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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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What would be the difference in meaning between 違っていた and 違った?

昔は違っていた。 昔は違った。 It was different a long time ago. Do these two Japanese sentences mean the same thing? Here is the sentence in the original context. The translations are not mine, but are ...
yadokari's user avatar
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How does だからって usually work?

馬鹿だからって知らないわけじゃない I translated this sentence as "It's not like I don't know that I'm stupid," while my friend who wrote it translated it as "I'm stupid, but I know that." So I feel I understand the ...
yadokari's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
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What is the equivalent use of need and need + Verb?

If I see someone struggling to pick up a box, I'd say: "Do you need help with that?" Or I have to run an errand very soon, I could say: "I need to buy this gift by 4 pm." Or if someone's car has ...
dotnetN00b's user avatar
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4 votes
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Apparent inconsistency in turning い-adjectives into nouns: 赤い→赤 vs 近い→近く

Consider these adjectives: 赤い 近い The い-declension works for sentence ending as well as directly modifying a noun: Now if I want to express the adjective as a noun, for example I'm talking about "...
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Confusion between causatives and intransitive-transitive

I read the answer to this question How different is 冷やかす from 冷やす? And 散らかす from 散らす? but somehow wasn't satisfied. What's the difference between the 2 causative forms ~す and ~せる, e.g. 待たす and 待たせる?...
dainichi's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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How to use こと when expressing the experience of something?

v.。。。ことが。。。。。 How can i talk about the experience of something using こと? 買うことがdきます。 would this be the experience of being able to buy? If you understand my problem please show me more examples!
Myeong's user avatar
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Sentence ending のを(だ)

I do not understand the meaning of のを: a. 彼は家を買った。 しかも大きい庭付きのを(だ)。 (だ is indicated as optional) Is it different from: b. 彼は家を買った。 しかも大きい庭付きだ。 (I'm not sure if this is grammatical) c. 彼は家を買った。 ...
Flaw's user avatar
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What does the verb 好く do?

Observation: The verb 好く exists. 好く is transitive. By extension, "to like ~" is predicted to be: a. ~を好く。 However, empirical data shows that this pattern is the accepted form: b. ~が好きだ。 ...
Flaw's user avatar
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Is その always or only occasionally a demonstrative adjective?

The following Japanese sentence was translated with その as "the": その 仕事の一部を誰かにやってもらったほうがいい。 You should get someone else to do some of the work for you. while I translated it with その as "that": ...
yadokari's user avatar
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12 votes
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Passive vs. active form of verb (past) What is the difference?

I was wondering what the difference is if I use passive form or active form of a verb. For example: ネズミは猫に食べられた。The mouse was eaten by the cat. 猫は、ネズミを食べた。The cat ate the mouse. What EXACTLY is ...
user1087's user avatar
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1 answer
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Help with an expression that uses お笑い vocabulary

突っ込みどころ満載 I just have to butt in here. / I'd love to put my two cents in. I am having a hard time figuring out this expression. I see it uses vocabulary particular to お笑い, but I would appreciate if ...
yadokari's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
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Need clarification on a particular use of から

I saw this sentence recently and I'm particularly confused on the use of から in the sentence. まず君から殺す。 What does から mean here? What's the difference between that and まず君を殺す? How does から replace the ...
Tareq's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
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What is this 〜な〜な pattern?

Today I was reading the story of David & Goliath and saw this strange pattern: ゴリアトは四十日の間、朝な夕なやって来て、同じ所に立った。ー サムエル記上 17:16 Goliath challenged the Israelites every morning and evening for ...
istrasci's user avatar
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Is 一緒に needed in this case?

Is 一緒に needed in this case? A: 買い物へ行きたい。 B: そう。 A: 一緒に行きましょうか? Or is it just ->> 行こう?
x427's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
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I dont understand ~ような in this context

I know that ~ような means "looks like". In this context: ここで立ち止る ような 時間はない。 does it mean: "It appears it cannot stop here, there is no time"? What I do understand is that ような is followed by a ...
user1087's user avatar
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Is -はない just another way of saying -じゃありません?

In the sentence: 彼の論文には大した価値はない Is the -はない another way of saying -じゃありません or -ではない? And is it read as wanai or hanai?
user1030774's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
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Zero-nominalisation - Why and When?

Building on from Zhen Lin's answer to "The grammar of ~かれ~かれ", Brief explanation of Zero-nominalisation: Nominalisation refers to the process of turning a word, or more generally a phrase, ...
Flaw's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
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Help on a specific usage of こそ

好きこそものの上手なれ。 We tend to be good at those things we like. / People become best at what they love the most. How does the こそ work here? Is this use of こそ common outside of proverbs?
yadokari's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
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How do the two occurrences of the word など function in this sentence?

One of my life's strangest experiences was unexpectedly ending up in Cairo, where there was a sort of extremely cheap hotel full of Japanese backpackers, part of which is described below. ...
ixtmixilix's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
740 views

The grammar of ~かれ~かれ

Consider these: 遅かれ早かれ 良【よ】かれ悪【あ】しかれ What is the underlying grammatical make up of this ~かれ~かれ pattern (if any)? Is this pattern productive(i.e. can be extended to arbitrary words)?
Flaw's user avatar
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8 votes
4 answers
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Is this a proper use of tara and toki for "when"?

Consider: 気がついたら皆さんは寝ていた。 気がついたとき皆さんは寝ていた。 My English interpretation: When I woke up (came to), everyone was sleeping. Is "when" enough to capture the nuances of the Japanese sentences? ...
dotnetN00b's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
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The meaning of ~のみ

What is the meaning/significance of ~のみ? Does it have anything to do with 身 or 見? Some example sentences: しかし、予算の制限のため、差し当たり実験機のみを製造することになった。 But budget restrictions have allowed them to make ...
cypher's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Understanding the grammar of 当て

I'm trying to understand the grammar behind 当て, and after a bit of investigation I still don't quite understand a could of points. The definition that I found for it is (n) depend on, expectations, ...
silvermaple's user avatar
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14 votes
4 answers
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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?
Tareq's user avatar
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What's the grammar of 持ちつ持たれつ?

持ちつ持たれつ (meaning approximately "supporting eachother") is commonly heard, but seems to be formed from some archaic grammar. I'm assuming it's an archaic form of 持って持たれて or something like that, but ...
dainichi's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
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How can I improve my Japanese vocabulary, grammar, and listening skills? [closed]

I consider myself at a lower intermediate level. I want to improve my Japanese vocabulary and grammar in order to expand my reading and speaking skills. I know enough Japanese to get around and have a ...
user1087's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
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Is 眠たい an adjective?

I was told 眠たい was an adjective, and that it is an exceptional case. How does it work as an adjective and what is its relation to the verb 眠る?
yadokari's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
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2 versions of tara ii no ni

What is the difference in usage and meaning of: 行ったらいいのに =V/conditional and 行けたらいいのに = V/potential/conditional Can both be translated as "If only I could go..."? Thanks!
Pegasus's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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How is this verb being conjugated and contracted?

" こんな馬鹿みたいな帽子かぶせやがって!!” " こんなくそみたいな帽子かぶせやがって!!” " こんなくそみたいな帽子かぶせんじゃねーよ!!” I believe I'm looking at a conjugation and contraction of the verb かぶる. What is the original conjugation and what ...
yadokari's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
261 views

What is the meaning of 「...みけんならみけん...」?

I'm reading a book on how to draw manga style characters, and I came across this sentence. It is part of a larger block explaining how to make a character look the same from all different angles. 同{...
Questioner's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
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Problems with は and が

Consider: [A] 猫が好きだ To me this means [A']"I like cats." Contrast this to: [B] 猫は好きだ To me this means [B']"I like cats (among other animals)" I based my understanding of [B] from Derek ...
Flaw's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
161 views

Help with newspaper shorthand

I was reading a short news article on students taking entrance exams in Japan, and it listed the number of students from the prefecture who took what test. Here is the excerpt I had a question about: ...
silvermaple's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
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Changing a question into a request for advice

How can I change a statement like どこへいきますか to mean "Where should I go"? Basically, what is the rule for changing a question into a request for advice?
Synesso's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
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How is ほか used as a conjunction?

What does ほか mean when it is used in a sentence like this: [situationA] ほか, [situationB]" Specifically I would like a little help clarifying the following sentence: 事件事故が減ったほか、...
silvermaple's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
14k views

How to use the inflection "やがる"?

こんなくそみたいな帽子{ぼうし}かぶせやがって! "こんな仕事{しごと}させやがって!" "こんなまずいものを食{く}わせやがって!" "あいつは本当{ほんとう}に良{い}いものを作{つく}りやがる" I was recently acquainted with the inflection "やがる," as ...
yadokari's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
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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?
NibblyPig's user avatar
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3 answers
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Can でありますように be followed by a verb?

来年は是非明るい年でありますように願うばかりです I hope that the next year will be great for you Is this sentence grammatically incorrect? In what way(s)? If incorrect, why can でありますように not be followed by an explicit verb? ...
yadokari's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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How are で and ばかりused in this expression?

来年は是非明るい年でありますように願うばかりです I hope that the next year will be great for you Why is で used in 年であります? Is であります an older form of です? Also, what would the ばかり translate to here? I thought maybe it could be ...
yadokari's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
6k views

How does this ように work?

今年も良い年でありますように! I hope you have another good year! What is going on exactly where the ように means hope? Does the よう derive from a verb? I would also like to know how to describe this word in the ...
yadokari's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
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Help with には and にとって

I need help understanding why にとって cannot be used in this circumstance: その仕事は私{には/*にとって}出来ない。 ( * denotes unacceptable) This is what I read: にとって cannot be used when it marks an experiencer or ...
Flaw's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
236 views

How is 信じる being conjugated here?

信じようと信じまいと Believe it or not How is 信じる being conjugated here? I am unfamilar with the stem + まい pattern, if anyone could explain the ins and outs of that, or provide a more literal translation if ...
yadokari's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
634 views

What is the underlying grammar in the difference between `足らない` and `足りない`?

Based on the comments from Tsuoyshi Ito's answer to Translation of 竜すらも恐るるに足らない, 恐るるに足らない/恐るるに足りない is a set phrase meaning "not worth fearing". Based on my understanding of 一段 verbs like 足りる, ...
Flaw's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
2k views

How do I add an object to noun を します verbs?

When you want to associate a noun を します action (what English-speakers would call "verbing a noun") with a specific noun, what particles are used and where? For example, if I was saying "I study", you ...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
240 views

How does this で work?

日本女性で電車の中で化粧をする人を見ると恥ずかしいくて嫌な気持ちになる。 In my understanding, the で following 日本女性 could correspond here to the english "of," or "speaking of." Thus one interpretation of this sentence (though in ...
yadokari's user avatar
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16 votes
2 answers
10k views

What is the difference between なぜなら、だから、and なので?

I'm trying to get clarification on how to use these three pieces of grammar and whether or not they all hold some kind of "Because" meaning.
Myeong's user avatar
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What is the って in 連れてってくれる?

ALC can give several examples of this, not only in 連れてって: いつ私たちを湖に連れてってくれるの? When are you going to take us to the lake? これ、帰りに叔母さんとこ、持ってってちょうだい。Will you take this to your aunt on your way home ...
fefe's user avatar
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20 votes
1 answer
3k views

Difference Between べんきょう する and べんきょうを する

What is the difference between べんきょう する and べんきょうを する?
Mudassir's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
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Sentence ending に and のに compared to their non-sentence-ending form

Consider these: [A] 僕はいい仕事があったら美智子さんと結婚出来ただろうに [B] 僕はいい仕事があったら美智子さんと結婚出来たのに Is に in [A] related to the case particle に? Is のに in [B] related to the use of のに as a conjunction in mid-sentence? Is it ...
Flaw's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
17k views

What is the correct way to say: "where are you going?"

What is the correct way to say "where are you going?"? Is it: あなたはどこに行きますか or あなたはどこに行くの Also, can someone please explain that の in "あなたはどこに行くの"?
x427's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
3k views

Usage and reading of the Ampersand

In English, & is rather frequently used to mean "and". How should & be read in Japanese? I think these are some likely readings: や と アンド Case 1: Assume sentence structure is of the form "A &...
Flaw's user avatar
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