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Questions tagged [syntax]

統語論. Rules governing construction of phrases and sentences in a language.

18
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2answers
3k views

Usage of か after a clause?

Here's a sentence I found: デパートはどこにあるか、知っていますか? Do you know where the department store is? What's the purpose of the か particle in 「どこにあるか」? Under what circumstances do I use it? I'm fairly ...
10
votes
2answers
8k views

Nominalization with のが、のを

I've just learned to nominalize verbs with のを but as I was looking for more info on the web I saw that this is also done with のが and こと. The question "What is the difference between the nominalizers ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

<動詞の辞書形> + がよい ― How is this allowed?

I've come across this form many times in my Japanese Bible. The meaning is quite obvious based on context, and seems to be one of the following: ~べきです, ~ほうがいい, ~なさい, or ~ように (let it be ~). Here are ...
7
votes
2answers
372 views

Do we use odd day pronunciations outside of calendar ranges?

After reading @jkerian's comment in this post, I started thinking about this. Here's the comment in full: On a side note, all days ending in '4' are also irregular, and use ~よっか. So the 14th is ...
7
votes
1answer
281 views

Grammatical Pattern : VerbてのNoun

What does this grammatical structure/pattern mean? I am trying to understand the meaning of the following sentence where the VerbてのNoun pattern appears. "昭和64年に起きた誘拐事件を巡る物語だけに、“昭和な顔”を買われての起用だったという"...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

In front of “ほうがいい,” is it always past tense?

ほうがいい means: the particular way "ほう" is "が" good "いい" So, for example, if it looks like it's going to rain, I might say to a friend: "今日は雨らしい。傘を持った方がいい。" But what I'm curious is, why is "持った" ...
18
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2answers
2k views

Difference between sentence final ものだ and ことだ

My understanding is that ものだ is used to assert things which are mostly known to everyone. 誰かの家に招待されたときは、何か手土産をもっていくものだ 'When invited to somebody's home it's customary to bring presents'. On the ...
10
votes
2answers
340 views

Varying word order for stylistic effect

Sometimes, for stylistic or rhetorical effect, one wants to delay mentioning a word/concept until the end of a sentence. For example, it's often best to save the punchline for the very end: I was ...
7
votes
2answers
742 views

Usage of ”し” particle

Whenever I watch drama or news I always hear "し" particle being used. Back when I was still studying "Minna No Nihongo" my teacher taught me that ”し” means "だから” but native Japanese tend to use this ...
11
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3answers
500 views

Are Japanese modifiers “greedy”, “anti-greedy”, or do they mean whatever people choose them to mean?

(I'm a beginner. I just started learning Japanese about a month before I wrote this.) The Japanese Wikipedia article 飛べない鳥, which corresponds to the English Wikipedia article Flightless bird, has the ...
5
votes
1answer
219 views

Overall syntax of this sentence

この部屋はシャワーだけでお風呂がないんですが。 => "This apartment only has a shower but no bathtub" This would be what I think this sentence says contentwise. I also think it could be a viable translation, but the way ...
28
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2answers
8k views

How to end a sentence in わけ

The is a certain way of talking where you can end just about anything you say in わけ. What is the sentence structure for this way of talking?
13
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2answers
1k views

Can placements of adverbs be altered freely?

I'm curious if there is any difference in nuance between these two sentences: 彼は少なくとも週に一度車を洗う。 彼は週に少なくとも一度車を洗う。 I'm aware that grammatically speaking both are 100% right, but this question is not ...
12
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1answer
575 views

Unifying concept for noun-adjectives of the pattern Xかな

Consider these: ~か: 静か 愚か 厳か ~やか: 穏やか 鮮やか 賑やか ~らか: 柔らか 滑らか 明らか There are many more that I've not listed. The か/やか/らか at the end of these words seem to ...
7
votes
2answers
307 views

「が」vs「の」 with possessives

I know that the normal possessive form is usually formed subject+「の」+object. Though, in one instance, I found が being used in 天は我が物. I know that 「が」 can be used to express possession, though is there ...
17
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3answers
12k views

How to separate words in a Japanese sentence?

Unlike some languages (English, French ...) , written Japanese sentences don't have spaces between words. I know that it is the same in Chinese for example, but the fact that the Chinese language ...
9
votes
1answer
26k views

Saying something is like/not like something else

How does one say "this is like/similar to that" or "this is not like that" in Japanese in essence? An example sentence is "In this way, the English are like the Japanese" ; I have not been able to ...
5
votes
1answer
392 views

An i-adjective immediately before 「ください」?

Does it make sense to have an i-adjective (in て-form) immediately before 「ください」? For example, when asked to choose between hot and cold coffee, can I use 「温かくてください」, or must I turn it into nominal ...
5
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2answers
2k views

Some questions about って

Here is a sentence from Dragon Ball : 一気にこれ以上修業したって意味はないって。限界までやったんだ。 悟空 says this to his son who's worried because they just chill out before a battle instead of training until the last minute. ...
4
votes
3answers
604 views

Does contraction and elision affect formation of relative clauses?

For example, やらなければならない can modify 時 to form やらなければならない時 and I know that the adjective い ending can simply have a noun appended after it. However when it's contracted to やらなきゃ can I simply add a ...
4
votes
1answer
325 views

Question about に and には in terms of emphasis

I read the post on here from 2011 about the difference between に and には, but I came back still a little confused (especially with all the non-layman grammar words like transitive/nominative/etc). I ...
7
votes
1answer
245 views

What is this や in 大きすぎや?

Is this a contraction along the same lines of なければ → なきゃ? 反乱を抑えるためだけが目的だとしたらリスクが大きすぎやしないか Also, can you contract 言えば or あれば?
7
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1answer
190 views

「〜がする」 the extended use of する (to do)

I'm going through some basic grammar and this one website teaches the "extended" use of the word する. There is a confusing example which looks like: 波の音 がする The translation is: "(I) hear the sound ...
5
votes
1answer
196 views

Is the 「て」 missing from 「され」 in this sentence?

Here is the sentence. ソフトのプレイ中にHOMEボタンを押すと、ソフトが中断されHOMEメニューが表示されます。 I think 「て」 should follow the verb 「中断され」 to create conjunctive/continuative form.
5
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1answer
125 views

what is the meaning of a た形の動詞 + とする

The sentence is 例えば外食時、定食屋さんでとても美味しいご飯をたべたとする。 I've looked at some other answered questions which explain how とする, when appended to a verb expresses quitting an old action and starting a new one. ...
4
votes
1answer
299 views

Can と AND や be used in a sentence for a list of things

I have been reading about using と and や. Now, I understand the basic idea that や is for a list where the list is not all-inclusive. と on the other hand essentially informs the listener that "only ...
3
votes
2answers
151 views

Issue identifying the topic of a sentence

I've been staring at this for a while now and can't seem to decide on what is actually happening. The sentence in question is: さっきから動物に餌を与えるのを楽しんでいるかのようなシンシア Now does this refer to an actual ...
8
votes
1answer
215 views

Truncated adjective まっすぐ

I have a sentence in a book that goes like 甘い匂いのするまっきいろな花です。It is a kids book, so everything is in kana. I'm having trouble figuring out the bolded part. It talks about a dandelion in the context, so ...
4
votes
4answers
312 views

Is this sentence structured correctly?

こんにちは! I'm new to this site and Japanese language. I haven't learnt the entire Hiragana alphabet yet and don't know any Katakana. I'm trying my best to stay away from Romaji, so please be aware that I ...
4
votes
2answers
174 views

Meaning of 「X 一緒なら Y 一緒」

その高校とは昔から仲が悪くて学力のレベルも一緒なら評判や人気までも一緒 More context: http://i.imgur.com/EZPfSZn.jpg Is 「X 一緒なら Y 一緒」 a common structure? What is its meaning? My attempt: "Relations with that high school have always ...
2
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2answers
332 views

noun + の + adjective

I've seen a couple times examples of using this format of [noun] の [adjective] and I mostly see it in the form ~の高い Some specifics I'm referring to are: 人気の高い 柔軟性の高い I can't think of any more off ...
1
vote
1answer
202 views

How is ではなく formed?

この女の人はペンチではなく、ハンマーを使っています。 I believe the sentence means "The woman is using a hammer, not a pliers". But I couldn't understand ではなく, how is this structure formed?
1
vote
1answer
165 views

Parsing 彼には映画監督になるという夢があります

My best guess is "His dream is to become a movie director," but I'm not sure what "になるという" means when put together like that. I know that "になる" means something like "becomes," and "という" means ...
19
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4answers
5k views

Are there cases when two or more particles will occur next to each other without intervening lexical words?

Most particles seem to be postpositions but I'm sure I've seen say a noun followed by a location particle followed by "wa" or "ga" or possibly "wo" but when I've tried to use it I've only confused my ...
9
votes
3answers
6k views

How to tell よく (often) apart from よく (good)?

Whenever I see 「よく」, I have to ask someone whether it means "often" or "good". For example, here is a sentence from my book: クラスへ行って、先生の講義をよく聞いて、ノートをよく取り、それをよく覚えれば、試験でいい点がもらえる。 I thought all ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

Proper use of ため to thank someone for doing x?

I know ため can be translated into English as "for" such-and-such. But is it appropriate to use it to thank some one for doing something? For example, "Thank you for your email address." Would it be ...
7
votes
2answers
256 views

Most natural way to write sentences of the type “A verbs that B verbs that C verbs that…”

A) I think the typical way to say Tanaka said that Yamata knows where the building is in Japanese is 田中さんは山田さんが建物はどこか知っていると言った Maybe it's more natural to say "the building's location" ...
5
votes
1answer
263 views

「だといえども」はどういう意味ですか?~What does だといえども mean?

能力のある三公・摂政・関白が高齢だといえども辞めてはならない I understand everything in this except for だといえども, and I'm kind of struggling to find a good explanation of what it means. Anyone have any ideas?
4
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1answer
610 views

What's the difference between 日本人の学生 and 日本の学生 ?

I am beginner to Japanese language. I am using Genki as textbook. I came across this sentence in one of the exercises: あなたの学校に日本人の学生がいますか。 Why is it 日本人の学生 here and not 日本の学生 ? Wouldn't 日本の学生 (...
4
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2answers
3k views

About the Meaning of 〜ことに〜

I recently studied the grammar point of 〜ことに〜, as in 「あきれたことに、彼の禁煙は1日だけだった。」, however I'm not quite confident with it's meaning. I'm having no trouble with the meaning of the sentence it self but ...
14
votes
3answers
465 views

Sentence structure/element order

In the textbook Japanese for Busy People I, the order of the elements in a sentence is always the same (subject - when - with whom - by what means - to where - verb) at least as far as I have made it. ...
12
votes
1answer
460 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
217 views

Telling the speaker apart from the person being spoken about

A recent question about the usage of quoted speech contained this interesting sample sentence: ハイリアの民は、ふしぎな力を あやつることが、できたと言います。 Often when I read this kind of sentence, I wonder if ハイリアの民 is part of ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

“unfinished” sentences ending in particles like を, に and が

This is something I've always wondered about, but can't find any info about. When native speakers come across a sentence that ends ...を。, ...と。 or ...が!*, how do their brains parse it? Is it just a ...
7
votes
1answer
182 views

Is repetition of words in questions, such as the 番 in 電話番号は何番ですか common in Japanese?

In this other question, the answers say that 電話{でんわ}番号{ばんごう}は何番ですか is a common way of asking for someones number. I was thrown off by the repitition of 番, but the answers say it's commonly used. So ...
7
votes
1answer
160 views

とか vs たりする what's the difference?

What's the difference between とか and たりする when listing verbs?
7
votes
2answers
504 views

Particles after time expressions like “三週間”

I am a beginner in Japanese so I was trying to write some simple sentences to practice my vocabulary and grammar. I wanted to write the sentence: My friend is in Japan for three weeks. as: ...
6
votes
3answers
12k views

What is the correct way to say: “where are you going?”

What is the correct way to say "where are you going?"? Is it: あなたはどこに行きますか or あなたはどこに行くの Also, can someone please explain that の in "あなたはどこに行くの"?
6
votes
1answer
273 views

Volitional + が ; ~おう + が

The sentence is :  まあ 何人来ようが || どうってこともないがな... (|| = Column break.) It doesn't matter how many people want to come... I'm not sure whether the first が is the subject particle (and if ...
5
votes
1answer
221 views

Maths sentences: 足す and 掛ける

I noticed a lack of case marking particles in mathematical sentences: 1足す2は3である。 3掛ける4は12である。 足す and 掛ける are verbs, does subject and object analysis apply to this? Do they take on the ...