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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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17
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How do ことになる and ようになる differ? (When ことになる cannot = “It has been decided that”)

I understand that ことになる has the meaning "It has been decided that" and can be used to point to a ritual or habit of a society like taking off your shoes. However, I don't get what it means when it is ...
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Difference between 書かないようになった and 書かなくなった?

Example sentences: ぜんぜん長い手紙を書かないようになった。 ぜんぜん長い手紙を書かなくなった。 My Translation: I never write long letters anymore. I believe they both mean the same thing but there's obviously some difference I don'...
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Sentence (question) ending かい - how is it different from just か?

I sometimes find questions that are normally ended with the question particle か to end with かい. For example: いいかい? そうかい? あいつがどうかしたかい? And sometimes with just い without か (if I understand ...
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Different meanings of こわい

I was watching this video (it's actually a really good series, despite the odd presentation). In it, there is the example: おばけがこわい。 Ghosts are scary. No problem there, but the series has been ...
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Is there a difference between んがため and ために?

My JLPT textbook has a section about the use of んがため, which they define as "making an effort in order to realize the intended purpose." Which to me sounds like plain ol' ために. For example, they have ...
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What is the significance of の in 「鳥の詩」?

I've seen it used in many places, and sometimes it feels like a connection between words. For example in 「鳥の詩」 (tori no uta), it looks as if the の is connecting 鳥 (tori) and 詩 (uta), and I would like ...
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Do Japanese parents address their son as musuko?

In America, parents can address their son as son. For example, "Son, could you open the window for me?" Do Japanese parents address their son as 息子?Thanks.
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Habitual aspect

My (poor) understanding of things is that there are two ways to get habitual semantics in Japanese: use the dictionary form of the verb: 毎日、映画{えいが}を見に行く "I go to the movies every day." use the -...
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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. ...
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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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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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What does 「学校が学校」, 「年が年」and such mean exactly?

So I came across this sentence when reading "Kokoro" by Natsume Souseki: ...友達は中国のある資産家の息子で金に不自由のない男であったけれども、学校が学校なのと年が年なので、生活の程度は私とそう変りもしなかった。 And a translation says: ...My friend was from a ...
16
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1answer
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What is the meaning of putting あれ at the end of these statements?

I saw an ad for Indeed today that had a couple tag lines with an あれ at the end, and I don't understand their use: 求人募集【きゅうじんぼしゅう】にサーチあれ。 仕事【しごと】、バイトさがしにサーチあれ。 Normally I'd assume that あれ would be ...
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“Unsolvable problem”

What is the correct construction of "unsolvable problem"? Is it "解{と}けられない問題{もんだい}"?(Question 1) Plain(intransitive): 解{と}ける "To be solved". Potential form(of intransitive): 解けられる "can be ...
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Conjugated word + んだ vs nonconjugated word + conjugated んだ

Suppose I have a verb/adjective/noun, let's say 無理, and I add (な)んだ to it as an explanatory sentence-ending particle. What would be the difference in nuance between the following two conjugated ...
16
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“Te-form” versus “masu-stem + して” (消しているうちに versus 消ししているうちに)

Is there any difference between 消して and 消しして in the following sentences? For example, A: 手紙を書いては消し、書いては消ししているうちに、朝になってしまった。 B: 手紙を書いては消し、書いては消しているうちに、朝になってしまった。
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Is it bad practice to use “することができる” as opposed to just “できる”?

The potential form of "する" is "できる". However, "~ことができる" can be appended to verbs to create a potential form. Hence, "することができる" can be used as the potential form of "する". While I think there are times ...
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Difference between ながら, がてら and つつ

What is the difference between ながら, がてら and つつ?
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Different ways to show intention to do something

How can one say "I am going to", express intention to do something in the future. I know some expressions such as: たいと思う -  I'm going to/ I want to ましょう - I will/ Why don't I しようと思う ...
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Difference between 〜といい〜といい & 〜といわず〜といわず

Can somebody explain the difference between these two expressions? I have pasted the definitions and some examples from 日本語表現文型辞典 to help but they seem to come down to the same thing. (When can one ...
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1answer
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When to use 他【ほか】の or 他【ほか】に

I always thought only 他の existed, but my teacher uses 他に a lot. Are there differences between when each can be used? Here are two examples of each from my online dictionary: だれかほかの人に聞いてごらん (Ask ...
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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 ...
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Standard mathematical operations, expressed in Japanese

First-time poster on this channel, so please forgive me if I screw anything up... I'm currently writing a "Japanese Calculator" program as part of a personal project I'm working on which takes rōmaji ...
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Why can't だ be used after an I-adjective?

I have been constantly told that だ can not be placed after an I-adjective. Why is that?
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The use of -さん when answering about oneself

If someone says, あなた は Chris-さん です か。 Are you Chris? Do you answer Chris です Or Chris-さん です
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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" (...
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What is a subsidiary verb?

What is a subsidiary verb? Could one explain it and give some examples of its application?
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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.
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When do you use するには as opposed to するため(には) to mean “in order to”?

I keep having するため(には) corrected to するには when writing sentences, but how interchangeable are they and when should each be used? Taking some Japanese sentences from Space ALC with my own English ...
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Why is 一緒に correct and 一緒で incorrect?

This is a mistake I habitually make, even though I know what the right form is. Earlier tonight, I wanted to tell my friend "Let's go together!", so I sent a mail saying: 一緒{いっしょ}で行{い}こう! My ...
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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....
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What are the differences between 広める and 広げる and between 広まる and 広がる?

I find the difference between 「広める (他動詞) 広げる (他動詞)」 and between 「広まる (自動詞) 広がる (自動詞)」 to be complicated. Can someone explain?
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Why is 楽しみに!wrong?

I was corrected on Lang-8 website that I should write 楽しみ!or 楽しみにしています!instead of 楽しみに!. And I don't understand why. Help please. 教えてくださいませんか。
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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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Difference and nuance between することはない and する必要はない/する可能性はない

I understand the grammar point "Verb (Dictionary Form) + ことはない" can mean either "There is no need" or "There is no possibility" depending on context. However, what are the differences? Are there any ...
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How to list numbers of things

Where do you place the counter in Japanese when you want to specify how many of something there are, especially if you're listing multiple things? I believe the counter usually goes after the ...
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The correct usage of ~と決める, ~に決める, and ~を決める

Browsing the example of 決める, I found at least there are 3 patterns as follows: 行くと決めた。I decided to go. 行くまいと決めた。I decided not to go. 車を買うことに決めた。I decided to buy a car. 会議の日を決めた。I decided the meeting ...
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What are the valid potential forms of special “suru” verbs?

Good afternoon all, From what I understand, special "suru" verbs only have one potential form which is formed using the syntax: [verb-stem] + [せる] For example, 愛す・愛する → 愛せる and 訳す・訳する → 訳せる. ...
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How to know if ~たら is hypothetical or temporal

I encountered the following sentence in the chapter introducing conditionals from the online grammar guide Imabi. 休んだら、元気になったWhen I rested, I got better. Earlier, the article explained that たら can ...
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な directly after a noun (not a な-adjective)

While reading a grammar book, I read the following explanation of な な na, a masculine ne Both sexes use ne, but male speakers often use na instead. There are other uses of na common to both ...
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what's the difference between 話をする and 話す?

I'm trying to understand the nuances between 話をする and 話す. When is one used over the other? I'm reviewing A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, and it has the following example sentence: ...
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Understanding the usage of もう with present tense verbs

I think when a lot of people first learn もう it's as "already', right? There's also the meanings of "anymore", "soon", "now", "more', "another" and its use as an interjection. That's a lot of meaning ...
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What's the difference between でしょうか and ですか at the end of a question?

I am having a little trouble understanding the nuance of でしょうか in comparison to ですか. People say it makes it more hesitant and polite, but that doesn't explain the nuance enough for me. Why would you ...
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In what way is the negative form of a verb an adjective?

I was reading the wikipedia page on "predicate," where it mentioned that in Japanese, the negative form of a verb is an adjective. I thought that this was too expansive a statement to be true, but ...
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What's the difference between 歩んでいった and 歩んできた?

私はまっすぐな人生を歩んできた。 私はまっすぐな人生を歩んでいった。 Could someone explain to me the difference between the two? Thanks a lot! Edit: I still find ていった confusing even after reading the other post. So ...
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Can placements of adverbs be altered freely?

I'm curious if there is any difference in nuance between these two sentences: 彼は少なくとも週に一度車を洗う。 彼は週に少なくとも一度車を洗う。 I'm aware that grammatically speaking both are 100% right, but this question is not ...
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how do we tell if ばかり means “about” or “only” ?

If ばかり could mean approximately; about; and could also mean only; merely; nothing but;, then how should we know if this sentence 5000円ばかりもっている。 means: 1) I have about 5000 yen. or 2) I have only ...
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Difference between てもいい and ていい?

寝ていい? I've learned that to ask permission for doing something, you needed to use ~てもいい but the more I read japanese, the more I come across ~ていい. What is the difference ? Is the latter a colloquial ...
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Is 「でいい」 the same as 「でもいい」?

For example in the sentence: 書くだけでいいですか.
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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 ...