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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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14
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2answers
3k views

にしても and としても, is there a difference?

にしても and としても...Don't they both have a meaning of "even if"? Is there any subtle difference between these two forms?
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1answer
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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 ...
14
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1answer
9k views

ぜ at the end of sentence?

What's the meaning of ぜ at the end of sentence? Is ぜ a particle? What's the difference between: おい、逃{に}げるぜ。 and おい、逃{に}げる。 I found a couple of explanations on the web but none I could fully ...
14
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1answer
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“からだけ” vs “だけから”, which is grammatical?

Good afternoon all, I was wondering when we chain particles, should "から" come before "だけ", or should it be the other way round? For example, I'm expecting a mail from 健一, a mail from 健二, and a mail ...
14
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2answers
600 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 ...
14
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2answers
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How to use 〜かのよう{に・な・だ}

I understand fine how to use 〜(の)よう{に・な・だ}, but I'm not sure when or how you can add in the か. Here's an example from my book: 4月になって雪が降るなんて、まるで冬が戻って来たかのようです。 How is this different than if it had ...
14
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8answers
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How do I say “before” or “used to” in Japanese?

朝、作文を書いた時、疑問に思いました。 How can I say something like: I didn't use to like this band. Before, I didn't like this band.
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5answers
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Can 何で mean “how”?

Looking at this, it seems that when the word 何 is used with the で particle, it roughly translates into "by means of what" or "in what context." Personally, that sounds like asking "how". Is this ...
13
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2answers
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How does the particle を relate to the verb 行く in the structure「A を + B に行く」?

I came across this sentence in my japanese practicing material (the point is I didn't make up the sentence so I assume it's correct or at least commonly used) 日本についてのアンケートを中国人100人に行った。 and It doesn'...
13
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3answers
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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 ...
13
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3answers
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~ておく or ~とく for preparation (conjugation and nuance)

A few quick questions regarding ~ておく and the casual form ~とく Firstly, when changing from ~ておく to the more casual ~とく I'm assuming the verb is first conjugated to the ~て form then the ~て is dropped ...
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4answers
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What is the difference between は and のは?

The following sentence means "seeing all the different foreign people was interesting." This, according to my Japanese friends is incorrect: 色々な外国人を見ているは面白かった。 ... and this is correct: ...
13
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2answers
810 views

Break down the phrase “shitsurei shinakereba naranaindesu”

I've just heard the phrase shitsurei shinakereba  naranaindesu used as Excuse me, I have to leave. The explanation said it literally translates to If I don't leave, it won't do, but I need help on ...
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2answers
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What does 逃げっこなしにしよう mean?

So, I was reading a children's story and came across this sentence: 「いいか、この最後{さいご}のローソクが消{き}えたら、本当{ほんとう}のお化{ば}けが出{で}るかもしれん。だが、どんなお化けが出ようと、お互{たが}いに逃{に}げっこなしにしよう」 What I'm having trouble ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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Can ~たり~たり end with verbs other than する?

In the past, I have come across several examples of ~たり~たり seemingly being used with other final verbs than する, which is generally taught to be mandatory at the end of ~たり~たり phrases. Is this ...
13
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2answers
475 views

Conflict among teachings of なら and ば

I recently read a helpful answer on a question asking for clarification on the ways to say "if" in Japanese: と, たら, なら, ば. The link is here: Differences among -たら、なら、-んだったら、-えば, etc According to the ...
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2answers
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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 ...
13
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1answer
877 views

What grammatical function is や performing here?

それで何だっけ? 昨日の夜の話 全然覚えてないや 「電話が鳴って君からだってわかったら 急に変な気分になったんだ。」 This is an excerpt of lyrics from Indigo la End's song 彼女の相談. I can't figure out what function the や in line 3 performs. Does ...
13
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1answer
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what does しにみえてる mean?

The phrase in question is: 広瀬さんが指導碁をお願いしにみえてるんだけど  In context, I think it means something like "Hirose-san came to ask for a teaching game, but..." but I still have not been able to break down my ...
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1answer
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Understand the difference between [dictionary/ない + ようとする] and [volitional + にする]

I have come across a couple of concepts that seem relatively similar, but I would like an understanding on their differences, if any. The first is the dictionary/ない form + ようとする. And the other is the ...
13
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1answer
665 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 ...
13
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1answer
625 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 ...
13
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1answer
640 views

Usage of doubled non-past tense “た”

I've recently been noticing some patterns which look like two repeated past-tense verbs, but I think which indicate a command rather than the past tense. For example: さあ、行った行った。 "Get along with ...
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2answers
376 views

Why is the て-form being used before ん?

In the following sentence: 誰{だれ}探{さが}してんの What is the grammatical reason for 探{さが}す to be used in て-form before ん?
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1answer
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って vs が. JLPT question

I'm looking through JLPT N3 questions and have come across this one: A: ねえ (   ) どんなひと? B: とても親切でいい人だよ The possible answers are: 田中さんが 田中さんで 田中さんって 田中さんでも Number 4 makes no sense at ...
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1answer
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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。
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2answers
627 views

Choice of tense with そばから

When using そばから in the sense of "as soon as", everything I find says that you can use either た form/past tense before it, or dictionary form, but not what the difference is. Sometimes people even use ...
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4answers
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The という in things like 〜ということ・〜というの・〜という感じ・〜というわけ etc

I have been trying for ages to understand the reason という is used so frequently. In other words, what does it add to the sentence and what connotations does it have in Japanese? I understand the ...
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3answers
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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 ...
13
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2answers
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て versus combining-form for joining clauses

Is there a difference between these two sentences 昨日はビールを飲んでパイを食べました。 昨日はビールを飲みパイを食べました。 More generally, when should I choose one form over the other? Thanks.
13
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1answer
585 views

When is と added to onomatopoeia?

While at first I believed it was simply bound to each individual word, I've noticed that the same onomatopoeic word sometimes has と after it and sometimes it doesn't. Here's a case I stumbled upon: ...
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1answer
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Meaning of のだろう?

I'm not sure when should I use particle の in front of だろう/でしょう? Is のだろう used when the speaker wonders about something to himself? For example, what would be the translation of these sentences: ...
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1answer
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Usage of て-form in 知っての通り

I have just come across the phrase 知っての通り〜 (as you know...) I have never noticed this usage of て-form before and can't find an explanation. What is the difference (if any) between this and 知っている通り? ...
13
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1answer
584 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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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2answers
957 views

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 ...
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2answers
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What is the subject when time passes in a narrative (eg 1ヶ月を経る)

(This might be a quick easy question but sometimes the answers to these are unexpected.) What is the subject in the following sentences? I've given my best efforts for the examples 1-4 below. (I am ...
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1answer
2k views

Difference between 向かう, 向く, 向ける

From my understanding 向ける is transitive and means to face/turn something towards something. 安藤は日本国内から世界に目を向けたのです。 -Andou turned his eyes from inside Japan to the world. 向く on the other hand ...
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1answer
820 views

Is 「3人いるだと」 grammatical?

3人いるだと!? Can you say 3人いるだ as a statement? If だと is simply だ + と, I would expect 3人いるんだと. Is だと considered a particle in its own right, with different rules than だ? Transcription of the contents of ...
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2answers
4k views

usage of「ご迷惑をおかけ・・・」variants for a business apology

I have to apologize for a procedural error at work, and am unsure about selecting the right form of apology from the variants of 「ご迷惑をおかけ・・・」: 1.「ご迷惑【めいわく】をおかけして申【もう】し訳【わけ】ございません。」 2.「ご迷惑【めいわく】...
13
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1answer
3k views

あまり meaning “too much”

When using あまり in the sense of "too much" (as opposed to "not very"), until recently I had always seen it as あまりにもA, with A being the thing that there was too much of. I never really tried to relate ...
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1answer
478 views

副詞 before copula

When reading through The meaning of そう, I was thinking about そう's status as a 副詞. Certainly, it acts like many other 副詞 in that it can directly modify verbs. However, I was curious about the usage ...
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7answers
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How does the present tense work in a relative clause?

そんなわけで、まだ日も暮れない夕方の通学路を、駅に向かってゆっくりと歩く俺と加藤。 I encountered this quote in a light novel and am stuck on how to interpret it. It feels like 歩く should be "walking" in this context, but it is not 歩いている. The ...
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4answers
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Is a palindrome a thing?

A palindrome is a word or phrase that is the same backwards and forwards, such as "Bob", "aibohphobia" or "A man, a plan, a canal: Panama." In English, as well as many other languages, this is a ...
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2answers
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Is it ok to use ~て下さりました instead of ~ていただきました?

Just to avoid repeatedly saying いただきました too much, can I occasionally switch it with 下さりました or 下さいました?
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1answer
5k views

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. ...
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4answers
930 views

How does the use of いかんによっては in this question determine one answer over another?

In my JLPT practise book, in a section explaining the use of いかんによっては, which roughly means "depending on", they have the following question: 学生{がくせい}:先生{せんせい}、台風{たいふう}が近{ちか}づいていますね。明日{あした}のゼミは休講{...
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3answers
482 views

心配でたまらず - what is the verb and its form?

Could someone explain the grammar/words behind this and similar phrases? I did some research and probably found the explanation, but I am not sure if this is correct. The phrase may be found in a ...
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4answers
3k views

What does 食べたいものを好きなだけ食べる mean?

食べたいものを好きなだけ食べる seems to be weird for me because in my understanding this sentence mean I just eat the food I like from the food that I want to eat The complete sentence is as follows. ...