Category Archives: grammar

Japanese literary expression:「〜かのように」 (~ka no you ni)

If you read enough books in Japanese you’ll start to come across certain expressions and grammatical patterns that are used frequently in certain genres. In this post, I’d like to go over the expression 「〜かのように」 (~ka no you ni) which I’ve found to be pretty common in Japanese literature. Before I discuss the pattern itself… Read More »

Introducing Mr. Mizuhiro Kaimai (開米瑞浩), diagram wizard

The other day I had the luck of finding out about Mr. Mizuhiro Kaimai (開米瑞浩) when he left a comment on one of my blog posts and introduced me to a section of his blog where he talks about “Japanese Grammar in Logic Diagramming”. In this series of articles, Mr. Kaimai discusses several aspects of Japanese… Read More »

Japanese word comparison: yaru (やる) vs suru (する), two ways of ‘doing it’.

The Japanese verbs する (suru) and やる(yaru) are used quite frequently in the Japanese language, and while both of these mean “to do”, they have different usage. Let’s start with two general rules to help distinguish between these two verbs. First, する is more often used together with a noun to describe some action: 今晩、一緒に練習しましょう… Read More »

A simple explanation of the particles wa (は) vs ga (が)and the surprising equation “1+1=2”

I’ve dedicated a great deal of my time to having a good understanding of Japanese grammar, and proper usage of the particles “wa” and “ga” is one of the tricker areas. I’ve written some posts on this topic, and you can find many others if you google around. I am not going to go into a… Read More »

The mysterious case of the double wo (を) particle

Japanese particles can be tricky because of their many usages and combinations. For example 「で」 can be seen with other particles in the two-particle pair 「では」or 「での」 or even in the 4-particle combination 「ならではの」. On the other hand, the 「を」 particle (written as ‘wo’ or just ‘o’), is one of the most straightforward to learn.… Read More »

Japanese particle combination: ”no ni” (のに)

Japanese particles are small words packed full with meaning and often don’t have direct parallels to English. In a few past articles I’ve talked about a few particle combinations (での, への, では、and ならではの). In this post I’d like to go over the combination のに (“no ni” or “noni”) which is pretty commonly used. There are… Read More »

Two types of “can’t” in Japanese: improper vs impossible

When learning a foreign language, often it is good to try and get away from your native language and think in the foreign language so you don’t end up saying things that sounds like they came out of a translation program. Having said that, when speaking that foreign language it will take time for your… Read More »

Talking about the future in Japanese (mirai, shourai, kore kara, ima kara, etc.)

In this post I’d like to discuss a few ways of talking about the future in Japanese. To begin with, one of the first words students students learn about the future is 未来 (mirai), which can be used to talk about something that has not occurred yet. Let’s use this word in a simple sentence:… Read More »

Japanese Expression Highlight: 「水を得た魚 」(mizu wo eta sakana)

The other day when I was working away at writing a new blog post, I was told: 君、水を得た魚だね (kimi, mizu wo eta sakana da ne) I admit I was a little confused when I hard this. So what does it mean? First, let’s look at the words one by one: 水 (mizu): water 得た (eta):… Read More »