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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1answer
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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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How does “ ~ずにはいられない ” work?

時代の流れを感じずにはいられない。 I can't help but feel time passing by. 彼のことを同情せずにはいられない。 I can't help but to feel sorry for him. 私は、彼の才能を賞賛せずにはいられない。 I can't help but admire his talent. Would ...
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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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Meaning of 然 in conjunctions and other grammatical words

Here are a few grammatical words that use 然 according to jisho.org: 然し(しかし) however; but 然して(そして) and; and then; thus; and now; and finally 然うして(そうして) and; like ...
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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: 日本は、...
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Meaning of volitional passive form

お姉ちゃんに何を言われようが、まる子はウキウキ気分なのであった。 What was said by her sister ???? but, Maruko felt cheerful. I can't think of any way in which something which is passive can also be volitional. How do I understand ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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に and で revisited

Consider the statement A: ホテル(に/で)泊まる. For both cases would translate to "I stay at a hotel" in English. However they are answers to different questions. Consider the questions 1.どこに泊まる and 2.(ホテルで)...
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ならば vs なら. both are totally interchangeable without affecting the nuance of the sentence?

is it true that なら is merely a short form of ならば and as such, both are totally interchangeable without affecting the nuance of the sentence? Also, a second question is is ならば more "formal" than "なら" ?...
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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、...
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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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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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Differences between 「することはない」 and 「しなくてもいい」

Like the title says, I'd like to know the difference in nuance and usage between 「することはない」 and 「しなくてもいい」。 For example: 「謝らなくてもいいよ」 vs. 「謝ることはないよ」 To me, they both sound like "You don't have to ...
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Using に with adjectives

I want to know if there is a rule or way of thinking that makes it easier to understand which adjectives can be used in the following pattern. 体にいいです。 健康にわるいです。 酒によわいです。 電車に詳しいです。 その場にふさわしかった。 I ...
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Does ~そう modify both verbs in a double-verb construction?

I heard the phrase: その男の子が車にひかれて死にそうだった。   When I head the V1てV2, I assumed that Verb 1 (ひかれて)had actually happened and that Verb 2 (死にそう) was a consequence. But someone pointed out to me that ...
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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】...
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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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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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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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When choose の/こと or というの/ということ

I'm studying nominalizers and don't understand when to use の/こと and when to use というの/ということ. For example, in the sentence: こんなによく[遅刻]{ちこく}をするというのは[問題]{もんだい}ですよ。 Could I say: こんなによく[遅刻]{ちこく}...
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In Okinawan, what is the ン in ウチナーンチュ?

The Okinawan word for "Okinawa" is ウチナー, for "person" is チュ, and for "Okinawan" (person) is ウチナーンチュ. I'd like to know where this ン comes from between the part for "Okinawa" and the part for "person". ...
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Does ません sometimes not negate?

I have a text in my learning materials as follows: 彼ら は 自分 の 事 しか 考えて いません。 Its translation is apparently "they only think of themselves". Now it all makes sense to me until the ません at the end. ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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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 ...
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Why does なんてね mean “Just kidding”?

I very often see なんてね or some similar phrase being translated to "Just kidding"? but why does it mean this and how does the grammar behind it work?
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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. ...
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に vs で: 映画に見る vs 映画で見る

Branching off from the comments to this question: Do I say えいがにみました or えいがをみました ?: Preamble: The comment says 映画に見た is valid for "I saw it in a movie". I went to search for example sentences and ...
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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?
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How to say regrets [I should not have X]

How in the world does this: 晩ご飯を食べるんじゃなかった。 translate as "I should not have eaten breakfast"? This roughly translates as "It was not that I eat breakfast."
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How to translate: “Keep/leave something”. So, how to express intention to leave something unchanged

Consider questions like: Please leave the door open, thanks! Could you please keep the lift's doors open? Thankyou Please, leave it as it is. They all imply something common: not changing the ...
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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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Grammar explanation for ~よし

Studying for the N1 with sample questions I stumbled across this grammar construct ~よし. However I am unable to find any explanation online or in any of my grammar books - probably I am searching for ...
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Do “direct object を” and “directional を” occupy the same slot?

A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (ADoBJG) lists more than one を particle. In particular: On page 347, it lists o1, a particle which marks a direct object. On page 349, it lists o2, a particle ...
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Range of numbers

How would one express a range of numbers regarding an action? Example: I usually study anywhere between 2 to 4 hours a day. Would the からーまで grammar structure be appropriate here? 一日に普段2から4時間までを勉強する。...
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〜しては is this a grammar pattern?

I was trying to translate this sentence: 僕はアルバイトしてはレコードばかり買っていたから、一日半働けばLP一枚買えるな、と思って働いていた。 I think I get the overall meaning as: Because I spent all my wages on records I went to work thinking "...
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Meaning of pattern 「XがXなら、YもYだ」

While reading, I came across this sentence: 「上官が上官なら部下も部下だな」 What does this 「XがXなら、YもYだ」 pattern mean? "Like X, like Y"? "X will be X, and Y will be Y"?
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Question about grammar, how to say “today I am returning to japan”

Today while I was self studying my Japanese textbook, I noticed this sentence which was translated roughly from "today I am returning to japan" わたしは 今日 日本 に かえります。 This seemed a bit odd to me since ...
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Meaning of じゃないんじゃない?

I recently came across the phrase じゃないんじゃない in this sentence: Clerk: 「でも うちで売{う}ってるアイスじゃないんじゃないかしら。」 For context, some kids are claiming they have a winning popsicle stick but the clerk can't seem ...
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Why is this sentence ungrammatical? 「お寺が公園のとなりです。」

I wrote this sentence (meaning "The temple is next to the park") in my Japanese course and my teacher said it's wrong, because I was supposed to use a は instead of a が. My understanding is that there ...
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What's the meaning of 〜ておきます?

What exactly does 〜ておきます mean in this context? 旅行{りょこう}する前{まえ}にホテルを予約{よやく}しておきます。 Is this trying to say something like "Before traveling, reserve a room". Is this a suggestion? An order? (If so, why ...
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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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Is there a difference between からすると and からして?

These two phrases seem to have very similar usage and I'm unable to determine the difference between them. The examples I have are: 彼は服装からしてだらしない。きっと他の面も同じだろう。 kare ha fukusou karashite darashinai. ...
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Is there a subtle difference between 少なくても and 少なくとも?

My sense is that the meaning is identical but that 少なくとも is somewhat more formal than 少なくても. Is that observation valid?
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「です」, what is it really? Is my analysis correct?

At an elementary level, often, Japanese learners are taught that です is equivalent to the verb "to be" in English. Typical example: 私は学生です, I am a student. That's fine, after all, it works. And to ...

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