Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - Some questions about the verbにneg.pot form verb construction

Some questions about the verbにneg.pot form verb construction

Do you have a translation question?

Some questions about the verbにneg.pot form verb construction

Postby LordOfTheFlies » Wed 10.09.2013 9:02 am

Since I started learning Japanese I've picked up some spoken Japanese that I've never read about as a grammar point anywhere. It's the elusive verbにnegative potential form verb-construction. Examples I can come up with are 寝るに寝られない and 食べるに食べられない.

From my understanding 寝るに寝られない means "even if I wanted to sleep I can't do it" and 食べるに食べられない similarly means "even if I wanted to eat it I can't eat it."

Are these just exceptions or is it possible to use this construction with all kinds of verbs? I was also wondering if my understanding of the meaning is correct. Basically the way I understand it is that it expresses the fact that even if you wanted to do something you can't do it or that you want to do something but you can't just do it.

I'd love some input. Thanks!
LordOfTheFlies
 
Posts: 455
Joined: Sun 05.07.2006 9:43 am
Native language: Swedish

Re: Some questions about the verbにneg.pot form verb construc

Postby NileCat » Wed 10.09.2013 10:32 am

You are correct, LOTF.
It can apply to almost any (simple) verb.
The grammatical analysis on this is beyond me but when used in conversation, you can convey some dramatic feeling with (sometimes) a subtle sense of humor, for the use itself sounds a kind of…what you call it? …fustian?

そのネズミの目を見たらなんだかかわいそうで、殺すに殺せなくなったんだ 
( ‘dramatic’ effect by describing your feeling with this construction )


台風で帰れなくなっちゃってさあ (simple)  
→ 彼女が泣くもんだから帰るに帰れなくなっちゃってさあ (dramatic)

1万円もするメロンは、食べにくい/(食べづらい) (simple)
1万円もするメロンだと思うと、食べるに食べられないでしょ (w/humor)
User avatar
NileCat
 
Posts: 1168
Joined: Sat 08.01.2009 2:11 pm
Location: Tokyo
Native language: Japanese

Re: Some questions about the verbにneg.pot form verb construc

Postby LordOfTheFlies » Thu 10.10.2013 3:31 pm

Thanks for the explanation, I'll remember it. I've decided to take JLPT N1 in December, for real this time. So I'll probably be pretty active here from now on :)
LordOfTheFlies
 
Posts: 455
Joined: Sun 05.07.2006 9:43 am
Native language: Swedish

Re: Some questions about the verbにneg.pot form verb construc

Postby NileCat » Fri 10.11.2013 2:16 pm

I’m pretty sure your actual skills are far beyond N1, however, the test seems to require you to possess trivial knowledge that native speakers take for granted. Go for it! I’m glad if I can be of any help. :)
User avatar
NileCat
 
Posts: 1168
Joined: Sat 08.01.2009 2:11 pm
Location: Tokyo
Native language: Japanese

Re: Some questions about the verbにneg.pot form verb construc

Postby Shiroisan » Fri 10.11.2013 7:47 pm

NileCat wrote:trivial knowledge


(ノ ̄д ̄)ノ (T-T)
User avatar
Shiroisan
 
Posts: 351
Joined: Sun 03.06.2011 2:52 am
Native language: Eigo

Re: Some questions about the verbにneg.pot form verb construc

Postby Ongakuka » Sun 10.13.2013 6:47 am

It's trivial because you don't need to know it to speak good Japanese. However knowledge of such phrases (or grammatical structures) demonstrates a high level of fluency.
なぜなら、おまえは・・・・・・人形だ
User avatar
Ongakuka
 
Posts: 998
Joined: Mon 09.26.2005 1:07 pm

Re: Some questions about the verbにneg.pot form verb construc

Postby LordOfTheFlies » Sun 10.13.2013 12:13 pm

NileCat wrote:I’m pretty sure your actual skills are far beyond N1, however, the test seems to require you to possess trivial knowledge that native speakers take for granted. Go for it! I’m glad if I can be of any help. :)

That may very well be true based from what I've seen on mock exams and heard on actual listening tests from JLPT on Youtube. But either way it's evidence on paper that I understand Japanese to some extent, hard proof that is.
LordOfTheFlies
 
Posts: 455
Joined: Sun 05.07.2006 9:43 am
Native language: Swedish


Return to Translation Questions or Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests