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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14
votes
2answers
612 views

Why does 「電話は切れた」 sound more adversarial than 「電話が切れた」?

I noticed that while 「…、電話が切れた」 sounds just like a neutral phrase ("... and the call got cut off."), 「…、電話は切れた」 sounds more like you were negatively affected / that the person on the other side ...
23
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2answers
2k 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 ...
14
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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 ...
10
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2answers
425 views

Proportion and Rate

How do I form a sentence pattern for: The more/less X happens, the more/less Y happens E.g. The more you stir, the faster the salt dissolves. The colder the weather, the more ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Particle に to enumerate things?

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:「...
15
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1answer
3k views

Where does the verbal form しとく come from?

In a manga I am currently reading, one of the character exclaims: 安心しな。秘密に しとく から。 The general meaning of the second part ("I'll keep it a secret") is quite obvious, and it seems that "しとく" (...
12
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3answers
1k views

Does “te-form” of a verb always include て/で? Why?

In so-called 学校文法 (the Japanese grammar which all native Japanese speakers learn at around middle school), one form of a verb is called 連用形 (aka continuative form), which looks like this (screenshot ...
26
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2answers
1k 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 ...
9
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1answer
601 views

What is the purpose of adding と?

For example: 柔和{にゅうわ}な線{せん}で縁取{ふちど}られた宝石{ほうせき}のような瞳{ひとみ}に、ほっそりとした顎{あご}、綺麗{きれい}な鼻筋{はなすじ}。美人{びじん}っていう人{ひと}の条件{じょうけん}しっかりと備{ととの}えちゃってる。 What is the purpose of the と in ほっそりとした instead of just saying ...
9
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3answers
3k views

What does する mean when it does not mean “do”? (血のにおいがする)

What does する mean when it does not mean "do"? Like: あなたも血のにおいがするな
2
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2answers
430 views

How is と used in these sentences?

I have some sentences that involve the usage of と that I still don't understand: 1. This is from another user's post 私はあなたがいつも忙しいと分かっています。 2. My previous question いつもと変えてたまに外で食事しよう。 At the ...
22
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3answers
3k views

Confusion about “Seemingly not ~”

So there are several ways to express something is "seemingly not ~": ~なさそう ~そうにない ~そうもない ~そうにもない (is this one even real?) I was always taught ~なさそう in my Japanese classes, and it was ...
16
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2answers
2k views

How many verb endings to express “do this (please)”?

I'm familiar with the て and てください forms of a verb to give a command/request and request, respectively. However, I've run across these other forms and really don't know which to use in what situation. ...
11
votes
1answer
671 views

Relative clauses types and confusion

I was reading Japanese:Revised edition by Shoichi Iwasaki And he talks about 4 types of relative clauses. A)“Cased Head” Type (Relative Clause): the head noun bears some case relation to the ...
12
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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."
17
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1answer
4k views

Aren't がる and たがる the same thing?

In my JLPT practise book, it has two different entries, one to explain がる and one to explaining たがる. It offeres these example sentences to differentiate them: うちの子{こ}は新{あたら}しいものを見{み}ると、すぐほしがる。 ...
12
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2answers
901 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?
7
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1answer
2k views

Why can we use の after へ and から?

In my understanding, the particle の can be used to concatenate two nouns, such as 私の本 アメリカの選手 Today, I found 先生へのプレゼント 私達からのプレゼント Question Why can の be preceded by へ and から (or maybe other ...
8
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2answers
1k views

A bunch of questions about ところ

I think the word ところ in my questions have nothing to do with 所{ところ}. Please correct me if I am wrong. Let us consider the following sentences. Case 1 これから食{た}べるところなんですが。。。 今食{た}べているところなんですが。。。 今食{た}...
7
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3answers
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Use of に in 「私には本物の若殿様がわかります」

English What function is に serving in this sentence (the speaker has been asked to pick out the real lord from a group of people): 私には本物の若殿様がわかります I know who the real young lord is It seems ...
13
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2answers
1k views

Meaning of volitional passive form

お姉ちゃんに何を言われようが、まる子はウキウキ気分なのであった。 What was said by her sister ???? but, Maruko felt cheerful. I can't think of any way in which something which is passive can also be volitional. How do I understand ...
13
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1answer
629 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 ...
9
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2answers
1k views

What does たら do at the end of a sentence?

時間があるなら、彼の画廊に寄ってみたら。 What meaning does たら have at the end of a sentence?
12
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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 ...
5
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2answers
458 views

Why is the passive form used in this sentence?

The following sentence uses 感じられ which I understand to be the continuative passive form of the verb 感じる - "to feel". Why is this form used here? たった1分がものすごく長く感じられ 時間は はっきりとした悪意をもって ...
8
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2answers
330 views

Why isn't 日本料理 written as 日本の料理?

Both 日本 and 料理 are nouns but why aren't they concatenated with の? I think it should be written as 日本の料理 rather than 日本料理.
46
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6answers
8k 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,...
25
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3answers
18k views

Usage of ~じゃん (~じゃない)

I'd like to know if I can put ~じゃん at the end of every adjective, if there are any exceptions to that usage, and if it's different from ~じゃない. Adj (na) + じゃん 便利じゃん 便利だったじゃん 便利じゃないじゃん ...
18
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3answers
6k views

What are the general principles of using verbs to modify nouns (e.g. 焦げるトースト/焦げたトースト)?

In all the time I've studied the language, I've never heard or seen anybody even hint at whether the principles from a given language (like using “burnt toast” vs. “burning toast”) carry over, or if ...
20
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4answers
19k 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 ...
20
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3answers
3k views

「~たじゃない」 expression in spoken Japanese

I noticed in an anime I watched, one of the characters said something like below: さっき食べたじゃない。 And what I think the meaning is: Didn't you just eat a few while ago? From what I have learned in ...
15
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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
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3answers
2k views

に and で revisited

Consider the statement A: ホテル(に/で)泊まる. For both cases would translate to "I stay at a hotel" in English. However they are answers to different questions. Consider the questions 1.どこに泊まる and 2.(ホテルで)...
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2answers
2k views

〜しては is this a grammar pattern?

I was trying to translate this sentence: 僕はアルバイトしてはレコードばかり買っていたから、一日半働けばLP一枚買えるな、と思って働いていた。 I think I get the overall meaning as: Because I spent all my wages on records I went to work thinking "...
13
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1answer
673 views

How to appropriately pair tenses in subordinate and main clauses?

Consider the following combination. Which is the correct one? テレビが私の国で 《できた》 のは1960 《です》。 テレビが私の国で 《できる》 のは1960 《です》。 テレビが私の国で 《できた》 のは1960 《でした》。 テレビが私の国で 《できる》 のは1960 《でした》。 Note: The important ...
20
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2answers
640 views

When does a suru-noun require し in front of a purposive-に?

According to Chocolate's comment to a question, some suru-nouns can be followed by the purposive に directly, but others require (the stem of) する in between.  面会しに行く  面会に行く  料理しに行く × 料理に行く ...
14
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2answers
5k views

The different usages of ことがある

If I understand correctly, the main usages of ことがある seem to be the following: Verb(plain)+ことがある: There are times when (I) Verb(past)+ことがある: (I) have experienced (something) before But after this ...
8
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1answer
2k views

Grammar of との, what is the meaning

So here in this sentence below "との" was used 2 times. What does との standfor? Can someone please explain it to me? これまで数多くのアニメ作品とのコラボを実現してきた痛印堂には、「好きなアニメとのコラボは嬉しいけど、自分の好きなキャラクターがいない!」「...
9
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2answers
2k views

<動詞の辞書形> + がよい ― How is this allowed?

I've come across this form many times in my Japanese Bible. The meaning is quite obvious based on context, and seems to be one of the following: ~べきです, ~ほうがいい, ~なさい, or ~ように (let it be ~). Here are ...
8
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3answers
2k views

What is the role of あるいて?

駅からは歩いて十分ぐらいです。 It takes 10 minutes on foot from the station. The confusing part is the 歩いて. Is あるいて a noun? What is its role?
7
votes
1answer
895 views

How to interpret indirect passives?

While looking up some grammar points I stumbled across this paper which describes something that it calls "indirect passives". I can't think of anything similar in English, and I'm having trouble ...
3
votes
2answers
208 views

Can を used with だ/です

I came across the following passage in a mystery manga. The main character is explaining that the as of yet unknown criminal intentionally made the listener think that Kimisawa was the criminal (...
11
votes
4answers
669 views

相手の日本人 or 日本人の相手?

If I wanted to describe the person I was speaking about as being Japanese, to me it seems natural to say: 日本人{にほんじん}の相手{あいて} ... however, one time a Japanese teacher told me it's more correct to ...
4
votes
2answers
520 views

What is the difference between 「とは限らない」and 「とも限らない」

When looking it up on the internet I find that とは限らない means 「イメージと違って、100%~と言えないという意味」. But the problem is I also get similar meanings for とも限らない. I've asked a Japanese speaker about it and they ...
2
votes
3answers
213 views

How is the subject of this subclause made clear?

For full context: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/k10011229751000/k10011229751000.html The sentence in question: このほか、体につけると普通の30%ぐらいの力で重い物を持つことができる機械もあります。 => "In addition, there were also machines ...
10
votes
2answers
575 views

「しまう」 as an auxiliary verb

I feel like I always see 「しまう」 at the end of sentences (not the verb "to put away"). I saw some examples here on Weblio. どうしても写真は実物より劣ってしまう。 Pictures really don't do it justice. ...
7
votes
1answer
431 views

Why can は and を sometimes be used interchangeably?

For example: 肉は食べますが、すしを食べません。
6
votes
1answer
230 views

Use of quote marker と before unusual verbs

I'm happy with the purpose of と when it precedes verbs like 言う、聞く、思う etc. The following sentence puzzles me: おじいさんは「雀は大丈夫かな。」と、大変がっかりしました。 I understand that the man feels disappointed and wonders ...
6
votes
1answer
348 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
433 views

“は + verb” instead of “を + verb”?

I have stumbled upon instances where "は + verb" is used in situations where I thought "を + verb" should be used. For example, recently I've seen その覚悟はしてました I was prepared for that 楽な道は選ぶな ...