Grammar is undoubtedly a core part of any language, and mastery of the ins-and-outs of various grammar patterns is required for any reasonable level of fluency.
Japanse grammar is especially unique because of the omission of parts of speech like subjects or objects, resulting in short phrases that can have a lot of meaning. Furthermore, Japanese particles are little bundles of nuance that add a lot to a sentence with a single character, and multiple particles can be combined in various ways. These sorts of things make understanding and translating Japanese a real challenge.
In many of my posts I drill down into a specific word or grammatical pattern, but I had the idea of making a list of short phrases using the same object and verb, and providing accompanying translations to give a sense of the nuances involved. For the most part there is only a change of a verb tense, a particle of two, or some other word added. However, as you can see, these small changes can have major semantic impact.
I want to emphasize that each translation is just a rough approximation of the nuance of each Japanese phrase. They should not be taken as the only possible (or “correct”) translations, and some may feel there is a better way to convey it in English. Putting these phrases into context would give even more translation options, partially because of the tone of the passage or character speaking the phrase. But if you have suggestions for any better translations, feel free to let me know in the comments.
To keep the sentences natural I have omitted the subjects, but depending on the context and nuance intended, a subject could be added at the beginning, optionally with a が or は particle (ex: 僕がゲームを買う). Because of this ambiguity, technically the implied subject can be “I”, “You”, or “He/She”. However, in practical usage many of these phrases will most likely tend to be about only one of these subject categories, and I have made my translations with those in mind. But, depending on the context, the subject could be different than my translation. For example, ゲームを買うんだ can refer to an first-person assertion (that’s how I translated it below), but it can also signify a command to a second or third person.
Regarding the object in these sentences (ゲーム), I’ve translated it in most cases as “the game”, but depending on the situation it could also be translated as “a game”.
I’ve decided to keep to mostly the plain forms, but many of these phrases could be expressed with desu/masu forms (ex: ゲームを買います), with a corresponding polite nuance. I’ve also chosen to use more colloquial forms when there is a choice (ex: 買わなきゃ vs. 買わなければ)
Asserting an action
- I will buy the game.
- I will buy the game!
- I am going to buy the game.
- I will buy the game, ok?
- I will buy the game, dude.
- I will buy the game, darling.
- I will buy the game, darling!
Asking for confirmation
- Are you really going to buy the game?
- You’re going to buy the game, right?
- So you’re gonna buy the game, huh?
- ゲームを買うかよ (used more as a rhetorical question here)
- I don’t believe you’re going to buy the game!
Making a positive request or command
- Please buy the game.
- Come on, buy the game for me.
- Buy the game!!!
- F****** buy the game!!!!!
- Buy the game.
- Buy the game, ok?
- Buy the game already!
- Buy the game for later.
- Buy the game.
- I order you to buy the game.
- I am buying the game!
- You must buy the game.
- You should buy the game.
- It would be good if you bought the game.
- It’s OK for you to buy the game.
- One must buy the game.
- Do you want to buy the game?
Making a negative request or command
- Please don’t buy the game.
- Don’t buy the game.
- Don’t you dare buy the game!
- You aren’t going to buy the game.
- It’s better to not buy the game.
- You don’t have to buy the game.
- You must not buy the game.
- You shouldn’t buy the game.
- I shouldn’t have bought the game.
- I shouldn’t have bought the game.
- Let’s buy the game.
- (or) I’ll buy the game.
- Let’s buy the game, ok?
- Maybe I’ll buy the game…
- Let’s buy the game already!
- I guess I’ll by the game.
- Shall I buy the game for you?
- Don’t buy the game
Other ways to express intention
- I’m thinking of buying the game.
- I have plans to buy the game.
- I intend to buy the game.
Expressing (un)certainty or possibility
- I can buy the game.
- I am able to buy the game.
- I might buy the game.
- I guess I/he/she will probably buy the game.
- You know, I guess I/he/she will probably buy the game.
- There’s a chance I/he/she will buy the game.
- I’m certain I/he/she will buy the game.
- There won’t be anyone buying the game.
- There is no way I/he/she is buying the game.
- I thought that you were maybe going to buy the game.
- ゲームを買うんじゃない (said with neutral tone)
- He/she isn’t buying the game.
- Of course I’ll buy the game.
- Sometimes I buy games.
- I’ve bought a game before.
- I pray that you/he/she buys the game.
- I’m glad I bought the game.
This is awesome! A lot to process for a n00b like me, but I really like it and it’s fun to see which forms I recognise, and how well or not!
That is fantastic!!! it really helps to see the big picture and small details as well 😀