Chapter 6

  1. "how about ...?" - どう
  2. しまった・ちゃった
  3. "please do..." - 〜てください
  4. "please give me..." - をください
  5. on, in, above, behind...
  6. "why don't we...?" - 〜ませんか
  7. Closer look at を
  8. Closer look at に
  9. Closer look at で
  10. Closer look at が
  11. "if" II - たら
  12. "soft ender" II - ちょっと
  13. The power ender "よ"

How about ...? どう

To ask the state of something (how something is doing) use the useful dou (desu ka).

You can used it with or without the final 'desu ka' in conversation.

saikin wa dou desu ka?

How's it going recently?

ko-hi- wa dou?

the coffee?
or it could mean How about some coffee?

tenki yohou wa dou?

the weather forecast looking?

Of course when the context is understood you can simply say, 'dou' (Like returning from a doctor's appointment, or after your friend gets off an important phone call)


This literally means 'to complete, finish' but can (and usually does) involve a regret over having done something. Also it can be used sarcastically to mean the speaker really wanted to do something, but gives a halfhearted apology. For example, 最後のクーキーを食べてしまった。 I unfortunately ate the last cookie. Of course there really wasn't anything unfortunate about it.

The construction is usually after the ~te form of any verb

zenbu no okane o tsukatte shimaimashita.

I spent all my money.

watashi wa kanzen ni nihongo o wasurete shimatta.

Unfortunately, I have completely forgotten Japanese.

Another very useful variation is ~chatta. This is informal and is used by both male and female speakers. chau is made by combining te shimau -> chau

shiken ni ochichatta.

I flunked the test unfortunately.

or in the present tense

ke-ki o zenbu tabechau.

I will eat all the cake.

An important point by Mukade in the forums:
In the Kansai area, the use of ちゃった is limited to female speakers.

I learned both in the classroom, of course, since they are standard dialect. But when I moved here to Osaka, people started asking me if I was gay, since I kept using ちゃった all the time.

If I could help prevent someone else from having to go through the same "hard knocks" learning process that I did, it would make me very happy.

So be careful if you are in the Kansai area! But in most areas it should be fine.

Please do... ~てください

Here's how you boss people around. Well, in a nice way...

add kudasai (please) after the ~te form of any verb

yukkuri hanashite kudasai.

speak slowly.

motto otona rashiku shite kudasai.

act more grown-up.

koko de migi ni magatte kudasai.

turn right here.

Please give me... ~をください

Another use for kudasai is "please give me..."

sono hon o kudasai.

give me that book.

go hyaku en o kudasai.

give me 500 yen.

In spoken Japanese, the 'o' is usually dropped.

On, In, Above, Behind

A good knowledge of position particles will help glue everything together. にni - on
本があります。 tsukue ni hon ga arimasu. There is a book on the desk.

のうえに no ue ni - on top of
のうえに本があります。 tsukue no ue ni hon ga arimasu. There is a book on (top of) the desk.

のしたに no shita ni - under...
のしたに本があります。 tsukue no shita ni hon ga arimasu. There is a book under the desk.

の後ろに no ushiro ni - behind...
の後ろに本があります。 tsukue no ushiro ni hon ga arimasu. There is a book behind the desk.

Why don't we...? ~ませんか?

Why don't we study a little more?

dokoka de tabemasen ka?

Why don't we
eat somewhere.

nanika nomimasen ka?

Would you like
something to drink. or Why don't we have a drink.

The context decides if the meaning should be 'why don't WE' or 'Would YOU.'

A Closer look at を

Pronounced o but written in Japanese as wo. Simply put, を is the 'direct object marker or particle' which indicates the previous word is the direct object. There are cases when the English would not consider it a direct object, though. Learn some examples and give it a try. This particle is one of the easier ones...

watashi wa ringo o tabemashita.
I ate an apple. (apple is the を)

o kikitai desu.
I want to listen to music. (music is the を)

o kau tsumori desu .
I intend to buy a TV. (tsumori means'intend to'; TV is the を)

A Closer look at に

In most cases the particle へ can be used interchangeably with に. But に has a wider application so for now just stick with に

Showing movement toward... Like 'to'

ni ikitai.
I want to go to Japan. (direction TO Japan)

ni ikitai desu ka.
Where do you want to go?

Meaning 'on' or 'in'

ni e o kakimashita.
I drew a picture on a piece of paper.

In time - 'at'

roku ji
ni aimashou.
Let's meet at 6.

A Closer look at で

This is used mainly for location.

Used for location of where something happens

de boushi o kaimashita.
I bought a hat at the Department store.

de nani o shimashita ka.
In Japan, what did you do?

Observe the difference between に and で:

ni ikitai.
I want to go to McDonalds.

de tabetai.
I want to eat at McDonalds.

A Closer look at が

This is the 'subject marker / particle'.

ga futteimasu.
It's raining.

There is a subtile difference between WA and GA and I don't pretend to try to completely explain it. Years from now, you will still make WA/GA mistakes. Still, in general you can say WA is the main TOPIC and GA is the more specific SUBJECT at hand. In the above example we say it is raining. The topic isn't about rain. We are simply stating the circumstances at the moment and the subject of that particular sentence is rain. If we were to talk all about rain, we would probably start with WA as in:

wa sora kara futte kuru mizu desu.
As for rain, it is water that falls from the sky. (You may go on to say more about the overall topic of rain.)

Used with SUKI

watashi wa neko
ga suki.
I like cats.

Question words always use GA

ga oishii?
What tastes good?

ga kimashita?
Who came?

ga ichi ban ii tokoro desu ka?
Where is the best place?

If II たら

A while back we found もし as the word that means 'if'. たら is added to the end of verbs to give the meaning of 'if this is done, then this will happen'

It is formed by finding the simple past form and adding a ら

anata ga kitara
kare wa kaeru
If you are coming, he will go home.

The simple past form of 来る is 来た.The 2nd phrase is conditional on the たら phrase.

gojira ni at
tara doushiyou.
What should I do if I meet Godzilla?

You can also use it with nouns by using the simple past form of desu: だった

okanemochi da
tara ookina ie ga kaeru noni.
If only I were rich, I could buy a large house.

Softener ちょっと

Many years ago I found an example in a book of how Japanese can be direct or politely indirect. For example you can say:

1) こい! koi


2) あのう、すみません、たいへん恐れいれますが、ちょっとこちらへいらっしゃってくださいませんでしょうか?

both mean 'come here' but #2 is much more polite being cushioned by many soft, indirect words. One of these words is ちょっと.

ちょっと means 'little' or 'small amount' but it is often used to soften an otherwise painful 'no' or 'your request is impossible; live with it'

muzukashi desu ga.
That's a little difficult. (this may be said when the request is impossible)

dekinai desu.
It can't be done.

wakaranai desu.
I'm not really sure.

I have been told the sound 'chotto' is a bad word in Korean. If that is the case, chotto may not be that soft of a word...


The power ender "よ"

When you want to impress upon your listener the importance or truth of what you are saying stick a よ at the end of the sentence.