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194 votes
5 answers
45k views

What's the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)?

When is it correct to use は but not が, and when is it correct to use が but not は? Are there any times when you can use either without changing the meaning of the sentence? How does switching change ...
nevan king's user avatar
  • 7,148
50 votes
2 answers
9k views

How does the の work in 「日本人の知らない日本語」?

I've read that 日本人の知らない日本語 translates to: "Japanese (language) that Japanese (people) don't know". But I don't understand how or what the の does in that sentence. If I'm not mistaken 知らない日本語 could ...
dotnetN00b's user avatar
  • 6,806
83 votes
3 answers
14k views

When is Vている the continuation of action and when is it the continuation of state?

Last night, when I asked my wife to send an email to me, she said もう送っている which I took to mean that she was "sending the message". (The message had a big attachment so I imagined that it could take a ...
user27478's user avatar
  • 933
54 votes
5 answers
26k views

What is the meaning of ~んです/~のだ/etc?

This sentence ending has started to creep up more and more in my current Japanese classes, and I'm still a bit unsure what all it can mean, how to use it, or even when I should think to use it. My ...
user avatar
150 votes
6 answers
61k views

Differences among -たら, なら, -と, -んだったら, -ば, etc

The Japanese language has a lot of patterns for "if" clauses. What are the differences among the following patterns and how do we choose to use one over the others?: 行くと 行ったら 行くなら 行けば 行くんだったら 行くのなら ...
Lukman's user avatar
  • 19.9k
80 votes
3 answers
38k views

Difference between -ていく and -てくる

Can someone explain the differences between v-ていく and v-てくる for me. I know that they both express some kind of ongoing action (like a place getting crowded). For example, what's the difference between ...
nevan king's user avatar
  • 7,148
56 votes
7 answers
24k views

Why are katakana preferred over hiragana or kanji sometimes?

I noticed that "dame", which means "not good" or "don't do that", is sometimes written in manga as katakana. I was wondering, is it because katakana is used to express a strong feeling? Sometimes, ...
Sarawut Positwinyu's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
10k views

Relative clauses distinguishing whom/with which/that

I love in Japanese, how adjectival clauses are just added in front of nouns like adjectives. The pizza that I ate = 私が食べたピザ But last night I became confused... In english we have words to link the ...
rewolf's user avatar
  • 365
64 votes
3 answers
25k views

The difference between が and を with the potential form of a verb

When using the potential form of a verb, I was taught that the particle を becomes が. However, in real life this seems to not always be the case. I've even heard Japanese people use を instead of が ...
phirru's user avatar
  • 6,828
36 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why is the topic marker often used in negative statements (ではない, ~とは思わない)?

What function does は provide in statements such as 本ではない or 本だとは思わない? I notice the は after と is often left out, at least if a Google search for 思わない is any indication, but there still seems to be a ...
Kef Schecter's user avatar
  • 2,480
21 votes
2 answers
6k 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 ...
theycallmezeal's user avatar
20 votes
3 answers
4k views

Conjunctive form (e.g. 書き) vs Conj + mono (e.g. 書き物)

I'm trying to fully understand the plain conjunctive form without a suffix. I've seen it mainly in the form of 話, where it means a talk or speech. So I think it means something along the lines of "the ...
Benjamin Lindley's user avatar
31 votes
1 answer
4k views

Rules or criteria for 連濁: Voiced or unvoiced syllables in compound words

Examples first. 空 {そら}. Almost all compound nouns for which 空 is the second component pronounce it as ぞら zora: 青空 {あおぞら} 夜空 {よぞら} 星空 {ほしぞら}. There is at least one exception though: 美空 {みそら}. 蕎麦 {...
Lukman's user avatar
  • 19.9k
26 votes
3 answers
4k views

Making sense of transitive usage of 行く and 来る - 「を行く」 and 「を来る」

I think it's known that some intransitive verbs can take を particle and be used as transitive verbs such as for example 「私のことを分かってくれない」. While using 分かる transitively would require specific scenarios ...
Lukman's user avatar
  • 19.9k
21 votes
1 answer
6k views

What is a subsidiary verb?

What is a subsidiary verb? Could someone please explain it and give some examples of its application?
eugene_laserhair's user avatar
28 votes
3 answers
17k views

I don't understand what のも means in 生まれたのも育ったのも京都なんですよ

Here's the sentence in question: 生まれたのも育ったのも京都なんですよ I thought using の in a sentence signified possession (e.g. 私の本 [My book]). If I interpret the sentence as such, it doesn't make any sense. Then I ...
Korclus's user avatar
  • 529
140 votes
9 answers
35k views

What is the こと in sentences such as あなたのことが好きだ?

There were a lot of great answers here. I gave the checkmark to ento's answer because I felt it most completely explained all aspects of this use of こと. But many of the other answers are excellent, so ...
Derek Schaab's user avatar
  • 24.3k
131 votes
1 answer
72k views

What is the difference between the nominalizers こと and の?

As Derek mentioned in his postscript, both こと and の are nominalizers that can turn a verb into a noun. ピアノを弾く【ひく】。 I play the piano. ピアノを弾く【ひく】のが好き【すき】です。 I like playing the piano. ピアノを弾く【ひく】ことが好き【すき】...
Troyen's user avatar
  • 3,237
22 votes
3 answers
4k views

が and に interchangeability and difference in meaning

Consider these sentences: だれ{が・に}これが出来るか だれ{が・に}日本語が分からないか When both が and に are acceptable, what is their difference in meaning and practical usage?
Flaw's user avatar
  • 20k
13 votes
3 answers
13k views

~ておく or ~とく for preparation (conjugation and nuance)

A few quick questions regarding ~ておく and the casual form ~とく Firstly, when changing from ~ておく to the more casual ~とく I'm assuming the verb is first conjugated to the ~て form then the ~て is dropped and ...
mattb's user avatar
  • 1,744
34 votes
3 answers
6k views

The reason for using 何も+negative, but 何でも+positive

In one of the Japanese classes I attended, I've been taught that while we use 「何も出来ない」to say "He cannot do anything", to say "He can do anything" we use 「何でも出来る」 instead of 「何も出来る」. Why is there a ...
Lukman's user avatar
  • 19.9k
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Meaning and transitivity of ゴミ袋を手に立ち上がる

While doing some translating, I stumbled upon this usage of 立ち上がる。 わたしがゴミ袋を手に立ち上がると、イツカ君とお姉ちゃんは二人一緒にわたしの所へやって来ました。 It doesn't match up with the definitions I'm familiar with, nor any of the other ...
Rimilel's user avatar
  • 564
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is there a term for using conjugating verbs such that the sentence continues with another clause?

I'm referring specifically to using the て form to form a pseudo conjunction, and specifically the transformation of verbs in formal writing by using the verb stem instead of て form. For example the ...
ssb's user avatar
  • 18.4k
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

the omission of an implied "の" creates the appearance of a 四字熟語{よじじゅくご}?

I believe that www.yojijukugo.com has a pretty thorough list of 四字熟語? Is there a better site? However, I know that I've seen a lot of 4, or more, adjacent kanji that are not listed as 熟語。An example ...
user312440's user avatar
  • 2,910
29 votes
3 answers
26k views

So-called の-adjectives - how does の *really* work?

Ok, so there seems to be some controversy over whether we can really say that there are 'の-adjectives', or whether we simply use a noun in an "attributive" way (a term which I don't actually really ...
Karl Knechtel's user avatar
26 votes
1 answer
10k views

What is the meaning of りゃ in this phrase?

I came across this phrase while reading an interview. そういう時はなんて答えりゃいいんだ。 I think it means "At a time like that, such a reply/response is good." But I don't understand the usage of りゃ. I couldn't ...
user3169's user avatar
  • 1,081
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

what exactly is "体言止{たいげんど}め"?

There is some discussion about "体言止め{たいげんどめ}" on the internet, but it is all in Japanese. My Japanese ability is too low to be able to read it, so I need some help. At the least, "体言止め" refers to ...
davewp's user avatar
  • 2,282
96 votes
4 answers
98k views

What is the difference between "に" and "には"?

The title should be pretty self-explanatory. What meanings does each convey? And in what kinds of circumstances would one be used instead of the other? For example, what are the differences between ...
voithos's user avatar
  • 1,815
17 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why is the て-form being used before ん?

In the following sentence: 誰{だれ}探{さが}してんの What is the grammatical reason for 探{さが}す to be used in て-form before ん?
Quince Blossom's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

using の with と,で, から, まで

This page explains that a noun with と, で, から, まで that modifies another noun must have の attached to them as in: 日本での研究はいかがでしたか。 But it lists this example 大学院で医学の研究をするつもりです。 Both with で. What is ...
Snaut's user avatar
  • 773
62 votes
8 answers
30k views

Particles: に vs. で

I have progressed pretty far in Japanese, but when I construct Japanese sentences, I still get these two particles mixed up. For example, when talking about being inside something, I don't know when ...
language hacker's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
3k views

て versus combining-form for joining clauses

Is there a difference between these two sentences 昨日はビールを飲んでパイを食べました。 昨日はビールを飲みパイを食べました。 More generally, when should I choose one form over the other?
user3856370's user avatar
  • 30.4k
73 votes
7 answers
34k views

What is the difference between the negative forms -ず and -ぬ?

-ず and -ぬ are two alternatives to the negative form -ない / -ません. But I noticed that depending on the word, it's either -ず or -ぬ, although it seems like some words can take both suffixes. Some examples ...
Lukman's user avatar
  • 19.9k
8 votes
2 answers
7k views

What is じゃねぇか? What is its original form?

完成前とずいぶん色が違うじゃねぇか! In this sentence, what is じゃねぇか?
5argon's user avatar
  • 255
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

て form at end of phrase but not being used for requests

俺旅芸人の一座にいたんだけどそれがあの盗賊どもに襲われちゃってさー The て form is used at the end but not for a request. It doesn't seem to be one of those cases where the order of the words is simply "inverted" either, so ...
xndfrr's user avatar
  • 383
30 votes
2 answers
7k views

Usage of ~を好き outside of embedded clauses

日本語文法の初心者です :D In general, を is not used with 好き because 好き is a na-adjective: 彼は猫が好きです。 — correct 彼は猫を好きです。 — incorrect If this part is "embedded" as a clause, を is also ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 320k
27 votes
2 answers
8k views

The meanings of ものだ

Could someone please explain to me the different meanings that ものだ can have at the end of a sentence ? Here are some examples I understand the general meaning of, but I don't understand the logic/...
Sp4zzy's user avatar
  • 397
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Meaning of ~を~に(して) / ~を~として / ~を~にする / ~を~とする / ~を~にした / ~を~とした

While studying I found this grammar form, which I kinda understand by instinct, but can't actually formalize in my head; this is what the book say: [~を~であると考えて] 1) 祖父は今日も孫のヒロシを話し相手にして散歩に出かけた。 ...
Mauro's user avatar
  • 3,649
27 votes
6 answers
5k views

Why are some lyrics' words written in kanji whose usual reading is not how it is sung?

Some song lyrics in the official lyric book that accompanies the CD is sung as another word. Usually, the way it is sung is given as a furigana on the kanji: Written: 君が希望に変わってゆく          (pardon the ...
Lukman's user avatar
  • 19.9k
19 votes
2 answers
2k views

How to appropriately pair tenses in subordinate and main clauses?

Consider the following combination. Which is the correct one? テレビが私の国で 《できた》 のは1960 《です》。 テレビが私の国で 《できる》 のは1960 《です》。 テレビが私の国で 《できた》 のは1960 《でした》。 テレビが私の国で 《できる》 のは1960 《でした》。 Note: The important ...
Friendly Ghost's user avatar
68 votes
2 answers
16k views

Why does Japanese have two kinds of adjectives? (-i adjectives and -na adjectives)

Japanese has two kinds of adjectives known by several terms but the ones I know are i-adjectives and na-adjectives - why? I recall that Japanese adjectives are much more like verbs than in English ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 15.4k
60 votes
7 answers
21k views

What is the difference between 〜となる and 〜になる?

Is it a nuance difference? Is it formality? EDIT For example: 請求書のお支払いは現金のみとなりますので、ご了承くださいませ。 請求書のお支払いは現金のみになりますので、ご了承くださいませ。 I just made that example up, but for some reason, my gut tells me it's ...
makdad's user avatar
  • 4,085
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Do I have a good grasp on the basics of what the continuative form is?

I'm doing some research as to what continuative forms are due to naruto's previous answer to an earlier question of mine. To make sure I understand correctly: roughly, the "continuative form"...
Toyu_Frey's user avatar
  • 1,470
15 votes
1 answer
5k views

How to list numbers of things

Where do you place the counter in Japanese when you want to specify how many of something there are, especially if you're listing multiple things? I believe the counter usually goes after the particle ...
purplecat's user avatar
  • 379
7 votes
2 answers
768 views

Can を used with だ/です? 君沢さんを犯人だと思い込む

I came across the following passage in a mystery manga. The main character is explaining that the as of yet unknown criminal intentionally made the listener think that Kimisawa was the criminal (...
G-Cam's user avatar
  • 3,083
29 votes
2 answers
3k views

"太ってる猫" vs "太った猫"

I saw this sentence and its translation in a textbook 彼女は太った猫が好きじゃない。 She doesn't like fat cats I was under the impression that 「太ってる猫」 means something like “cat that is in the state of becoming ...
Pacerier's user avatar
  • 12k
20 votes
1 answer
3k views

Difference Between べんきょう する and べんきょうを する

What is the difference between べんきょう する and べんきょうを する?
Mudassir's user avatar
  • 403
17 votes
1 answer
1k views

Meaning of ところ in アメリカのいいところ

I feel as though I understand what the below sentence means, but what I think it means makes no sense. 日本に行ったら、アメリカのいいところも発見できるかもしれないですね。 My translation: If you go to Japan, you might be able to ...
Richard Watson's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
1k views

けど usage in ”魔石灯”がいい例だけど、”魔石”は…

I know that けど is a colloquial form of けれども and that is used to connect two sentences with the meaning of "but, although" but in the following sentence I cannot understand its usage. ...
Nadia's user avatar
  • 297
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

In this dialogue, why is は used in the question, but が in the answer?

田中さんは今日来ますか。 はい、来ますよ。あ、田中さんが 来ました。   Does Tanaka san come today? Yes, he does. Oh, Tanaka san came. I don't understand the use of が in the second sentence.
Ricchan10's user avatar
  • 101

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