない。 Jim is not only unable to converse in Japanese; he cannot even make simple greetings. I was expecting the ...
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1answer
879 views

Using あまりに(も) in a sentence with <verb stem>過ぎる, is it redundant?

Using あまりに(も) in a sentence with 過ぎる, is it redundant because they both mean too much/excessive? In the following example stolen from Lukman (thank you), does the sentence change if you drop the あまりに ...
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1answer
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Why does replacing だ to である changes the meaning of a the sentence?

「彼は映画スターであり、政治家もだ。」 means "He is a movie star, and a politician is a movie star, too" (from Tsuyoshi's comment below this other post) 「彼は映画スターであり、政治家でもある。」 means "He is a movie star and also a ...
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Is it grammatical to have more than one “WH question” words in a sentence?

In English it would be strange to have more than one "WH question" word in a sentence, For example: Tomorrow, where are we meeting, at what time and to do what ? It sounds like it's grammatical ...
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1answer
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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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842 views

How to parse わけじゃなし

A novel I'm reading contains this snippet of dialogue. The manager of a love hotel is explaining why she doesn't return to her apartment between shifts: 帰ったって何があるってわけじゃなし、誰が待っているわけじゃなし、ホテルの仮眠室で寝て、...
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1answer
533 views

Amount of time and 間

When expressing "It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes", would it be best to say 1時間15分掛かる。 or 1時15分掛かる。 or maybe 1時15分間掛かる。 ?
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552 views

How to unambiguously express sentences with lots of relative propositions?

Background, problem statement Very often, I find myself in situations where I have to build structurally complex sentences in Japanese, and find myself struggling, trying to put all I want to say in ...