Home Forums The Japanese Language HOW DO I SAY "…." THREAD

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    Can someone give me a rundown of how to say “I was the only _____/not the only ________”
    For example, ‘I wasn’t only person sleeping’, or ‘Bob was the only one there’

    Much appreciated!



    I’m thinking 寝た人は私だけじゃなかった (= the people who were sleeping were not just me, though that might be a bit clumsy) and あそこではボブさんしかいなかった (= aside from Bob, noone was there).


    Thank you both!


    Quick question about questions: how do I inquire “should”?

    “Where should I go?” “What should I buy?”, “Should I go to Canada?” etc. And on the flipside, the answers: “Yes/no, you should _____” and you get the gist.



    “Should” meaning “this is something that’d be good to do” is expressed by the 方がいい form. どこに行く方がいいですか。何が買う方がいいですか。ラーメンを食べる方がいいです。


    Thanks again Joel!


    If someone asks you “Where should I go?”, you could respond with something like 「公園に行ったらどうですか。」(How about going to the park?). Basically, you can make suggestions by using the 「ば」 or 「たら」 conditional and adding 「どう」. This literally means, “If you do [X], how is it?”. In English, this would become, “How about doing [X]?”.

    How about going to bank?
    How about talking with your parents once in a while?

    [Source: Tae Kim]

    Similarly to Joel’s example, you can change the verb to past to make the suggestion stronger: ラーメンを食べる方がいいです。 -> ラーメンを食べ方がいいです。 which is more like “You’d better eat ramen”


    I’d just like to point out that if you’re ever seeking advice on language usage from a non-native, it pays to be wary. I was just reminded of this fact today when I happened across a guy (clearly an ESL learner) answering a question on the English language StackExchange, totally adamant that it should be “doctor appointment” and not “doctor’s appointment” because using the possessive “doesn’t make sense”. His English was generally pretty good but it’s little things like that where you probably need a native’s opinion.

    That also reminds me of something I’ve heard *so* many times since starting at a uni where the majority population (at least in my class) are foreign students: even the people with basically perfect English tend to say “how it looks like” for some reason (instead of the correct “how it looks” or “what it looks like”). It actually drives me insane, even something so small XD I think it’s something to do with “how it looks like” being closer to a similar construction in their own languages. A similar thing is them saying “how do you call [it]” instead of “how do you say” and “what do you call”. I hear both so often that I sometimes find myself accidentally using the wrong ones and getting really annoyed :P

    I’ve heard this site (http://chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/) is quite good for getting answers from natives, though I’m sure there are plenty of others.


    I usually don’t comment when something in this thread might not be 100% true, but this time I think the answer provided isn’t even close to being helpful so I couldn’t help it.
    It’s not “何が買う方がいいですか” – search Google for this and you get 0 results. If this exact phrase is not on any page indexed by Google, it probably isn’t correct Japanese ;)

    何を買ったらいいですか etc (there are more ways to say this)

    Same for
    どこに行く方がいいですか – 0 results

    何処に行けばいいですか etc(there are more ways to say this)

    Your last sentence also doesn’t make much sense, in what context would you say that lol? It’d be better if you eat ramen! Why not just ラメンを食べるべき, that’s way more natural in almost any context you could use the sentence you listed.

    I also think I proved Misters point…



    Yeah, ok, I didn’t have the grammar dictionary on me – so sue me. I don’t usually bring it to work. Turns out the correct construction is 〜た方がいい. And whaddaya know? Searching for “何が買った方がいいですか” gets results. Dunno how many, cause the mobile version doesn’t give numbers of results, for some reason. Sooo… with that one correction added, I’m gonna stand by my post. Yeah, there’s umpteen ways to say “should”, but we’d be here all day if I started detailing them.

    So, wanna go do a half-hearted Google-based critique of my other posts while you’re at it? If Google is the arbiter of all things Japanese, then why is Google Translate so terrible at it? =P

    in what context would you say that lol? It’d be better if you eat ramen!

    In every context. When would it not be better to eat ramen?

    There’s no context, mind you, in which “say that lol?” is appropriate.


    So it’s *not* the case that [plain non-past]+ほうがいい and [plain past]+ほうがいい mean roughly the same but the latter is stronger (e.g. “You should clean your room” compared to “You’d better clean your room!”)? I could swear I learned that from a legitimate source but I just can’t remember where :P

    This is interesting – http://detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q139154308

    Also, in reference to ramen, you could say: “You should probably have the ramen (as I hear the soba noodles here suck)”.



    For a different flavour of “how do I say”, how do I translate the title of Natsume Sōseki’s 吾輩は猫である into English without losing all of the lovely nuances and utter pretentiousness? The official translation’s gone with just the straight “I am a Cat”, which is kinda plain.


    If professional translators have gone with “I Am a Cat”, what makes you think we’ll do any better? :P I think it works quite well anyway.



    How do you say “filmmaking” in Japanese? o-o

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