Chapter 4

  1. "how..." - どう
  2. "isn't it?" - でしょう
  3. "said" - といいました
  4. Negative verbs
  5. Negative adjectives
  6. "plan to" - 予定、つもり
  7. Punctuation 。、「」
  8. "should/must" - はず
  9. "because" part 2 - ので
  10. "although" - のに
  11. Using 何
  12. "easy to..." - やすい
  13. "hard to..." - にくい

How... どう

Here is a very useful question word -- どう dou -- Let's look at ways of using dou.

どう です か? dou desu ka?  How is (it)? [Use this for asking about food, or anything that is being done now]

どう でした か? dou deshita ka? How was (it)? [Use this to find out about past experiences - movie, last night's date, molded pizza you just ate...]


どうやって? dou yatte? How do you do it? [Ask this when you are not sure how to do something] 

どう しました か? dou shimashita ka? What happened? [Ask this if someone looks sad or something has happened]

どうしよう dou shiyou What shall (I or we) do? [This is often used when you can't make a decision and want help... doushiyou, ne!]

どう する の?dou suru no? What will you do? [When you want to encourage someone to make a decision -- Well, what will you do?]

Isn't it? でしょう

If you want to state your opinion and then encourage someone to agree, use deshou

firipin wa atsui deshou? 
The Philippines is hot, isn't it?
[You are expecting a 'yes' answer]

itai deshou?
It hurts, doesn't it?
[You see someone who has just slammed their head in the low doorway]  

But usually でしょう is used to mean 'probably':

Ame ga furu deshou ne. 
It will probably rain, don't you think?

And another common usage is どうでしょう meaning 'how about...' or 'what do you think about'

udon wa dou deshou? 
How about some Udon?

said といいました

Meet the wonderful ' to.' Mr. can act as a quotation marker ("). Don't confuse this with the that means 'and.' Very often if you are quoting someone or some source. This is best shown with examples:

ore wa su-paman to iimashita.
He said, "I am Superman."

ano e wa juu seiki ni tsukutta to kaite arimasu.
The book says (it is written) that this painting was made in the 10th century.

It can also be used to mark sound effects of things or animals:

ano inu wa 'wan' to iimashita.
That dog barked, "bark"

There are many other usages for 'to.' Paying attention to each usage will help you get a good grasp.

Negative adjectives

we say `not red` to show an absence of that color in English. In Japanese as with the verbs, the adjective`s ending is modified with a negative ending. You will notice a great similarity with the verbal endings.

With `i` adjectives the `i` changes to a `ku` before adding the `nai`...
sono ringo wa akakunai. That apple isn`t red.

`na` adjectives simply drop the `na` (which is really only used before nouns) and add `ja nai` or `ja arimasen` (or dewa nai & dewa arimasen)...
watashi wa kirei ja nai. I am not pretty.

To learn more about adjectives click here.

Negative verbs

It isn't a sin to be negative. Interesting I should say that... 'sin' sounds like 'sen' which marks the negative in Japanese in the -masu form. (Ok, so I set that one up...)

話せます hanasemasu - can speak becomes...

watashi wa nihongo ga hanasemasen.
(I) can`t speak Japanese.

分かります wakarimasu - understand becomes...

watashi wa eigoga wakarimasen.
(I) don`t understand English.

If you can make the -masu form, just drop the す and add the せん。

You may have noticed there are no `no` words needed to make a negative like in English. You simply modify the verb`s ending.

To make the negative in the plain, or simple, form by taking the basic stem and adding ない to it.

With the `ru` verbs you simply drop the る and add ない as in 忘れ wasureru (to forget)...

nihongo o wasurenai.
(I) don`t forget Japanese.

And for the `u` verbs we change the ending `u` sound to a `a` sound as in 書く kaku -> 書か...

tegami o kakanai.
(I) don`t write letters.

Finally we come to する and the other irregular verbs.

する is しない in the simple form and しません in the polite form

sukaidaibingu o shimasen.
(I) don`t do sky diving.

And 来る kuru is 来ない konai and 来ません kimasen in the formal...

gojira ga konai.
Godzilla doesn`t come.

To review the 3 types of verbs click here.

Plan to 予定、つもり

If you plan on speaking Japanese these two words are very useful.予定 yotei and つもり tsumori

予定 yotei and つもり are very similar in meaning and usage. 予定 conveys more of a `schedule` feel whereas つもり is more of a `conviction of doing something. All you have to do is to stick either on the end of a verb (simple form)...

To add つもり or 予定 to any verb just find the simple form...

nihon ni iku tsumori (or yotei) desu.
I intend to go to Japan.
[if you use tsumori, you `intend` to go one way or another; if you use yotei you already have a hard schedule set to leave at a certain time.]

Here is how you add it to a する verb

anata to kekkon suru tsumori (or yotei) desu.
I intend to marry you.

You can also use it with nouns by sticking a の before the tsumori and after adjectives. But for now concentrate on the verb usage.

Punctuation 。、「」

Punctuation is in many ways similar to English. You have a comma, called a てん and a period at the end of a sentence called a まる.

Let`s quickly go over some common Punctuation thingies:

the まる acts just like our period by ending the sentence. It looks like a ball - maru

the てん acts like a comma. This is often found after は as in わたしは、あなたが好きです。 (I, like you)
「 and 」
These brackets hold quotations and work like our "" marks

Should/Must はず

You should know はず. It is easy and useful, therefore you have no excuse :)

Hazu shows an expectation that something should happen. In other words, you are pretty sure something is true. Let`s see how it works...

To add はず to any adjective just add it...

sono kaban wa, takai hazu desu.
That bag must be expensive.
[It is expected to be expensive]

Just add it to the simple form of any verb

anata wa, gojira o shitteiru hazu desu.
You should/must know Godzilla.

Because II ので

We have looked at some 'becauses' that mainly act as a preposition. ので comes at the end of the phrase.

In English we start the phrase with `because`; in Japanese you often say the reason first and then the because...

Just add it after an adjective...

sono kaban wa takai node, zutto tsukau tsumori desu.
Since that bag was expensive, I plan on using it for a long time.

Just add it to the simple form of any verb

gojira ga kuru node, toukyou wa kowai tokoro desu.
Since Godzilla comes, Tokyo is a scary place.

After a noun or a -na adjective add a NA before NODE...
watashi wa mada gakusei na node, okane ga nai .
Because I am still a student, I don`t have any money.

Although のに

A close cousin to ので (above), is のに. It is often used to show disappointment in the current situation.

Just add it after an adjective...
isshou kenmei benkyou shita noni, tesuto o ochita.
Even though I studied really hard, I flunked the test.

Using 何

This is a very useful add-on.

Use it as a counter:


nan nin
how many people
来るのは何人ですか?kuru no wa nan nin desu ka? - How many people are coming?
何年 nan nen
how many years
何年アメリカに住んでいましたか? nan nen amerika ni sunde imashita ka? - How many years did you live in America?
何番 nan ban
what number
次は何番ですか? tsugi wa nan ban desu ka? - What is the next number?
何度 nan do
what`s the temperature
温度は何度ですか? ondo wa nando desu ka? - What is the temperature at?
何曜日 nan you bi
what day of the week
今日は何曜日ですか? kyou wa nan youbi desu ka? - What is the day of the week?
何日 nan nichi
which day
パーティーは何日? pa-ti wa nan nichi? - What day is the party?
何個 nan ko
how many pieces
ジェリービーンを何個ほしいですか? jeri-bi-n o nanko hoshii desu ka? - How many jelly beans do you want?

And the following are a few of the adverbial usages of 何

何か nani ka
何か飲みたい。 nanika nomitai - I want something to drink
何でも nan demo
anything, whatever
何でもいいです。 nandemo ii desu. - Anything is fine.
何と nan to
何とすばらしい日。 nan to subarashii hi. - What a wonderful day!
何のため nan no tame
what for
ここに来たのは、何のためですか? koko ni kita no wa nan no tame desu ka? - Why did you come here?
何となく nantonaku
somehow, in some way
何となく分かる。 nantonaku wakaru. - I somehow understand.

Easy to... ~やすい

It's easy to add "easy to" to verbs!  Consider the following verbs in the masu form:

たべ ます tabe masu [to eat] Arrow たべ やすい tabe yasui [easy to eat]

Did you see that?  If you know the -masu form of the verb, you can easily drop the -masu and add a yasui.  

わかり ます wakari masu [to understand] Arrow わかり やすい wakari yasui [easy to understand]

Hard to... ~にくい

If "easy to" is easy to use (see above) then you would think that "hard to" would be hard to use.  Well, they had to go and make it easy as well.  Usage is the same as -yasui (easy to)

たべ ます tabe masu [to eat] Arrow たべ にくい tabe nikui [hard to eat]

 If you know the -masu form of the verb, you can easily drop the -masu and add a nikui.  

わかり ます wakari masu [to understand] Arrow わかり にくい wakari nikui [hard to underst