Home Forums The Japanese Language The "I found some Japanese I don't understand" thread.

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    I think the use of grammar you haven’t studied yet is not a bad thing. It means you get more natural sounding sentences. Just focus on understanding the things you&re currently studying and guess the rest form context if you can, if you can’t, don’t sweat it.

    なる is 鳴る which uses the same kanji as 鳴く which is used for animal sounds like mew and chirp and stuff. The 鳴る version is for things like that but not animals, phones, squeaky hinges, etc.

    Not sure about the second part, could just be a different style than English. Maybe the と言う just always follows quotes directly to avoid confusion between
    Tanaka said “duuuh…”
    (Somebody) said “duuuh…Mr. Tanaka.”
    sometimes は is used that way to emphasize things.

    And don’t worry about the kanji use, I don’t think there are any real set rules on when to use it and when not. It depends on the person writing.


    Ah, that seems to make sense. Didn’t think of なる as being anything other just plain old “to become”. If it had been written as 鳴る I would have known to look it up (I assumed it was just some funny grammar form using plain なる in a weird way).

    And yeah, I can see how it could become confusing without the と言って.

    Also thanks for your help in the other thread, may as well just say it here haha.


    If お/酒(お/さけ)can mean the rice wine we know as sake OR just plain old alcohol, how do you differentiate?



    Sake is often called 日本酒(にほんしゅ)


    Ah, ok :)

    Next question :P
    In the dictionary it says 何も when used with negative verb = “nothing”. So why does「私は何も出来ない。」mean “I can’t do ANYTHING.”? Should it not be “I can’t do NOTHING.”? I know double negatives like this are used casually in English, but are they used differently in Japanese? Surely a grammar textbook (where I first saw this kinda thing) wouldn’t have such casual speech in it’s example sentences. A whole lot of example sentences on Jisho.org have this grammar too.

    The actual example from the book is「彼は何も言わずに部屋を出て行きました。」- “He left the room without saying anything.”. It sounds like they should be using 何でも instead, but I guess the books are right?

    Is it just acceptable to use double negatives in Japan? haha

    Also, why use 「出て行きました」and not「出ました」?

    Really appreciating everyone’s help here :D Thanks a lot.



    I’ll answer the second question first because it’s easier.
    出る means to go out or leave. Attaching 行く to it means to go out and go away. Just saying 出た is like “he left the room” 出て行った is like “he went out of the room” 出て来た is like “he came out of the room.”

    The 何も questions is a bit more difficult. Firstly it’s not a negative word. も is a particle worth getting to know well. Curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and talk till sunrise.
    Particles are, as prepositions are in English, difficult to give a good explanation for but I will try. も shows emphasis. It is perhaps best known as “also” or “too” like 私はすしが好きです。天ぷらも好きです。 If you think of it as an emphasizing tool, the second shows that in addition to what I said before, I also like tempura. It is emphasizing the tempura part.
    Saying 何も is emphasizing the “what” and pretty much means “everything” but it’s best not to try and translate directly because of exactly what you said above. Sometimes it means “nothing”. If I were to try and give a more particle-meaning-focused translation of what was written above, it would read: “He can’t do even what.” which of course makes no sense. It’s better to think of the question words more as unspecified things in that category. 何 – unspecified thing, 誰 – unspecified person, いつ – unspecified time and so on. I realize this is confusing and probably not helpful. Example time.

    何も – 何も聞こえない – can’t hear anything
    even what
    いつまでも – いつまでも忘れない – will never forget
    even until when
    誰も – 誰も会わなかった – didn’t meet anyone
    even who

    Good luck. Sorry.


    Damn particles! They ruin everything! hehe I *kinda* get what you’re saying, yeah, but I guess I won’t fully understand the use of も until I see more sentences that use it – translating Japanese into English sometimes makes it a bit harder to understand, I think >.<. Or maybe Koichi needs to get his ass in gear and make a lesson on it :P

    It seems to be that, in this forum, I have the most questions and you have the most answers hehe And like I keep saying, I appreciate it :)



    I don’t have the most answers; just the most time to give those I do. Such is the life of a JET during 夏休み.



    I was listening to ヒデラジ, Hideo Kojima’s podcast, and I don’t know what they were talking about, but they kept saying 「まいだ、まいだ」jisho and google translate gave me nothing on this. If anyone has info, that’d be great. I have to look up all the words I clearly recognize, or I can’t reward myself each week. :P



    Cashiers. They still boggle me with their Japanese.

    「ポイント カード は いい です か。」

    If that’s supposed to mean “Are point cards good?” the answer would be a resounding “Yes! I got a flavored water for free yesterday because I use one!”

    But I have the feeling this is more of a “Wait, you don’t have a point card for our store? Are you a crazy person? You come here at least once a week. Are you sure you don’t have one? You could earn a Doraemon clock or something…” to which the answer would be, “Hey, as awesome as point cards are, I only have a T-card because the teacher I replaced passed it on to me. I have no idea where to get these things.”

    So yeah. Cashiers. Are we even speaking the same language? (No, we aren’t.)


    I’ve got this sentence「そんなに広くはないよ」and apparently the meaning of it is “It’s not that big…”. Anyone care to explain why it means that? More specifically, what does the「そんなに広く」part mean?

    I *think*「は」is used instead of「が」for emphasis,「ない」is negative form of「ある」, and「よ」is also for emphasis. I also think that「そんな」is like “that kind of” and「広く」is “widely”, but I don’t know why「に」is there or how the whole thing comes together.




    I found this, it’s probably simple, but anyway:
    I know it means like “Yesterday I bought orange juice” but I want to know, why is there ったけど after the buy?



    買った is simply the past tense of buy.

    けど at the end of sentences is a bit hard to explain, but see here:


    And a video about it too:




    But why not use かいました?



    That’s the past tense of the polite -ます form. I take it that you haven’t started learning about plain form verbs yet (also known as casual or dictionary form)?


    買います ー 買いました = polite present/future – past
    買う ー 買った = casual present/future – past

    TextFugu starts covering this in season 3.

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