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When you learn Japanese online, a number of questions about Japanese grammar are sure to come up. The JAFL Grammar Guide on this page is designed to answer most of those questions. There is no need to read all of this material at once, since it will be introduced gradually as you immerse yourself in the lessons. The Grammar Guide shown on this page may also be downloaded here, and the downloadable version includes an index.
There are 2 main kinds of verbs in Japanese: u verbs and ru verbs. Both of these verb types have plain speech forms and masu forms. The masu forms are more polite.
The root of a verb is the pre-u or pre-ru form. The stem of a verb is the pre-masu form. For an ru verb, the root and the stem forms are the same.
For example, nomu is a u verb; it means ‘drink.’ Nomimasu is the masu form of nomu. The root of nomu is nom. The stem of nomu is nomi.
Taberu is an ru verb; it means ‘eat.’ Tabemasu is the masu form of taberu. The root of taberu is tabe. The stem of taberu is also tabe.
Nomu and taberu are plain speech verbs. Their masu forms are nomimasu and tabemasu.
U and ru verbs are often used as adjectives. For example, watashi ga taberu pan = ‘the bread I eat.’ Anata ga nonda biiru = ‘the beer that you drank.’
Desu (meaning ‘it is’) is a copula, or linking verb. It is neither a u verb, nor an ru verb. Its plain speech form is da.
There are 2 main kinds of adjectives in Japanese: i (pronounced ‘ee’) adjectives and na adjectives. I adjectives end in ‘i’ and modify a noun directly. For example, oishii = ‘delicious.’ Oishii pan = ‘delicious bread.’
To make the stem of an i adjective remove the final ‘i.’ For example, the stem of oishii is oishi.
Na adjectives are followed by na when they are used to modify a noun. For example, shizuka = ‘quiet.’ Shizuka na heya = ‘a quiet room.’
You may use desu after an i adjective. However, you may not use da after an i adjective. Oishii desu (meaning, ‘it’s delicious’) is OK. Oishii da is not OK. Using plain speech, you may simply say oishii by itself, if you mean ‘it’s delicious.’
You may use either desu or da after a na adjective. For example, kono heya wa shizuka desu = kono heya wa shizuka da = ‘as for this room, it’s quiet.’
Pasupooto o misete kudasai.
(‘Please show the passport.’)
O, sometimes written as wo, is used to show that the preceding term is a direct object. For example, hon o kau = hon o kaimasu = ‘I will buy a book’ or ‘I buy a book’ (or books).
Misete is the te form of miseru = ‘show.’ Since the te or de form of a verb sometimes adds the meaning ‘ing,’ misete can sometimes be translated as ‘showing.’ Verbs ending in ru, tsu, ku, su and u have te forms. Verbs ending in mu, nu, gu and bu have de forms. Verbs also have past forms. The past tense of plain speech verbs ends in ta or da. For example, the plain speech past form of miseru is miseta = ‘showed.’ The past tense of masu verbs ends in mashita. For example, the past form of misemasu is misemashita = ‘showed.’
Kudasai = ‘please.’ Kudasai is often preceded by the te or de form of a verb. For example, hon o katte kudasai = ‘please buy the book.’ (Kau = ‘buy’; katte is the te form of kau.) Kudasai is the imperative form of kudasaru, a humble verb meaning ‘to honorably give to me or to someone in my in-group.’ For example, sensei ga hon o kudasaru = ‘the teacher honorably gives (or will give) a book to me’ (or to someone in my in-group).
Maikeru Uebbu san desu ne.
(‘It’s Michael Webb, huh.’)
San is an honorific term used after another person’s name.
Kankoo desu ka shigoto desu ka.
(‘Is it sightseeing? Is it work?’)
Ka is used to indicate a question.
Kankoo ja arimasen.
(‘It isn’t sightseeing.’)
Ja is the short form of dewa, which forms the first part of the phrase dewa arimasen = ja arimasen = ‘something is not something else.’ For example hon dewa arimasen = hon ja arimasen = ‘it isn’t a book.’
Arimasu is the masu form of the plain speech verb aru = ‘exist’ (used for inanimate things, including plants). Arimasen is the negative form of arimasu. The masu form of u verbs is formed by adding ‘imasu’ to the root (the pre-u form). For example, nomu = nomimasu = ‘drink.’
You may be surprised to learn that aru is a u verb, not an ru verb. There are a number of u verbs that end in ru, including aru (‘exist’). What these verbs have in common is that you ‘double the t’ when making the te or ta forms. In this case, aru = ‘exist.’ Atte = ‘existing.’ Atta = ‘existed.’
Ru verbs always end with iru or eru. The masu form of ru verbs is formed by replacing ‘ru’ with ‘masu.’ With ru verbs, you do not ‘double the t’ when making the te or ta forms. For example, taberu = tabemasu = ‘eat.’ Tabete = ‘eating.’ Tabeta = ‘ate.’
There are three irregular verbs: Suru = shimasu = ‘do.’ Shite = ‘doing.’ Shita = ‘did.’
Kuru = kimasu = ‘come.’ Kite = ‘coming.’ Kita = ‘came.’
Iku= ikimasu = ‘go.’ Itte = ‘going.’ Itta = ‘went.’
To change a masu verb (whether u verb, ru verb or irregular verb) to a negative form, change the ‘u’ at the end to ‘en.’ For example, nomimasu = ‘I drink’or ‘I will drink.’ Nomimasen = ‘I don’t drink ’ or ‘I won’t drink.’
Kore wa nan desu ka.
(‘As for this, what is it?’)
Kore = ‘this,’ sore = ‘that,’ are = ‘that over there.’
Wa is used to show the topic, as opposed to the subject, of a sentence. Ga is used to show the subject. In this key sentence, the subject is the silent pronoun ‘it,’ and ga does not appear. This sentence is an example of sentence pattern A: it begins with a noun or pronoun followed by wa (indicating a topic) and then goes on to ask a question about, or make a comment on, this topic. For example, kono mise wa ookii desu = ‘as for this store, it’s big.’
Nan = nani = ‘what.’ Nan is the shorter form of this pronoun. Use nan, rather than nani, before the verb desu.
Ja, nan desu ka.
(‘Well, what is it?’)
Ja can also mean ‘well.’
Hai。Ii desu yo. (‘Yes. It’s good for sure.’)
Ii is an i adjective meaning ‘good.’
Yo is used for emphasis. It can be roughly translated as ‘for sure.’
Dore desu ka.
(‘Which is it?’)
Dore = ‘which.’
Hon o misete kudasaimasen ka.
(‘Won’t you show the book and give?’)
The te or de form of a verb can add the meaning ‘and’ to a verb. For example, tabete ikimasu =
“I (or ‘someone,’ since the subject is often not specified in Japanese sentences) will eat and go.”
Kudasaimasu is the ‘masu’ form of kudasaru = ‘honorably give to me or someone in my in-group.’ Kudasaimasen is the negative form of kudasaimasu. Kudasaimasenka means ‘won’t you … and honorably give?’ or ‘won’t you do it for me?’
(‘Yes, I understood.’)
To make the past form of a masu verb, change ‘masu’ to ‘mashita.’ For example, taberu = tabemasu = ‘I eat’ (or ‘I will eat’). Tabemashita = ‘I ate’; the plain speech form is tabeta. Nomu = nomimasu = ‘I drink’ (or ‘I will drink’). Nomimashita = ‘I drank’; the plain speech form is nonda.
Da = desu = ‘it is.’ To make the past form of desu, say deshita. To make the past form of da, say datta.
Mooshiwake nain desu ga…
(‘There’s no excuse, but …’)
Nai is the plain speech form of arimasen = ‘not exist’ or ‘nothing.’ Nain is a softened form of nai.
In order to make your speech more friendly, you can ‘soften’ the word nai, as well as i adjectives and plain speech verbs, by adding ‘n’ or ‘no’ to them. If you soften a word by using ‘n,’ you must follow it with the copula ‘desu’ or ‘da’ (or by their negative equivalents ‘ja arimasen’ or ‘jai nai’; or by kamoshiremasen = kamoshirenai = ‘it might be’) You can only soften plain speech verbs, not ‘masu’ verbs.
For example, nai = nai desu = nain desu = nai no = ‘it doesn’t exist.’ Oishii = oishii desu = oishiin desu = oishii no = ‘it’s delicious. Ikimasu = iku = ikun desu = iku no = ‘I will go.’
When asking questions, you can soften the word desu by putting no in front of it. For example, nai no desu ka = ‘is there nothing?’ Oishii no desu ka = ‘is it delicious?’
You can use no with a rising intonation to suggest a question and soften the sentence at the same time. For example, iku no = ‘will you go?’ Oishii no = ‘is it delicious?’ Nai no = ‘is there nothing?’
You can soften nouns and na adjectives by adding nan to them. For example, kuruma desu = kuruma nan desu = ‘it’s a car.’ Shizuka desu = shizuka nan desu = ‘it’s quiet.’
Ga can mean ‘but.’ For example, ikimasu ga, sugu kaerimasu = ‘I will go, but I will soon return.’
(‘Thank you for what you did.’)
Gozaimashita is the past form of gozaimasu = ‘to exist humbly’ (or ‘honorably,’ depending on the situation).
(‘You’re welcome’ or ‘it’s nothing’)
Sumimasen ga, moo ichido namae o kaite kudasaimasenka.
(‘Excuse me, but one more time, won’t you write the name and honorably give?’)
Moo = ‘another,’ ‘more,’ or ‘again’; moo can also mean ‘already.’
Do means ‘times.’ Ichido = ‘one time’; nido = ‘two times,’ etc.
Donata desu ka.
(‘Who is it?’)
Donata and dare both mean ‘who’; donata is more polite.
Abe sangyoo no tsuchida desu.
(‘It’s Tsuchida of Abe Industries’)
The speaker is referring to himself and therefore doesn’t say tsuchida san.
No is used to show possession or belonging. For example, watashi no hon = ‘my book.’
Hajimemashite. Doozo yoroshiku.
(‘How do you do? Pleased to meet you.’)
Hajimeru = hajimemasu = to start; hajimemashite is the te form of the verb and is usually translated ‘how do you do?’ Since the te form of a verb can add the meaning ‘ing,’ hajimemashite could also be understood to mean ‘I am starting …’ Doozo means ‘go ahead.’
Yoroshiku is the ku form (or adverbial form) of the polite adjective yoroshii = ‘good,’ so doozo yoroshiku can be understood as ‘go ahead, in a good way,’ or ‘please be good to me.’ It is often translated as ‘pleased to meet you.’
Kochira wa, okusan desu ka.
(‘As for this way, is it the honorable wife?’)
Kochira = ‘this way,’ sochira = ‘that way,’ achira = ‘that way over there.’
Okusan = ‘someone else’s wife’; kanai or tsuma = ‘my wife.’
Doozo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
(‘Go ahead be good to me, I humbly beg.’)
This is a longer, even more polite version of doozo yoroshiku (‘pleased to meet you’ or ‘please be good to me’). Another common version is yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
Negau = negaimasu = to beg or pray.
Suru = shimasu = to do.
To form a humble verb construction, referring to actions that you perform, put o in front of the verb stem, and follow the verb stem with suru or shimasu. See Lesson 21. For example, onegai shimasu = ‘I humbly beg.’ Omise shimasu = ‘I will humbly show it.’ (miseru = misemasu = ‘show’)
Tsuchida san, ginkoo wa, doko ni arimasu ka. (Tsuchida, as for a bank, where does it exist?)
Doko = where.
Use wa rather than ga because the subject is the silent pronoun ‘it,’ and ‘bank’ is the topic. This sentence illustrates sentence pattern A, described above.
Eeto, kono toori no mukoo ni, honya ga arimasu. (‘Uh, at this street’s far end, there’s a bookstore.’)
Kono = ‘this,’ sono = ‘that,’ ano = ‘that over there.’ Kono, sono and ano are always followed by a noun, unlike the equivalent kore, sore and are, which also mean, respectively, ‘this,’ ‘that’ and ‘that over there.’ For example, kore = ‘this’; kono hon = ‘this book.’
Toori = ‘street.’ Mukoo ni = ‘at farther away.’
Use ya after a product to indicate a store selling that product, e.g., hon = ‘book’; honya = ‘bookstore.’
You may recall that aru = arimasu (‘exist’) is used for inanimate objects including plants.
By contrast, iru = imasu (‘exist’) is used for animate objects like animals and people, not including plants. Iru is an ru verb, since you don’t ‘double the t’ when making its te and ta forms, i.e., ite = ‘existing’ and ita = ‘existed.’
When you say that something or someone exists in a particular place, using aru or iru, follow the place description with ni.
For example, machi ni honya ga arimasu = ‘at the town, a bookstore exists.’ Mise ni tanakasan ga imasu = ‘Mr. Tanaka is at the store.’
In the target sentence above, use ga rather than wa after honya because you’re talking about a particular bookstore. Also you should generally use ga with both imasu and arimasu – see the document ‘Ga vs. Wa’ on the web site for more information.
Iie, ookiku arimasen ga, sugu wakarimasu yo.
(‘No, it isn’t big, but soon you will understand for sure.’)
Ookii is an i adjective meaning ‘big’; ookiku is the ku form. To make the negative form of an i adjective, remove the final i and add ku; then add arimasen or nai. For example, oishii = delicious. Oishiku arimasen = oishikunai = ‘it isn’t delicious.’ Please note that you may not say oishii ja nai, or oishii ja arimasen. You must use the ku form when you make i adjectives negative.
Ja, itte kimasu.
(‘Well, I will go and come.’)
Iku = ikimasu = ‘go.’ Itte is the te form of iku. Kuru = kimasu = ‘come.’ Itte kimasu is a standard expression that you use when you leave a place and intend to come back. The appropriate response to this expression, from a person who intends to stay behind, is itterasshai (‘see you later’).
(‘I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.’)
Omatase shimashita is a standard polite phrase used when one is late. This is another humble verb construction. Mataseru is the causative tense of matsu = ‘wait.’ Mataseru = ‘make someone wait.’ Shimashita is the past tense of shimasu = suru = to do, so this phrase means, ‘I humbly made you wait.’
Kanai ga imasen ne.
(‘The wife doesn’t exist huh,’ meaning ‘she isn’t here.’)
Imasen = inai = ‘does not exist.’ This is the negative form of imasu = iru = ‘exist.’ Use ga rather than wa because you’re introducing the wife into the conversation. However, if you had already introduced her into the conversation, you could say kanai wa imasen.
To change a plain speech u verb to a negative form, add anai to the root (the pre-u form). For example, nomu = nomimasu = ‘I will drink.’ Nomanai = nomimasen = ‘I won’t drink.’
To change a plain speech ru verb to a negative form, add nai to the root. For example, taberu = tabemasu = I will eat. Tabenai = tabemasen = I won’t eat.
Try not to confuse these two sentence patterns: Kanai ja arimasen = kanai ja nai = ‘it isn’t my wife.’ Kanai ga imasen = kanai ga inai = ‘my wife doesn’t exist’ (meaning, ‘she isn’t here’). Similarly, Hon ja arimasen = hon ja nai = ‘it isn’t a book.’ Hon ga arimasen = hon ga nai = ‘there isn’t a book.’
Doko desu ka.
(‘Where is she?’)
Doko = where.
Baabara san wa, asoko no hoosekiya ni imasu yo.
(‘As for Barbara, she is in that place’s jewelry store, for sure.’)
Use wa because Barbara has already been introduced as a topic into the conversation.
Koko = here, soko = there; asoko = over there.
Dono mise desu ka.
(‘Which store is it?’)
Dono = ‘which.’ Dono is always followed by a noun. Dore also = ‘which,’ but it’s used without a noun. For example, dore desu ka = ‘which is it?’ Dono mise desu ka = ‘which store is it?’
Sono mae no, kirei na mise desu.
(‘It’s that front’s pretty store,’ meaning ‘the pretty store in front of that.’)
Mae = ‘front.’ Ushiro = ‘rear.’ For example, sono mae no mise = ‘the store in front of that.’ Sono ushiro no mise = ‘the store behind that.’
Kirei = ‘pretty.’ Kirei is a na adjective; when you use it to modify a noun, follow it with na.
Ano hito wa, me ga ookii desu.
(‘As for that person over there, the eyes are big.’)
This sentence illustrates another common Japanese construction, sentence pattern B. In this pattern, a topic is followed by wa, and then a subject is followed by ga.
Dore ga maikerusan no pasupooto desu ka.
(‘Which is Michael’s passport?’)
Use ga because you’re asking a question that was formed using an interrogative pronoun (dore) as the subject of the sentence. Interrogative pronouns include dore = ‘which,’ nani = ‘what,’ doko = ‘where,’ dare = ‘who,’ ikutsu = ‘how many,’ ikura = ‘how much,’ and itsu = ‘when.’ Doo (‘how’) and dooshite (‘why’) are also interrogative pronouns, but they are never followed by ga.
Kore ga maikerusan no pasupooto desu.
(‘This is Michael’s passport.’)
Use ga because you’re answering a question that was formed with an interrogative pronoun (dore) as the subject.
Kono mise wa shizuka ja arimasen.
(‘This store is not quiet.’)
To make the negative form of a na adjective, like shizuka, follow the adjective with ja arimasen, dewa arimasen, ja nai or dewa nai. Ja is the plain speech form of dewa. In this target sentence, Kono mise wa shizuka dewa arimasen, also OK.
Kyoo wa tsugoo ga ii desu ka.
(‘As for today, are the circumstances good?,’ meaning ‘is it convenient for you?’)
Tsugoo ga ii is an expression used to say that a person’s circumstances are good, meaning that there is time available.
Soko no tsukue no ue ni arimasu.
(‘It exists on that place’s desk’s top,’ meaning ‘on top of that desk.’)
Ue = ‘above or top.’ Shita = ‘below’ or ‘bottom.’
Asoko no tsukue no naka ni arimasu.
(‘It exists in that place over there’s desk’s inside.’)
Naka = ‘inside.’ Soto = ‘outside.’
Tsukue no migi.
(‘The desk’s right side.’ Side is understood.)
Migi = ‘right.’ Hidari = ‘left.’
(‘Well, let’s go.’)
The shoo ending replaces the su ending on a masu verb like ikimasu when you want to say ‘let’s do something’ or ‘I shall do something.’ The shoo ending is also used to convert the word desu to the word deshoo = ‘it probably is.’
Koko kara, hoteru made, dono kurai kakarimasu ka.
(‘From here, as far as the hotel, about how long will it take?’)
Kakaru = ‘take’ (time) or ‘cost’ (money).
Kurai = ‘about,’ ‘approximately,’ ‘almost,’ or ‘something like’; this is often softened to gurai. Dono kurai (or dono gurai) means approximately ‘how many,’ ‘how long,’ ‘how much,’ or ‘how often.’ For example, dono kurai kakarimasu ka = dono gurai kakarimasu ka = ‘about how long will it take?’
Densha mo arimasu ga, amari benri ja arimasen.
(‘A train also exists, but it isn’t very convenient.’)
Mo = ‘also’; it replaces wa and ga when used after a topic or subject.
Amari = ‘not very,’ in negative constructions; ‘very much’ or ‘excessively,’ in positive constructions.
Kyoo wa, takushii de ikimashoo.
(‘As for today, let’s go by taxi.’)
De = ‘by means of.’
Michi ga suite imasu ne.
(‘The street is being uncrowded, huh.’)
Suku = be uncrowded; suite is the te form of this verb.
The te or de form of a verb can carry the meaning ‘ing,’ especially when combined with iru or imasu. Such verb combinations can be used with both animate and inanimate objects. For example, uchi o dete iru = uchi o dete imasu = ‘I am leaving home.’ Inu o dashite iru = inu o dashite imasu = ‘I am putting the dog out.’
Baabarasan, itsuka issho ni ikimashoo.
(‘Barbara, sometime together let’s go.’)
Itsu = ‘when,’ itsuka = ‘sometime’; doko = ‘where,’ dokoka = ‘somewhere,’ dare = ‘who,’ dareka = ‘someone’; nani = ‘what,’ nanika = ‘something.’
Issho ni = ‘together.’
Tenki wa, amari yoku arimasen.
(‘As for the weather, it isn’t very good.’)
Ii means ‘good’; it’s an i adjective. To make the adverbial ku form of ii, don’t say iku; instead use the similar word yoi = ‘good,’ and convert this to yoku.
Mainichi tookyoo ni ikimasu.
(‘Every day, I go to Tokyo.’)
Mainichi tookyoo e ikimasu, also OK.
You may use either ni or e to mean ‘to’; e means ‘toward’ and refers to the direction of movement, while ni means ‘to’ and refers to the destination itself, but you may consider the words interchangeable when you want to say ‘to.’
Itsumo hon o yomimasu.
(‘I always read books.’)
Itsu = ‘when.’ Itsumo = ‘always’ in positive constructions, ‘never’ in negative constructions. Itsudemo = ‘anytime.’
Sanji goro, narita kuukoo e ikimasu.
(‘About 3:00, I will go to Narita airport.’)
Goro means ‘approximately,’ but it’s only used with time of day, time of year, etc. By contrast, kurai (or gurai, which is a softer version of kurai) can be used after nouns in general to mean ‘approximately.’
Sanji ni, baabarasan ni aimasu.
(‘At 3:00, I will meet Barbara.’)
Four meanings for ni (see the index for more meanings): Ni is used before the verb au = ‘meet,’ to indicate whom is met. Ni is also used to mean at a time (sanji ni = ‘at 3:00’). Ni can be used to mean to a place (Oosaka ni iku = ‘I will go to Osaka’), and it can mean at a place when used with imasu (iru), arimasu (aru) and other ‘inactive’ verbs. For example, Oosaka ni iru = ‘I am at Osaka.’
Jikan wa, dono kurai kakarimasu ka.
(‘As for time, about how much does it take?’)
Jikan = ‘time.’ Kan means ‘duration.’ For example, ichijikan = ‘1 hour duration,’ nishuukan = ‘2 weeks duration,’ sannenkan = ‘3 years duration,’ etc.
Sukoshi yasunda hoo ga ii desu ne.
(‘It would be better to rest a bit, huh.’)
Yasumu = yasumimasu = ‘rest;’ the polite past tense is yasumimashita.
The plain past tense is yasunda.
The idea ‘it would be better to do’ such and such is expressed by using the plain past tense of a verb followed by hoo ga ii. For example, tabeta hoo ga ii = ‘it would be better to eat.’ To say ‘it would be better not to do’ something, follow the negative plain speech form of the verb with hoo ga ii, e.g., tabenai hoo gai ii = ‘it would be better not to eat.’
Hikooki no naka de yoku nemashita.
(‘Inside the plane, I slept well.’)
De is always used with ‘active’ verbs like hashiru = ‘run,’ to indicate the place where the action takes place. In Japanese, there are also a number of so-called ‘inactive’ verbs, like neru = ‘sleep,’ that can be used with either ni or de, depending on the intended meaning. When using these verbs, think of the particle de as meaning ‘in’ and the particle ni as meaning ‘at.’ In the sentence above , de is used to show that I slept ‘in’ the plane. It is also OK to say koko ni nete kudasai = ‘please sleep at here.’ Other ‘inactive’ verbs that can be used with either ni or de, depending on what you mean, include dekiru = ‘be able to,’ suteru = ‘throw away,’ ochiru = ‘fall,’ tomaru = ‘stop, intransitive,’ tomeru = ‘stop, transitive,’ suwaru = ‘sit,’ and tatsu = ‘stand.’ It seems that nokoru = ‘stay behind’ can only be used with ni. For example, kaisha ni nokoru = ‘she will stay behind at the company.’
Maikeru wa dokodemo yoku nemasu.
(‘Michael sleeps well anywhere.’)
Doko = ‘where’; dokodemo = ‘anywhere’; dokoka = ‘somewhere’; dokomo = ‘everywhere’ in positive constructions, ‘nowhere’ in negative constructions.
Niku to yasai deshita.
(‘It was meat and vegetables.’)
To = ‘and’; it can also mean ‘with.’ For example, Pan to gohan ga arimasu = ‘bread and rice exist.’ Keikosan to nihon ni ikimasu = ‘I will go to Japan with Keiko.’
Maikerusan wa, osushi ga suki desu ka.
(‘As for Michael, is honorable sushi liked?,’ meaning ‘do you like it?’ This question is addressed to Michael.)
Suki desu = ‘it is liked’; the item being liked is usually followed by ga. Kirai desu = ‘it is disliked.’
Mae wa amari suki ja arimasen deshita ga, ima wa nandemo tabemasu.
(‘As for before, she didn’t like it very much, but as for now, she eats anything.’)
Nanika = ‘something’; nanimo = ‘nothing’ in negative constructions; minna, mina or subete = ‘everything’ in positive constructions. Nandemo = ‘anything,’
Asoko wa, semakunakatta desu.(‘As for over there, it was not tight or narrow.’)
Nai, meaning ‘not,’ is the plain speech form of arimasen. To form the past form of nai, drop the final i and add katta = nakatta. Desu may be added, but desu is optional. In the above sentence, Semaku arimasen deshita, OK. Semakunai deshita, not OK.
Takakatta. (‘It was expensive.’)
To form the past plain speech form of an i adjective, drop the final i and add katta; this may be followed by desu, but desu is optional. Takai deshita, not OK.
Konna ni urusaku arimasen deshita.
(‘It wasn’t noisy like this.’)
Konna = ‘like this,’ sonna = ‘like that,’ anna = ‘like that over there,’ donna = ‘what kind of.’ When you add ni to any of these adjectives, they become adverbs, modifying a verb or another adjective.
For example, konna ni oishii = ‘delicious like this.’
Kyoo wa, eiga ni ikimashoo.
(‘As for today, let’s go for the purpose of a movie.’)
Use ni after a verb stem, or after an activity, to indicate doing something for a purpose. For example, tabe ni ikimasu = ‘I will go for the purpose of eating.’ Tenisu ni ikimasu = ‘I will go for the purpose of tennis.’
Hon o yondemasu.
(‘He is reading a book.’)
In ordinary speech, te imasu is often shortened to temasu, and de imasu is shortened to demasu. For example, tabete imasu = tabetemasu = ‘I’m eating.’ Nonde imasu = nondemasu = ‘I’m drinking.’
CNN no nyuusu o yoku mimasu.
(‘I watch CNN’s news often.’)
Yoku is the ku form of ii = yoi = ‘good.’ It means ‘often.’ It also means ‘well.’ The ku form of an i adjective is an adverb. For example, yoku benkyoo o shimashita = ‘you studied well.’
Kyoo wa atatakai kara, biiru ga nomitai desu ne. (‘As for today, since it’s warm, I want to drink beer, huh.’)
Use -tai after a verb stem to add the meaning ‘desire.’ Often the resulting i adjective is followed by desu. You may use either o or ga after –tai. For example, Sushi o tabetai desu = sushi ga tabetai desu = ‘I want to eat sushi.’ Both Japanese sentences are correct. Desu is optional.
Garu is used to indicate that another person appears to have certain feelings. Add garu to the stem of an i adjective, or to a na adjective. For example, if you add garu to the stem of tabetai, you can say things like sushi o tabetagatte imasu = ‘he appears to want to eat sushi.’
Jaa, watashi wa ebi ga ii wa.
(‘Well, as for me, shrimp is good.’)
Wa is used by women for emphasis.
Use hon to count long thin objects: Ippon = ‘1 bottle,’ Nihon = ‘2 bottles,’ Sanbon = ‘3 bottles,’ Yonhon = ‘4 bottles,’ Gohon = ‘5 bottles,’ Roppon = ‘6 bottles,’ Shichihon or Nanahon = ‘7 bottles,’ Happon or Hachihon = ‘8 bottles,’ Kyuuhon = ‘9 bottles,’ Juppon or Jippon = ’10 bottles.’ Nanbon = ‘How many bottles?’
Biiru o sanbon.
(‘Beer, 3 bottles.’)
Use o after beer because it’s an object in this sentence.
Zuibun hito ga ooi desu ne.
(‘Extremely, people are numerous, huh.’)
Ooi is an i adjective meaning ‘numerous.’ You cannot use ooi by itself to modify a noun. For example, ooi hito ga kimasu, not OK. Instead, say ooku no hito ga kimasu = ‘a lot of people will come.’
Ooi can also mean ‘the majority.’ For example, gakusei no ooku wa otoko da = ‘the majority of students are male.’
Oozei means ‘a crowd of people’; oozei is a noun, not an adjective. It’s OK to substitute oozei for ooi in the target sentence above.
For example, hito ga ooi = hito ga ooi desu = hito ga oozei = hito ga oozei desu = hito ga oozei imasu = ‘there are a lot of people.’ Higo ga ooi imasu, not OK. Another example: oozei no hito ga kimasu = ‘a lot of people will come.’
The opposite of ooi is sukunai (‘few’). For example, kuruma ga sukunai = ‘there are few cars.’ Hito ga sukunai = ‘there are few people.’ However, don’t use the ku form of sukunai in the way you would use the ku form of ooi. In other words, don’t say sukunaku no hito. Instead say sukunai hito (‘few people’).
Biiru sanbon kudasai.
(‘Beer 3 bottles, please.’)
You don’t need to use the particle o after an object if you follow it with a number.
For example, kitte sanmai kaimashita = ‘I bought 3 stamps.’ Kitte o sanmai kaimashita, also OK.
Counting objects up to 10: hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu, yottsu, itsutsu, muttsu, nanatsu, yattsu, kokonotsu, too.
Names of months: Ichigatsu, Nigatsu, Sangatsu, Shigatsu, Gogatsu, Rokugatsu, Shichigatsu, Hachigatsu, Kugatsu, Juugatsu, Juuichigatsu, Juunigatsu
Days of the month: Tsuitachi =1st, Futsuka = 2nd, Mikka = 3rd, Yokka = 4th, Itsuka = 5th, Muika = 6th, Nanoka = 7th, Yooka = 8th, Kokonoka = 9th, Tooka = 10th, Juu ichi nichi = 11th, Juu ni nichi = 12th, Juu yokka = 14th, Hatsuka = 20th, Nijuu yokka = 24th.
Days of the week: Nichiyoobi = Sunday, Getsuyoobi = Monday, Kayoobi = Tuesday, Suiyoobi = Wednesday, Mokuyoobi = Thursday, Kinyoobi = Friday, Doyoobi = Saturday. Nanyoobi = ‘What day of the week?’
Raishuu no nichiyoobi ni wa donna koto o shitai desu ka.
(‘As for on next week’s Sunday, what kinds of things would you like to do?’)
Koto ga shitai, also OK.
Koto = intangible things or facts. Mono = tangible things, or intangible things to which the speaker attaches an emotion.
Tsukareta kara moo nemasu.
(‘Because I got tired, I’m going to bed already,’ meaning ‘now.’)
Node and kara both mean ‘because.’ Tsukareta kara moo nemasu = tsukareta node moo nemasu = ‘since I got tired, I will go to bed now.’
Ii tenki na node, kooen e ikimashoo.
(‘Since it’s good weather, let’s go to the park.’)
You cannot use da or desu before node; instead you must use na to mean ‘it is.’
You cannot use da or desu before no or before noni (see p. 15-22); instead you must use na. For example, taihen da = ‘it’s terrible.’ Taihen na no (using no as a softening word) = ‘it’s terrible.’
Sumimasen. Michi ga konde ita node.
(‘Excuse me. Because the streets were crowded.’)
Note that although you can say kara desu, you can never say node desu. For example, michi ga konde ita kara = ‘because the streets were crowded.’ Michi ga konde ita kara desu = ‘it’s because the streets were crowded.’ Michi ga konde ita node desu, not OK.
Naze desu ka.
(‘Why is it?’)
Naze and dooshite both mean ‘why?’ and can be used interchangeably. Naze desu ka = dooshite desu ka = ‘why is it?’
Ee, minna shinsetsu de, akarui hitotachi deshita. (‘Yeah, all of them were kind and cheerful people.’)
Minna means ‘everyone.’ Minasan (‘honorable everyone)’ and minasama (‘very honorable everyone’) are terms often used to address a group. Minna de = ‘all together.’ Minna no hito = ‘all the people.’
-tachi is a suffix used to make a noun plural. -tachi is optional when used with hito, since hito can mean either ‘person’ or ‘people.’ However, –tachi is mandatory when used with watashi and anata, i.e., watashitachi = ‘we’; anatatachi = you.’
Baabara ga atarashii no o hoshigatte iru mono desu kara.
(‘Since Barbara new ones seems to be wanting thing it is.’) (In this sentence, Michael is commenting on his wife’s shopping.)
To make a noun phrase with an i adjective, add no to the adjective, e.g. ‘atarashii no’ = the new one.
To make a noun phrase with a na adjective, add no after na, e.g. ‘shizuka na no’ = the quiet one.
To make a noun phrase with a verb, add no to the verb, e.g., ‘katta no’ = the purchased one.
The verb hoshii means ‘desire.’ It is typically preceded by ga. For example, biiru ga hoshii = ‘beer is desired’ or ‘I want some beer.’
The verb hoshigaru, ‘appear to desire,’ is a combination of hoshii and garu (‘appears’). Hoshigaru is preceded by o. For example, biiru o hoshigatte imasu = ‘he appears to be wanting beer.’ Mono means ‘tangible thing,’ but it also has other idiomatic meanings. Here it means something like ‘because’ and suggests an emotional component to Michael’s complaint. Baabara ga atarashii no o hoshigatte iru kara, also OK.
Chotto omachi kudasai.
(‘Please honorably wait a moment.’)
To make a veru polite honorific form of a verb request, in order to ask someone to do something in business or official situations, put o before the verb stem and follow the verb stem with kudasai, as shown in this sentence. See Lesson 21.
The most common expression used when asking someone to wait is Chotto matte kudasai = ‘please wait a moment.’ A still more polite way to ask someone to wait is shooshoo omachi kudasai.
Sore de wa, konna no wa ikaga desu ka.
(‘Well then, as for this type, how is it?’)
Sore de wa = sore ja = ‘well then, in that case.’
It’s OK to use konna mono instead of konna no. For example, konna mono ikaga desu ka = ‘as for this kind of thing, how is it?’ Ikaga is a polite way to say ‘how.’ Doo also means ‘how.’
Demo totemo tanoshii desu.
(‘But it’s very pleasant.’)
Demo (meaning ‘but’) is used only at the beginning of a sentence.
Shikashi tanakasan wa kimasen deshita.
(‘However, as for Tanaka, he didn’t come.’)
Shikashi (meaning ‘however’ or ‘but’) is used only at the beginning of a sentence. Shikashi is bookish.
Hirokute akarui desu.
(‘It’s spacious and well-lighted,’ referring to a room.)
Te and De. When you are juxtaposing two terms (nouns, adjectives or verbs) in one sentence and want to insert and between them, use te or de after the first term. When you want to insert and after an i adjective, remove the final i and add kute. For example, in the above sentence, hiroi (‘spacious’) becomes hirokute.
Counting people: Hitori = ‘1 person,’ futari = ‘2 people,’ san nin = ‘3 people,’ yo nin (or yonnin) = 4 people), gonin = ‘5 people,’ etc.
Doozo suki na no o totte kudasai.
(‘Please go ahead and take the ones you like.’)
Suki is a na adjective, e.g. suki na hon = ‘the book I like.’
Ee, sore de kekkoo desu.
(‘Yeah, that will be fine.’)
To say ‘something will be all right,’ say de kekkoo desu, de ii desu, or de yoroshii desu. For example, kono resutoran de yoroshii desu = ‘this restaurant will be fine.’
Don’t confuse these phrases with the ones used to give permission, te mo ii, te mo yoroshii and te mo kamaimasen. (see Lesson 17.) For example, tabete mo ii desu = ‘it’s all right to eat.’
Kaeri ni chiisai mise ga atta node, boku mo haitta.
(‘At the return, because a small store existed, I also entered.’)
In some cases, you can form a noun from a verb’s stem form, i.e., the pre-masu form. Kaeri (‘the return’) is the stem form of kaeru = kaerimasu = ‘return.’
Itta koto ga arimasu ka.
(‘Have you ever gone there?’)
One response to this question could be ee, itta koto ga aru = ‘yeah, I have gone.’
Koto = intangible thing. Itta koto ga aru means ‘went thing exists’ = ‘have ever gone.’ Tabeta koto ga aru = ‘ate thing exists’ = ‘have ever eaten.’
Konde iru kamoshiremasen yo.
(‘It might be crowded, for sure.’)
Kamoshiremasen = kamoshirenai = ‘there’s a chance that.’
(‘It’s starting,’ meaning ‘this is my first time.’)
Examples of how to use hajimete: Kono omatsuri wa hajimete desu = ‘it’s the first time I’ve been to this festival.’ Hajimete sukii o suru hito = sukii o hajimete suru hito = a person first learning to ski. Kore ga hajimete desu and kondo ga hajimete desu, both OK. Kono toki wa (or ga), hajimete desu, not OK. Ima wa (or ga) hajimete desu, also not OK. It just sounds awkward to use toki and ima with hajimete. However, kyoo ga hajimete desu is OK.
(‘I plan to go.’)
Ikanai tsumori desu = ‘I plan not to go’ (a mild statement). Ikutsumori wa arimasen = ‘There is no intention of going’ (a strong statement).
Tsumori = ‘plan to’ or ‘intend to.’
Kitto kuru deshoo.
(‘It’s certain that he will come.’)
Osoraku kuru deshoo.
(‘It’s very likely that he will come.’)
Tabun kuru deshoo.
(‘Probably he will come.’)
Sore ni tsuukin no densha wa konde taihen deshoo.
(‘Moreover, since the commuter trains get crowded, they’re probably terrible.’)
Use the te or de form to express a reason, to mean ‘because.’ For example, kaze o hiite ikimasen deshita = ‘because I caught cold, I didn’t go.’
Iki no hoo ga, hidoi to omoimasu yo.
(‘Going is more awful I think, for sure.’)
Iki is a noun meaning ‘to go’ or ‘going’ and is the stem form of ikimasu (‘go’). Again, the stem form of a verb can be used to make a noun.
Hoo means ‘direction’ or ‘side.’ Hoo ga is used to show an alternative and is combined with adjectives like hidoi (‘awful’) to mean ‘more than’ or ‘less than.’ Iki no hoo ga hidoi could be translated as ‘the going’s side is more awful.’
To is used indicate quotation marks; for example, kuru to iimashita = ‘he said he will come.’
Iyahon de ongaku o kiki nagara, shinbun o yonde iru hito mo imasu ne.
(‘While listening to music with earphones, there are also newspaper-reading people, right?’)
To express the idea of doing something while doing something else, follow the stem form (the pre-masu form) of the verb with nagara. For example, gohan o tabe nagara terebi o mimasu = ‘while eating rice, I watch TV.’
Demo, nihongo no kyookasho hodo ja arimasen yo.
(‘But not as much as a Japanese language textbook, for sure.’)
When hodo, meaning ‘not as … as,’ is preceded by a noun, the verb must be negative, e.g., kuruma wa densha hodo hayaku arimasen = ‘as for the car, compared to the train, it isn’t fast’ (ie., ‘the car is not as fast as the train’). However, when hodo means ‘to a degree,’ the verb can be either positive or negative, e.g., sono shigoto wa sore hodo yasashiin desu ka = ‘is that work that easy?’
Saki hodo = ‘a little while ago.’
When hodo is used with a quantifier, it means ‘about,’ e.g. biiru o sanbon hodo nomimashita = ‘I drank about 3 bottles of beer.’
Maikeru ga katta hon. Maikeru no katta hon.
(‘A book that Michael bought.’)
Ga v. no. When modifiying a noun using a clause, the subject of the modifying clause may be marked with either ga or no. For example, Ashi ga nagai hito = ashi no nagai hito = ‘a person with long legs.’ Kuruma ga nai hito = kuruma no nai hito = ‘a person without a car.’
Counting months: Ikka getsu, Nika getsu, Sanka getsu, Yonka getsu, Goka getsu, Rokka getsu, Nanaka getsu, Hakka getsu or Hachika getsu, Kyuuka getsu, Jikka getsu or Juuka getsu, Juuyonka getsu, Nijikka getsu or Nijuuka getsu.
Counting weeks: Isshuukan, nishuukan, sanshuukan, etc. Jisshuukan or jusshuukan = ‘10 weeks.’ Nijisshuukan or nijusshuukan = ‘20 weeks.’
Kan, meaning duration, is required for weeks and hours, e.g. isshukan = ‘1 week,’ nijikan = ‘2 hours.’ Kan is optional for years, months, days and minutes, e.g. ichinen or ichinenkan (‘1 year’), nikkagetsu or nikkagetsukan (‘2 months’), mikka or mikkakan (‘3 days’), yonpun or yonpunkan (‘4 minutes’).
Do not use the optional kan before mae ni, ato ni, or go ni. For example, mikkakan no ryokoo ni ikimasu = ‘I’m going on a 4-day trip.’ Mikka mae ni nihon ni kimashita = ‘I came to Japan 4 days ago.’
Sando mo norikaemasu.
(‘I transfer all of 3 times!’)
Use mo after a number or quantity for emphasis, to indicate that it is more than expected; or with negative verbs, to indicate that it is less than expected. For example, nijikan mo machimashita = ‘I waited all of one hour.’ Hitotsu mo arimasen = ‘there isn’t even one.’
Kuukoo ni wa ginkoo ya resutoran nado ga arimasu.
(‘As for at the airport, there are banks, restaurants, etc.’)
To say etcetera, you may use ya, nado and/or toka. Here’s another example: Shitsu toka, airon toka, iroiro na mono o kaimashita = ‘sheets etc., an iron etc., I bought various things.’
Using yori, hoo ga, mo and hodo to make comparisons. B wa A yori ookii desu = ‘B is bigger than A.’ A yori B no hoo ga takai desu = ‘B is more expensive than A.’ A wa B hodo takakunai desu = ‘A is not as expensive as B.’ A mo B mo takai desu = ‘A and B are both expensive.’ Densha to kuruma to, dochira no hoo ga hayai desu ka = ‘train v. car, which is faster?’ Densha wa, kuruma yori, hayai desu = ‘the car is faster than the train.’ Sushi to tempura to, dochi ga suki desu ka = ‘sushi or tempura, which do you like better?’ Tenpura no hoo ga suki = ‘I like tempura better.’ Sushi mo tenpura mo suki = ‘I like both sushi and tempura.’ Dochira mo suki = ‘I like both.’ Tookyoo ya oosaka hodo ookiku arimasen = ‘not as big as Tokyo, Osaka, etc.’ Ookii desu ga, tookyoo hodo ja arimasen = ‘it’s big, but not compared to Tokyo.’ Basu de iku yori, kuruma de iku hoo ga, chotto hayai desu = ‘compared to going by bus, going by car is a little faster.’ (cannot say iku no hoo ga or iki no hoo ga)
Iie, takai to wa omoimasen.
(‘No, I don’t think they are high.’ Referrring to prices.)
Use wa after to in negative sentences, when to is used to indicate quotation marks.
Baabarasan wa nihon no bukka wa takai to omotte imasu.
(‘As for Barbara, she thinks Japanese prices are high.’)
To state someone else’s opinion, say to omotte iru. To state your own opinion, say either to omou or to omotte iru. For example, nihon no bukka wa takai to omoimasu = nihon no bukka wa takai to omotte imasu = ‘I think Japanese prices are high.’
San mai aru kara, ichimai agemashoo.
(‘Since 3 exist, I shall give you one.’)
San mai ga aru, not OK; you don’t need to use ga or wa after numbers, and here ga sounds wrong.
Mai is a counter for flat thin items (stamps,in this case).
Shujin wa konban osoi to ittemashita kara, doozo goyukkuri.
(‘Since my husband was saying “tonight late,” go ahead, take your honorable time.’)
Goyukkuri shite kudasai, also OK. Yukkuri = ‘slowly,’ ‘taking time,’ ‘leisurely.’
The prefix go is honorific, similar to o. Words of Japanese origin may be preceded by o to show respect, e.g., osushi (‘honorable sushi’). Words of Chinese origin may be preceded by go, e.g., goshinpai (‘honorable worry’).
Women use honorific prefixes more often than men do. Don’t use such prefixes when referring to your own affairs.
Raigetsu muttsu ni naru to ittemashita.
(‘They were saying he will become six next month.’)
Rokusai, also OK, instead of muttsu (both mean ‘six years old’)
Naru = narimasu = to become; usually preceded by ni. For a noun, add ni and naru to describe a change in state. For example, Otooto wa suupaaman ni naritai to omotte imasu = ‘as for the little brother, he thinks he wants to become Superman.’
Heya ga kirei ni narimashita.
(‘The room became clean.’)
For a na adjective, add ni and naru to describe a change in state.
Kodomo wa ookiku narimasu.
(‘Children become big,’ meaning ‘they grow up.’)
For an i adjective, remove the final i, and then add ku and naru, to describe a change in state. For example, samuku narimasu = ‘it will become cold.’
Nihongo ga joozu ni natta kara, nihon ni ikitaku narimashita.
(‘Since the Japanese became skillful, it developed that I want to go to Japan.’)
The ‘tai’ form is inflected like an i adjective.
Kanji o oboeru no wa taihen desu.
(‘To memorize kanji is terrible.’)
Noun Phrases. No and koto turn a previous phrase into a noun. No is preferred for something directly perceived by the senses. Koto is more formal or bookish. For example, Samui no wa ii kedo, atsui no wa iya desu = ‘as for cold, it’s OK, but as for heat, it’s irritating.’ Ashita ga yasumi na no wa ureshii desu = ‘that tomorrow is vacation is pleasing.’ (You cannot say yasumi da no, since you cannot use da before no. So you must use na to mean ‘is,’ instead of da. Also you cannot say yasumi da koto.)
No or ‘n can also be used to make the pronouns ‘one’ or ‘ones.’ For example, anata ga tsukuttan desu ka = ‘are they the ones that you made?’ Another example: ichigo o kureta no wa, dare? = ‘as for the one who gave us strawberries, who?’
Tsumetai kaze ga fuku no o kanjimashita.
(‘I felt the cold wind blow.’)
Since the wind is directly perceived by the senses, you may not substitute koto for no in this sentence.
Tsumetai is used for cold objects; samui is used for cold weather, cold days etc.
Fuku = ‘blow,’ ‘breathe,’ or ‘whistle.’ Kanjiru = ‘feel’ or ‘sense.’
Maikeru wa nihongo o hanasu koto ga dekimasu.
(‘Michael can speak Japanese.’)
A plain speech verb followed by koto ga dekiru means ‘can do.’ For example, Puuru de oyogu koto ga dekimasu = ‘one can swim in the pool.’
Sensei ni hon o sashiagemashita.
‘I gave a book to the teacher.’
Use sashiageru if you or someone else give to someone not in your in-group, showing extra respect.
Keikosan wa makikosan ni hon o agemashita.
‘Keiko gave a book to Makiko.’
Anata ni kono hon o agemashoo.
‘I shall give this book to you.’
Use ageru if you or someone else give to someone who is not in your in-group, showing normal respect.
Inu ni esa o yarimashita.
‘I gave animal food to the dog.’
Otooto ni hon o yarimashita.
‘I gave a book to little brother.’
Use yaru if you give to a member of your in-group, or if you or someone else give to someone outside your in-group who is definitely inferior.
Kanai wa kono hon o kuremashita.
‘The wife gave me this book.’
Tomodachi ga musume ni sono hon o kuremashita.
‘A friend gave that book to my daughter.’
Use kureru if something is given to you or to a member of your in-group by someone in your in-group, or by someone outside your in-group who has equal or inferior status.
Sensei ga kono hon o kudasaimashita.
‘The teacher honorably gave me this book.’
Use kudasaru if something is given to you or to a member of your in-group by someone outside your in-group who has equal or greater age or status.
Kono hon o jiroosan kara moraimashita.
‘I received this book from Jiroo.’
Use morau if you or another person receives from an equal or inferior. This can be used in almost any situation.
Shachoo kara kono hon o itadakimashita.
‘I received this book from the president.’
Use itadaku if you or a member of your in-group receives from an equal or superior (polite speech). Say itadakimasu before eating or drinking, or when you accept a gift of food or drink. Also, use this word to indicate your choice in polite situations, e.g., kore o itadakimasu = ‘I’ll take this one.’
Kodomo no tanjoobi ni nani o yaroo ka.
(‘What shall we give for the child’s birthday?’)
To say a plain speech ‘shall’ or ‘let’s’ for a u verb, add oo to the root (the pre-u form). For example, nomoo (from nomu) = ‘I shall drink’ or ‘let’s drink.’
To say a plain speech ‘shall’ or ‘let’s’ for an ru verb, add yoo to the root. For example, tabeyoo (from taberu) = ‘I shall eat’ or ‘let’s eat.’
Ocha demo ikaga desu ka.
(‘Honorable tea, at least, how is it?’ Meaning, ‘would you like some tea, at least?’)
Demo means ‘but.’ It can also mean ‘at least’ or ‘or something.’ For example, toranpu demo shimashoo ka = ‘shall we play cards or something?’
Moo ippai ocha o iremashoo ka.
(‘Another cup, tea shall I make?’)
Hai is a counter used for cups, bowls etc; ippai (‘1 cup’), nihai (‘2 cups’), sanbai (‘3 cups’) etc.
Transitive and intransitive verb pairs like akeru and aku (both meaning ‘open’) are common in Japanese. For example, mado o akeru = ‘I open the window.’ Mado ga aku = ‘the window opens.’
The ‘e rule’ says that, looking at such verb pairs, transitive verbs tend to end in eru; e.g., akeru(‘open’) is transitive, aku is intransitive; shimeru (‘close’) is transitive, shimaru (‘close’) is intransitive. However, su trumps eru in determining which verbs are transitive, e.g. kesu (‘extinguish’) v. kieru (‘go out’), dasu (‘put out’) v. deru (‘go out’ or ‘exit’); nekasu (‘put to sleep’) v. neru (‘sleep’).
Exceptions to the e rule include: kiru (‘cut,’ transitive) v. kireru (‘be cut’); uru (‘sell something’) v. ureru (‘be sold’); nuru (‘paint’ or ‘get something wet’) v. nureru (‘get wet’).
The te or de form of intransitive verbs like aku (open) is followed by imasu when describing a fixed condition or an ongoing action, e.g., mado ga aite imasu = ‘the window is open’ or ‘the window is opening.’
The te or de form of transitive verbs is followed by iru (imasu) when describing an ongoing action, e.g. mado o akete imasu = ‘I’m opening the window.’
However, the ‘transitive aru rule,’ or transitive rule, states that the te or de form of transitive verbs is usually followed by aru (arimasu), when describing a fixed condition, e.g., mado ga akete arimasu = ‘the window was opened by someone.’ Doa ga shimete arimasu = ‘the door was closed by someone.’
Some verbs are exceptions to the transitive aru rule, e.g., hajimete imasu = ‘it is begun by someone,’ nakushite imasu = ‘it is lost by someone.’
Another exception to the transitive aru rule occurs when you want to imply that the speaker did something, e.g., denki o tsukete imasu = ‘the light is on (because I turned it on).’
Mado o akete imasu = ‘the window is open (because I opened it).’
Ga v. O: In ‘te aru’ or ‘de aru’ constructions, the direct object of a transitive verb may be indicated by either o or ga, e.g., doa o shimete aru = doa ga shimete aru = ‘the door is closed by someone.’ Both of these Japanese sentences are correct.
Iie, kesanai de kudasai.
(‘No, please don’t turn it off.’)
To make a negative request, follow the negative plain speech form of the verb with de kudasai. For example, tabenai de kudasai = ‘please don’t eat.’
Kodomo ga okashi o tabete shimaimashita.
(‘The child ate up the sweets.’)
Shimau can be added to the te or de form of a verb to suggest that the action is done thoroughly and completely.
In ordinary speech, te shimau is shortened to chau. In ordinary speech, de shimau is shortened to jau. For example, Oboete shimau = oboechau = “I will memorize it completely.’ Oboete shimaimashita = oboechatta = ‘I memorized it completely.’
Ocha o nonde shimaimasu = ocha o nonde shimau = ‘I will drink the tea completely.’ Ocha o nonde shimaimashita = ocha o nonjatta = ‘I drank the tea completely.’
Kono sakana wa atarashii kara, sashimi ni shimashoo.
(‘As for this fish, since it’s fresh, let’s make sashimi out of it.’)
Turning something into something else. To express the idea of turning a noun into another noun, such as changing fruit to juice, or of changing something using a na adjective, such as making something clean, add ni suru or ni shimasu to the resulting noun or na adjective. For example, Heya o kirei ni shimasu = ‘I will make the room clean.’ (Note that ni suru also means ‘I choose.’ See Lesson 12.)
Heya o atatakaku shimasu.
(‘I’ll make the room warm.’)
To express the idea of changing something into something else using an i adjective, such as making something warm, remove the
final i and add ku suru or ku shimasu to the i adjective. For example, Koori o irete juusu o tsumetaku shimashoo = ‘Adding ice, let’s make the juice cold.’
Atarashii kanji o jikkai zutsu kaite renshuu suru. (‘Writing new kanji 10 times each, I practice.’)
Kai means ‘times,’ similar to ‘do.’ For example, ikkai, nikai, sankai = ‘1 time,’ ‘2 times,’ ‘3 times.’
(Juudo doesn’t sound as good as jikkai here. Juukai also OK.) Zutsu = ‘each.’
Kaigi ga aru kara, shiryoo o kopii shite okimashoo.
(‘Since a meeting exists, let’s copy the literature in advance.’)
Te oku means to do something as advance preparation. For example, sooji o shite okimasu = ‘I will clean in advance.’
Densha ni notte ikimashoo.
(‘Riding by train, let’s go,’ meaning ‘let’s go riding by train.’)
The te (or de) form of a verb can be thought of as adding the meaning ‘ing.’ For example, hon o mite tabemasu = ‘reading a book, I eat.’
Kopii wa juuji made ni dekiru?
(‘As for the copying, will it be ready by 10:00?)
Kopii ga, also OK..
Made ni is used after a plain non-past form of a verb or various time words to indicate the time by or before which an action is completed. For example, juuji made ni ikimasu = ‘I will go by 10 o’clock.’
Tanaka wa seki o hazushite orimasu ga. (‘Tanaka is leaving the seat humbly, but …,’ meaning ‘he’s absent’)
Seki o hazusu = ‘leave one’s seat.’
Orimasu = oru = humble form of iru = imasu; oru is used in very polite situations to refer to yourself or members of your in-group.
Sukoshi nomisugitan desu ne.
(‘A little, you drank too much, huh?’)
The suffix –sugiru means ‘to excess’; this may be combined with a verb stem, e.g., nomi plus sugiru = nomisugiru = ‘drink too much.’ Or it may be combined with the stem of an i adjective, e.g., ookisugiru = ‘too big.’
Tanaka san wa rokuji made ni kuru hazu deshita ga, nakanaka kimasen deshita.
(‘Tanaka was supposed to come by 6:00, but he didn’t come readily.’)
To show that something ought to, should or is supposed to be, use hazu desu after the plain form of a verb, or after an i adjective. For example, Kono mise no koohii wa oishii hazu desu = ‘This shop’s coffee ought to be good.’
Nakanaka means ‘considerably,’ ‘quite,’ ‘not easily,’ ‘not readily.’
Sooji o shita kara heya wa kirei na hazu desu. (‘Since I cleaned, the rooms ought to be clean.’)
To show that something ought to, should or is supposed to be, use na hazu desu after a na adjective.
Kore wa baabarasan no handobaggu no hazu desu.
(‘I expect this is Barbara’s handbag.’)
To show that something ought to, should or is supposed to be, use no hazu desu after after a noun.
Tanaka san wa mada shigoto o shite iru kara, konai hazu desu.
(‘Since Tanaka is still working, I expect him not to come.’)
To show that something is not supposed to be or not expected to be, follow a negative verbal or adjective with hazu desu.
Tanaka san wa ima ryokoo shite iru kara, kuru hazu ga arimasen.
(‘Since Tanaka is traveling now, it’s impossible that he will come.’)
To say that something is impossible, follow hazu with ga nai, wa nai, ga arimasen, or wa arimasen.
Watashi wa asu kaigi ni derutsumori desu.
(‘As for me, tomorrow, I plan to attend the meeting.’)
To state what you intend to do, add tsumori to the plain speech form of a verb. For example, nihon e ikutsumori desu = ‘I plan to go to Japan.’
Kaigi wa juuji ni hajimeru koto ni shimasu.
(‘As for the meeting, I decide to begin at 10:00.’)
To show that a person himself decides upon or chooses an action, follow a plain speech verb with koto ni suru.
Atsui kara, biiru ni shimashoo ka.
(‘Since it’s hot, shall I choose beer?’)
To show that one decides on a noun, follow the noun with ni suru.
Kookoku o mi nagara, kanji no benkyoo o suru koto ni shite imasu.
(‘While I look at advertisements, my routine is to do kanji’s study.’)
To indicate that you have decided upon or set a course of action for yourself , or that you do some action routinely, follow a plain speech verb with koto ni shite iru.
Kaigi wa juuji kara hajimeru koto ni narimashita.
(‘As for the meeting, it was decided that someone will start it from 10:00.’)
To show that an action is to be decided on (an impersonal decision), follow a plain speech verb with koto ni naru.
Raishuu yooroppa ni shuppatsu suru koto ni natte imasu.
(‘Next week, I’m scheduled to leave for Europe.’)
When stating the way things are, such as schedules, rules, customs etc., follow a plain speech verb with koto ni natte iru. For example, Nihon de wa ie no naka de wa kutsu o hakanai koto ni natte imasu = ‘As for in Japan, as for inside houses, it’s the custom not to wear shoes.’
Haku = ‘put on’ or ‘wear’ shoes, socks or pants.
Jikan ga attara.
(‘When or if there is time.’)
To express the idea ‘if’ or ‘when,’ add ra to the past plain speech form of a verb. This is called the ‘tara’ form. For example, atta (‘it existed’) becomes attara (‘if or when it exists’). Nonda (‘I drank’) becomes nondara (‘if or when she drinks’).
Moshi furo ga atsusugitara mizu o irete kudasai.
(‘Supposing the bath is too hot, please add water.’)
To say ‘supposing,’ or ‘in the event that,’ use moshi or moshimo. For example, Moshimo ame ga futtara ohanami wa yamemasu = ‘If it rains, as for the honorable flower viewing, it will be stopped by someone.’ Both moshi and moshimo are optional and can be omitted without any loss of meaning.
Ashita haretara ii desu ne.
(‘It would be nice if it were sunny tomorrow, huh?)
Tara ii means ‘it would be nice if…’ For example, Tanaka san mo issho ni kitara yokatta desu ne = ‘If Tanaka also together had come, it was good, huh?’
Demo, ashita wa, eiga mo mitai shi ..
(‘But, as for tomorrow, I also want to see a movie, and so therefore …’)
Shi is used after plain speech verbs to mean and or etc. If used after enumerating facts, it suggests that such facts justify one’s actions, feelings or opinions.
Nihon no bunka o benkyoo suru tame ni nihon ni kimashita.
(‘In order to study Japanese culture, I came to Japan.’)
Tame ni means ‘in order to.’ It is usually used after a plain speech verb. For example, Shinkansen ni noru tame ni, tookyoo eki ni iku = ‘In order to board a bullet train, I go to Tokyo Station.’
Sanshuukan de todoku kadooka wakarimasen yo.
(‘I don’t know/understand whether it will arrive in 3 weeks, for sure.’)
Kadooka = ‘whether or not.” For example, iku kadooka wakarimasen = “I don’t know whether I will go or not.’
Question word with ka: If you follow a question word with ka, it means some. For example, nanika = something, itsuka = sometime, doreka =one of them.
Question word with mo: If you follow a question word with mo, it means all or every in positive constructions; never, none or nowhere in negative constructions. However, in affirmative sentences,use one of the following 3 words instead of daremo or nanimo: minna, mina, or subete. Doremo means ‘any of them’ in positive constructions, ‘none of them’ in negative constructions.
Question word with demo: If you follow a question word with demo, it means any. Doredemo means ‘any of them’ or ‘whichever one.’
Dare ni mo aimasen deshita.
(‘I didn’t meet anyone;’ literally, ‘I didn’t meet no one’)
When the particles ni, e, to, kara & made are used with some interrogative pronouns (nan, dore, dare, donata, doko, dotchi & dochira) followed by mo, they are placed in the middle of the phrase. For example, Doko e mo ikimasen deshita = ‘I didn’t go anywhere.’ (literally, ‘I didn’t go to nowhere’)
Wasurenai de kudasai.
(‘Please don’t forget.’)
To make a negative request, add one of the following phrases after a verb stem:
Nai de kudasaimasen ka = ‘won’t you please not do and honorably give’ (very polite form)
Nai de kudasai = ‘please don’t’ (polite form)
Nai de choodai, or nai de ne = ‘please don’t’ (colloquial form)
For example, tabenai de kudasaimasenka = tabenai de kudasai = tabenai de choodai = tabenai de ne = ‘please don’t eat.’
Shibafu no naka ni haitte wa ikemasen.
(‘You must not enter inside the grass.’)
To form a negative command and say that someone must not do something, use the te form of the verb followed by wa followed by one of the following: ikemasen, ikenai, dame desu, komarimasu, or komaru. For example, tabete wa ikemasen = tabete wa ikenai = tabete wa dame desu = tabete wa komarimasu = ‘you must not eat.’
Shibafu ni haitcha dame da yo.
(‘To enter the grass is bad for sure.’)
Haitcha = haite wa.
In colloquial speech, cha is a contraction of te wa and ja is a contraction of de wa. Hashitte wa = hashitcha (‘as for running’); otte wa = otcha (‘as for bending or picking’); haitte wa = haitcha (‘as for entering’); sutete wa= sutecha (‘as for discarding’); asonde wa= asonja (‘as for playing’); shite wa = shicha (‘as for doing’).
Gomi o suteru na.
(‘Don’t discard garbage.’)
For a plain ‘do not,’ used by men or on signs, follow a plain non-past verb with na. For example, taberu na = ‘do not eat.’
Mukoo no osushi wa nihon no to onaji desu ka.
(‘Is the honorable sushi on the other side the same as the Japanese?’)
Onaji means ‘the same.’ Onaji is a na adjective; however, onaji differs from all other na adjectives in that it is usually used without na when it precedes a noun, e.g., onaji mono = the same thing. Onaji is not an i adjective, since you can say onaji da = ‘it’s the same,’ whereas you could never say something like oishii da. Also, onaji is not inflected like an i adjective, e.g., you say onaji ja nai = ‘it isn’t the same,’ not onajiku nai. Sometimes na is used after onaji, e.g., you can say onaji na koto = ‘the same thing,’ and na is also used after onaji when you follow it with noni or node, e.g., onaji na noni = ‘in spite of the fact that it’s the same,’ and onaji na node = ‘since it’s the same.’
Chigau means ‘different.’ For example, chigau zubon o haite imasu = ‘they are wearing different pants.’ Onaji is only an adjective, albeit a very unusual one, whereas chigau is used as both an adjective and a verb. Onaji kutsu = ‘the same shoes.’ Chigau kutsu = ‘different shoes.’ Kutsu ga onaji desu = ‘the shoes are the same.’ Kutsu ga chigau = kutsu ga chigaimasu = ‘the shoes are different,’ or ‘the shoes differ.’
Ichi nichi juu = ‘all day long.’ Hitoban juu = ‘all night long.’ Ichinen juu = ‘all year long.’ Natsu juu = ‘all summer long.’
Juu ni and Chuu ni. These phrases mean ‘sometime during,’ ‘anytime during’ or ‘before the end of.’ Kyoo juu ni = ‘sometime today.’ Kotoshi juu ni = ‘sometime this year.’ Konshuu chuu ni (juu ni also OK) = ‘sometime this week.’ Kongetsu chuu ni (juu ni also OK) = ‘sometime this month.’ Juugatsu chuu ni (juu ni, not OK) = ‘sometime in October.’ Natsuyasumi chuu ni (juu ni also OK) = ‘sometime during summer vacation.’
Still do = mada + affirmative. For example, mada kaisha de shigoto o shite imasu = ‘he is still working at the company.’
No longer do = moo + negative. For example, moo tsukaimasen = ‘I won’t use it anymore.’
Ni yoru to = ‘According to someone.’
No hanashi de wa (literally, ‘as for from someone’s story or speech’) = ‘according to what someone says.’
Soo desu, No da soo desu, ‘n da soo desu = ‘Something is reportedly true.’
N desutte, Desutte = ‘Something is reportedly true.’ Used by women in informal casual conversations.
N datte, Tte = ‘something is reportedly true.’ Used by men or women in informal casual conversations.
Ga or de plus to itte imashita, or ga or de plus tte ittemashita = ‘someone was saying.’
Ni plus to kaite arimashita, or ni plus tte kaite arimashita = ‘something was written.’
Kara plus to kikimashita or kara plus tte kikimashita = ‘I heard something from someone.’
Tanaka kun byooki na no desu.
(‘Young man Tanaka is sick.’)
In this sentence, no is used as a softening word. You must use an alternative to da (i.e., na) if you follow da with no (as a softening word).
Taroo dake ga yasunde iru.
(‘Only Taro is being off.’)
Taroo dake yasunde iru, also OK. Taro dake yasumi desu, also OK.
Taroo bakari yasunde iru.
(‘Only Taro is being off,’ implying as usual and that it’s not fair.)
To convey the idea of ‘only’ or ‘just,’ use either dake or bakari after a noun. Bakari implies that two choices have been compared and could mean ‘all the time,’ ‘every time,’ ‘all over,’ or ‘everywhere,’ and may express the speaker’s feeling that the imbalance is not right or is unfair. Bakkari is more emphatic than bakari. The meaning of bakari following a te verb form is similar to that following a noun. For example, terebi o mite bakari iru = ‘he’s only watching TV.’ It’s OK to omit wa, ga or o after either dake or bakari.
Sore ja, karada ni yoku nai desu ne.
(‘In that case, for the body it’s not good, huh.’)
Note that karada ni yoku nai means ‘it isn’t good for the body.’ Karada ni iin ja nai has a very different meaning: ‘isn’t it good for the body?’
Kare wa raishuu ryokoo ni iku noni, mada yooi o shite imasen.
(‘As for him, even though next week he is going on a trip, he still isn’t doing preparations.’)
To say ‘even though,’ or ‘in spite of the fact that,’ follow a verb (either past or non-past) or a plain i adjective (either past or non-past) with noni. Here’s another example, using an i adjective: Ano hito wa, wakai noni, iroiro na koto o shitte imasu = ‘that person over there, even though young, is knowing various things.’
Hanako san wa, e ga joozu na noni, amari kakimasen.
(‘As for Hanako, even though she is skillful at pictures or drawing, she hardly draws.’)
To say ‘even though,’ or ‘in spite of the fact that,’ follow a na adjective with na noni.
Haru na noni atatakaku narimasen.
(‘Even though it’s spring, it doesn’t become warm.’)
To say ‘even though,’ or ‘in spite of the fact that,’ follow a noun with na noni.
月曜日だったのに会社に行きませんでした。Getsuyoobi datta noni, kaisha ni ikimasen deshita.
(‘Even though it was Monday, he didn’t go to the company.’)
Genki datta noni, shigoto o shimasen deshita.
(‘Even though he was healthy, he didn’t do work.’)
To say ‘even though,’ or ‘in spite of the fact that,’ in past constructions, follow a noun or a na adjective with datta noni.
Ame ga futte iru keredo, tenisu ni ikimashoo.
(‘Although it’s raining, let’s go to play tennis.’)
Do not use noni with volitional expressions like ‘let’s’ or ‘I will.’
Mainichi, ame ga futte, maru de tsuyu no yoo desu.
(‘Every day, since it rains, it’s completely like the rainy season.’)
When modifying a noun, to express the ideas ‘is like,’ ‘similar to,’ ‘same as,’ or to describe the way something appears in comparison to some other noun, use no yoo after the noun.
Mainichi, ame ga futte, maru de tsuyu mitai desu.
(‘Every day, since it rains, it’s completely like the rainy season.)
When modifying a noun, another way to express the ideas of ‘is like,’ ‘similar to,’ ‘same as,’ or to describe the way something appears in comparison to some other noun, is to use mitai after the noun.
No yoo can be used with any style of speech, while mitai is more colloquial. When used as adjectives, both no yoo and mitai are na adjectives. For example, Soba wa supagetti no yoo na tabemono desu = ‘soba is a food like spaghetti. Soba wa supagetti mitai na tabemono desu = ‘soba is a food like spaghetti.’
Te ga yuki no yoo ni shiroi = te ga yuki mitai ni shiroi.
(‘The hands, like snow, are white.’)
No yoo and mitai are na adjectives meaning ‘like.’
When you add ni to a na adjective, it becomes an adverb, modifying a verb or another adjective.
Asa okitara yuki ga futte imashita.
(‘Morning, when I got up, it was snowing.’)
To express a conditional when or whenever, follow the past form of a verb or an i adjective with ra. This is described as ‘using tara’ in these lessons. In this example, okiru = ‘get up.’ Okita = ‘I got up.’ Okitara’ = ‘if I get up’ or ‘when I get up.’ Here’s another example, using an i adjective: oishii = ‘it’s delicious. Oishikatta = ‘it was delicious.’ Oishikattara = ‘if it’s delicious’ or ‘when it’s delicious.’
Asa okiru to yuki ga futte imashita.
(‘Morning, when I get up, it was snowing.’)
Another way to express a conditional when or whenever is to follow a plain speech non-past verb with to. This is more bookish but is preferred when the relationship is causal or inevitable, as in giving directions or discussing natural laws.
Ame ga yandara haikingu ni ikimashoo.
(‘When the rain stops, let’s go hiking.’)
You may not follow ‘to’ with a request, command, suggestion, or wish. Ame ga yamu to, haikingu ni ikimashoo, not OK.
Tabako o suttara dame desu yo.
(‘When you smoke tobacco, it’s bad for sure.’)
Use tara when you want your statement to sound more personal.
Tabako o suu to dame desu yo.
(‘When one smokes tobacco, it’s bad for sure.’)
Use to when you want to make your statement sound more general and less direct.
Yoobi ya jugyooryoo ni tsuite kaite arimasu. (‘Concerning the days of the week, the tuition, etc. are written.’)
Ni tsuite = ‘concerning,’ ‘regarding,’ ‘pertaining to.’ If you use ni tsuite, you omit ga. In the sentence above, you could say ni tsuite wa, but wa and ni tsuite are similar, so it’s best to omit wa as well.
Kyoo wa isogashikute kono shigoto wa tottemo dekimasen.
(‘As for today, since I’m busy, this work is completely unable to be accomplished.’)
Totemo = ‘very.’ Tottemo = ‘terribly,’ ‘extremely,’ or ‘completely’ (can also be spelled totemo).
Shachoo no nimotsu o motte sashiagemashita.
(‘I carried the president’s luggage and gave.’)
Use the te or de form of a verb to express the idea of giving or receiving an action (as opposed to a thing).
Here are some other examples: Shachoo ga homete kudasatta = ‘the president praised and honorably gave.’ Shachoo ni homete itadakimashita = ‘by the president, I received praise.’
Inu o sanpo ni tsurete itte yaru.
(‘The dog, for the purpose of walking, I will take along and give.’)
Tsurete iku = ‘take a person or animal along.’
Otoosan, kono hon o katte.
(‘Father, buy this book.’)
When addressing one’s parent or older siblings directly, it’s appropriate to use otoosan, okaasan, oniisan or oneesan. Use chichi, haha, ani and ane only when talking about your family with outsiders.
Chotto onegaishite moo ii kashira.
(‘A little, doing begging is OK, I wonder.’)
Kashira and kana mean ‘I wonder.’ Kashira used more by women; kana more by men.
Anoo, kanai o tsurete itte mo ii desu ka.
(‘Say, is it OK if I take the wife along?’)
Permission: Te mo ii = te mo yoroshii = ‘it’s OK.’ Te mo kamaimasen = ‘it doesn’t matter.’ For example, tabete mo ii desu ka = ‘is it OK if I eat?’ Hai, tabete mo ii = ‘yes, it’s OK to eat.’ Yasunde mo kamaimasen = ‘it doesn’t matter if you rest’ (meaning, ‘take time off’).
Ano, chotto, teburu no ue no shio o totte hoshiin dakedo.
(‘Say, for a moment, I desire you to pass the on-the-table salt, but..’)
To say that you desire someone to do something, use the te form of the verb plus hoshii.
Kono nimotsu o hakonde moraitain desu kedo.
(‘I would like you to carry and I to receive this luggage, but.’)
Another way to say that you would like someone to do something is to use the te or de form of the verb plus moraitai or itadakitai. Here’s another example: Buchoo, kono shorui ni sain o shite itadakitain desu ga = ‘division manager, I would like for you to sign to this document and I humbly receive, but ..’
Haha ga byooki de nete iru node, ookii oto o dasanai de hoshiin desu ga.
(‘Since Mother is sleeping due to illness, I desire that you do not put out big sounds, but.’)
When you want to say that you would prefer that someone not do something, use the plain speech negative non-past form of the verb, followed by de, plus hoshii, moraitai, or itadakitai.
Hito no warukuchi wa, itte moraitakunai desu ne.
(‘As for a person’s slander, I don’t want you to say and I receive it, huh.’)
Another way to ask someone not to do something is to use the te form of the verb, followed by hoshikunai, moraitakunai, or itadakitakunai.
Enpitsu o tsukai suginai de.
(‘Don’t use too many pencils.’)
Sugiru = ‘too much’; suginai is the negative form. Oosugiru = ‘too much quantity.’ For example, satoo ga oosugiru = ‘there’s too much sugar.’ Kooto ga ooki sugimasu = ‘the coat is too big.’ Hatarakisugi ja nai = ‘isn’t it too much labor?’ (Hatarakisugi is a noun derived from hatarakisugiru = ‘labor too much.’)
Tookyoo de niban me ni takai biru desu yo.
(‘Of Tokyo, it’s the second tallest building for sure.’) Ni turns the word nibanme = ‘second’ into an adverb, modifying takai. Incidentally, nibanme can also be combine with no and used as an adjective, e.g., nibanme no hikidashi = ‘the second drawer.’
Asa hayaku okinasai.
(‘Get up early in the morning.’)
Okiru = ‘get up.’
Nasai may be added to the stem form of a verb to give a command to a child or a subordinate. Note: in at least one situation, nasai may be used with the opposite meaning, e.g., iikagen ni shinasai, which should mean ‘do irresponsibly,’ actually means ‘don’t do irresponsibly.’ Apparently, this is due to the fact that the negative form of nasai, nasaruna, is no longer in active use in Japanese. However, it is also OK to say iikagen ni shinai de kudasai which means the same thing as iikagen ni shinasai.
Note that the te kudasai form is much more polite than the nasai form, e.g., okite kudasai = ‘please get up.’
Keeki o tabete mo ii desu.
(‘It’s OK to eat the cake.)
To say that it’s OK to do something, follow the te or de form of the verb with mo ii desu.
Terebi mo yukkuri miraremasen.
(‘I can’t leisurely watch even TV.’)
Mo means ‘even’ in this sentence. (Terebi demo… means ‘even though’ and doesn’t make sense here.)
Mo can mean ‘also.’ For example, terebi mo arimasu = ‘there is also a TV.’
Mo can mean ‘more than expected.’ For example, Nijikan mo kakarimasu = ‘It takes 2 full hours.’ With negative verbs, mo can mean ‘less than expected.’ For example, Jippun mo kakarimasen = ‘It doesn’t even take 10 minutes.’ Hitotsu mo arimasen = ‘not even one exists.’
(‘If you say, then,’ usually meaning ‘come to think of it.’)
Reba and eba mean ‘if, then.’ To make the eba verb tense, add eba to the root of a u verb. In this case, the root of iu (‘say’) is i; add eba, and you get ieba. Another example is kakeba (from kaku) = ‘if I write, then.’
Saisho wa tenki yohoo ga seikaku ni kikitorereba ii desu yo.
(‘As for the beginning, if you are able to listen/take the weather report accurately, then it will be good, for sure.’)
To make the eba verb form, add reba to the root of an ru verb. Note that toru (‘take’) is a u verb, since its te form is totte and its ta form is totta. Kikitoru (‘listen/take’) which is derived from kiku and toru, is also a u verb. However, kikitoreru (‘able to listen/take’) is an ru verb, since its te form is kikitorete and its ta form is kikitoreta. The root (pre-ru form) of kikitoreru is kikitore; add reba to that, and you get the eba form.
Supeingo ga dekitara, ichido mekishiko e itte mitai desu ne.
(‘If I could do Spanish, one time, I would like to go to Mexico and see, huh.’)
Dekiru means ‘able to do.’ For example, denwa ga dekinakatta = ‘I could not do a phone call.’ Zensen oyogu koto ga dekimasen deshita = ‘I was not able to swim at all.’ Shitsumon o suru koto ga dekimasen deshita = ‘I was not able to ask a question.’
Yoru wa terebi o mitari, rekoodo o kiitari shite sugoshimasu.
(‘As for evenings, watch TV etc., listen to records, etc., I do and spend.’)
Another way to say ‘etcetera’ is to add the suffix tari to the past plain speech stems of verbs or the past stems of i adjectives. The past plain speech stem of a verb or the past stem of an i adjective is the part remaining after you remove the final ta. When using tari, the last item listed, if you are listing more than one item, is followed by suru or desu. Here’s an example of the use of tari with only a single verb: koko de, yakyuu o shitari shite wa ikemasen = ‘at here, do baseball etc. you mustn’t do.’
Shitari shinakattari desu.
Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t do.
To express the idea ‘sometimes yes, sometimes no,’ combine the past plain speech stem of the same verb in the affirmative and in the negative and follow each verb with tari.
Tegami o kakeru. Tegami ga kakeru.
(‘It’s possible to write a letter.’)
Potential Tense: To show that something is possible, add eru to the root of a u verb. For example, nomeru = ‘I can drink.’
When using a potential verb with an object, you may use either o or ga.
Denwa o kakerareru. Denwa ga kakerareru.
(‘I can make a phone call.’)
To show that something is possible, add rareru to the root of an ru verb. For example, taberareru = ‘I can eat.’ Sometimes, rareru is shortened to reru, meaning the ar is removed. For example, denwa o kakereru = denwa ga kakereru = ‘I can make a phone call.’ Again, you may use either ga or o.
When making the potential tense, there are 3 irregular verbs. Their potential forms are: Ikareru = ikeru = ‘can go.’ Korareru = koreru = ‘can come.’ Dekiru = ‘can do.’
Tenisu o suru koto ga dekimasu.
(‘One can play tennis.’)
As discussed in Lesson 9, another way to say that one can do something is to use the phrase koto ga dekiru. For example, gohyaku metoru oyugu koto ga dekiru = ‘I am able to swim 500 meters.’
Paatii ni ikenaku natte shimaimashita.
(‘It completely became unable to go to the party.’)
The potential form of iku (‘go’) is ikeru, an ru verb. The negative form of ikeru is ikenai.
To make the negative form of a u verb, add anai to the root. To make the negative form of an ru verb, add nai to the root. For example, nomanai = ‘I won’t drink.’ Tabenai = ‘I won’t eat.’
Jitensha ni noreru yoo ni narimashita.
(‘I got to the point that I was able to ride a bicycle.’) Yoo ni naru means ‘come to be such that,’ ‘get to be such that,’ or ‘ get to the point that.’
Motto kanji o oboeru yoo ni shimasu.
(‘I’ll make an effort to memorize more kanji.’)
Yoo ni suru = ‘to see to it,’ ‘to make an effort,’ or ‘to take care that.’
Yoo can be understood as ‘manner,’ generally speaking. Hoo can be understood as ‘direction,’ generally speaking, e.g., migi no hoo = ‘right side.’
Doozo, atsui uchi ni tabete kudasai.
(‘Go ahead, while it’s still hot, eat please.’)
To indicate a period within which an action occurs, i.e. to say ‘while still’ (or ‘before,’ in negative constructions), follow a noun plus no, or a plain non-past verb or i adjective, or a na adjective plus na, with uchi ni.
Ame ga yande iru aida ni, kaimono ni itte kimashoo.
(‘While the rain is stopping, let’s go for shopping and come.’)
To indicate a period during or throughout which an action occurs, i.e., to say ‘while,’ or ‘as,’ follow a noun plus no, or a plain non-past verb with aida ni.
Sensei no hanashi o kiite iru uchi ni, nemukunatte kita.
(‘As I am listening to the teacher’s speech, it became sleepy and came,’ meaning ‘I got sleepy.’)
Uchi ni, like aida ni, can also be used to mean ‘as,’ i.e., as an action is being done.
Chittomo, tsukare ga toremasen.
(‘Not at all, I can’t take the fatigue’ out of myself.)
Nouns can be made from some verb stems. For example, tsukare (from tsukareru) = ‘fatigue.’ Kaeri (from kaeru) = ‘the return.’ Hajime (from hajimeru) = ‘the beginning.’ Mukae (from mukaeru) = ‘the greeting.’ Hanashiai (from hanashiau) = ‘the consultation.’ Iki (from iku) = ‘the outbound trip.’
Hitori de nanimokamo shinai de, buka ni shigoto o makaseru koto o susumete imasu.
(‘By oneself, not doing everything, and entrust work to subordinates thing is being advised.’)
Nanimokamo = everything. Makaseru = to entrust. Although kute following an i adjective root can mean ‘and’ (or ‘since’), that does not mean that you may substitute shinakute for shinai de in this sentence. Kute, when used with negative verbs, is used to suggest a reason, i.e., to mean ‘since,’ not to mean ‘and.’ For example, kanji ga wakaranakute, komarimasu = ‘since I don’t understand kanji, I get inconvenienced.’ In addition, you can’t use te to mean ‘since’ when you’re calling for action, e.g, atsukute, mado o akete kudasai = ‘since it’s hot, please open the window’ is incorrect.
Nakute can also be used to say that ‘X is not Y but Z.’ For example, kare wa gakusei ja nakute, sensei desu = ‘he’s not a student, but a teacher.’
To see how to use nai de, see Lesson 26.
Boonasu tte nani ka shittemasu?
(‘As for the one called bonus, what (question) are you knowing?’)
Tte can mean ‘speaking of.’ Tte can substitute for wa as a topic marker, but only if the predicate expresses the speaker’s emotive evaluation/judgment. For example, you can say, Keikosan tte hen na hito desu = ‘Keiko is a strange person,’ but you can’t say, Keikosan tte sensei desu (meaning, ‘Keiko is a teacher’).
Nanda rei ten hachikagetsu bun shika denai no ka.
(‘What do you mean, except for 0.8 month quantity only, it doesn’t come out?’) (hakkagetsu, also OK)
Nanda = ‘what do you mean?,’ ‘do you mean to say?,’ ‘is this all?,’ ‘it’s nothing!’ cf. nante = ‘what sort of,’ ‘such a thing.’ cf. nande = ‘why?’ (colloquial)
Shika = ‘except for only.’ Use shika with a negative verb. It can be used with or without dake (‘only’), e.g., kore dake shika nain desu ka = kore shika nain desu ka = ‘except for only this, is there nothing?’
Taroo kun wa kuyashigatte imashita.
(‘As for young man Taroo, he appeared to be mortified.’)
Kuyashigaru comes from kuyashii (‘mortified’) plus garu and means ‘appears to be mortified.’
To say that someone appears to have certain feelings, use an i adjective stem, or a na adjective, plus garu.
Zuibun tanoshi soo deshita yo.
(‘Extremely pleasant it seemed for sure.’)
(Zuibun tanoshikatta soo desu yo, also OK.)
Another way to say that someone seems to have certain feelings, is to use an i adjective stem, or a na adjective, plus soo. The resulting word can be used as a na adjective. For example, kuyashisoo desu = ‘he appears to be mortified.’ Kuyashisoo na hito = ‘a person who appears to be mortified.’
Hanada san o eiga ni sasotte agetara, kitto yorokobu deshoo.
(‘If you invite Hanada to a movie and give, certainly she will get delighted probably.’)
To say that someone probably has certain feelings, use daroo or deshoo.
Honkon to iu no wa, donna tokoro desu ka.
(‘As for the one called Hong Kong, what kind of place is it?’)
To ask about things like identity, definition, description or explanation concerning unfamiliar items, in other words, to say ‘as for the one called,’ ‘what is it’ or ‘how is it’ or ‘why is it,’ etc., use one of the following three phrases plus a question word plus desu. The second one is more bookish and the third one is colloquial.
To iu no wa. To wa. Tte.
For example, honkon to iu no wa = honkon to wa = honkon tte = ‘as for the one called Hong Kong.’
Kaze o hikanai yoo ni, ki o tsukete kudasai.
(‘So as to not catch cold, please be careful.’)
Instead of using tame ni, meaning ‘for the sake of,’ or ‘for the purpose of,’ if you just want to make a milder statement, like ‘such that,’ ‘so as to,’ or ‘in such a way as to,’ use yoo ni.
For example, Daredemo yomeru yoo ni, ji o kirei ni kaite kudasai = ‘so that any of them can read, please write characters cleanly.’ Watashi ni mo wakaru yoo ni, motto yasashiku setsumei shite kudasai = ‘in such a way that to me also will understand, more easily do explanation please.’
As mentioned in Lesson 9, to say a plain speech ‘shall’ or ‘let’s’ for a u verb, add oo to the root (the pre-u form). To say a plain speech ‘shall’ or ‘let’s’ for an ru verb, add yoo to the root.
There are 3 irregular verbs. Ikoo = ikimashoo = ‘I shall go’ or ‘let’s go.’ Koyoo = kimashoo = ‘I shall come’ or ‘let’s come.’ Shioo = shimashoo = ‘I shall do’ or ‘let’s do.’
Juusu o nomoo to shite, koboshite shimaimashita.
(‘Trying to drink juice, I spilled it completely.’)
To express the idea ‘to try to do something,’ implying that one failed or that one is not succeeding very well, use the plain let’s form of the verb, followed by to suru. For example, tabeyoo to shite imasu = ‘I’m trying to eat.’
Kore kara dekakeru tokoro nan desu.
(‘From now, I’m on the verge of leaving.’)
Tokoro can be used after a plain speech non-past verb to mean ‘on the verge.’ For example, hashiru tokoro desu = ‘he’s on the verge of running.’
Benkyoo o shite iru tokoro desu.
(‘I’m in the middle of studying.’)
Iru tokoro used after the te or de form of a verb means ‘in the process or in the middle.’ For example, hashitte iru tokoro = ‘he’s in the process of running.’
Chichi wa, ima, ofuro ni, haitta tokoro nan desu.
(‘As for my father, now, into the honorable bath, he has just entered.’)
Tokoro after a past plain speech verb means ‘has just finished’ or ‘is at the point of having just finished.’ For example, hashitta tokoro = ‘has just finished running’ or ‘is at the point of having just finished running.’
Chichi wa, kaette kita bakari.
(‘As for my father, he returned and came a while ago.’)
Another way to express the idea of just having done something, besides using the past tense of a verb followed by tokoro, is to use the past tense of the verb followed by bakari. The past tense followed by tokoro implies that the action was done just now, while the past tense followed by bakari implies that the action was done a while ago.
Aa, Kuroda san ga koronda.
(‘Ah, Kuroda is falling!’)
Use the past tense of a verb to report what you see as an exclamation. This is called the exclamatory form. For example, kita kita = ‘He’s coming, he’s coming!’ Utta. Homu ran desu = ‘He’s hitting! It’s a home run.’
As mentioned in Lesson 18, to express the conjectural or hypothetical idea, ‘if, then,’ add eba to the root of a u verb. Add reba to the root of an ru verb. For example, ikeba = ‘if I go, then…’ Suite ireba = ‘if it’s uncrowded, then …’
(‘If it’s expensive, then …’)
To make the eba form of i adjectives, including nai, add kereba to the stem. For example, Tenki ga yokereba = ‘if the weather is good, then…’ Yasukunakereba kaimasen = ‘if it isn’t cheap, then I won’t buy.’
Kirei de areba.
(‘If it’s clean, then …’)
Kirei nara and kirei naraba may be substituted for kirei de areba.
To make the eba form of na adjectives, add nara or naraba or de areba to the adjective.
Referring to nouns, to say ‘if it is, then…,’ use de areba. (It doesn’t matter if the noun is animate or inanimate.) To say ‘if it isn’t, then…,’ use de nakereba.
To form the imperative form, used at sporting events to shout encouragement, for a u verb, follow the verb root with e. Hashiru is a u verb because you ‘double the t’ when making hashitte and hashitta.
To form the imperative form for an ru verb, follow the root with ro.
For the 3 irregular verbs, the imperative forms are: Ike = ‘go!’ Koi = ‘come!’ Shiro = ‘do it!’
Ryokoo ni iku nara, hokkaidoo wa doo desu ka.
(‘In the case of to go for travel, as for Hokkaido, how is it?’)
To express the idea ‘if it is,’ or ‘in case it is,’ in addition to the to, tara and eba forms that you’ve learned, there’s a 4th conditional form, often used to clarify the subject under discussion in order to make a comment. The word nara functions much like the topic marker wa, but implies a greater emphasis. Naraba may be used instead of nara, especially in written text.
After a noun or a na adjective, add nara. After an i adjective or a plain verb, you may use no or ‘n, before nara, but they are optional. For example, Atsuin nara, soko no mado o akete mo ii desu yo = ‘in case it’s hot, it’s OK to open that place’s window, for sure.’
Sono heya ga kirei dattara, karimasu.
(‘If that room is clean, I’ll rent it.’)
Dattara also means ‘if it is’ or ‘in case it is,’ and it can often be substituted for nara.
Kesa wa, nanji ni, odekake ni narimashita ka.
(‘As for this morning, at what time did you honorably depart?’)
Honorific verbs include irassharu, meaning ‘be,’ ‘come’ or ‘go’; and ossharu, meaning ‘say.’
To form an honorific verb construction with other verbs, put o in front of the verb stem, and follow the verb stem with ni naru or ni narimasu. For example, shachoo ga omochi ni narimasu = ‘the president will honorably hold it.’
Denwa dai o oharai shitain desu ga…
(I would like to humbly pay the phone cost, but…’)
To form a humble verb construction, referring to actions that you perform, put o in front of the verb stem, and follow the verb stem with suru or shimasu. For example, omochi shimasu = ‘I will humbly hold it.’ (In practice, this often means ‘I will humbly bring it.’ Another way to say ‘I will humbly bring it’ is motte mairimasu.)
Ara. Moo okaeri desu ka.
(‘My goodness. Are you already honorably returning?’)
For a limited number of verbs, including machimasu, mochimasu, kaerimasu, kikimasu, yomimasu and tsukaimasu, you can form an honorific verb construction, used to say what someone else is doing, by putting o in front of the verb stem, and following the verb stem with desu. For example, Okyakusama ga oosetsushitsu de omachi desu = ‘a very honorable customer is honorably waiting in the reception room.’
Moshi moshi, sensei wa, oide ni narimasu ka.
(‘Hello, as for teacher, is he there?’)
An honorific word used to mean ‘come,’ ‘go’ or ‘exist’ is oide. Oide ni narimasu =‘he exists’ = ‘he is here’ = ‘he is there.’ Oide kudasai can mean either ‘please come’ or ‘please go.’
Koko ni onamae to gujuushoo o okaki kudasai.
(‘Please honorably write your honorable name and honorable address here.’)
To form an honorific form of a verb request, in order to ask someone to do something in business or official situations, as opposed to personal or social situations, put o in front of the verb stem and follow the stem with one of the following five responses: kudasai, kudasaimasenka, kudasaimasen deshoo ka, itadakimasenka, or itadakemasenka. For example, osuwari kudasai = okake kudasai = ‘please honorably sit.’ (Suwaru is used for sitting on zabuton cushions, and kakeru is used for sitting on chairs.)
To say please come or please go, in this formal honorific construction, don’t use kuru or iku. Instead say oide kudasai.
Another way to say please come, in this formal honorific construction, is okoshi kudasai.
To say please do, in this formal honorific construction, say nasatte kudasai.
Ame ga furu soo desu. (‘Reportedly it will rain.’)
As discussed in Lesson 14, soo desu can mean ‘reportedly.’ When used in this sense, it follows a plain speech verb (not the stem). For example, Taberu soo desu = ‘reportedly, she will eat.’
It may also follow an i adjective (not the stem). For example, oishii soo desu = ‘reportedly, it’s delicious.’ (You cannot say oishii da soo desu, since you can’t use da after i adjectives.) When soo in this sense is used with na adjectives or nouns, it must be preceded by da. For example, Ano mise wa, nigiyaka da soo desu = ‘as for that store over there, reportedly it’s lively.’ Kuruma da soo desu = ‘reportedly, it’s a car.’
Ame ga furi soo desu. (‘It looks like it will rain.’)
Soo has a second meaning: ‘seems to be.’ When it carries this meaning, it may be combined with verb stems, i adjective stems, and na adjectives. It is not preceded by da. It cannot be used with nouns, other than nasa and yosa. Examples of the use of soo (meaning ‘seems’) include tabesoo desu = ‘it appears he will eat.’ Oishisoo = ‘it appears to be delicious.’ Ano mise wa, nigiyaka soo desu = ‘as for that store over there, it appears lively.’ You may use na after soo (meaning ‘seems to be’), to make an adjective. For example, oishisoo na keeki = ‘a delicious-appearing cake.’
Ame ga furisoo ni nai.
(‘Appears-it-will-rain doesn’t exist.’)
To say that it appears that an action will not occur, add soo ni nai (arimasen) or soo mo nai (arimasen) to a verb stem. To say that an adjective doesn’t appear to be true, add soo ni nai (arimasen), soo mo nai (arimasen), soo ja nai (arimasen) or soo dewa nai (arimasen) to the stem of an i adjective or to a na adjective. Another way to say that a na adjective doesn’t appear to be true is to add ja nasa soo desu to the adjective.
For example, tabe soo ni nai = tabe soo mo nai = ‘it appears she will not eat.’ Oishisoo ni nai = oishisoo mo nai = oishisoo dewa nai = oishisoo ja nai = ‘it doesn’t appear delicious.’ Nigiyakasoo ni nai = nigiyakasoo mo nai = nigiyakasoo dewa nai = nigiyakasoo ja nai = nigiyaka ja nasa soo desu = ‘it doesn’t appear to be lively.’
Ame ga furanasa soo desu.
(‘Will-not-rain seems to be.’)
Another way to say that something appears not to be is to follow the pre-nai form of a negative verb or the pre-nai form of an i adjective with nasa soo desu. Some other examples of the use of nasa include: Mondai wa nasa soo desu = ‘as for problems, nothing, it seems’= ‘there seem to be no problems.’ Tabenasa soo desu = ‘will-not-eat seems to be.’ Oishikunasa soo desu = ‘not-delicious seems to be.’
Tenki wa yosa soo desu.
(‘As for weather, goodness seems to be’ or ‘the weather seems to be good.’)
When you want to say that something appears to be good, instead of saying i soo desu, say yosa soo desu. For example, Ano sensei wa yosa soo desu = ‘as for that teacher over there, she seems to be good.’ (When you add sa to the stem of nai or to the stem of an i adjective, you often create a noun. For example, hiroi = spacious; hirosa = area, expanse.)
Ashita wa, mata, genki ni nare soo na ki ga suru.
(‘As for tomorrow, again, to health I’ll be able to become, it appears, I have a feeling.’)
Ki ga suru = ‘to have a feeling that.’ In the sentence above, ki is modified by the na-adjective phrase genki ni nare soo = ‘appears to be able to become healthy.’ Ki means ‘spirit,’ ‘soul,’ ‘feeling,’ or ‘intention.’
Other phrases that employ ki include ki ni iru = ‘it pleases me’; ki ni shinai = ‘to not care’; ki o otosu = ‘to get downhearted’; and ki o tsukeru = ‘to be careful.’
Ame ga futta yoo desu.
(‘It seems that it rained.’)
Yoo also means ‘it appears,’ based on evidence. It may be used with i adjectives and verbs.
For example, oishii yoo desu = ‘it appears to be delicious.’ Taberu yoo desu = ‘it appears that she will eat.’
Ano koe wa, maikeru san no yoo desu ne.
(‘As for that voice over there, it seems to be Michael, huh.’)
After a na adjective, you may use na yoo to mean ‘it seems.’ For example, genki na yoo desu = ‘he seems to be healthy.’
To say that a noun seems to be, you may follow the noun with no yoo. For example, tori no yoo desu = ‘it seems to be a bird.’
You may use na after yoo to make an adjective but only after a noun, not after another adjective or after a verb. For example, you may say kuruma no yoo na katachi = ‘a shape that looks like a car.’ But Oishii yoo na tabemono, not OK. Kirei na yoo na heya, not OK. Taberu yoo na hito, not OK.
Kyoo wa, ame ga furu rashii desu ne.
(‘As for today, it appears that it will rain, huh.’)
Rashii also means ‘it appears,’ based on hearsay, or slim or indirect evidence. For example, if you have heard or read that it will rain, you may use rashii, but you wouldn’t use rashii just because the sky looks dark. You may use rashii after verbs, i adjectives, na adjectives, and nouns. Rashii implies more uncertainty than yoo. Since rashii is an i adjective, you cannot say rashii da, but rashii desu is OK. Rashii no da is also OK. Don’t use na after rashii; instead use rashii alone as an i adjective.
Kyoo wa ame ga furu mitai.
(‘As for today, it looks like it will rain.’)
Ame ga furu mitai desu, also OK.
Mitai also means ‘it appears.’ You may use it after verbs, nouns, and i or na adjectives.
Ki mitai na katachi desu.
(‘It’s a tree-like shape.’)
You may use na after mitai to make an adjective, but only when you use it after a noun, rather than after another adjective or after a verb.
Chuugoku no kusuri de, kaze ni yoku kikurashii desu yo.
(‘It’s Chinese medicine, and to a cold it seems to have a good effect, for sure.’)
Kiku = ‘be good for’ or ‘have an effect.’ It also means ‘hear’ or ‘ask.’
Namae o yobareru made, soko no isu ni kakete ite kudasai.
(‘Until the name is called, on that place’s chair, be sitting please.’)
In a passive sentence, the subject is also an object that receives the effect of an action. For example, in English, ‘I kick the ball’ contains a subject, an active verb and an object. By contrast, ‘The ball is kicked’ contains a passive verb, and the subject ‘ball’ is the object of the action.
To form a passive verb form in Japanese, add areru to a u verb root; add rareru to an ru verb root.
In a passive sentence, the object of the action is followed by wa or ga. The doer of the action is followed by ni. For example, Watashi wa inu ni oikakerareta = ‘I was chased by a dog.’
Irregular passive verb forms: iku, becomes ikareru; kuru, becomes korareru; suru, becomes sareru, in the passive tense.
In contrast to the passive tense, you may recall that the way to show that something is possible (the potential form), is to add eru to a u verb root & add rareru to an ru verb root. Therefore, an ru verb’s passive form is the same as its potential form. For example, watashi ga omatsuri o miraremashita = ‘I was able to look at the festival.’ Watashi wa kanojo ni miraremashita = ‘I was looked at by her.’
Kono repooto o kakanakereba naranain desu.
(‘I must write this report.’)
To say that one must do something, Japanese people say something like ‘if not, it will not become’ or ‘if not, it will be bad.’
There are a number of ways to say ‘must do’: Nakereba naranai (narimasen), nakereba ikenai (ikemasen), nakereba dame desu. Nakute wa naranai (narimasen), nakute wa ikenai (ikemasen), nakute wa dame desu. Nai to naranai (narimasen), nai to ikenai (ikemasen),nai to dame desu.
In colloquial speech, nakereba is often shortened to nakya or nakerya. In colloquial speech, nakutewa is often shortened to nakucha. For example, Motto hayaku oki nakya dame deshoo = ‘you must get up earlier, probably.’)
It is common for speakers to omit the second phrase when saying that one must do something. For example, kaze no toki wa, yukkuri yasumanakute wa = ‘as for the cold’s time, you must leisurely rest.’
Hachiji made ni konaku te mo ii desu yo.
(‘You don’t have to come by 8:00, for sure.’)
To say that something is not necessary, combine a negative verbal form (ending with naku) with two phrases. The first phrase can be either of the following two possibilities, with the second one being colloquial: Te mo. Tatte. The second phrase can be one of the following 6 possibilities: Yoi. Ii desu. Kamawanai. Kamaimasen. Daijoobu desu. (However, do not combine tatte with yoi.) For example, tabunakute mo ii desu = tabenaku tatte ii desu = ‘you don’t have to eat.’
Hachiji made ni kuru koto wa arimasen yo.
(‘You don’t have to come by 8:00, for sure.’)
Another way to say that something is not necessary is to combine a plain non-past verb with either koto wa nai or koto wa arimasen.
Sonna hitsuyoo wa arimasen.
(‘That kind of necessity doesn’t exist.’ Meaning, ‘such a thing is not necessary.’)
A third way to say that something is not necessary is to use hitsuyoo wa arimasen.
Hitsuyoo = ‘necessary’ or ‘necessity.’
Rainen ni natte kara demo, maniaimasu yo.
(‘After next year developing even though, you will be in time for sure.’)
To say ‘even,’ use mo. To say ‘even though’ (i.e., to describe a hypothetical situation), use demo. The sentence neko demo tabemasen = ‘even though a cat, it will not eat it.’ Although you could remove the de from this sentence, that would result in serious confusion. Neko mo tabemasen could mean ‘even the cat won’t eat it,’ but it could also mean ‘I won’t even eat the cat’ or possibly ‘the cat also won’t eat it.’
Shokuji wa ichinichi ni sando kichinto tabete kudasai.
(‘As for meals, three times per day, properly eat please.’)
Kichinto means ‘properly’ or ‘tidily.’
Ichinichi ni sankai = hi ni sankai = ichinichi ni sando = hi ni sando = ‘three times per day.’ (The ni is optional for ichinichi; but mandatory for hi, i.e., ‘hi sankai’ or ‘hi sando,’ are not OK .)
Isshukan ni ikkai = shuu ni ikkai = isshukan ni ichido = shuu ni ichido = ‘one time per week.’ (The ni is optional with isshukan; but mandatory for shuu, i.e., ‘shuu ikkai’ and ‘shuu ichido,’ are not OK.)
Hitotsuki ni nikai = ikkagetsu ni nikai = tsuki ni nikai = hitotsuki ni nido = ikkagetsu ni nido = tsuki ni nido = ‘two times per month.’ (The ni is optional for all.)
Ichinen ni yonkai = nen ni yonkai = ichinen ni yondo = nen ni yondo = ‘four times per year.’ (The ni is optional for all.)
Ninen oki ni, atarashii kuruma o kaun desu yo.
(‘Every 2 years, he buys a new car for sure.’)
Oki ni means ‘every so often,’ i.e., every so many hours or days etc. When applied to days, ichinichi oki = ‘every 2 days,’ futsuka oki = ‘every 3 days.’
Kaerimashitara, denwa o suru yoo ni otsutae shimasu.
(‘When he returns, to do a phone call I will humbly tell.’)
Tsutaeru = ‘report’ or ‘tell.’
Yoo ni is used between two verbs, after a verb of suggested action, and before a verb like ‘say,’ to report a suggestion, command, request or warning given by someone. Yoo ni may or may not be followed by to, meaning ‘quotation marks.’ For example, shachoo ga kuru yoo ni to osshatte imasu yo = shachoo ga kuru yoo ni osshatte imasu yo = ‘the president is honorably saying to come, for sure.’
Supiido o dasanakereba yokatta noni.
(‘If you don’t put out speed, it was good if only,’ meaning ‘if only you hadn’t put out speed.’)
To say ‘if only something were,’ use ii noni or yokatta noni. Do not use noni, in the sense of ‘if only,’ with actions that you yourself did.
Raishuu, yooroppa ni iku hazu datta noni.
(‘Next week, he was supposed to go to Europe, too bad.’)
Noni can also mean ‘too bad’ or ‘in spite of the fact that.’ It’s OK to use it when referrring to yourself, for these two meanings.
Koko ni wa, obentoo o taberu noni, choodo ii wa ne.
(‘As for at here, for the purpose of to eat honorable box lunches, it’s just right, huh.’)
Noni can also mean ‘for the purpose of,’ ‘in the process of doing,’ ‘in order to do’; similar to tame ni.
Moo sukoshi yasui no ga iin desu kedo…
(‘A little cheaper one would be good, but…’)
Noni, meaning ‘if only,’ is a forceful expression. A milder, more thoughtful way of expressing regret is to use expressions like no desu ga or ‘n desu kedo.
Harada sama to ossharu kata ga, irasshaimashita.
(‘A person whom they honorably call Very Honorable Mr. Harada honorably came.’)
Honorific and humble verb forms:
To go, honorific = Irassharu (irasshaimasu). To go, humble = Mairu (mairimasu). To come, honorific = Irassharu (irasshaimasu). To come, humble = Mairu (mairimasu). To be, honorific = Irassharu (irasshaimasu). To be, humble = Oru (orimasu).
To say or tell, honorific = Ossharu (osshaimasu). To say, humble = Moosu (mooshimasu), Mooshiageru (mooshiagemasu). To eat or drink, honorific = Meshiagaru (meshiagarimasu). To eat or drink, humble = Itadaku (itadakimasu). To do, honorific = Nasaru (nasaimasu). To do, humble = Itasu (itashimasu). To be doing, honorific = Te irassharu. To be doing. humble Te oru. To be knowing, honorific = Gozonji desu. To be knowing, humble = Zonji de orimasu. (zonjiru = to humbly know) To see or meet someone, honorific = Oai ni naru. To see or meet someone, humble = Ome ni kakaru. To think/feel, honorific = Omoi ni naru. To think/feel/know, humble = Zonji suru. To visit or ask, honorific = Otazune ni naru. To visit or ask, humble = Ukagau (ukagaimasu). To look at or see, honorific = Goran ni naru. To look at, see or read, humble = Haiken suru.
Tanaka san wa koraremashita ka.
(‘Did Tanaka honorably come?’)
The passive form of a verb is commonly used in daily speech as an honorific expression, not quite as polite as the honorific expressions already learned.
Shigoto ga isogashikutemo, tsuki ni ichido wa, eiga o mi ni ikimasu.
(‘Even though work is busy, as for once a month, I go for the purpose of seeing a movie.’)
To express the idea ‘even if,’ ‘even though,’ or ‘no matter how,’ use temo after i adjectives, by combining mo with their te forms. Use temo or demo after verb stems, depending on the verb. Use demo after na adjectives and nouns. For example, Nihon de wa, doyoobi demo, kodomotachi wa gakkoo ni ikimasu = ‘as for in Japan, even Saturday, as for children, they go to school.’ Gaikokugo o narau toki wa, heta demo, takusan shabetta hoo ga iin desu yo = ‘as for to learn a foreign language time, even if unskillful, it’s better to chatter many, for sure.’
Recall the permission form you learned in Lesson 17: tabete mo ii desu = ‘it’s OK to eat.’ This sentence can be translated ‘even if you eat, it’s good,’ and it’s really just another example of the temo form.
Tatoe, ame ga futtemo, undookai wa, okonaimasu.
(‘Supposing, even if it rains, as for the sports tournament, we will hold it.’)
Okonau = to perform, conduct, hold.
Some words that are commonly used with the temo and demo forms are tatoe, meaning ‘supposing,’ ikura, meaning ‘how much,’ and donna ni, meaning ‘whatever kind.’ For example, Ikura tsuyoi otoko demo, oya ga shinda toki ni wa, naku deshoo = ‘how much strong male even though, as for at the parent died time, he will cry probably.’ Donna ni samukutemo, watashi wa tsutoobu o tsukemasen = ‘whatever kind of cold, as for me, I don’t turn on the space heater.’
Shigoto wa, osokutemo, gogo hachiji ni wa, owaru deshoo.
(‘As for the work, at the very latest, as for at 8 p.m., I will probably finish.’)
With some adjectives expressing amount, temo is equivalent to ‘at the very most or least, etc.’ For example, Fuyu no boonasu wa, ookutemo, san ten go kagetsu bun gurai ja nai ka to omoimasu = ‘as for the winter’s bonus, at the very most, about 3.5 month’s portion, isn’t?, I think.’
Senjitsu no demo ni wa, sukunakutomo, nisen nin no hito ga sanka shita yoo desu.
(‘As for to the other day’s demonstration, at the very least, 2,000 people’s people participated, it seems.’) Sometimes temo is replaced by tomo, but this is bookish. Tomo is used with adjectives but not with verbs.
Maikerusan wa, ocha o dashitemo, nomanakattan desu.
(‘As for Michael, even though I put out honorable tea, he did not drink’ – a neutral statement.)
Maikerusan wa, ocha o dashita noni, nomanakattan desu. (‘As for Michael, even though I put out honorable tea, he did not drink’ – an emotional statement.)
The temo and demo forms, meaning ‘even though,’ and noni, meaning ‘in spite of,’ are similar, but temo and demo don’t carry the emotional overtones suggested by noni.
Chikakutemo, kuruma de ikimasu.
(‘Even though close, I will go by car.’)
Temo and demo may be used for describing
hypothetical situations, while noni is not used in that way. Thus it isn’t OK to use noni in the sentence above.
Kachoo ga, maikerusan ni, hookokusho o tsukuraseta.
(‘The section manager made Michael make a report.’)
Tsukuru is a u verb, so the root is tsukur; add aseru and you get tsukuraseru.
Causative Tense: to express the idea, ‘to cause someone to do something,’ for a u verb, follow the root, meaning the pre-u form, with aseru. For example, kakaseru = ‘to make someone write.’
To express the idea, to cause someone to do something, for an ru verb, follow the root with saseru. For example, tabesaseru = ‘to make someone eat.’
Irregular verbs: Ikaseru = ‘to make someone go.’ Kosaseru = ‘to make someone come.’ Saseru = ‘to make someone do.’
When using this causative verb tense, the person causing the action is followed by ga, and the person who is being induced to do the action is followed by ni or wo.
In colloquial speech, aseru is sometimes shortened to asu; saseru can be shortened to sasu by removing ‘er.’ For example, Kodomo ni kusuri o nomashitan desu = ‘to the child, I made drink medicine.’ In this sentence, the causative form of nomu is nomaseru; this is abbreviated to nomasu by removing ‘er.’
Shachoo san ni kaite itadakimashoo.
(‘To Mr. President write and let’s receive,’ meaning ‘let’s get the president to write.’)
Kuroda san ni kaite moraimashoo.
(‘To Kuroda, write and let’s receive,’ meaning ‘let’s get Kuroda to write.’)
The causative form implies that the person being made to do something is inferior to you. If the person is equal or superior, it’s better to use the forms te morau or te itadaku.
Okaasan, aisukuriimu o tabesasete.
(‘Mother, let me eat ice cream.’)
The causative ‘te’ form can be combined with verbs of giving and receiving to mean ‘let me do something.’ These verbs include kudasaru, ageru, yaru, kureru, itadaku and morau.
For example, Buchoo, sono shigoto o watashi ni sasete kudasai = ‘Division manager, that work, to me, let do please.’
Ocha o iresasenai de kudasai.
(‘Please don’t make me make tea.’)
The negative te form of the causative tense, nai de, plus kudasai, means ‘please don’t make me do such and such.’ For example, amari, zangyoo o sasenai de kudasai = ‘very much, overtime don’t make me do, please.’
Seitotachi wa, sensei ni, sakubun o kakaserareru.
(‘As for the students, by the teacher, they will be made to write a composition.’)
The causative passive verb form implies that someone is forced to do an action which he does not wish to do and thus suffers discomfort, etc. The person who causes the action is marked by ni, and the person who suffers the action is marked by ga or wa.
To make the causative passive form, for a u verb, combine the root with aserareru. (mnemonic: ‘aspirin era rerun’)
For u verbs that don’t end in su, this may be shortened to asareru, by removing the first ‘er.’ (mnemonic: ‘asa rerun’ or ‘morning rerun’) Revising the example above, Seitotachi wa, sensei ni, sakubun o kakasareru (think ‘morning rerun’) = ‘as for the students, by the teacher, they will be made to write a composition.’
However, the longer form is used with u verbs that do end in su, like hanasu. For example, the causative passive form of the verb ‘to talk’ is hanasaserareru (think ‘aspirin era rerun’).
Kodomo wa okaasan ni yasai o tabesaserarete imasu.
(‘As for the child, by the honorable mother is being made to eat vegetables.’)
To make the causative passive form of an ru verb, combine the root with saserareru. (mnemonic: ‘Saskatchewan era rerun’)
Irregular Verbs: The causative passive form of the verb to go is ikasareru (think ‘morning rerun’). The causative passive form of the verb to come is kosaserareru (think ‘Saskatchewan era rerun’). The causative passive form of the verb to do is saserareru (think ‘Saskatchewan era rerun’).
Saifu o mota nai de dekaketa node, nani mo kaenakatta.
(‘Since I left without holding my wallet, I was not able to buy anything.’)
Saifu o motta zuni dekaketa node, nani mo kaenakatta.
(‘Since I left without holding my wallet, I was not able to buy anything.’)
To express the idea of doing something without doing something else, combine the negative stem of verb 1 with either nai de or zuni and then add verb 2. Of these two forms, zuni is more formal. Nai de and zuni are used only with verbs, not with adjectives. When using zuni with suru verbs, say se zuni, not shi zuni. For example, Maikerusan wa, kitamura san ni aisatsu o se zuni, ie ni kaette shimaimashita = ‘as for Michael, to Kitamura not doing greeting, to the house he returned completely.’
Nihon de wa, kutsu o haita mama, heya ni haitte wa ikemasen。
(‘As for in Japan, you put on the shoes state, to a room you must not enter.’)
To express the idea of doing, or not doing, something in a particular state, use the past tense of verb 1 followed by mama, meaning ‘state,’ followed by verb 2.
Asa, shokuji o shinai de dekakeru koto ga arimasu.
(‘Mornings, not doing a meal, to depart thing exists,’ meaning, ‘sometimes I leave without eating.’)
To express the idea that sometimes such is the case, there are times when such things occur, or sometimes I do such a thing, combine either a non-past or a negative verb with koto ga aru. For example, Taitei wa, irasshaimasu ga, tama ni, sanpo ni irassharu koto ga arun desu yo = ‘as for usually, he honorably exists, but, occasionally, for the purpose of a walk, to honorably go thing exists, for sure.’
You may form similar expressions to indicate that sometimes something is the case, using toki or baai, rather than koto. For example, Asa, shokuji o shinai de, dekakeru toki mo arimasu yo = ‘mornings, not doing a meal, to depart times also exist, for sure.’ Shinamono ga nai baai mo arimasu = ‘merchandise doesn’t exist cases also exist.’
Sore ni shitemo, ichinen no aida ni, zuibun, iroiro na mono ga fuete ite, odorokimashita. (‘Even so, during one year, extremely, since various things are increasing, I got astonished.’)
Sore ni shitemo = ‘even so,’ ‘be that as it may.’
Itsu no manika, fuete shimaun desu yo ne.
(‘Before you realize it, they increase completely, for sure, huh.’)
Itsu no manika = ‘before you realize it.’
Watashi mo, tenkin no tabi ni, furui mono wa sutete, hikkoshi saki de, atarashiku kau koto ni shite irun desu yo.
‘I also, at transfer’s occasions, as for old things, discarding, at moving destination, newly to buy I am deciding for sure.’
Tabi ni = ‘whenever,’ ‘every time,’ ‘occasions.’
Yoru, denki nashi de, hon o yomu koto ga dekimasen.
(‘Night, without electricity, I cannot read a book.’)
Nashi de, used after a verb stem, means ‘without.’
Kono ongaku wa kikinikui desu.
(‘This music is difficult to hear.’)
Nikui, used after a verb stem or an i adjective stem, means ‘difficult.’ Similarly, yasui, used after a verb stem or an i adjective stem, means ‘easy.’
Aki ga sari, fuyu ga kuru.
(‘Autumn will depart, and winter will come.’)
We have already learned that the te form of a verb can add the meanings ‘and’ or ‘since’ to a sentence. As the above sentence demonstrates, another way to say ‘and’ or ‘since’ is to use the stem of a verb. The stem is the pre-masu form. This works for both u verbs and ru verbs. It is generally used only in written sentences, as opposed to spoken sentences where the te form is preferred for the sake of clarity. If the stem of a verb is used to mean ‘and’ or ‘since,’ it must be followed by a comma in written Japanese.
In this example, the stem of the verb 去るsaru (‘to depart’) is 去りsari which is equivalent to 去ってsatte. In other words, the sentence would have the same meaning if it were written 秋が去って、冬が来るaki ga satte, fuyu ga kuru = ‘autumn will depart, and winter will come.’
Here are two more examples in which verb stems are used to mean ‘and’: ご飯を食べ、寝ましたgohan o tabe, nemashita = ‘I eat rice and slept.’ ビールを飲み、しゃべりましたbiiru o nomi, shaberimashita = ‘I drink beer and chatted.’
Here’s an example in which a verb stem is used to mean ‘since’: 子供のことを思い、早く帰りましたkodomo no koto o omoi, hayaku kaerimashita = ‘Since I think of the child’s thing, I returned early.’
Also, the ku form of an i adjective can sometimes be used to mean ‘and’ (but not ‘since’). For example, 外は寒く、内は暖かい soto wa samuku, uchi wa atatakai = ‘as for outside cold, and as for inside warm.’ This has the same meaning as 外は寒くて、内は暖かい soto wa samukute, uchi wa atatakai = ‘as for outside cold, and as for inside warm.’ Note that, if the ku form of an i adjective is used to mean ‘and’ in written Japanese, it must be followed by a comma.
Kazoku wa, sasae atte ikite iku beki da.
(‘As for the family, we must support each other and live and go, i.e., keep living.’)
The suffix –beki, used after a plain speech verb, means should or must. Beki is followed by da or desu.
In this sentence, sasae, the stem of sasaeru = to support, is combined with atte, the te form of au = ‘to fit or match,’ to mean ‘support each other and.’
Kane o mookeru koto dake kangaeru kaisha deatte wa naranai.
(‘Earn-money-thing only to think company, to be will not do.’ Meaning, ‘The company shouldn’t only think about earning money.’)
Deatte is the te form of dearu, a synonym for desu. By contrast, deiru is not a word. (In the sentence kono mama de iru = ‘I will be this way,’ de means ‘with.’)
Mireba miru hodo kirei na hana desu ne.
(‘If you look look, it’s a pretty flower, huh.’ Meaning, ‘The more you look at it, it’s pretty.’)
To say ‘the more you do something,’ follow the eba form of a verb with the plain speech form and then follow this combination with hodo. Hodo means ‘to the degree that.’
Hodo can mean ‘not as … as’ when used with a negative verb, e.g. kuruma wa densha hodo hayaku arimasen = ‘as for the car, compared to the train, it isn’t as fast.’ Hodo can also mean ‘to a degree’ and can be used with both positive and negative verbs, e.g. sono shigoto wa sore hodo yasashiin desu ka = ‘is that work that easy?’ Saki hodo = a while ago. When used with a quantifier, hodo means ‘about,’ e.g. biiru o sanbon hodo nomimashita = ‘I drank about 3 bottles of beer.’
Yasui to iu hyooban nan desu ga, maa, iku dake demo itte mimashoo.
(‘It’s a cheap called reputation, but, well, to go as much as we can, let’s go and see.’ Referring to a restaurant that has been described as inexpensive. Meaning, ‘All we can do is go. Let’s go and see.’)
To say ‘do as much as one can,’ follow a plain speech verb with dake demo, dake wa or dake.
Hokkaidoo no ichiban kita e kita dake atte, samusa wa kibishii desu ne.
(‘Since I came to Hokkaido’s farthest north, the cold is severe huh.’)
Dake atte, when used after a plain speech past or non-past verb, means ‘since.’ Dake ni can also be used to mean ‘since.’ For example, ishookenmei benkyoo shite iru dake ni, kare no nihongo no jootatsu wa mezamashii = ‘with all his might, since he is studying, as for his Japanese language’s improvement, outstanding.’
Kono goro wa nandemo wasuregachi ni natte, komatte imasu.
(‘As for these days, since anything forget tendency becomes, I am being inconvenienced.’ Meaning, ‘I’m starting to forget everything.’)
To express the idea of a tendency to do something, add the suffix –gachi to a verb stem, the pre-masu form. For example, yasumigachi means a ‘tendency to rest, or be absent.’
Ani ni okane o morau kurai nara, shinda hoo ga ii.
(‘From my older brother to receive money approximately case, it would be better to die.’ Meaning, ‘It would be better to die than to get money from my brother.’)
To express the idea that one choice is the lesser of two evils, use gurai nara (or kurai nara), which could be translated as ‘approximately case,’ followed by hoo ga ii.
Kotoshi ichiban subarashii ensoo o shita to itte mo ii hodo desu yo.
(‘This year, he did # 1 wonderful performance, you could go so far as to say, for sure.’ Meaning, ‘You could say that it was the best performance of the year.’)
To express the idea ‘you could go so far as to say,’ follow a plain speech verb with ‘to itte mo ii hodo desu.’ Hodo means ‘to the degree that,’ so this means ‘it’s OK to say to that degree.’
Uchidasan gokyoodai wa, oniisan wa iu made mo naku, otootosan mo yuushuu desu ne.
(‘As for the Uchida honorable brothers, as for older brother, needless to say, younger brother also is excellent, huh.’ Meaning, ‘Not only big brother, but, needless to say, also little brother is excellent.’)
To express the idea ‘needless to say,’ say ‘iu made mo naku.’ This is the adverbial form of iu made mo nai. Literally, this means ‘to say so far also is not, or not necessary.’
Morisan wa gakusha to iu yori wa mushiro seijika desu.
(‘As for Mori, not so much a scholar as he’s a politician.’)
To express the idea ‘A not so much as B,’ use ‘to iu yori wa mushiro’ between A and B. B can be followed with desu. To iu yori wa mushiro can be literally translated as ‘to say, as for compared to, rather’ or ‘rather than to say so,’ since mushiro means rather.
Ikanai to iu wake de wa nain da ga, amari ki ga susumanakute ne.
(‘Not go, it isn’t that, but not very much, since feeling doesn’t advance, huh.’ Said in response to a question as to whether the speaker is not planning to go on a trip. Meaning, ‘It’s not that I won’t go, but I’m not very enthusiastic.’)
To deny that you mean something, i.e., to say, ‘it isn’t that,’ use ‘to iu wake de wa nai.’ Literally, this means ‘to say reason it isn’t.’ You may also use ‘wake de wa nai’ by itself, to say ‘it isn’t that.’
Konshuumatsu kara raishuu ni kakete, kare wa chuugoku o hoomon suru yotei desu.
(‘From this weekend extending into next week, as for him, it’s a visit on China plan.’)
To say, ‘from A extending into B,’ use the form ‘A kara B ni kakete.’
Kanojo wa kongakki o kagiri ni daigaku o yameru soo desu ne.
(‘As for her, at the limit of this semester (meaning “at the end”), she will resign from the university, reportedly, huh.’)
To express the idea that a noun changes fundamentally, or comes to an end, combine the noun with ‘o kagiri ni.’ Kagiri can be translated as limit.
Taifuu demo konai kagiri wa, shiai wa chuushi shimasen.
(A typhoon or something doesn’t come, as long as, as for the game, we will not cancel it.’ Meaning ‘We won’t cancel it as long as there isn’t a typhoon or something.’)
To express the idea ‘as long as,’ follow a plain negative verb with ‘kagiri wa,’ meaning literally‘as for limit.’
Beddo ni haitta ka to omottara, moo nemutte shimatta.
(‘He entered the bed, as soon as, already he slept completely.’ Meaning, ‘As soon as he got into bed, he already slept.’)
To express the idea, ‘as soon as,’ follow a plain past verb with ka to omou to, or ka to omottara, literally ‘question quote if I think.’
Hikaru mono kanarazu shimo kin de wa nai.
(‘Shiny things, not necessarily gold.’)
To say ‘not necessarily,’ use kanarazu shimo with a negative verb.
To say that something isn’t necessarily so, follow kanarazu shimo with a plain verb plus to wa kagiranai. Literally, this means ‘not necessarily, as for the one called, it isn’t limited.’ For example, Kanarazu shimo iku to wa kagiranai deshoo = ‘not necessarily, as for the one called they go, it isn’t limited probably. Meaning, ‘it probably isn’t limited to going,’ or ‘it isn’t necessarily true that they all go’ (said in response to a statement that all young people go to the university).
To say that we can’t necessarily say something, follow kanarazu shimo with soo plus to wa ienai. Literally, this means ‘not necessarily, as for the thing in question, we cannot say,’ where soo means ‘the thing in question.’ For example, kanarazu shimo soo to wa ienai yoo desu yo = ‘not necessarily, as for the thing in question, we cannot say, it seems, for sure.’ Meaning ‘we can’t necessarily say so.’
見かねてついお金を上げてしまったのよ。Mikanete tsui okane o agete shimatta no yo.
(‘Since unable to look, in spite of myself, I gave money completely, for sure.’ Tsui means ‘in spite of oneself.’)
One way to say that you are unable to do something is to use kaneru after a verb stem. For example, wakarikaneru means ‘I cannot understand.’
Shokuji o suru shinai ni kakawarazu, kaihi wa ichiman en desu.
(‘To do a meal, not do, regardless, as for the membership fee, it’s 10,000 yen.’ Meaning, ‘The fee is 10,000 yen regardless of whether you do a meal or not.’)
To say ‘regardless of whether or not,’ use a plain affirmative verb followed by the same verb in the negative, followed by ni kakawarazu. Kakawarazu means ‘regardless’ or ‘in spite of.’
Minai koto ni wa nan to mo ienai kedo.
(Unless I see, I can’t say nothing, but.’)
To say ‘unless,’ follow a negative plain verb with koto ni wa. For example, tabenai koto ni wa benkyoo dekinai means ‘unless I eat, I can’t study.’
Odoroita koto ni wa. Matsumotosan ga kinoo nakunatta soo desu.
(‘I was astonished. Matsumoto died yesterday, reportedly.’)
Another use for the phrase koto ni wa is to use it after a positive verb expressing emotion, to emphasize the emotion.
Nedan ni yotte wa kawanai koto mo nain desu ga.
(‘As for depending to the price, to buy thing is possible, but.’)
To say ‘possibly,’ use koto mo nai after a plain negative verb. This double negative, nai koto mo nai, creates a weak positive meaning ‘possibly.’ In effect, you are saying ‘not thing also isn’t.’
Satoosan no kimochi shidai de, kekkon shinai koto mo nai yoo na ki ga shimasu kedo.
(‘Depending on Satoo’s feeling, they will possibly marry, it appears, I have a feeling, but…’)
Shidai desu or shidai de mean ‘depending on.’
Sore ga, itta koto wa ittan desu ga, konde ite hairenakattan desu yo.
(‘That, as for I went thing, I went, but since being crowded, I could not enter, for sure.’ Meaning, ‘I tried to go, but it didn’t work out.’)
To say I tried, implying that it didn’t work out, use a past plain verb followed by koto wa followed by the same past plain verb again. Literally, you are saying ‘as for I did thing, I did.’
Kono shorui wa jinjika ni teishutsu suru ni wa oyobanai.
(‘As for these documents, to the personnel department, as for to submit, it doesn’t reach.’ Meaning, ‘We don’t have to submit them.’)
To say that something is unnecessary, follow a plain verb with ni wa oyobanai. Oyobu means ‘to reach or extend.’ Literally this means ‘as for to … it doesn’t reach.’
Ato wa kuukoo e iki sae sureba iin da.
(‘As for later, to the airport going only, if we do, it’s good.’ Meaning, ‘All we have to do later is go to the airport.’)
The word sae means ‘only’ when used before the eba form of a verb, and the resulting combination means ‘if only.’ This is a different meaning from the ‘if only’ that we associate with the word noni. Sae is used to say ‘if only one does something, that will be enough’ or ‘that’s all one needs.’ It is not used to express regret.
Mainichi renshuu suru ni shitagatte, oboeraremasu yo.
(‘Every day, to do practice, accordingly, and you will be able to memorize for sure.’)
Shitagatte means accordingly or in accordance with. To express this idea that one action naturally follows another, follow a plain verb with ni shitagatte.
Kuraku naru ni tsurete, ondo ga dandan sagatte itta.
(‘It becomes dark, accordingly, the temperature gradually declined and went.’)
Another way to express the idea that one action naturally follows another, i.e., to say accordingly, other than following a plain verb with ni shitagatte, is to follow a plain verb with ni tsurete.
Shitsugyoo sha ga fueta to itte mo, ichipaasento ni suginai.
(‘Unemployed people increased, even though they say, to 1% it doesn’t exceed.’)
Sugiru means ‘to exceed or pass by.’ To say ‘it doesn’t exceed,’ use ni suginai.
Roketto wa tobitatta totan ni mienaku natta.
(‘As for the rocket, as soon as it took flight, it became unable to see.’)
Another way to say ‘as soon as’ is to use the phrase totan ni after a plain speech verb.
Nodo ga kawaite tamaranai.
(‘The throat gets dry and it’s intolerable.’)
Not OK to use kawakute instead of kawaite in this sentence. Kawakute is not used in Japanese. The kute form is used after i adjectives and after negative verbs [ending in nai], or after verbs expressing desire [ending in tai], but not after affirmative verbs like kawaku = ‘to get dry.’ Kute, when used after negative verbs, is used to suggest a reason, i.e., to mean ‘since,’ not to mean ‘and.’
Hataraite mo hataraite mo okane ga tamaranai. (‘Laboring also laboring also, money doesn’t accumulate.’ Meaning, ‘No matter how much I work, I can’t save.’)
To say ‘no matter how much,’ use the te form of a verb, followed by mo, and then repeat both words.
Ano hito wa dare ga nan to ioo tomo, keshite kikanai.
(‘As for that person over there, who, what shall say, no matter, she never listens.’ Meaning, ‘No matter what a person shall say, she doesn’t listen.
Another way to say ‘no matter,’ is to follow the let’s or shall form of a verb with tomo, meaning even though. For example, ikura tabeyoo tomo futoranai means ‘no matter how much you shall eat, you don’t gain weight.’
Hoka no hito ga ikoo to ikumai to, watashi wa ikutsumori da.
(‘Other person, if shall go, if not go, as for me, I plan to go. Meaning, ‘Whether or not anyone else goes, I plan to go.’)
To say ‘whether or not’ something will occur, follow the let’s or shall form of a verb with to, followed by the plain speech form of the same verb, followed by mai, meaning ‘not,’ followed by to. Literally, you are saying ‘if, if not.’
Kyooto ni chikai desu. Kyooto no chikaku desu.
(‘To Kyoto, it’s close.’ ‘It’s Kyoto’s closely.’ Both sentences mean ‘it’s close to Kyoto.’)
Chikaku plays two different roles. It functions as an adverb some of the time, e.g., nijikan chikaku kakarimasu = ‘it takes nearly two hours.’ Chikaku also functions as a locative expression meaning ‘close to,’ similar to other locative expressions like mae, ushiro, ue and shita. In contrast, tooku does not function as a locative expression; it only functions as an adverb.
雨が降らなければいいのに。 雨が降らなかったらいいのに。 雨が降らないといいのに。
Ame ga furanakereba ii noni. Ame ga furanakattara ii noni. Ame ga furanai to ii noni.
(Three different ways to say ‘I wish it wouldn’t rain’ or ‘if only it wouldn’t rain.’)
Note that ame ga furanai nara ii noni is not OK. Nara, short for naraba, means ‘supposing,’ and it can also serve as a topic marker, similar to wa; nara is not used to mean ‘when.’ Japanese people think it illogical to use nara to speculate about future weather, since the future weather is unknown and uncontrollable. However, one may say ame ga furanakatta nara yokatta noni = ‘in case if it didn’t rain, it was good, if only’ or ‘I wish it hadn’t rained,’ since this refers to a known past weather event.
後二週間で帰ります。 二週間後に帰ります, 二週間後に帰ります。
Ato nishuukan de kaerimasu. Nishuukan ato ni kaerimasu. Nishuukan go ni kaerimasu.
(Three different ways to say ‘I will return in 2 weeks.’)
Ato and go both = ‘after’ and are written with the same kanji, so that it is difficult to know which term to use when reading Japanese text. Ni = at; de = ‘of,’ ‘in,’ or ‘relating to.’
Ato can appear either before or after a duration word like nishuukan, while go can only appear after such a word. When ato appears before nishuukan, as in ato nishuukan de kaerimasu = ‘after, in 2 weeks I will return,’ ato forms a separate concept, indicated by the comma in the English translation. By contrast, when ato or go appear after nishuukan, they combine with nishuukan to form the meaning ‘2-weeks-later’ which refers to a specific time.
With this in mind, ato nishuukan ni kaerimasu is not OK, since this = ‘later, at 2 weeks I will return’ and doesn’t make sense. Here you must use de rather than ni. Also, nishuukan ato de kaerimasu, & nishuukan go de kaerimasu, are both not OK. Both of these can be translated ‘of (or ‘in’) 2-weeks-later, I will return’ which doesn’t make sense when referring to a specific time. Instead you must say simply ‘at 2-weeks-later, I will return,’ i.e., you must use ni with both nishuukan ato and nishuukan go.
Nijuu sai ni natta to ittemo, seishinteki ni wa mada osanai.
(‘She became 20 years they say even though, as for mentally, still childish.’)
Seishin = mind, soul, spirit. Seishinteki [na] = spiritual, mental. The suffix –teki = ‘like’ or ‘related to,’ e.g., kikaiteki = machine-like or related to machines.
Ningen ga, hyaku meetoru o wazuka gobyou de hashireru wake ga nai.
(‘A human, on 100 meters, of only 5 seconds, to be able to run reason doesn’t exist.’ Meaning, ‘It’s unthinkable that a human could run 100 meters in only 5 seconds.’) Wake ga nai means that something is ‘not possible’ or is ‘unthinkable.’ This can be translated literally as ‘reason doesn’t exist.’
Iroiro na mise ni ashi o hakonde kentoo shita kekka, kono kishu ni shita wake desu.
(‘To various stores I visit and did analysis result: I chose this model, reason it is.’ Meaning, ‘Therefore I chose it.’)
Wake desu, or wake da, means ‘therefore,’ ‘or as a result.’ This can be translated literally as ‘reason it is.’
Jaa, karekore ichinen nihon ni iru to iu wake desu ne.
(‘Well, about one year you exist in Japan quote to say reason it is, huh.” Meaning, ‘Therefore you’ve been here about a year.’)
To iu wake da (or to iu wake desu), like wake da, means ‘therefore,’ or ‘as a result.’ To iu wake da (or to iu wake desu) can be translated literally as ‘quote to say reason it is.’
Ee, sore ja samui wake da.
(‘E! Well then, cold reason it is.’ Meaning, ‘That’s why it’s cold.’)
In addition to ‘therefore,’ or ‘as a result,’ wake da or wake desu can be used to mean ‘that’s why’ which, of course, is really just another way of saying ‘therefore.’
Toku ni nanika jouhou ga hoshii wake de wa nai ga, itsumo intaanetto ni setsuzoku shite iru.
(‘In particular, something information I desire reason it isn’t, but always to the internet I am being connected.’ Meaning, ‘There’s no information in particular that I necessarily want, but I stay connected.’)
Another way to say ‘not necessarily,’ besides using kanarazu shimo, is use wake de wa nai. Literally this means ‘reason it isn’t.’
Oya ni muri ni tanonde jugyooryoo o dashite moratta no dakara, ima benkyoo o yameru wake ni wa ikanai.
(‘To the parents, forcibly requesting, since tuition they put out and I received, now, to quit study, I can’t possibly do.’)
To say that you can’t possibly do something, use wake ni wa ikanai. Literally, this means ‘as for to reason, it will not go.’
Ningen kankei o yoku shitai nara, mazu aite o ukeireru koto da yo.
(‘In case you want to make human relationships good, first, on the opposite ones, to accept thing it is, for sure.’ Meaning, ‘If you want to improve your human relationships, first, you should accept other people.’)
To express the idea that one should do something, you may follow certain plain speech verbs with koto da. Literally, this means ‘thing it is.’ For example, benkyoo suru koto da means one should study.
Note: only some plain verbs can be followed by koto da to form the meaning ‘should.’ For example, recall that kuru koto wa nai = ‘you don’t have to come.’ However, kuru koto da is not acceptable, if you mean to say ‘you should come,’ so koto da doesn’t work with all verbs.
第一志望の大学に合格して、どんなにうれしかったことか。Daiichi shiboo no daigaku ni gookaku shite, donna ni ureshikatta koto ka.
(‘To the number one hope’s university, acceptance do, and how much was pleased thing question.’ Meaning, ‘I got accepted to my first choice university, and how pleased I was.’)
To exclaim ‘how,’ as in ‘how far it is,’ use donna ni, meaning ‘how much,’ followed by an adjective, followed by koto ka. In effect, you are saying ‘how much thing, question.’
Kodomo no koro, osoku made terebi o minai yoo ni oya ni nankai iwareta koto ka.
(‘The child’s approximate time, until late, make an effort not to watch TV, from the parents, how many times they said on me thing question.’)
To exclaim ‘how many times,’ as in ‘how many times I did it,’ use nankai, meaning ‘how many times,’ followed by a verb, followed by koto ka. In effect, you are saying ‘how many times thing, question.’
Shiji ritsu ga takai koto kara, ooku no kokumin ga shin naikaku ni kitai shite iru koto ga wakaru.
(‘On the basis that approval ratings are high, many citizens, to the new cabinet, expectations are doing thing, I understand.’ Meaning, ‘I understand that they have high expectations for the new cabinet.’)
To say ‘because,’ or ‘on the basis that,’ you may follow a statement with koto kara. Literally you are saying ‘since thing.’
Anime ga daisuki na kanojo no koto dakara, atarashii sakuhin wa toozen shitte iru daroo.
(‘The she-loves-anime “her,” based on, as for the new work of art, naturally she is knowing probably.’ Meaning, ‘Based on the fact that she loves anime, she naturally knows about the new work, probably.’)
To say ‘based on,’ follow a noun with no koto dakara. Literally, you are saying something like ‘since this noun’s thing is,’ with this noun being understood.
Jikan ni kibishii kare no koto dakara, chikoku shinai de kuru ni chigainai.
(‘The to-time-strict “him,” based on, not being tardy to come is certain.’ Meaning, ‘Based on the fact that this guy is strict with time, it’s certain that he will come without being tardy.’)
Chigai means ‘difference’ or ‘discrepancy.’ It is written with the same kanji used for chigau, meaning to differ. To say ‘something is certain,’ use ni chigainai. Literally, this means, ‘to discrepancy not,’ or ‘there will be no discrepancy.’ For example, sore ni chigainai means ‘it’s certain,’ or ‘there’s no doubt about it.’
Gaikokugo no shuutoku wa muzukashii ga, akirameru koto naku tsuzuketai to omou.
(‘As for foreign languages’ acquisition, difficult, but to give up, thing not existing, I want to continue I think.’ Meaning, ‘It’s difficult to learn a foreign language, but I think I want to continue without giving up.’)
To say ‘without,’ as in ‘we can’t do it without his help,’ follow a statement with koto nai de, or with koto naku which is the adverbial form of koto nai. Literally you are saying ‘thing not existing.’
Odoroita koto ni. Kyuujussai no puro sukiiyaa ga katsuyaku shite iru soo da.
(‘I was astonished. A 90-year-old pro skier is doing activity, reportedly.’ Meaning, ‘The 90-year-old professional skier is flourishing, reportedly.’)
As mentioned in Lesson 29, you may use koto ni wa after a plain negative verb, to mean ‘unless,’ or after a positive verb expressing emotion, to emphasize the emotion. You may also emphasize emotion by using an abbreviated form of this phrase, koto ni, after an adjective or after a past plain verb expressing emotion.
Kachoo kara denwa ga ari, juuji goro kochira ni toochaku suru to iu koto desu.
(‘From the section manager a phone call exists, and around 10:00, to this way he will arrive, to say thing it is.’ Meaning, ‘Reportedly, he’ll get here around 10:00.’)
To say that something has been reported to be true, you may use the phrase to iu koto da, or to iu koto desu. Literally, this can be translated as ‘to say thing it is.’
Shachoo ga yaru to itta to iu koto wa, zettai ni yaranakereba naranai to iu koto da.
(‘Because the president, “do” he said, definitely we must do, therefore.’)
The phrase to iu no wa, or to iu koto wa, can be used to mean ‘because.’ This can be literally translated as ‘as for to say thing.’
As mentioned above, the similar phrase to iu koto da, can be used to mean ‘reportedly.’ It can also be used to mean ‘it is concluded that’ or ‘therefore.’ To iu koto da can be literally translated as ‘to say thing it is.’
Hayai mono da, moo rainichi shite ichinen tatta.
(‘Fast thing it is, already, visiting Japan, one year elapsed.’ Meaning, ‘Time really flies. Already I’ve been in Japan for a year.’)
Sometimes you can express emotion by saying mono da. Literally, this can be translated as ‘thing it is.’
Shussha shitara mazu aisatsu o suru mono da.
(‘When one goes to the office, first to do greetings thing it is.’ Meaning, ‘You should greet people as soon as you arrive at the office.’
In addition to being used to express emotion, the phrase mono da, or mono desu, can also be used to express a low-key indirect suggestion that one should do something. These are similar to koto da, or koto desu, phrases that can be used with a limited number of plain speech verbs to mean that one should do something – see Lesson 31.
Hito ni namida o miseru mono de wa nai.
(‘To people, to show tears thing it isn’t.’ Meaning, ‘You shouldn’t show tears in public.’)
The opposite of mono da is mono ja arimasen, or mono de wa nai. Mono ja arimasen, or mono de wa nai, expresses a low key suggestion that one should not do something. Literally, you are saying ‘thing it isn’t.’
Densha ga okureta mono dakara, chikoku shite shimaimashita.
(‘The train was delayed thing since it is, I got tardy completely.’ Meaning, ‘Since the train was delayed, I got tardy.’)
Mono desu kara, or mono dakara, can be used to mean ‘since’ or ‘because.’ These can be translated literally as ‘thing since it is.’ These are similar to koto kara, meaning ‘because’ or ‘on the basis that.’ They are also similar to no koto dakara, used after a noun to mean based on – see Lesson 31.
Hajimete no kaigai ryokoo nan da mono, fuan na no wa toozen da yo.
(‘My first overseas trip it is thing, as for it’s uneasiness thing, it’s natural, for sure.’ Meaning, ‘Since it’s my first overseas trip, it’s natural to be uneasy.’)
Like mono da or mono desu, da mono, or desu mono, can be used to mean ‘since’ or ‘because.’ Da mono, or desu mono, can be translated as ‘it is thing.’
Kono mise wa doyoobi igai wa aite imasu.
(‘As for this store, Saturday, as for except for, it’s open.’ Meaning, ‘it’s open except on Saturdays.’)
Igai means ‘except (for)’ or ‘other than.’
Keieisha no kurushisa ga, keiken no nai hito ni wakaru mono ka.
(‘Management person’s pain, experience doesn’t exist person to, to understand, thing-question.’ Meaning, ‘A person who hasn’t experienced a manager’s pain will never understand it.’)
To say ‘never,’ use mono ka, or mono desu ka, or monka, after a plain speech verb. These can be translated literally as ‘thing-question’ or ‘thing it is question.’ By way of contrast, recall that koto ka is used with donna ni to exclaim ‘how’ – see Lesson 31.
Ano gakusei wa, kanji ga kakenai monono, nihongo no kaiwa wa juubun dekiru.
(‘As for that student over there, even though he cannot write kanji, as for Japanese language’s conversation, he can do enough.’
We have learned to say ‘even though’ by using temo, tomo and noni. Another way to say ‘even though’ is to follow a plain verb with monono.
Kaigai ryokoo, ikeru mono nara ikitai ga, ima wa muri da.
(‘Overseas travel, able to go thing supposing, I would like to go, but as for now, it’s impossible.’ Meaning, ‘If it were possible to travel overseas, I’d like to go, but right now I can’t.’)
We have learned to say ‘if possible’ by using dekitara, dekireba and dekiru to. Another way to say ‘if possible’ is to use mono nara after a plain speech potential verb. Literally you are saying ‘thing supposing.’
Sono teian ni tsuite wa hikiukenai mono demo nai ga, moo sukoshi gutaiteki ni kikasete hoshii.
(‘As for regarding that proposal, not to undertake not necessarily, but a little more specifically to make hear I desire.’ Meaning, ‘I won’t necessarily not undertake the proposal, but I desire you to inform me more specifically.’)
We have learned to say ‘not necessarily’ by using kanarazu shimo and also by using wake de wa nai. Another way to say ‘not necessarily’ is to follow a negative plain verb with mono demo nai. In effect, you are saying nai mono demo nai, which can be translated literally as ‘not thing even not,’ or ‘even this negative thing may not exist.’
Mondai no kotae wa betsu no kami ni kakinasai. (‘As for the problem’s answer, to the separate paper, write.’)
Betsu means ‘another defined object, person or place.’ In contrast, hoka means ‘another undefined object, person or place.’ For example, betsu no hito no mono = ‘the other person’s thing’; hoka no hito no mono = ‘some other person’s thing.’ Here’s another example: betsu no heya ni itte = ‘go to the other room’; hoka no heya ni itte = ‘go to another room.’
Since the answers must be written on a defined piece of paper, not just any paper, it is not OK to substitute hoka for betsu in this sentence,
Hiragana mo yoku yomenai noni, kanji ga yomeru hazu ga nai.
(‘While hiragana even I cannot read well, to be able to read kanji, expectation doesn’t exist.’ Meaning, ‘It’s impossible for me to read kanji while I cannot even read hiragana well.’) The word noni, can mean ‘although,’ ‘if only,’ ‘in spite of the fact that,’ and ‘in order to.’ It can also be used to mean ‘while.’
Hatsugen sasete itadakimasu.
(‘You let me do a statement, and I will humbly receive.’ Meaning, ‘With your permission I will make a statement.’)
Sasete itadakimasu is a very polite way of saying ‘with your or their permission I do, or I will do.’ Literally this can be translated as ‘you (or they) let me do and I humbly receive.”
Sore hodo demo arimasen yo.
(‘Not to that degree even, for sure.’ Meaning, ‘Not really.’ This can be said in response to a statement like, ‘That must have been expensive.’)
Hodo can mean ‘to the degree that. A noun followed by hodo ja arimasen = ‘not as much as this noun,’ e.g., nihongo no kyookasho hodo ja arimasen = ‘not as much as Japanese textbooks.’ Sore hodo demo arimasen = ‘not to that degree even.’
Moshi yasumi ga toreta toshitemo, ryokoo ni wa ikazuni, ie de nonbiri shitai desu.
(‘If I could take vacation, even if, as for, for the purpose of travel not going, at the house, I would like to do peacefully.’ Meaning, ‘Even if I were able to take a vacation, I would relax at the house, not traveling.’)
We have learned to use noni, demo, temo, tomo and monono to say ‘even if’ or ‘even though.’ Another way to say ‘even if,’ or ‘even though,’ is to use toshitemo after a past plain verb. This can also meaning ‘if,’ or ‘assuming that.’
Note the use of the past tense toreta = ‘I took’ in this sentence. This is similar to the English subjunctive, which also uses the past tense, i.e., ‘if I were able to take,’ or ‘if I could take.’ Moshi yasumi ga toreru toshitemo, which uses the present tense, is also OK in this sentence but not quite as good.
Shinkansen wa, joosha ken dake de naku, tokkyuu ken ga hitsuyoo da.
(‘As for the bullet train, a boarding ticket, of only not existing, a special express ticket is necessary.’ Meaning, ‘For the bullet train, not only a regular boarding ticket but also you need a special express ticket.’)
The phrase dake de naku can be used to mean ‘not only but also.’
Okusan wa shoppingu ni ittakiri modotte kimasen.
(‘As for the honorable wife, since she went for the purpose of shopping, she doesn’t return and come.’) The suffix -kiri can be used to mean ‘since,’ i.e., after a time in the past, not ‘because.’
Karera wa futarikiri ni natta.
(‘As for them, two people only became.’ Meaning, ‘The two people were left alone.’)
The suffix -kiri can also be used to mean ‘only’ or ‘just.’
Wasureru to ikenai kara, techoo ni memo o shite okoo.
(‘If I forget, since bad, to the notebook I shall do a memo in advance.’ Meaning, ‘Since it would be bad if I forgot, I shall write a note in the notebook.’)
To say ‘if, since bad,’ follow the plain speech form of a verb with to ikenai kara. Ikenai can be understood to mean ‘bad.’
Kono jugyoo o ukeru ni saishite, tsugi no koto o mamotte kudasai.
(‘Take this class, at the time of, please observe the following things.’ Meaning, ‘At the time you take this course (or really, “before you take it”), please do the following things.’)
Ni saishite = ni atatte = ‘at the time of.’ It’s OK to substitute ni atatte for ni saishite in this sentence.
Boku ga, toodai o uketemo ochiru ni kimatte iru. (‘I, even if I apply to Tokyo University, to fail is being decided.’ Meaning, ‘Even if I apply, it’s certain that I won’t be accepted.’)
Ni kimatte iru = ‘it’s bound to happen.’ This comes from kimaru = ‘to be decided, to be settled.’
Tabako wa sutte iru honnin dake de wa naku, chikaku ni iru hito ni mo gai ni naru.
(‘As for tobacco, the being smoking person in question only is not, to the at closely being person also harm will become.’ Meaning, ‘Not only people who smoke but nearby people also are harmed.’) Plain speech.
Dake de wa naku, the adverbial form of dake de wa nai, like dake de naku, can be used to mean ‘not only, but also.’
Tanaka san no kekkon iwai o kaimasu kara, hitori ni tsuki sen yen zutsu atsumemasu.
(‘Since we will buy Tanaka’s wedding present, per one person, 1000 yen apiece, we will collect.’)
Ni tsuki = ‘because of, on account of, per, apiece.’ Hitori ni tsuki = ‘per person’; cf. ichijikan ni tsuki = ‘per hour’; cf. ni tsuite = ‘concerning, regarding, per.’ Hitori ni tsuite is also OK in this sentence.
Konna ni takusan no ryoori, ikura boku demo tabekirenai yo.
(‘This kind of a lot’s cuisine, even if I, even though, cannot finish eating for sure.’)
The suffix –kiru comes from the verb kiru = ‘to cut.’ When added to the stems of certain other verbs, it means ‘to cut off’ or ‘finish something.’ For example, yomikiru means ‘to finish reading.’ Tsukaikiru means ‘to finish using,’ or ‘to use up.’
In addition to meaning ‘how much’ and ‘how many,’ ikura can mean ‘even if.’
Kono shoosetsu wa mijikai node, ichinichi de yomikireru deshoo.
(‘As for this novel, since it is short, of one day it will finish reading probably.’ Meaning, ‘I’ll probably finish it in a day.’)
Kireru, intransitive, means ‘to cut (well),’ ‘to be disconnected,’ ‘to run out,’ or ‘to expire.’ Like kiru, -kireru can be used to mean ‘finish,’ in an intransitive sense, e.g., urikireru = ‘to sell out.’
Marason de hashirinuita.
(‘Of the marathon, I ran all the way.’ Meaning, ‘I ran all the way to the end of the marathon.’)
–Nuku, when added to the stems of certain other verbs, = ‘to do something to the end.’ Cf. –kiru = to cut off or finish something; marason de hashirikitta, is also OK.
Sakki ame ga futta ka to omottara, moo yande imasu.
(Previously, the rain precipitated question if I think, already it is stopping.’ Meaning, ‘Previously the rain fell a moment ago, already it’s stopping.’
We have learned that the phrases ka to omottara, or ka to omou to, when used after a plain past verb, mean ‘as soon as.’ In addition, these phrases, when used after a plain past verb, can mean ‘a moment ago’ or ‘just recently.’
Kono ko wa, naita to omottara moo waratte iru.
(‘As for this child, it cried if I think, already it is laughing.’ Meaning, ‘It cried a moment ago, already it’s laughing.’)
Sometimes the phrase ka to omottara, used after a plain past verb and meaning ‘a moment ago,’ is shortened to to omottara, i.e., the ka is omitted.
Amerika ni iru musuko no koto ga shinpai de shoo ga nai.
(‘The in-America-exists daughter’s thing, since worry, it can’t be helped.’ Meaning, ‘I’m really worried about my daughter in America.’)
We have learned to use the expressions shoo ga nai and shikata ga nai to mean something like “it can’t be helped.” In addition, you may follow some words or phrases expressing negative emotion with de or te, meaning since, and then use shoo ga nai or shikata ga nai, to emphasize the emotion.
Kiboo no daigaku ni hairenakute, zannen de naranai.
(‘Since to hope’s university not able to enter, since too bad, it won’t become.’ Meaning, ‘I’m really disappointed that I couldn’t get into my first-choice university.’)
Another way to emphasize negative emotions is to follow words or phrases that express such emotions with de or te, meaning since, and then use naranai to emphasize the emotion.
Okane nanka hoshikunai.
(‘Money, such a thing, I do not desire.’ Meaning, ‘It isn’t money that I want.’)
Ano hito ga shinsetsu da nante, tondemonai. (‘That person is kind, such a thing, not at all.’ Meaning, ‘He isn’t kind at all.’)
Eigo no tegami nado kakemasen.
(‘An English language’s letter, such a thing, I cannot write.’ Meaning, ‘I can never write a letter in English.’)
The words nanka, nante and nado can be used to mean ‘such a thing,’ or ‘things like,’ or ‘something like,’ often in a derogatory context.
Yuuhan o tabekaketa toki, denwa ga natta.
(‘The supper I will begin to eat time, the phone rang.’ Meaning, ‘When I was starting to eat supper, the phone rang.’)
-Kakeru is a suffix that can be added to certain other verb stems to mean ‘to begin,’ or ‘to be about to do something,’ e.g., yomikakeru = ‘to begin to read.’
Tabako no kemuri wa, suwanai hito ni shitara meiwaku da.
(‘As for tobacco’s smoke, not to smoke person, from the point of view of, it’s an annoyance.’ Meaning, ‘From the point of view of people who don’t smoke, tobacco smoke is annoying.’)
The phrases ni shitara, ni sureba, and ni totte can be used to say something like, ‘from the point of view of.’ In this sentence, ni sureba is also OK, and ni totte is also OK. However, ni tsuite is not OK.
Sore wa kodomo de sae dekiru mondai da.
(‘As for that, a child even to be able to do problem it is.’ Meaning, ‘Even a child can solve that problem.’)
We have learned that sae means only, and we have used sae before eba verbs to say ‘if only,’ meaning ‘that’s all one needs.’
Sae can also be used by itself, or after the word de, to mean ‘even.’ Sae and de sae replace other particles, like ga, wa and wo.
De sae means ‘even’ in this sentence. It is OK to omit the de here.
Hiragana sae kakenai no dakara, kanji wa mochiron kakemasen.
(‘Since hiragana even I cannot write, as for kanji, of course I cannot write.’)
Sae means ‘even’ in this sentence. It is OK to use de sae here.
Daiyamondo wa takai ni shitemo, kore wa takasugiru to omoimasu.
(‘As for diamonds, expensive, even so, as for this, it’s too expensive, I think.’)
Recall that sore ni shitemo can be used to say ‘even so,’ or ‘be that as it may.’ In addition, you may use an abbreviated version of this phrase, ni shitemo, to say ‘even so.’
Tanaka san wa nihonjin ni shite wa, se ga takai. (‘As for Tanaka, for a Japanese person, the height is tall.’)
When you want to say ‘for,’ as in ‘she is a fast runner for a child,’ use the phrase ni shite wa.
Jishin ni yoru higai no jookyoo ga tsutaerareta. (‘Due to the earthquake, damage’s circumstances got reported on.’ Meaning, ‘The damage caused by the earthquake was reported.’)
Ni yoru means ‘by means of,’ ‘due to,’ ‘because of.’ cf. Ni yoru to which means ‘according to.’
Koojichuu ni tsuki tsuukoodome tonatte orimasu. (‘Under construction due to, road closure is humbly becoming.’ Seen on a sign. Meaning, ‘Due to construction, the road is closed.’)
Like ni yoru, ni tsuki can mean ‘because of,’ or ‘on account of.’ It can also mean ‘regarding,’ ‘per,’ or ‘apiece.’
To naru = ni naru = ‘to become,’ ‘to amount to.’ It’s OK to substitute ni naru for to naru in this sentence. To naru is more dramatic and is not used much in ordinary speech.
Nihon no rekishi ni okeru shomondai ni tsuite ronbun o kakimasu.
(‘Japan’s history regarding various problems regarding paper I will write.’ Meaning, ‘regarding Japanese history, I will write a paper about various issues.’)
Okeru is a preposition meaning ‘at,’ ‘in,’ or ‘for.’ Ni okeru means ‘as for, regarding.’ cf. Ni tsuite = ‘concerning, regarding.’ In this sentence, it’s OK to reverse the order of these phrases, i.e., nihon no rekishi ni tsuite shomondai ni okeru is also OK.
Kare wa keiken ga nai wari ni yoku yaru.
(‘As for him, experience doesn’t exist relatively, he does well.’ Meaning, ‘considering that he doesn’t have experience, he does well.’)
Wari means ‘rate’ or ‘proportion.’ Wari ni means ‘comparatively’ or ‘relatively.’ No wari ni means ‘in proportion to,’ ‘in comparison with,’ or ‘relative to.’ For example, Ano kurasu wa, jookyuu no wari ni wa yasashii = ‘As for that class over there, as for advanced level’s comparatively, it’s easy,’ or ‘considering that it’s an advanced level class, it’s easy.’
Goyosan ni oojite shoohin o goyooi shite orimasu.
(‘To the honorable budget depending on, merchandise we are preparing humbly.’ Meaning, ‘we are ready with merchandise to fit your budget.’)
Oojiru means ‘to respond, satisfy, accept, comply with, or apply for.’ Ni oojite means ‘depending on.’
Sonna muzukashii mondai, dekikkonai.
(‘That kind of difficult problem, I can never do.’)
-kkonai = never can do, when used after a potential verb stem. For example, taberarekkonai = ‘I can never eat.’
Byooki na monka.
(‘I’m not sick at all.’ You would not say this about another person’s health, only your own.)
Mono ka and monka can also be used after both i and na adjectives to say that the opposite is true. For example, atsui mono ka, or atsui monka, means ‘it isn’t hot at all.’
Konai ni shiro renraku o kudasai.
(‘Not come, even though, communication please.’ Meaning, ‘please let me know even if you don’t come.’)
We have learned to say ‘even though’ or ‘in spite of the fact that’ by using noni, temo or demo, tomo, monono, and toshitemo. Another way to say ‘even though’ is to use the phrase ni shiro after a plain speech verb or after an adjective.
Samui toki wa atatakai mono o taberu ni kagiru.
(‘As for cold times, to eat warm things, is limited to.’ Meaning, ‘there’s nothing better than eating warm things during cold weather.’)
Kagiru means ‘to limit or restrict.’ Ni kagiru means ‘it’s limited to,’ or ‘there’s nothing better than,’ or ‘that’s the only way.’
Yosoo ni han shita kekka tonatta.
(‘To expectations were contrary, results became.’ Meaning, ‘the results were different from what was expected.’)
Han means ‘anti.’ For example, hansen = ‘anti-war. Han suru means ‘to be contrary to, to contradict, to be inconsistent with, to oppose, to rebel.’ Yosoo ni han shite means ‘contrary to one’s expectations.’ cf. Tai = ‘the opposite, vis-a-vis, versus, anti-, even, equal, compare.’ cf. Ni tai shite = ‘towards, against, regarding, in contrast with.’ cf. Tai suru = ‘to confront, to face.’
Sono mondai ni kan shite wa, nanimo iken wa arimasen.
(‘As for in relation to that problem, nothing, as for opinions, they don’t exist.’ Meaning, ‘I don’t have anything to say about that problem.’)
Kan suru means ‘to be related to, or connected with.’ Ni kan shite means ‘related to, in relation to.’ cf. Kankei = ‘relation, relationship, connection, involvement, effect, sexual relationship.’ cf. Ni tsuite = ‘concerning, regarding, per.’ It’s OK to substitute ni tsuite for ni kan shite in this sentence; cf. Ni okeru = ‘as for, regarding.’ It’s not OK to substitute ni okeru for ni tsuite in this sentence. cf. Ni totte = ‘for, concerning, as far as … is concerned, regarding, from the point of view of.’ It’s not OK to substitute ni totte for ni tsuite in this sentence; cf. Ni tsuki = ‘because of, on account of, regarding, per, apiece.’
Kono eiga wa jijitsu ni motozuite seisaku sareta.
(‘As for this movie, reality basing to, was produced on.’ Meaning, ‘the movie was produced based on truth, or on a true story.’)
Moto means ‘fundamentals, foundation, counter for machines, formerly.’ Motozuku means ‘to be based on, to be grounded on, to be due to, to originate from.’ Ni motozuku means ‘to base on.’ Ni motozuite means ‘based on, on the basis of.’
Kibishii shidoo no moto de kunren ga tsuzukerareta.
(‘Strict guidance, on the basis of, the training got continued on.’ Meaning, ‘the training continued under strict guidance.’)
No moto de means ‘under the supervision of, underneath, on the basis of.’ cf. ni motozuite (previous paragraph) = ‘based on, on the basis of.’ It’s OK to substitute ni motozuite for no moto de in this sentence.
Kono gyooji ni wa nenrei o towazu sanka dekiru.
(‘As for to this festival, age regardless of, participation can be done.’ Meaning, ‘everyone can participate in this event regardless of age.’)
O towazu means ‘regardless of.’ cf. Ni kakawarazu = regardless. It’s OK to substitute ni kakawarazu for o towazu in this sentence.
Taichoo ga warui ni mo kakawarazu, hataraki tsuzuketa.
(‘The physical condition bad, even regardless, I continued to labor.’ Meaning, ‘even though I didn’t feel well, I kept working.’)
Ni kakawarazu means ‘regardless.’ For example, seiu 晴雨ni kakawarazu = ‘rain or shine.’ Ni mo kakawarazu means ‘in spite of, nevertheless.’ For example, uten 雨天ni mo kakawarazu means ‘in spite of the rain.’ cf. Noni = ‘in spite of the fact that.’ It’s OK to substitute noni for ni mo kakawarazu in this sentence. cf. Temo = ‘even if, even though, no matter how.’ It’s OK to substitute warukutemo for warui ni mo kakawarazu in this sentence. cf. O towazu = regardless of. It’s not OK to substitute o towazu for ni mo kakawarazu in this sentence.
Kyoo wa katai hanashi o nuki ni tanoshimoo.
(‘As for today, on hard talk, without, let us enjoy.’ Meaning, ‘let’s enjoy ourselves without any serious or formal talk.’)
Nuki = ‘without, not including, or dispense with.’ Nuki ni = nashi ni = ‘without.’ It’s OK to substitute nashi ni for nuki ni in this sentence.
Sono keikaku o jikkoo ni utsusu mae ni, moo ichido yoku kangaeta hoo ga ii.
(‘On that plan to put into action, at before, one more time, it would be better to think well.’ Meaning, ‘it would be better to think again before you implement that plan.’)
Jikkoo = practice, performance, execution (of a program), realization, implementation. Jikkoo ni utsusu = ‘put into action.’ Utsusu = ‘to change, substitute, transfer to, spend or take time, infect, to move on to the next stage of.’ cf. Jikkoo suru = ‘to practice, implement, carry out a plan, put a law into force, realize one’s desire.’
Nanika ni tsuke, kinjo no hito ni wa osewa ni natte iru.
(‘Anything whenever, as for by the neighborhood’s people, honorable care is becoming.’ Meaning, ‘whenever anything happens, we receive honorable care from our neighbors.’)
Ni tsuke = ni tsukete = ‘every time,’ or ‘whenever.’
Kono ko no poketto ni wa mushi yara gamu yara ironna mono ga haitte iru.
(‘As for to this child’s pockets, insects etcetera, gum etcetera, various things are being entered.’)
Yara = ‘etcetera.’ cf. Ya, nado, toka and the suffix -tari are also used to say ‘etcetera.’
Kare no itta koto wa odokashi ni hoka naranakatta.
(‘As for his said thing, it was nothing but a threat.’ Meaning, ‘what he said was nothing but a threat.’)
Hoka = ‘other, another.’ Ni hoka naranai = ‘is due to nothing but, is none other than.’ cf. Hokanai = ‘can do nothing but, cannot help doing.’
Tochuu de yameru nara, mushiro shinai hoo ga ii.
(‘On the way, to resign, in the case of, rather, not to do would be better.’ Meaning, ‘in case I’m going to quit half way, it would be better not to do it.’)
Mushiro means ‘rather.’
Kotoshi ni natte ichidan to bukka ga agari, seikatsu ga yori kibishiku natta.
(‘This year develops and, all the more, prices increase, and the livelihood more strictly became.’ Meaning, ‘this year prices went up all the more, and my livelihood became more difficult.’)
Ichidan to means ‘better (or worse) than usual (or before), especially, all the more.’ For example, ichidan to kirei = “more beautiful than usual.’ cf. Issoo = all the more (next paragraph). Yori, in addition to meaning ‘compared to’ or ‘ than,’ can also mean ‘more’ when it is used as an adverb, as in this sentence.
Yoru ni natte kara, kaze wa issoo tsuyoku natta.
(‘After it becomes night, as for the wind, all the more, it became strong.’)
Issoo means ‘much more, still more, all the more.’
Karada go ookii bakari ni fuben na koto ga ooi. (‘The body is big, just because, inconvenient things are numerous.’ Meaning, ‘having a big body causes a lot of inconvenience.’)
Bakari, or bakkari, means ‘nothing but, only, just.’ Bakari implies that two choices have been compared and could mean ‘all the time,’ ‘every time,’ ‘all over,’ or ‘everywhere,’ and it may express the speaker’s feeling that the imbalance is not right or is unfair. Bakari can also mean ‘a while ago.’
In contrast, bakari ni means ‘just because’ or ‘on account of.’
Kono karee wa karakunai kara kodomo muki da. (As for this curry, since not spicy, it’s children suitability. Meaning, ‘it’s suitable for children.’) Muki means ‘direction, orientation, aspect, situation, exposure, suitability, tendency.’ cf. Mukoo向こう, which employs the same kanji, = ‘opposite side, over there.’
Kono repooto wa machigai darake da.
(‘As for this report, it’s full of mistakes.’)
Darake means ‘full of,’ in a derogatory context, e.g., ‘full of mistakes,’ or ‘covered with (e.g., blood).’ Darake da can also be used to describe something that is covered with dirt, dust or wounds.
Okureru tte, ittai doo iu koto desu ka.
(‘Will be delayed quote, how to say thing is it?’ Meaning, ‘why on earth are you saying that you will be delayed?’)
Ittai is an adverb used for emphasis. It can be translated as ‘what the heck,’ ‘why on earth,’ etc.
Ittai nani, sore? Kimochi warui.
(‘What, that? Feeling, bad.’ Meaning, ‘what on earth is that? It makes me feel uneasy.’ Or ‘it looks creepy.’)
Kimochi ga warui, or kimochi warui mean ‘it makes me uneasy, it’s creepy, it’s yucky,’ etc.
Ore no iu toori ni surun da.
(‘To my to say way to do thing it is.’ Meaning, ‘you must do as I say.’ Man’s rough speech.)
No da or ‘n da mean ‘you should or must’ when used after a plain speech verb. For example, ikun da = iku no da = ‘you should go.’ cf. Ikun ja nai = ‘you shouldn’t go.’ cf. Mono desu, or mono da, when used after a plain speech verb, also express the idea ‘one should or must do something.’
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