Chapter 7

  1. The non-but "even if" - でも・ても
  2. "the best, ~est" - いちばん
  3. "about..." - について
  4. "can't, not allowed" - いけません
  5. Easy kanji prefixes
  6. Easy counters
  7. The Explanatory んです
  8. の as a pronoun
  9. "how to..." - 〜かた
  10. "please don't" - 〜ないでください
  11. "have done..." - ことがあります
  12. "to decide to have..." - にします

The non-but でも/ても Even if、although

We have studied も which means 'also'. When added after the て form of a verb or adjective it brings on the meaning of 'even if'. Let's investigate:

joudan wo ittemo, kare wa waraimasen.
Even if
you tell a joke, he won't laugh.

And an adjective:

tsumetakutemo taberaremasu.

Even if
it is cold, I can eat it.

And just stick it after a noun

su-paman demo sonna koto wa dekinai yo.

Even Superman can't do that!

The best, -est いちばん

While it means #1, it is also used as a superlative- most or -est

tabemono no naka wa nani ga ichiban
suki desu ka?
Out of all foods, what do you like the best?

fujisan wa sekai de ichiban takai yama ja nai.
Mt. Fuji isn't the tallest mountain in the world.

About... ~について

This is added to mean 'this sentence is ABOUT the previous word'. Simply stick it after the noun you want to talk about.

bangumi ni tsuite
no oshirase desu.
This is an annoucement about the program (TV for example).

ano eiga ni tsuite dou omou?

What do you think about that movie?

Can't, not allowed いけません/いけない

This is how to say something is forbidden to do. Perhaps easiest way to us this is to stick it after the て form of a verb and は (wa - topic particle).

shiranai hito to hanashite wa ikemasen.

Don't speak to strangers.

Often in casual speech, the ては becomes ちゃ (or じゃ) as in:

sono eiga o micha ikemasen yo.
You are not allowed to watch this movie - or You shouldn't watch this movie.

You can also use だめ for a similar effect: 私の本を読んじゃだめ。watashi no hon o yonja dame. You can't read my book!

Easy kanji prefixes

There are a number of fairly easy kanji that will help dramatically increase your vocabulary. These kanji have specific meanings that when added to other kanji or words, it changes the whole meaning in a logical way.

大 - dai, oo - big

to like
dai suki
to really like, love
to dislike
to really dislike, hate
ji shin
dai jishin
a huge earthquake
oo ame
heavy rain

Another similar word is: 小 (small)

毎- mai - every (attached to time words)

mai asa
every morning
mai toshi
every year

mai ban
every evening

会- kai - to meet (a suffix)

ongaku kai
un dou
exercise, sports
undou kai
athletic meet

Easy Counters

In English, we just take a number (1,2,3...) add a noun and an "s" to count items. But in Japanese different types of objects have different counters. Plus some numbers change pronunciation slightly when added with their counter. Don't worry too much about the pronunciation changes since you will be understood. And even if you mess up and count with the wrong counter, you should be understood, but just a tip... don't count people with "pikki" (used with animals!)

First, there are 2 ways to count numbers - the 'native' and the 'Chinese' way. Actually the 'native' counting system only goes up to 10 and is pretty much only used for counting up to two people and for counting general things. If you are feeling lazy, just learn the "Chinese" numbers for now.

If you haven't studied numbers yet, go to this page to learn all about them before proceeding: How to Count

Here is a quick review::


一つ ひとつ
二つ ふたつ
三つ みっつ
四つ よっつ
五つ いつつ
六つ むっつ
七つ ななつ
八つ やっつ
九つ ここのつ
十 と


一 いち
二 に
三 さん
四 し、よん
五 ご
六 ろく
七 しち、なな
八 はち
九 きゅう、く
十 じゅう

Note the two red alternate readings on the "Chinese" side. These are pronunciations based on the "native" readings but are often used in conjunction when counting other "Chinese" numbers.

Ok, now for counters.

Let's go through some common counters one by one and then I will give a list of many other counters:

Counter: nin | Usage: people [pay attention to the red lines.]
一人 (ひとり) 1 person [irregular]
二人 (ふたり) 2 people [irregular]

三人 (さん にん) 3 people [now we simply add the Chinese numbers to にん]
四人 (よ にん) [し にん is NOT used. Probably because し means death... Also notice the dropped ん from よん; hihlordjp from the discussion forums on this site brought up an interesting but obscure (I think) pronunciation - よったり or よたり. It is in the dictionaries although I had never heard it. ]
五人 (ご にん)
六人 (ろく にん)
七人 (しち にん OR なな にん) [It seems しちにん is used more often, but ななにん is also used]
八人 (はち にん)
九人 (きゅう にん or く にん)
十人 (じゅう にん)
十一人  (じゅう いち にん) etc...

Counter: hiki | Usage: most animals
一匹 (いっぴき) [notice the H changes to a P]
二匹 (にひき)
三匹 (さん びき) [notice the H changes to a B this time.]
四匹 (よんひき)
五匹 (ごひき)
六匹 (ろっぴき) [notice the H changes to a P AND the く becomes a small っ]
七匹 (なな ひき or しち ひき) [probably ななひき is most used]
八匹 (はっぴき or はち ひき)
九匹 (きゅう ひき)
十匹 (じゅっぴき) [notice the small っ - this occurs when there is a soft sound after like H]

Counter: hon | Usage: long, slender objects like pencils, bottles, arms...
一本 (いっぽん)
二本 (に ほん)
三本 (さん ぼん)
四本 (よん ほん)
五本 (ご ほん)
六本 (ろっぽん)
七本 (なな ほん)
八本 (はっぽん or はち ほん)
九本 (きゅう ほん)
十本 (じゅっぽん)

Other Counters:

books and magazines
cups of liquids, drinks
sheets of paper; flat objects

一冊 (いっさつ) one book
二冊 (に さつ)
三冊 (さん さつ)
四冊 (よん さつ)
五冊 (ご さつ)
六冊 (ろく さつ)
七冊 (なな さつ or しち さつ)
八冊 (はち さつ or はっさつ)
九冊 (きゅう さつ)
十冊 (じゅっさつ or じっさつ*

一分 (いっぷん) one minute
二分 (に ふん)
三分 (さん ぷん)
四分 (よん ぷん)
五分 (ご ふん)
六分 (ろっぷん)
七分 (なな ふん)
八分 (はち ふん)
九分 (きゅう ふん)
十分 (じゅっぷん or じっぷん*
一杯 (いっぱい) one cup
二杯 (に はい)
三杯 (さん ばい)
四杯 (よん はい)
五杯 (ご はい)
六杯 (ろっぱい)
七杯 (なな はい)
八杯 (はっぱい)
九杯 (きゅう はい)
十杯 (じゅっぱい or じっぱい*
一枚 (いち まい) one piece
二枚 (に まい)
三枚 (さん まい)
四枚 (よん まい)
五枚 (ご まい)
六枚 (ろく まい)
七枚 (なな まい)
八枚 (はち まい)
九枚 (きゅう まい)
十枚 (じゅう まい)

* notice this can be pronounced as じっ instead of じゅっ. This is to make it clearer and is often used in broadcasting. You may also encounter this with hon and hiki. For now, you can just say, じゅっ...

The Explanatory "んです"

You may have heard this quite a lot and wondered what it's all about! It is most often used, informally, when:

1) To explain something
2) To show emphasis

んです is short for のです; Informal usage;

plain form verb + んです

nani o shite iru n desu ka .
Whatcha doing?

terebi o mite iru n desu.
Watching TV.

-i Adjective + んです

kono eiga wa omoshiroi n desu.
This movie was great!

And it can be used as a way to stress a point

pa-ti ni ikanai deshou
You won't be able to make it to the party, right?

iie, boku wa iku n desu.
No, I'm going!

ittai, doushita n desu ka.
Just what exactly happened (to you)!!!?

の as a Pronoun

の can be used in place of a noun (indefinite pronoun) to mean "one" or "some."

arrow Use in place of noun

aoi no.
The blue one.

yasui no ga hoshii.
I want the cheap one.
(computer, car, book, anything)

How to... ~かた

Attach かた to the stem of verbs to change it into a noun to mean: Way or Manner of doing or how to do...

Take the ~ます form of a verb minus the ます and then add かた.

kanji no yomi kata
How/Way to read (a) kanji