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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11
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2answers
7k 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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3answers
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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、...
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2answers
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い-Adjective Conjugation: かったです vs でした

When we first studied adjective conjugation in my Japanese class, I kept making the same mistake habitually; I would conjugate the past tense of い-adjectives with でした at the end instead of dropping ...
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1answer
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What's the difference between 「いけない」 and 「いかない」?

I've just learned that ~わけにはいけない as in 断{ことわ}るわけにはいけない ("I can't refuse") apparently isn't valid but ~わけにはいかない is, even though I've been using the former frequently. But what is the difference ...
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2answers
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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 ...
7
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1answer
951 views

Correct usage of ばかり

On a certain online correction site, my sentence: 正直に言うと、最近アメリカのドラマを観ていたばかり。 Was given many possibilities. Some people crossed out 「ばかり」 like 「観ていたばかり」 in the following sentences so I'm inclined ...
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2answers
373 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 your ...
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How close are なりつつある and なっている?

語学学習は私の新しい習慣の一部になりつつあるのでしょうか? "Is learning languages becoming a part of my new daily routine?" なりつつある here seems similar to なっている... are they often interchangeable? Would I be able to ...
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1answer
470 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 ...
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1answer
190 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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1answer
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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
341 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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2answers
433 views

This instance of のに is opposite from my expectations

I have this sentence in one of my JLPT practise books: 電子{でんし}レンジは冷{さ}めた料理{りょうり}を温{あたた}めるのに重宝{ちょうほう}だ。 I thought のに meant something like "in spite of". So, to me, this sentence seems to be saying ...
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2answers
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What does 「つっぱしり」mean in this context?

I recently heard about a manga entitled つっぱしり元太郎, and I'm slightly confused about the meaning of the 「つっぱしり」 in its name. I've looked the word up in several dictionaries, but have gotten no results. ...
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3answers
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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。
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1answer
295 views

What is the difference between 「食べるいいですか」 and 「食べていいですか」

They both mean "Can you/I eat?" So can they be used interchangeably? I know that the て-form is used when speaking a command to someone so is it a more direct(?) form of asking a question? Like asking ...
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2answers
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How can a verb be in the beginning of a sentence when it is usually at the end? Ex. 折れた淡い翼。

When composing sentences in Japanese, the verb tends to be last right? For example, バナナを食べました。 --> I ate a banana But recently I came across a sentence where the verb was at the beginning of the the ...
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Verb volitional form (動詞の意志形) - usage

I have a couple of questions about the volitional form of verbs that I've become unclear on lately. Here is a Bible passage containing the grammar in question: (Note that I'm using a Bible passage as ...
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1answer
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When the agent takes を in the causative form

I've seen a few sets of terminology when referring to the causative form, so for the basic case, I will use the following: instigator が agent に 〇〇 を v-させる。 In its most basic, text-book form, we have ...
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3answers
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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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1answer
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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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How does 話{はなし}が噛{か}み合{あ}わない work?

I saw this phrase discussed on esaura.cc 話が噛み合わない 'There's a gap in their conversation.' 'They can't meet on common ground.' 'They have been at odds with each other.' 'They have not been on ...
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1answer
215 views

の as a substitute for beings

In a comment, I've read 「目が見えないのは誰ですか」. I remember that, some 10 years ago, I was told that "の" could not replace human beings. But here, since we use 誰, it's clearly a person that の refers to. Is ...
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How to express: I am going to Japan to study?

This is an exercise from Genki 1, Chapter 12. Now the way I would word that sentence is: 私{わたし}は日本{にほん}に勉強{べんきょう}しに行{い}きます。 However, I put that same [English] phrase in Google Translate and got this: ...
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1answer
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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
505 views

What is あっちゃう in this sentence? [closed]

My friend sent me an email saying her mobile phone is having problems. Specifically, she said this: 携帯{けいたい}の電池{でんち}が電話{でんわ}すると5分{ふん}でなくあっちゃうようになった I get the overall meaning, which is that when ...
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1answer
778 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
688 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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3answers
857 views

How to resolve two indirect objects? (Prohibition of two に in a sentence?)

Based off sawa's comment from this question: "you cannot have two ...に phrases. Remove either." And using the same verb "同意する", I looked up the dictionary and found: 1.(人)に同意する -...
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2answers
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Does the volitional form of a verb mean both “let's” and “I want to”?

I was taught ages ago that the volitional form of a verb means "let's" do something. For example, if you take 行{い}く and change it to 行{い}こう, you get "let's go". However, I feel like I can use the ...
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2answers
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What's the purpose of な in なのに?

I don't understand the role of "な" when used before "のに" as in these two sentences (with given translations): 朝目がさめて初めて、外が雪なのに気がついた。 He noticed that there was snow outside only after he woke up in ...
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1answer
281 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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What is the difference between がる and ぎみ?

In one of my study flashcards, I have this sentence: 疲{つか}れぎみだけど生{い}きてます。 Which should translate to something like, "[He] appears worn out but [he's] still kicking." The main point is that in ...
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1answer
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Is this the correct way of saying attending a school?

My friend and I were having a debate. Basically, the line 「あんたは一人でこの家から学校に通っている。」 in an anime was translated as "And you live here alone, attending school." A direct literal translation of the ...
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3answers
851 views

How does a noun phrase translate into a verb?

Ok. The whole sentence is: Person A bandages Person B's arm. Person B says: ありがとう。ずいぶん慣れた処置ね?看護婦でもやってたの? I get what the sentences are saying. But! For the life of me I can't parse ずいぶん慣れた処置ね? into ...
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2answers
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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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3answers
858 views

Is my interpretation of the grammar in 「気にしてられないと思えるようになる。」 correct?

人の目なんて。 気にしてられないと思えるようになる。 You can't concern yourself with what other people think. I saw this on a TV show where the hosts were talking about coming out in public if you are gay. They had both come ...
5
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2answers
319 views

女性の身体は本来美しいもの. Is this sentence grammatical?

I found the sentence: 女性の身体は本来美しいもの。 'The female body is a fundamentally beautiful thing.' in the following passage: 毎食後2錠から3錠、油っこい食事のあとは少し多めに飲むだけと、とっても簡単にダイエットできてしまいます。 'An effective diet can be ...
14
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1answer
701 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 ...
4
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1answer
385 views

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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2answers
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“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 ...
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1answer
350 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 ...
14
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1answer
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How is the “のです” working here?

目立つ事を恐れ、一緒でなければいけないという日本人が確実に減ってきているのです。 The strong feelings that Japanese have of being afraid of standing out and everybody having to do things together are starting to become less prominent. To ...
3
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1answer
200 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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1answer
2k views

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
202 views

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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2answers
3k views

Does anyone know which おり this is?

彼女は表情が生き生きとしておりとてもかわいい。 was translated awkwardly on ALC as She is very pretty for the liveliness of her expression. Which おり is this? I think I know it from the polite しております but is it here ...
4
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1answer
426 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
2k views

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?")
6
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1answer
336 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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