Tag Archives: grammar

Japanese expression ありそうでなかった (ari sou de nakatta), and some tasty soy sauce

Whenever I am at around Japanese food products, I always try to read the labels to learn new words, especially since there are many food-specific words and expressions that you won’t normally hear in daily conversation. The other day I was reading the label for a “Butter Soy Sauce” product (バターしょうゆ) and came across some… Read More »

A tale of particles: “ni” (に) vs “wo” (を), the verb “kizuku” (気づく), and a bus full of moles

Particles––small words that have big grammatical meaning––are one of the challenges to real mastery of Japanese. The particles “wo” (を) and “ni”(に) generally have fairly defined roles. “wo” is used when something is the direct object of an action (ex: りんごを食べる / eat an apple) whereas “ni” is used for the direction of an action… Read More »

The correct way to describe a negative state using そう (sou): “なさそう” vs. “なそう” (nasasou vs. nasou)

Sometimes in languages there are grammatical rules which are tricky or obscure such that even native speakers have difficulty with them. One example in English could be comma usage (although depending on who you ask, there is some subjectivity involved there). In this article, I’d like to go over an aspect of Japanese grammar that… Read More »

The expression「お茶はどう?」 (“ocha wa dou?”) and the vagueness of the Japanese language

When compared to English, Japanese can sometimes seem like a language filled with vagueness. Not only are subjects often omitted, but sometimes particles are too, and to make things even more confusing there is less verb tenses (there is no future tense). To be sure, Japanese has it own ways to help clarify the meaning… Read More »

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 »

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 »