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Please Help! Duration (time) in sentences.

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Please Help! Duration (time) in sentences.

Postby Shiroisan » Fri 06.10.2011 11:31 pm


So I've been going through Genki at full speed, and I never stopped to check my workbook answers. I thought that I should go back to the beginning and test myself. I've always been taught that duration goes next to the verb, as the VERB is the thing that one is doing for X amount of time. Genki's TEXTBOOK even told me this. But their workbook said that was wrong? What gives? Here is one example of those types of questions:

Translate to Japanese:
Sue studies Japanese at the library for about one hour every day.

My answer:

Their answer:

Can someone explain the difference to me?
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Re: Please Help! Duration (time) in sentences.

Postby blutorange » Sat 06.11.2011 1:09 am

Shiroisan wrote:スーサンは毎日図書館で日本語を一時間位勉強仕ます。

you and their answer are not wrong. In Japanese, you are quite free how to order your sentences, the difference between different word order usually lies in subtle emphasis or implication. You may know of the following example:

林檎 を 一玉   下さい
一玉 の 林檎 を 下さい
(林檎:apple, 一玉:counting word, 下さい:ください)
They both mean "I'd like an apple, please.", and are both correct Japanese.
(Note: In English, you could say "I'd like an apple, please." or "Please, it is an apple I would like.", although admittedly, the latter sounds a bit strange. In general, the word order is more rigid in English, so English is not a good source for comparison here.)

Anyway, as a general rule for Japanese, what comes later in a sentence receives more emphasis, although I would say, the textbook example may be a bit more common unless you want to stress that is "an hour".

A last thing, please remember that no textbook is perfect, and their rules may not always be without exceptions. Usually, the example sentence were written by native speakers, so try to use your human intuition when reading those sentence and try to form your own "rules" in your head - ie, try to get used to the language by being exposed to it.
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Re: Please Help! Duration (time) in sentences.

Postby Shiroisan » Sat 06.11.2011 1:30 am

Thanks a lot for replying, I wanted to know right away cuz it was bothering me that I was "messing up" on the earlier lessons. For some reason, my japanese intuition just can't understand why you would want to stick it between everyday and library. The counter one makes more sense to me, because when it's placed in front it uses the particle の, which is very familiar to me and easy to make use of.

On the other hand, I guess I could think of duration as being able to use it like regular time ("at 5 oclock" or something), except without the particle に after it :D .

thanks again
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