21 votes
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Should: ほうがいい、べき、ことだ

ほうがいい Is used to say that out of a number of possibilities the stated one is preferable. お菓子を食べすぎないほうがいい It would be best if you didn't eat too many sweets. ことだ(です) Is used to say that ...
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  • 2,341
16 votes
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Non conventional usage of the past tense

Finally I found an explanation that possibly answers at least your original question. This usage of "past tense" is called 発見の「た」 (ta for discovery) or ムードの「た」 (modal ta). Most articles about this ...
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  • 271k
14 votes
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Conjugated word + んだ vs nonconjugated word + conjugated んだ

無理だったんだ is straightforward, it's a combination of 無理だった ("was impossible") and the explanatory-の. "So it is that it was impossible", "Because it was not possible", "(I failed but) it was impossible (...
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  • 271k
13 votes

What does からか mean?

(I know what "から" and the sentence-ending "か" mean, but not this) Yes, it's this から followed by this か. から here is a reason/cause marker. か is a question marker but is used like "presumably" or "...
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  • 271k
12 votes
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What dialect is !〜べ?

It's widely used in Kanto and Tohoku regions to a varying degree. Stereotyped Tohoku dialect uses っぺ instead of べ(ー), though. 東京方言 伝統的な関東方言・東北方言では意思・同意・推量の語尾は「べ(え)」であり、「行くべ」や「これだべ」「これだんべ」「...
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  • 271k
9 votes
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When to use which one ? かもしれない、たぶん、もしかしたら

they all have different uses. かもしれない is used at the end of a sentence to say "it might" or "maybe" (20-40%) 彼は野球の試合に行くかもしれない。 He might go to the baseball game. たぶん is used as a ...
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  • 1,033
9 votes
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Does 多分 carry a degree of certainty equal to or greater than 50%?

「たぶん」は、英語の maybe よりずっと可能性が高いと思います。「たぶん」は probably に近いと思います。70~80%くらいの確率(あるいは90%?)かな?と思います。 明鏡国語辞典によると・・・ たぶん【多分】 二 〘副詞〙 《多く下に推量を表す語を伴って》断定はできないが、そうである可能性が高いという話‌​し手の気持ちを表す。おそらく。おおかた。たいてい。 "...
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9 votes
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intuitively, why do かねる and かねない roughly mean "cannot" and "can"?

First of all, the auxiliary-かねる, or かぬ in archaic Japanese, meaning "cannot", is almost never written with the kanji 兼 today. I personally have never seen something like 言い兼ねる, and I have believed the ...
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  • 271k
9 votes

How does ないと signify "must" in Japanese sometimes?

First, yes, 〜ないといけない is a grammatical phrase, usually translated as "must" or "have to". Correspondingly, it will usually be written in hiragana rather than kanji. Second, your confusion is totally ...
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  • 3,632
8 votes
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What does からか mean?

You should think of this like から+か. If there wasn't a か, the following would just be a statement of a fact. The から is used to give the reason for the unusual fluency of the foreigner (in this case it ...
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  • 8,223
7 votes

How does ないと signify "must" in Japanese sometimes?

-ないと doesn't indicate "must", but -ないといけない does (the 行 also usually wouldn't be written in kanji in this case, either). It's one of a few set phrases that just mean "must", and are pretty automatic ...
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6 votes
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meaning of みんべえ

みんべえ is a collapsed pronunciation of みるべえ or みるべ. る in verbs often contracts to ん in colloquial speech when followed by some words, eg: [何]{なに}[見]{み}てるのよ! → [何]{なに}[見]{み}てんのよ! バカなことするなよ。 → ...
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6 votes
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Kansai variant(s) of ~しちゃ危ない/だめ

As a native Kansai-an I have to point out: the natural way to say it is: (a) 火遊びしたら危ないで! (b) 火遊びしたらアカンで! It'd be odd to say "しちゃあかんで" as you don't say しちゃ in Kansai dialect. ”してもうたら” has ...
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  • 14.7k
5 votes

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

かな can state any degree of probability, from nearly zero to all but certain. Another important feature is that かな conveys intent of communication, thus it could imply request or desire so much as ...
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5 votes
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Meaning of 私がではない

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。 The が in 私が is the case particle as a subject marker. 'I did not. / It was not I (who saved my enemy).' It was the 男(=切嗣) that saved his enemy (= me = 言峰), ...
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  • 2,251
5 votes

Modal expressions in "He must be Japanese" - に決まっている and ぜひ・きっと・必ず

彼はぜひ日本人です。 is not acceptable, I'm afraid. You use ぜひ this way: ぜひ参加してください。 'please' (for invitation/request) ぜひ参加させていただきます。 'by all means' (when accepting offer) 彼はきっと日本人です。 sounds fine. 'I believe ...
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  • 2,251
5 votes

Expressing a regretful wish

A good way to do this is to use the construct Conditional + いいのに. For example: トラだったらいいのに I wish I were a tiger もっと背が高ければよかったのに I wish I were taller その車を買うのに十分なお金があったらいいのに I ...
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  • 7,885
5 votes
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Weird Inflection -されていかん

いかん in this sentence means "no good", "of no use", "it sucks", etc. It's adding the speaker's feeling about the mentioned fact (左右される). いかん is almost a lexicalized expression, and it is also used like ...
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  • 271k
5 votes

verb てーform + もいいです VS. verb + こと + ができます: whether equivalent or not

They are not equivalent. The difference between the two is that of ability vs. permission. In English, both of these concepts can be expressed using "can", which is the reason why Google Translate ...
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  • 1,379
5 votes
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How to interpret "あとはかってにちゅうもんしてくれりゃ"?

くれりゃ is a colloquial, contracted pronunciation of くれれば. For this kind of contraction, see this thread: What is the meaning of りゃ in this phrase? 注文してくれれば breaks down to... 注文して -- "order", the ...
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  • 60.6k
4 votes
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Is んでしょう(か) grammatical, and what does it mean?

They're definitely part of standard Japanese, and I don't see why they wouldn't be. Their nuance is different, though, from でしょう(か) on its own: like のだ in general, they have an explanatory tone. ...
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  • 9,537
4 votes

Can 'なければなりません' be used for possibility?

This しなければなりません just means "must", "need to", "have to". And that's the only meaning of しなければなりません. 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。 An Indian person who came to ...
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  • 271k
3 votes

Should: ほうがいい、べき、ことだ

In order from soft to strong ~ほうがいい - should (nuance: soft suggestion, "this way is better/best) ~はず - should (nuance: supposed to, ought to, with no expectation from the listener) ~べき - should (...
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  • 31
3 votes

The word that translate to " can" in a sentence?

There are a few nuance things to consider. The most important one is that there isn't a 1:1 correlation of all words between Japanese and English. Therefore, a specific word like "can" isn't always ...
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  • 4,328
3 votes

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。

かな is added to add some kind of uncertainty to the sentence, to show that you are unsure. It is often a way of asking someone else for confirmation. To make a more literal translation I would thus ...
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