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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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 ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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How the ~にあって form works - situations, places, times, what?

I finally started going through some JLPT N1 grammar the other day, and one of the ones I'm looking at has me a bit confused: the ~にあって・~にあっても form. The book describes its usage as such: ~のような特別の状況・...
Andrew Prowse's user avatar
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3 answers
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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 ...
user27478's user avatar
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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 ...
Lukman's user avatar
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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 ...
yadokari's user avatar
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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、...
rdb's user avatar
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Can と and を be interchanged with 思う the way I think they can?

Compare the following two sentences: あそこに[行]{い}こうと[思]{おも}っている あそこに[行]{い}こうを[思]{おも}っている If I'm right about this, they both mean that the speaker is thinking of going somewhere. However, the ...
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ねば in 食べねば; relation between ねば and なければ

I would like to know a bit more about the "ねば" grammatical construction. Every now and then, I hear people say sentences like 東京に行かねばならぬ 粘々丼を食べねば倒れる なんとかせねばいい It's quite clear that ねば ...
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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 ...
Louis Waweru's user avatar
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Colloquial use of「〜て〔い〕ない」, maybe instead of 「〜なかった」

It's not the first time I hear it, but I've found it in this scene. I understand that, as in 知る or 始まる, a started action whose consequence remains is expressed in continuous form. However, I thought ...
raneq's user avatar
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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。 ?
Kevin Griffin's user avatar
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Using に twice in the [Verb-連用形]に行く sentence pattern

Consider these example sentences given by my grammar dictionary: (1) 私はデパートへ贈り物を買いに行った。 (2) そこへ何をしに行くんですか。 Observation: The location is marked by へ instead of に. Considering that a sentence such as ...
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Producing なる adjectives

I found this adjective from 7!!'s song 「ラヴァーズ」(Lovers): 無邪気なる Dictionary entries categorises 無邪気 as a noun and な-adjective. For reference, I shall extract parts from two different stanzas in the ...
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Translating "barely", "hardly" etc

In English, "barely"/"hardly" can be used both with a connection to time ("just finished"): I had barely finished eating when he arrived. (食べたばかり...) or to express the ...
Dave's user avatar
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What is the nuance when は directly follows a verb in plain form?

It seems like this is a remnant of (or reference to) older forms of Japanese. Is that all there is to it, or does it have special meaning? Examples from songs: 歌声 笑い声 満ちる大空 目指すは憧れ (DuDiDuWa*...
Hyperworm's user avatar
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Is it true that only movement verbs can take [V-stem]に to express a purpose?

I decided to split this into a thread by itself because I was afraid of cramming too much into the first thread. Is it true that only movement verbs can take [V-stem]に to express a purpose? Will it ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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Does [V-stem]に行く works for verbs whose stems are not stand-alone words by themselves?

I was taught that there is a grammatical form which goes like this: [V-stem]に行く For example: 遊びに行く, which means "Go. Reason: to 遊ぶ" I was wondering does this grammatical form work for verbs whose ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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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 ...
Axioplase's user avatar
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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 ...
Questioner's user avatar
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Is it true that all nouns must be able to accept a が particle and a を particle?

Is it true that all nouns must be able to accept a が particle and a を particle? I was curious about how we could form a sentence with: 特別が 特別を 出色が 出色を
Pacerier's user avatar
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Is this grammatical: 彼は映画スターであり、政治家もだ。

I was about to ask a question but I can't without first confirming, Is this sentence: 彼は映画スターであり、政治家もだ。 grammatically correct, and mean: He is a movie star and also a politician. ==Follow-up ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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より not used for comparing?

The title of a piano arrangement of a Touhou song (Hakurei Reimu's Theme) is: 「東方永夜抄 - Imperishable Night.」 より 博麗霊夢のテーム (Question) What does より do in the title? If it were to mean "from the game ...
Flaw's user avatar
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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" ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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4 votes
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Is けど a 接続詞 (conjunction) or 助詞 (particle)?

A book I've read states that けど is a 接続詞 (conjunction). However, another book I had read states that it is a 助詞 (particle). Who is right?
Pacerier's user avatar
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26 votes
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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" (...
Dave's user avatar
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What is the difference between 〜ないではいられない and 〜ずにはいられない

I was taught that these two phrases are interchangeable and have the same meaning. However, I recently wrote a few practice sentences using this grammar point and they were corrected to use ずには ...
phirru's user avatar
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6 votes
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ひき or 頭 for horses?

Initially I'd thought ひき is for small animals and 頭 is for animals that are not small ("big" animals) however EDICT (http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?1MUE%E3%81%B2%E3%81%8D) ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
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おいてきてしまった vs おいてしまってきた

Is there any difference in the sentence when we mix the order of the conjugations in this sentence: 1) あいにく私はカメラを家においてきてしまった 2) あいにく私はカメラを家においてしまってきた Or are both "correct" and mean the same thing ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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29 votes
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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 ...
Karl Knechtel's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
7k views

Contrasting 〜てならない、〜てしょうがない and 〜てたまらない

These three phrases can be used to express emotions and feelings that cannot be controlled. For example in the following sentences: a) 1点差で負けたので、悔しくてならない。 b) 1点差で負けたので、悔しくてしょうがない。 c) 1点差で負けたので、...
phirru's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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What's the analysis for たりとも?

Quoth Edict, たりとも means "(not) even; (not) any", and is probably used as such: 一問たりとも答えられなかった。(even one question, cannot answer) Is たりとも made up of the individual portions たり ("such things as") ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
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What is the difference between 残念ながら and 残念なことに

I hear both 残念ながら and 残念なことに when expressing that something was unfortunate before the actual sentence, much like the English "Unfortunately, ...". However, I'm not sure on where these two phrases ...
phirru's user avatar
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71 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
Alan C's user avatar
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verb た-form + そう, hearsay or observation?

Verb る-form + そう indicates hearsay. 帰るそうだ 'I hear he will go home.' 帰らないそうだ [Negative] Verb masu stem (i.e. conjunctive form 連用形) + そう shows information obtained through the senses, ...
phirru's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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Usage and means of 向き

The following sentences are difference usage of 向き which have different meanings. Why do they differ? この本は初心者向きである。 This book is suitable for beginners. 逆さまに向きを変えてください。 Please turn over.
ZarNge's user avatar
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1 answer
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When is it appropriate to use [v] ないでくれ instead of [v] な?

Initially I wanted to compare the rudeness level of [v]ないでくれ。 and[v]な。 but since that may be a rather vague question: In what situation is it appropriate to use [v]ないでくれ。 but not [v]な。 ? In what ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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18 votes
1 answer
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What does のですが mean in the following sentence?

焼き鳥屋さんで集まったのですが、とても楽しい、かつ有意義な時間を過ごしました。
Steven's user avatar
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63 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
Questioner's user avatar
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The nuance of 得る compared with ~ば

Japanese 以下の文を比較すると、 でき得るならば、独立して事業を始めたい。 できれば、独立して事業を始めたい。 意味が同じですか?どう違いますか?すみませんが、説明して頂けませんか? English If we compare the following two sentences: でき得るならば、独立して事業を始めたい。 できれば、...
ZarNge's user avatar
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54 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
phirru's user avatar
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9 votes
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Does it make sense to say [v]ませんでしたら instead of [v]なかったら?

I'm wondering whether it makes sense to say [v]ませんでしたら instead of [v]なかったら. When I googled for that conjugation there were very few results, but since there were results, I wonder if people actually ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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8 votes
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What is the function of と when it's not quoting, or doing exhaustive listing?

Consider these two sentences:  (1) 母はついてくるようにアリスに合図した (Mother signaled to Alice to follow her)  (2) 父は手で私に部屋を出ていくようにと合図した。 (Father gestured to me to go out of the room) And another sentence which I ...
Flaw's user avatar
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2 answers
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The nuance of ことなく compared with ないで

What nuance does "ことなく" have? If we compare the following two sentences: (For example, at a footrace:) 最後まで、あきらめないで走ります! vs 最後まで、あきらめることなく、走ります! Is ことなく stronger than simply saying ないで? Does ことなく ...
phirru's user avatar
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What is the difference between 言うな! and 言ってんじゃねぇぞ?

1) What is the difference between 言うな! and 言ってんじゃねぇぞ!, in other words can we use them interchangeably at all times? 2) which is ruder?
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Are there verbs that are neither intransitive nor transitive?

i was taught that verbs are either transitive or intransitive. but what kind of verb is 分かる ? WWWJDIC lists it as intransitive. Yet the replies/comments from this thread Why is it 日本語がわかります instead ...
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What's the difference between 言わないでほしい and 言ってほしくない

What's the difference between 言わないでほしい and 言ってほしくない ? If the intended message is "I don't want you to say it" which of the two above would be more suitable?
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6 votes
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なった versus なってきた

My friend recently said to me: 眠くなってきた 【ねむくなってきた】 Which, I think means "I became sleepy". But it seems to me that it is the same as saying: 眠くなった How does the addition of きた change this ...
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6 votes
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食べやすい and 食べにくい

I'm wondering what does 食べやすい mean exactly? "easily-eaten" doesn't seem to make any sense at all.. Does 食べやすい mean that something is soft and easy to swallow, or does it mean that something tastes ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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18 votes
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What's the difference between 〜以上は and 〜からには

The textbook I'm currently using defines both of these grammar points as: 〜のだから、絶対にする/しないのが当然だ What is the difference between the two grammar points, can they be used interchangeably like the ...
phirru's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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