Questions tagged [plurals]

複数. Words or grammatical constructs that express multiplicity.

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Can you call a group of people by a subgroup of 2, and if so then how?

What I understand: A way of referring to a group of people by just 1 person can be done with saying [name]-[honorific, if any] tachi. (I seem to be right based on this and this.) Eg For the group of ...
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Definiteness and Plurality Strategies

According to https://www.japanesewithanime.com/2017/08/definite-indefinite-articles.html 猫の耳 can be translated as any of the following. Cat's ear. A cat's ear. The cat's ear. Cats' ear. The cats' ear. ...
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When is it inappropriate to use the pluralizing suffixes -たち, -ら?

In "A Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar", it says that there are cases where -tachi cannot be attached to a noun, as in: a. 川本と柴田は大学の教師(*たち)だ。(Kawamoto and Shibata are college ...
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Use of ら in 博士ら、 警察官ら

Typically ら is used to form plurals or groups of people in casual situations, when it is used pejoratively, or in set words such as 彼ら. たち seems to be prefered in other situations ○○さんたち、あなたたち、 私達, ...
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Do genitive numerical phrases block the plural?

Context: [両]{りょう}の[貴様]{きさま}は[明日]{あした}の[末]{すえ}に[亡]{な}いです。 with the intended meaning Both of you will be dead by the end of tomorrow. This question is about the 「両の貴様は」. I understand that the "...
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3 votes
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Addressing a group of people with -tachi (たち) and name of one

I knew the general idea of -tachi, as explained e.g. here: "Hey Bro!" how to call out friends However, in one ラノベ I read the following situation: Assume there is a supervisor Asahi and 2 ...
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6 votes
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か as a suffix to mean "a few": Why is 何__かがVERB not allowed

Here is yet another puzzling sentence for me from a dictionary I am using: 何ページ か 欠けている。 A few pages are missing. (研究社) My understanding is that while 何ページ ambiguously means "what/which/how many ...
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Would this be plural or singular?

In a sentence like 白と黒の犬がいます, would it be saying, "There is a black dog and a white dog," or, "There is one black and white dog"?
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4 votes
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Referring to Group of Differentiated Objects

This is a bit esoteric, but it is something that came up recently when I was thinking about how to translate a piece of writing I have been working on for a while into Japanese. In any case, one of ...
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7 votes
3 answers
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Equivalent of 【一人で】for a multi-person group unit

I am trying to translate the English expression "left to their own devices"/"left to themselves"/"in a vacuum" into Japanese, and the best I could come up with would be something involving 「ひとりで」, but ...
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Question about the sentence 私が手伝いましょう。

Im using an Anki deck to study vocabulary. It's translation for the sentence 私が手伝いましょう is "Can I help you?". Im a bit confused, as I see no question marker in that sentence. I would guess it's ...
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2 votes
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Indicate more than one?

I want to say "I love my cats," but I don't know how to convey more than one. I've come up with 「私は私の猫大好きです」but I don't know what to do to indicate I have more than one cat.
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Can you disambuguate a specific noun from a general noun with たち

A person was talking about living near a particular mountain. I want to say: I want to live near the mountains too where I mean mountains in general, not the specific one he is talking about. If I ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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Is たち in 子供たち redundant?

In my understanding, 達{たち} is a suffix used to pluralize a countable noun. For example, 私 (single) becomes 私たち (plural) あなた (single) becomes あなたたち (plural) According to most dictionaries, 子供 can be ...
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Plural reflexives: among themselves

Suppose there are two groups/teams A and B within the same conversational space, and I'm in group A. How would I say: "they (group B) discussed among themselves" (as opposed to discussing with ...
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Plural form with -たち/-ら

I found a similar.question here on stackexchange, but I can't properly understand the answers given there. And the textbook Genki doesn't give much of a detailed explanation on the plural form. What ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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"この" vs "こちらの" with regard to implied plurality

この この文型{ぶんけい}は文{ぶん}の作{つく}り方{かた}を示{しめ}している。 こちら こちらの文型は文の作り方を示している。 In all contexts, "この文型..." refers to just one grammatical pattern? "こちらの文型..." might refer to one grammatical pattern, or ...
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why does "ら" follow "山中{やまなか}" here: "山中ら、予備検診{よびけんしん}で異常{いじょう}なし"

In the newspaper article titled 山中ら、予備検診で異常なし…WBCバンタム級, what meaning is created by placing "ら" after "山中"? Does it make "山中慎介" plural, and then "山中ら" means something like "Yamanaka and his hangers-on"...
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Politeness / political correctness and gender polarity of "plural" suffix -等(ら) for 彼 and 彼女 etc

The definitions on ejje.weblio: 彼ら 彼女ら What I would like to know is: 彼ら is definitely gender neutral and 彼女ら can only have females in the group, right? As explained in Why is “学生” made “plural” ...
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Why is "学生" made "plural" in this newspaper article?

The ending of the first line of the first paragraph in the newspaper article titled さくら市の歩み一冊に reads ... さくら市の記念誌を文星芸大(宇都宮市)のデザイン専攻の学生たちが制作した。 My understanding is that that means: The students who ...
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How to do plurals? [duplicate]

I've seen there are two ways of saying we and pluralizing words using: ら、たち But I can't see the difference and I'm not sure if it can be used with all the pronouns. Are there other forms of ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Is スポーツ a plural-only word?

Typically there is no pluralization in Japanese unless specified. For example: この車【くるま】は綺麗【きれい】。 This car is clean. / These cars are clean. Does スポーツ work in the same way? Considering the ...
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11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Does 友達 have the plural marker たち "built-in"?

I cannot recall this very clearly so I'm sorry if this is all not correct but someone once told me that the word 友達{ともだち} has the plural marker たち "built-in" and therefore you cannot say 友達たち about ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Plural in ancient Japanese?

It is known to Japanese learners that the Japanese verb isn't affected by the subject (number or gender). Today, a linguistics professor of my university told me he heard from his teacher that ancient ...
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12 votes
2 answers
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What is the difference in usage between a plural using (a) the kanji repetition character 々, (b) a plural using -たち, and (c) the singular?

I know that there are some noun that are made plural by the kanji repetition character, such as 人々 and 国々. My question is, how does this differ from using the non-plural form of the noun? And how does ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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The plural 等 in おいら, おら

Why do the singular first person pronouns 俺{おい}等{ら} and 俺{お}等{ら} involve the plural affix 等?
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5 votes
2 answers
796 views

What rules should be followed when saying "we"?

I know that, in Japanese, you can say X達【たち】 or Xら (where X is a first person pronoun) to say we. However, what rules should be followed for choosing that "X". Can I use whatever I would use to refer ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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What are the rules for the plural suffix ~ら

I came across the following in a newspaper article: 藤沢健太教授(宇宙物理学)らの研究グループ The first part (藤沢健太教授) is the name of a professor (Professor Kenta Fujisawa). The parentheses say "Astrophysics", and ...
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31 votes
6 answers
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Pluralization in Japanese: usage of -たち and -ら

I know that -たち and -ら pluralize the nouns they come after (or indicate a group that the noun is part of), but most of the time the plural in Japanese is implicit. When is it appropriate or necessary ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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What's the standard for making plurals of Japanese words in English? [closed]

There's the movie "Seven Samurai", which would sound strange as "Seven Samurais", but in the news you often read about "hundreds of tsunamis". Some people say they know 500 kanjis, but I've always ...
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