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Questions tagged [modality]

モダリティ. The linguistic expression of the speaker’s psychological attitude towards the verbalized state of affairs or towards the utterance and the communication itself at the time of speech.

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Trying to understand forms of “どうせ…だろう”

To my understanding, in a normal non-conditional clause “どうせ” has a function of saying that something makes the surrounding context irrelevant, similar to “anyway” in English. As in for instance “...
Zorf's user avatar
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Sentence pattern for asking "should I do A or B?"

We commonly encounter situations when there are a number of options and we would like to ask for instructions as to which option to choose. Here is a real example from my recent experience. I was ...
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Do/can vs would/could in Japanese and the usage of ん and が? [closed]

Contextually, in Japanese, is there a difference between "do" and "would"? Similarly with "can" and "could"? On a side note, what's the purpose/rule for ん and ...
Emu_Flock's user avatar
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Kansai variant(s) of ~しちゃ危ない/だめ

What would be some Kansai-ben equivalents to the following two sentences? (a) 火遊びしちゃ危ないよ! (b) 火遊びしちゃだめだよ!
schoekling's user avatar
4 votes
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Difference between あったんだった and あったんだ

A「お昼休みなのに忙しそうだね」 B「午後から会議があるんだ」 A「ずいぶんゆっくりしてるけど、大丈夫?」 B「あっ、そうか!今日は午後から会議があったんだった」 A「今日一緒にご飯に行かない?」 B「ごめん、今日は彼女との予定があるんだ」 B「ごめん!さっき外食する約束をしたけど、今日は別の予定があったんだ」 Here are two dialogues. What would be the ...
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Logic behind "あった" meaning "found it" [duplicate]

For example, when someone is looking for something and sees it, they will say "あった”. I understand that the literal translation of あった is just the past tense of ある and means something like "...
Mark Chen's user avatar
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Why is た form used instead of る form here? [duplicate]

するとその横で、耶倶矢がむうとうなる。 「ふん、本条蒼二が女だったとはな……我が目をたばかるとはなかなかやりよる」 「あ、耶倶矢も知ってたのか?」 士道が問うと、耶倶矢はこくりと首を前に倒してきた。 「当然だ。颶風の御子は大衆の娯楽にも通じておるわ」 耶倶矢 previously thought 本条蒼二 was male and just realized 本条蒼二 was female. ...
chino alpha's user avatar
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What is the difference between べき and べきだ

Are べき and べきだ one and same thing? I found many grammars where べき is defined, but examples with べきだ are provided. 知るべき。 両親には従うべきだ。 Or is だ a copula? But then why do we use a copula in such case?
Starckman's user avatar
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How can you interpret "できるもんなら作るよ ってのが"

I am able to understand できるもんなら作る, but I don't understand the way ってのが is used, which I've come to learn is the contraction of というのが So, in which way is ってのが being used?
Oscar's user avatar
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How does ないと signify "must" in Japanese sometimes?

So my language resources gave me this sentence, in many forms and I still cant understand where "must" comes from or the need to in the Japanese. It's frequent, and I'm assuming a grammar phrase with ...
sups12's user avatar
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きっと and かな used in a sentence

I am listening to a song and came across もう充分だよってきっと言うかな Is it possible to use かな and きっと in a sentence? It sounds like "you will maybe definitely say [it's already more than enough]", which doesn't ...
Newbie's user avatar
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Translating ~ほうがいい as 'should' -- why does this seem rare?

In all of the resources I use (incl Genki, A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, various websites), the ~ほうがいい construction is nearly universally translated "had better ~" and rarely ...
frog's user avatar
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verb てーform + もいいです VS. verb + こと + ができます: whether equivalent or not

(1) カードで払うことができますか。 (2) カードで払ってもいいですか。 In google these two sentences were both translated into: Can I pay by card? Whether there exists any subtle differences? Or are they completely equivalent?
billzt's user avatar
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How did でしょうand だろう come to mean "probably"?

This is something I have been struggling with for long time. I don't see why, I don't understand how でしょう and だろう convey the meaning of "probably" as in sentences such as 雨が降るでしょう。It simply doesn't ...
Leafur's user avatar
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ように translation help

Page seven in my book has the following text, which is linked to the next sentence on page seventeen. 貫くような衝撃が顎から脳天を突き抜け、次第に目の前が真っ白になってゆく感覚に襲われる中、耳には銀髪の外国人の興奮した声が入ってきていた。 (translation: The ...
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What does からか mean?

I'm translating the following sentence from a book (exact sentence is directly after dialogue in the picture). 興奮からか銀髪の外国人の口調は、いつになく流暢だった。 I have absolutely zero clue what "からか" means in general ...
Toyu_Frey's user avatar
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Weird Inflection -されていかん

I am reading Alita Battle Angel, and I came across a sentence that I do understand, but for some reason is conjugated to the negative. Please could someone break the sentence down for me? (...
Ubz's user avatar
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3 answers
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Difference between だろう and かな

What is the Difference between だろう and かな and how to use them
Mizuki Marixo's user avatar
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1 answer
526 views

intuitively, why do かねる and かねない roughly mean "cannot" and "can"?

I understand the grammatical usage of these words, but I don't understand why they (roughly) mean "cannot" and "can". For example, if we write them with kanji, we get 兼ねる and 兼ねない. According to jisho....
Nicolas Louis Guillemot's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
530 views

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 ...
SystematicDisintegration's user avatar
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1 answer
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Indicating a subject and objective thoughts of inevitability

How do the Japanese show the nuance between the inevitable outcomes of actions based on their thoughts versus their findings? After the Tsunami of 2011, Japanese Volcanologists predict an inevitable ...
BenToJapan's user avatar
1 vote
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232 views

Why is verb (plain, dictionary form) + だろう/でしょう/であろう grammatical?

To my (limited) knowledge, one has to put the nominalizer の/ん between a verb and a copula. However, when I was learning the usage of である, the written, literary copula, I read that であろう can follow a ...
Yeti Ape's user avatar
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2 votes
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「確か、明日は先生の誕生日でしたよね。」Why でした and not です? [duplicate]

「確か、明日は先生の誕生日でしたよね。」 Came across this sentence during my Japanese class and am having trouble understanding the nuance behind it and why でした can be used in this manner. I tried asking my Japanese ...
joelfong's user avatar
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1 answer
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Understanding トイレの方が来たらいいのに in these song lyrics

I've been listening to a song called 布団の中から出たくない recently and tried to translate some of the lyrics, since my Japanese is still on a beginner or lower intermediate level. I stumbled over one ...
CaptnBobvious's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
439 views

What verb form is くださねばなるまい

The following is from a mystery manga. The criminal mastermind is lamenting that his accomplice Masumi failed to properly kill Kimisawa. ますみの奴・・・ 最後の最後でしくじったな あの至近距離でよもや急所をはずす ...
G-Cam's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
248 views

The word that translate to " can" in a sentence?

I am not sure what is the right the expression to use when I want to include "can" in a Japanese sentence: for example : Can I buy a fruit? is Kudamono o kau koto wa dekimasu ka? however ...
DEllie's user avatar
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1 answer
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Can someone please explain to me the grammar in the sentence このデータをうまく活用して、何かできないかな。

このデータをうまく活用して、何かできないかな。 This sentence is from Wanikani, and it's translated as "I don’t know if I can put this data to good use." I understand the first part of the sentence, but I don't know why ...
swelte's user avatar
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1 answer
243 views

Position of volitional form and scope of かな ending

Referring to throwing away old clothes to improve your life: この中のいくらかを捨てて、スッキリしてみようかな。 Maybe I will throw some of them away and try feeling refreshed. My translation is a bit silly. 1) Does かな ...
user3856370's user avatar
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9 votes
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Does 多分 carry a degree of certainty equal to or greater than 50%?

Purely speculating from the kanji, one could quite naturally think that 多分, being "many parts", could lean towards a likelihood greater than 50% that something will happen. I always thought as 多分 ...
Tommy's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
486 views

meaning of みんべえ

The full sentence comes from the story of 力太郎. Here it is: 「ばあさん や。この あか で にんぎょう を つくって みんべえ。」 I understand all the words except みんべえ, which I couldn't find in my dictionary. Is this an old ...
Alice28's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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How does じゃないか modify hortative in this case?

So far, I have always considered じゃないか to be a tag question meaning "...isn't it?" with varying nuances depending on context. However, I have seen hortative + じゃないか recently, in this short dialog (A ...
Jan's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
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What dialect is !〜べ?

What dialect is それはねぇべ (それはないだろう)? It seems I hear it a lot from people from Chiba. Is it from a specific part of Chiba or even a wider area?
paullb's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Can 'なければなりません' be used for possibility?

I thought the use of this suffix was restricted to obligations, but the sentence below has left me confused. この会に来たインドの人は「日本にいろいろ教えてもらって、早く空気をきれいにしなければなりません」と話していました。 Source: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/...
Pagginelli's user avatar
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1 answer
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When to use which one ? かもしれない、たぶん、もしかしたら

As I know All 3 words mean possibly/perhaps. They differ in % of possibility (My Japanese friend said so). But I am confused when to use which one properly?
MD TAREQ HASSAN's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
648 views

Why いた is used instead of いる here? [duplicate]

Why いた is used instead of いる in the dialogue below? なんでえ 生{い}きてたのか 楓{かえで}ばばあ。
Narutokage's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

Non conventional usage of the past tense

Why is the past tense used in this verbs (which doesn't make sense to me at least) 生きていた…?違うな…死ねなかったのだよ…! 再生機能を持ったこのアーマーに押し込みおった and the translation uses present tense Survive? That's easy... ...
Jon's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
1k views

How to grant permission for something in Japanese

I know that させてくれないか is won't you let me? But how do I say allow? させてあげる I'll let You!. I want it to be "something + the auxiliary ageru". Btw. Why is 借りしてもいい right but not 借りてもいい ?!?!? I want it ...
Grallak's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
8k views

How to say "You are able to" or "You can do this"

Title says it all. I am looking for sentence structures that can convey this meaning.
PatientZero's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
15k views

Should: ほうがいい、べき、ことだ

So far, I have learned about three different ways to say "should" in Japanese. I'm interested in knowing the differences among ほうがいい、べき and ことだ. What are some situations that each form would ...
Noodle's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
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Expressing a regretful wish

What is a good way to express a wish about something that won't or is unlikely to happen? For example: I wish I were tall enough to be allowed on that roller coaster. I wish I could eat that much and ...
debrucey's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
510 views

ほしがっている versus ほしそうだ

I don't really understand the differences between the following sentences. 彼は新しい車をほしがっている。 彼は新しい車をほしそうだ。 In both sentences, the speakers made conjectures based on the sign that the third person (彼) ...
Display Name's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
145 views

What is the function of だろう?

I've seen a question: なんでだろう? I know that なんで means 'why'. So what about だろう?
kikita123lion's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
286 views

か at the end of a news story title. Is it a question?

The title of a story on NHK News Web Easy is バスの事故{じこ} スピードを上{あ}げながら走{はし}り続{つづ}けたか Which, with my abilities, translates as Bus accident. As speed increased it kept running? I don't understand ...
Benjamin Lindley's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is んでしょう(か) grammatical, and what does it mean?

I've learned that んですか can be used to check an educated guess, as in: (upon seeing someone dragging a piece of luggage) ねえ、旅行するんですか。 Hey, you're going to travel, aren't you? I've also ...
rhyaeris's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
1k views

Why does this question use でしょう?

In my understanding, でしょう is used to represent probability, for example, 明日は雨でしょう。It might be raining tomorrow. あの人は先生じゃないでしょう。That man might not be a teacher. Now, consider the following ...
Friendly Ghost's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
294 views

How to ask if someone has to do something

recently I've been talking to some japanese people and came across a problem that might sound stupid but I really had troubles expressing what I wanted. I know the different forms to express ...
Tchang's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
200 views

Questions about the phrase 「きっとおなががすいているだろう」?

I'm attempting to translate the story 「花咲かじいさん」. I want to understand this sentence better: きっとおなががすいているだろう I believe it is: きっと -> certainly おなががすいて -> from お腹が空く, having an empty stomach ...
Christopher Bennage's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is the difference between びっくりした and びっくりするじゃないの

What is the difference between びっくりした and びっくりするじゃないの? The only thing I can think of is that one is just a general way of saying that something scared you, whilst the other is a way of "blaming" the ...
macko's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
335 views

Meaning of 私がではない

Spoken as part of a monologue by an anime character (cutting out parts irrelevant for context): 私にとっても、それは不快な事実だった。私がではない。 あれほど冷酷な魔術師だった男が、敵を助けたという事実こそが不快だった。 Is it a fixed phrase? What does it ...
user9771's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
2k views

Modal expressions in "He must be Japanese" - に決まっている and ぜひ・きっと・必ず

"He must be Japanese", if translated to idiomatic Japanese according to the standard concept, should be: 彼は日本人に決まっている。 What about the following alternatives? 彼はぜひ日本人です。 彼はきっと日本人です。 ...
Pavalovski's user avatar