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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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Difference between だろう and かな

What is the Difference between だろう and かな and how to use them
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202 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....
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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 ...
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93 views

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 ...
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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 ...
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131 views

「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 ...
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162 views

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 ...
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1answer
140 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 ...
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2answers
146 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 ...
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1answer
91 views

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 ...
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86 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 ...
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317 views

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 ...
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252 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 ...
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122 views

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 ...
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759 views

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?
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1answer
288 views

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/...
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687 views

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?
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1answer
360 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。
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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'...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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.
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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 ...
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1answer
190 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) ...
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1answer
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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?
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
873 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 ...
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1answer
648 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
284 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 ...
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1answer
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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。 ...
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Usage of plain i-adjectives or た form (悪かったv悪い、良かったvいい etc)

Example: 美人じゃなくて悪かったですね! (sarcastic) compared to someone who is using a room and is told あんまり広い部屋じゃなくて悪いな Or for example the difference between 無事でよかった and I can't think of the corresponding for ...
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1answer
290 views

Usage of さぞ and きっと

I looked these words and means surely. Usually I see きっと, but is usual to use さぞ? きっとお疲れでしょう。 さぞお疲れでしょう。 It's ok use both?
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3answers
754 views

かな ending in a sentence where the speaker is not uncertain of something

I've been going through a Japanese script of the popular anime "Fairy Tail" and trying to make sense of the translations in the English subtitles to become familiar with the language. I came across ...
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3answers
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What is the difference between んじゃない and んだ?

I came across the following sentence: 「…あの犯行予告、俺がやったんじゃないんだけどな。」 I also have English subtitles which translate this phrase as: "I wasn't the one who issued that threat, but no matter." What's the ...
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2answers
357 views

What is the connection between volitional よう form and であろう

I was wondering, what does the よう form of ある even mean? Does あろう act as volition of the object being spoken about? For example... if someone says 雨が降るでしょう(であろう)... is it the same as "It WILL rain" in ...
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1answer
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Difference between ちょっと待って and ちょっと待った

I understand that ちょっと待って means "please wait a while". But I did hear some people using ちょっと待った for the same meaning (maybe). So what is the difference between these two and when should we use 待って or ...
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178 views

Can desire be expressed for entities that do not hold volition?

We can personify things. By using "want" with an inanimate object, it is personified: An object with inertia wants to maintain its state of motion. (Question) First, is it possible in Japanese for ...
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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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3answers
2k views

よかろう - What does it mean? Where does it come from?

This is another question that's come from a 昔話。 We have the following section: 大きい箱と小さい箱がありますが、どちらがいいですか。 どちらも結構じゃが、どうしてもと言うのなら、小さいほうでよかろう。 I'm having trouble with the second sentence. My ...