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Questions tagged [word-order]

語順. Japanese word order can be very flexible. According to some theories, there is usually an "unmarked" word order, and other orders are achieved by "scrambling" the constituents into different positions.

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日本へ手紙を送る vs 手紙を日本へ送る

I'm trying to learn the ropes of Japanese language with some online guides, and sometimes I try to anticipate the sentences using what I learn, just to find out that the guide uses a different form. ...
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278 views

Is this translation of “When are you going to that person's house?” correct?

あなたはあの人の家に行くことはいつですか Is that correct or natural? Some people translate it as あなたはいつあの人の家にいくんですか or: いつあなたはあの人の家に行くんですか I have trouble using いつ, is there any rule to it? you can put it in any ...
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Word order and emphasis with たくさん

Genki (second edition) gives the following example sentences using たくさん, but doesn't explain any distinction regarding word order: 私は京都で {写真をたくさん / たくさん写真を} 撮りました。 I took many pictures in Kyoto. and ...
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What's the difference between「どこかで犯人を見ましたか」and「犯人をどこかで見ましたか」?

I saw in a book the following sentence used in an example: 犯人をどこかで見ましたか Shouldn't it be「どこかで犯人を見ましたか」?
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79 views

Can an adjective come after a verb?

I was trying to say "I write slow". I figured it would be: おそい(が)かく。 But a native speaker didn't understand me and said it was: かくのがおそい。 Now I understand how の after a verb makes it a noun, ...
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Can you slightly switch up the word order of this sentence? [duplicate]

This is what I've been taught: これ は わたし の 本 です。 = This is my book. And I was just wondering whether you can change the word order to say: この 本 は わたし の です。 ...
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103 views

desu vs. arimasu (or imasu) when declaring existence

The difference between arimasu and imasu is clear, but how do I decide when to use desu and when to use arimasu (or imasu) when stating that something exists? Consider this example sentence: There ...
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83 views

Different nuances of interrogative phrases

何{なに}がXですか。 Xは何{なん}ですか。 What are the different nuances associated with these two phrases?
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“I wish I could say…”

Just wondering how you would say "I wish I could say "I miss you""? I was thinking it would be something along the lines of 「恋しい」語るできたらいいのに although I'm not sure. Thanks!
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『僕だけがいない街』Is it grammatically correct?

I would like to know if the anime's title " boku dake ga inai machi " grammatically correct? It's quite confusing because the verb ”いる” in negative form, should be the last word as long as I know. 街 ...
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The place of noun and information using の?

I have seen articles like 秘密のとんかつレシピ. This would mean that the prior word is defining the latter, it's the secret Tonkatsu Recipe. Is this true? Thanks in advance!
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Can Japanese Sentence Structure be OVS?

So I was reading from this particular site on Japanese sentence structure and what dawn to me was, this particular structure seems to be OVS. (object/noun, verb, subject) There's not a whole lot of ...
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284 views

What is the order of the full list of kana?

My question would be, if I were to pick up a Japanese dictionary, or had a project in which I needed to put several Japanese words (including hiragana, katakana, and kanji, with gojūon, dakuon, yōon, ...
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Can “ので” be used to give the reason after that the consequence is mentioned?

I've been told that it's correct with this example: 遅れちゃった、寝過ごしたので But I don't understand why it's used like this because ので is the conjunctive form of のです so it's used to connect the sentence ...
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160 views

Is 今日本に何時ですか correct?

What I'm trying to say is "what time is it in Japan right now?". My main problem is if I placed 今 correctly and if I should use に or は?
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~を僕はします Question about word order

In school I was taught to write sentences, with 'I/me' or any other pronoun first-person or not, always being at the beginning of a sentence like so: 僕はリンゴがダサいと思います。 Yet I frequently see sentences ...
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Topic at the end of an utterance

So, I'm well aware that Japanese follows an SOV sentence structure. However, I see -very often- the topic appearing at the end of an utterance, rather than at the beginning. For example: きれいですね、...
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Which phrase structure is okay to use?

I wonder if is it okay to use all the below structures in a conversation? Is there any structure I should avoid using? The phrase in this case is I ate fried chicken. わたしは フライドチキンをたべた。 “I fried ...
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155 views

私は or この手紙は that means I wrote this letter

‎What is the difference between 私はあなたの鉛筆でこの手紙を書きました。 and この手紙はあなたの鉛筆で書きました。 Do the two sentences have the same meaning? I'm trying to say: I wrote this letter with your pen.
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“I ate a lemon” and “a lemon I ate”

Consider this: watashi wa remon wo tabeta This is translated as I ate a lemon. How about this? remon wo watashi wa tabeta This can be translated 2 ways: 1) A lemon I ate However, it also ...
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Is there an order of adjectives in Japanese?

In English, if we have multiple adjectives modifying a noun, there is a preferred order for those adjectives, for example: nice long red car *nice red long car *long red nice car I was ...
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Why in “Fukkatsu no F” the words order are inverted? [duplicate]

Phrases like "ore no shugyō", "my training" (training of me) , the person comes first and the noun second, but in phrases like "Fukkatsu no F" or "Fukushū no Gōruden Furīza" the order is inverted.
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Why does だけ come before は?

In a song I was listening to, there was the sentence: 僕はE缶だけは最後までとっておく With the given translation: I will only take the E-Tank at the very last moment. I don't understand why だけ comes before は,...
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How to connect words that describe a person?

I'm currently studying with Genki 1. And i came across an excersise that tells us to describe a person based on his picture. I choosed a man named Mizuno. I want to say: "Mizuno is fat, short (in ...
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What does やっぱり mean in [そこまでなんだって、思っちゃうもん……やっぱり]

「もうみーくん、またそういうこと言って」 「駄目ですか?」 「ううん、それも嬉しい、ドキドキする」 「そこまでなんだって、思っちゃうもん……やっぱり」 I'm a bit confused as to what this やっぱり is doing in the sentence above.
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Asking a group of people about something

I want to know if this is even near to being correct. Basically I'm making a question to people who like pizza despite not knowing much about it. (You can replace pizza with anything) あまり知らない人、 ...
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146 views

Difference between two sentences

魚が好きな人。 人は魚が好きだ。 What is the difference between these two sentences?
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Does word order change the meaning of a sentence?

I'm trying to figure out if word order effects the meaning of a sentence. I've learnt that verbs should always come last and heard that the order of other words in the sentence isn't that strict as ...
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Can the topic は be ordered after other words or phrases? [duplicate]

Consider the English sentence "I ate an apple in the train.". This can be translated to わたしは でんしゃで りんごを たべました。 It is possible to re-order the location and objects in this sentence. For instance, ...
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How to ask to whom an item belongs to

The given answer to the question I'm supposed to ask in my workbook is: それは たけしさんの ぼうし です。 But I can't figure out if my question should be: このぼうしは だれの ですか。 OR だれの このぼうし ですか。 Thank you!
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What does と mean in 「ここにおいで」と?

As far as I know "koko ni oide" means "come here", but what does "to" add to the sentence "koko ni oide to". The context of the phrase is 今、 あなたの声が聴こえる 「ここにおいで」と
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Can I replace X with an adjective in 「XはYです」?

I have been learning Japanese for a month now, using various online sources and the Genki I textbook. In the textbook, lesson 1 introduces the 「XはYです」sentence structure and although I'm way past this ...
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When stating a non-Japanese name, should the surname come first?

When stating a full non-Japanese name, should one use the "Surname Firstname" rule used for Japanese names (i.e. "Smith John / スミス ジョン") or the name's native rule (in the case of an English name, "...
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288 views

How should “四月は君の嘘” be translated?

四{し}月{がつ}は君{きみ}の嘘{うそ} is an anime premiered in fall 2014, and I wonder how this anime title should be translated. The official translation is “Your Lie in April”, but I also came across another form ...
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282 views

「5しゅうかん 日本語 を べんきょうしました」or 「日本語 を 5しゅうかん べんきょうしました」

わたしは くにで 5しゅうかん 日本語 を べんきょうしました。 わたしは くにで 日本語 を 5しゅうかん べんきょうしました。 I have seen sentence in this two orders. Which is more appropriate?
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103 views

What does トラックなど12台の車 mean?

I've been trying to figure this text out in NHK news easy: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/k10010447431000/k10010447431000.html There is a part when it says: トラックなど12台の車がぶつかる事故がありました。 I couldn't ...
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230 views

Particle between city and prefecture?

I'm trying to say, "I went to Oarai Town in Ibaraki Prefecture last year." 昨年に大洗町茨城県に行きました。 Is there supposed to be a comma or particle (perhaps で) between the city and prefecture? Please let me ...
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1answer
209 views

文の組み立て Question about word order

I am having problems with some sentences in those JLPT problems where one has to assemble the sentence from 4 piece of text phrases. The book contains the correct answer, but doesn't tell me the ...
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338 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 ...
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Describing a person by applying a modifier to their name 〜ような《名前》

In a fictional story about yakuza member Sahei there was a scene of a duel and the following phrase was used: まさかこんな相手に斬られるような左兵衛ではございません。 Clearly it means "Sahei wouldn't lose to such an opponent"...
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Word order/splitting the phrase 都合がつかず (possible mistake)

Today I received an email from a business partner. It read: 〜、〇〇日(〇)午後が都合がメンバーのつかず、〇〇日が〜 Is the word order in this phrase valid? Is it an editing mistake that resulted in a phrase different than: ...
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632 views

Why is the title of this manga 『からかい上手の高木さん』 instead of 『高木さんの上手なからかい』?

I've started reading a light slice-of-life comedy manga called からかい上手の高木さん. I was wondering why the title is written that way, it seems a bit strange to me. Shouldn't it be 高木さんの上手なからかい?
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1answer
219 views

新しい 机 を 買って もらいました。“They bought me a new desk” or “I bought and received a new desk”?

Ok, so I was studying some Japanese phrases when this showed up: 新しい 机 を 買って もらいました。 The translation provided in the source material is: "They bought me a new desk" What I don't understand, however, ...
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Checking the translation of あそぶ in this sentence

The sentence in question: 私は日本からあそびに来た友達にロンドンをあんないしてあげた。 My translation - I guided my friend who is coming from Japan around London. I know that あそぶ can be used to mean 'hang out with', and that’s ...
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PlaceにThingがあります vs ThingがPlaceにあります

I originally asked in the chatroom which out of the two phrases is better: PlaceにThingがありますか? or ThingがPlaceにありますか? If anyone can translate these to make them relevant in English, it would be ...
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186 views

Word order: what does 迷惑きわまりない modify?

In my JLPT practice book, there is a question that asks you to put words in the correct order: 朝の満員電車の中で、大きな音で ____ ____ ____ ____ 若者がいる。 What I put down was: 朝の満員電車の中で、大きな音で 迷惑きわまりない音楽を聞いている ...
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458 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. ...