Category Archives: grammar

Review: 日経おとなのOFF: 美しい日本語と正しい敬語が身に付く本 (“Guidebook to beautiful Japanese and proper polite language”)

日経大人OFF (Nikkei otona OFF) is a magazine series by the same company that publishes the Nikkei daily business paper. In this post I am reviewing a special edition of that series from 3/15/2012 titled: 「美しい日本語と正しい敬語が身につく本」, roughly translated as “Guidebook to beautiful Japanese and proper polite language”. As you can guess from its title, this magazine… Read More »

A primer on Japanese emotive sentence-ending particles: ne, na, naa, yo (ね、な、なあ、よ)

One of the tricky things about running a language-learning blog is deciding what to write about. When I first started this blog back in December 2013, I mostly intended to act as support for those learning Japanese without necessarily getting too involved into detailed explanations about fundamental grammar structures that might already be covered elsewhere in… Read More »

The Japanese particle は(wa), 癒やし (iyashi), and therapeutic dogs.

Grammar is interesting because it allows packing a lot of meaning into only a few words. In Japanese, a language where words are often omitted, that is even more so. In this post I want to analyze the following sentence, which I heard the other day: 犬は癒やされますね。 [Inu wa iyasaremasu ne] This sentence is quite… Read More »

Using “~ga suru” (〜がする) to express feeling or sensing something in Japanese

In this post I’d like to discuss a grammar construct that I had not explicitly learned into fairly late in my Japanese studies. I saw it used often but until I researched it I didn’t understand it completely. The pattern is  “[noun] + ga suru”.  First, before we talk about the combination of “ga” and… Read More »

Japanese non-past (present/future) tense, “will”, and intention

One of the nice things about the Japanese language is that it has relatively few grammatical tenses, at least compared to languages like English which can get quite messy. Knowing a handful of tenses can get you pretty far, although you do have to memorize the conjugation for each category of verbs. In this post… Read More »

Japanese grammar: a tricky passage and morphing adjectives

Reading foreign language material is always an adventure, especially when you come across grammar you’ve never seen before. Oftentimes, you can just figure out the meaning from context, but I’m the type of person that wants to understand the grammar completely so I can grasp any nuances involved and potentially learn to use the patterns… Read More »

Japanese Grammar: Using kara (から) and node (ので) to express a reason in isolation

As I’ve written about before, in Japanese oftentimes words or entire phrases can be omitted, even more so than in English. I’d like to talk about another case where things can be omitted in Japanese, but first I want to give a quick summary of talking about reasons in Japanese. Expressing a reason is pretty straightforward and typically… Read More »

Japanese expression “〜するも” (~suru mo) and vagueness of the が (ga) particle

Recently I read the very enjoyable short story “麦本三歩は今日が好き” by 住野よる in the literary magazine 小説幻冬 (Dec 2016 edition). I even translated a short excerpt of it into English here. There was one line of the story whose grammar I just couldn’t figure out, and I thought that it was either some strange pattern I had never… Read More »

Japanese historical short story review: 野望の狭間 (Opposing Ambitions) by 天野純稀 (Sumiki Amano)

Recently at a Kinonuniya bookstore I picked up the 2nd edition (2号)of the book 小説幻冬 (Shousetsu Gentou) which is a compendium of Japanese short stories. I chose this because I was looking for something to read on a holiday trip, and didn’t want to get involved a long story, so though short stories would be perfect. When I… Read More »

Japanese phrase “mou hitotsu” (もうひとつ)and a brief Murakami translation

Recently I was reading an interesting blog which contains reviews of Japanese books (in English), and I came across an article about the Haruki Murakami (村上春樹) book “After Dark”. While I am not going to go into that book in detail in this post, in the the article I found there was a short passage… Read More »