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Confusion About 「で」

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Confusion About 「で」

Postby tuber97 » Wed 11.10.2010 10:43 pm

While working on Japanese complex sentences, my teacher presented us with this sentence:
みんな行った遠足は楽しかったです。
I don't understand why で is used here. Isn't で used if you're talking about a location with no action? But 行く is a verb... It seems to me like it should be something along the lines of
みんな行った遠足は楽しかったです。
...or something like that.
Is there some other usage of で that I don't know about? Or am I just making a simple mistake? Please help! Thanks!

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Re: Confusion About 「で」

Postby chikara » Thu 11.11.2010 1:27 am

TJPへようこそ  :)

みんなで行った is pretty much a set phrase that means "everyone went".

The particle で doesn't just indicate the place of an action it can also indicate means, material, cause, time and others.

From WWWJDIC;
で (prt) (1) indicates location of action; at; in; (2) indicates time of action; (3) indicates means of action; cause of effect; by; (conj) (4) and then; so;

In みんなで行った I take it to indicate the means/manner/how of an action. If you think of みんなで as a being "by means of everyone" or in more natural English "all together" or "as a group" in answer to "how did go?".

Hopefully someone with more knowledge than me can explain it better. :)
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Re: Confusion About 「で」

Postby micahcowan » Thu 11.11.2010 2:23 pm

I may be off-base here, so take everything I say with a pinch (or ten) of salt (for those who may not know, "take it with a pinch of salt" = English expression meaning don't blindly accept it, but use your judgment, etc, to determine its truth).

When I read a sentence like that, I get the "impression" of で as the -te form (gerund) of だ/です, rather than で the particle (there is some amount of overlap... I believe I've heard something to the effect that で the particle is descended from the gerund of だ). I think it could be viewed as related somewhat to the pair of sentences:

行った遠足は楽しかったです。
(行った人は)みんなでした。

みんなで行った遠足

~ "The excursion we went on while being everyone".

I think perhaps it's one of those Japanese expressions that doesn't map cleanly to an English style of thinking about things... I can understand the meaning of the で there, but explaining it is difficult. In this particular usage, though, "as" seems likes a rough approximation. Perhaps a similar meaning to みんなとして行った, except I doubt that sounds natural, or has quite the same meaning.
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Re: Confusion About 「で」

Postby Hyperworm » Thu 11.11.2010 2:30 pm

「みんなで」is an expression / set phrase. "(all) together".
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Re: Confusion About 「で」

Postby yangmuye » Thu 11.11.2010 2:37 pm

行った遠足は楽しかったです。
(行った人は)みんなでした。

I wonder if "行った遠足" is logical in Japanese, since it's not logical without "みんなで" before it in Chinese. よろしく。
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Re: Confusion About 「で」

Postby NileCat » Thu 11.11.2010 4:26 pm

You are right. It doesn’t make sense in Japanese too when it comes alone.
In the post, however, it is shown as a “sample phrase” explaining the grammar in the given context. So it seems totally fine. :)


@micahcowan-san. It wasn’t the idiom that I needed to look up in a dictionary but the word you used right before that; “off-base” :D
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Re: Confusion About 「で」

Postby chikara » Thu 11.11.2010 6:22 pm

NileCat wrote:..... @micahcowan-san. It wasn’t the idiom that I needed to look up in a dictionary but the word you used right before that; “off-base” :D

I'm a native English speaker, admittedly not American English, and I don't understand "off-base" in that context. :?

"Off-base" refers to something that exists or occurs outside of a military base. Is there some baseball or other connotation of "off-base" that has a similar meaning to "wide of the mark" or similar?
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Re: Confusion About 「で」

Postby furrykef » Thu 11.11.2010 8:12 pm

chikara wrote:Is there some baseball or other connotation of "off-base" that has a similar meaning to "wide of the mark" or similar?

That's the meaning, yes. Oddly enough, the degree of "offbase-ness" is often not clear from the expression alone, so it tends to be modified by an adverb to clarify it: "a bit off-base", "way off-base".

I don't know if the metaphor comes from baseball, but it seems likely enough. To me it's just one of the many idioms that we use whose origins become forgotten through overuse. For instance, did you know that "pass the buck" comes from poker? One would think "buck" refers to a dollar, but it actually refers to the dealer button used in games such as draw poker and hold'em. (Likewise, "the buck stops here" -- because having the dealer button is a significant tactical advantage!)
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Re: Confusion About 「で」

Postby chikara » Thu 11.11.2010 8:33 pm

どうもありがとう  :)
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Re: Confusion About 「で」

Postby ss » Fri 11.12.2010 12:12 am

We had a "friendly" argument in the chat the other day about the particle 「で」。
Someone thought that (for example in this sentence) 「おはしでご飯を食べます」 the 「で」 here was not a particle, it's te-form of です。 We had the problem resolved anyway, my intention of bringing this up is just to clarify that, there are indeed quite a number of BASIC USAGES of particle 「で」。

From Weblio

IIRC, the 「で」 as in 一人で、二人で、十人で can also serve as a quantifier, the 「で」 here can actually turn the noun in front becoming an adverb or a set phrase being "all" or "both" or "a group/number of people". There is a song 「二人でお茶を」 (Tea for both of us)


***
I do understand the connection of で with だ・です, as we move on, theories on grammar tend to get harder and complex. I wish AA would follow up with this thread and enlighten us with more details on this 「で」。I like healthy discussion like this, we are not fighting, we just want to share the best of what we know to others. That's the point. :)
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Re: Confusion About 「で」

Postby NileCat » Fri 11.12.2010 8:24 am

I don’t know if I can add oil to the fire, though. :)

In the following usage, you can assume the で as “te-form of です” (助動詞)
その食事のときに使ったのはおはしご飯を食べました。

But in the following usage, it is a particle. (助詞)
私はいつもおはしご飯を食べます。
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Re: Confusion About 「で」

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 11.15.2010 9:14 pm

micahcowan wrote:I may be off-base here, so take everything I say with a pinch (or ten) of salt (for those who may not know, "take it with a pinch of salt" = English expression meaning don't blindly accept it, but use your judgment, etc, to determine its truth).

When I read a sentence like that, I get the "impression" of で as the -te form (gerund) of だ/です, rather than で the particle (there is some amount of overlap... I believe I've heard something to the effect that で the particle is descended from the gerund of だ). I think it could be viewed as related somewhat to the pair of sentences:

行った遠足は楽しかったです。
(行った人は)みんなでした。

みんなで行った遠足

~ "The excursion we went on while being everyone".

I think perhaps it's one of those Japanese expressions that doesn't map cleanly to an English style of thinking about things... I can understand the meaning of the で there, but explaining it is difficult. In this particular usage, though, "as" seems likes a rough approximation. Perhaps a similar meaning to みんなとして行った, except I doubt that sounds natural, or has quite the same meaning.


This is exactly how it is explained in Japanese: The Spoken Language and how it makes sense to me; this also explains related expressions like 私でできる and 二人で行く.
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Re: Confusion About 「で」

Postby ss » Tue 11.16.2010 6:35 am

Nilecat wrote:
In the following usage, you can assume the で as “te-form of です” (助動詞)
その食事のときに使ったのはおはしでご飯を食べました。

But in the following usage, it is a particle. (助詞)
私はいつもおはしでご飯を食べます。


Nilecat-san, you're not adding oil, thank you very much for providing us these two sentences, the comparison is helpful for clarification.

This 「おはしでご飯を食べます。」 was actually quoted from this thread. I don't know OP, but from the posts, one can tell s/he is really confused with even the basic usages. I can't think of any good pointers to help her/him, except that I wish to focus on the PARTICLE DE, so as not to confuse him/her further.

I think every teacher teaches different things, but for me, I have never come across particle de as "te form of desu" until I get to the intermediate stage. My understanding of "te form of desu" as such: 名詞 + で(だ・です)+ある, in this sentence, it functions as 助動詞。

テキストブックには「鯨は哺乳類である」と書いてある。
In the book, it says that "whales are mammals".

From what I learn I've always thought that the basic 助詞 で is different from 助動詞で, my only curiosity is how does a teacher explain to learners when s/he presented this sentence 「みんなで行った遠足は楽しかったです。」(The excursion we went with everyone was an enjoyable one.)
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Re: Confusion About 「で」

Postby tuber97 » Fri 11.19.2010 12:46 am

SS wrote:I don't know OP, but from the posts, one can tell s/he is really confused with even the basic usages. I can't think of any good pointers to help her/him, except that I wish to focus on the PARTICLE DE, so as not to confuse him/her further.


Even though I've been learning Japanese for eight years, I began in kindergarten so I have advanced much more slowly. The particles have, over time, become instinctive for simple sentences, but later get more confusing. They never taught us the actual meaning of each particle, so I've never heard of this use of de. Thanks for your help, everyone!
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