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Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or frequency?

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Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or frequency?

Postby Shiroisan » Tue 12.20.2011 10:51 am

For most homonyms, context is sufficient to know what's going on. However, I don't see how context can help with this one. Is there any way to tell the difference, that I'm missing?

Upon finding out that I'm a chef, someone asks me:

どんなろうりをよく作りますか

Which are they asking:

What kind of cooking do you make well?
What kind of cooking do you often make?


Thx for help in advanced.
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby Ongakuka » Tue 12.20.2011 1:51 pm

ろうり X

りょうり O

We can usually tell by context, so in your sentence you should assume that you are being asked what dish you make often.

If someone was going to ask what dish you make well, they would probably use a different word.

どんな料理が得意ですか or something like that.

However if someone said よく作れましたね it is obvious that they mean 'well.'

I don't think this was a great answer :( but maybe it's something.
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby Hektor6766 » Tue 12.20.2011 2:29 pm

To be unambiguous, you might want to say 普段どんな料理を作りますか for what kind of cuisine they normally prepare.
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby yangmuye » Tue 12.20.2011 4:44 pm

Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or frequency?

It's an adverb of frequency. :D
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby furrykef » Sat 12.24.2011 3:42 am

yangmuye wrote:
Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or frequency?

It's an adverb of frequency. :D

Erm, the entire point of this thread is that it is only sometimes an adverb of frequency. Sometimes it means "often". Sometimes it means "well" (synonym of うまく). The question is when it means which.
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby NileCat » Sat 12.24.2011 9:22 am

furrykef wrote:
yangmuye wrote:
Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or frequency?

It's an adverb of frequency. :D

Erm, the entire point of this thread is that it is only sometimes an adverb of frequency. Sometimes it means "often". Sometimes it means "well" (synonym of うまく). The question is when it means which.

Firstly, it’s the meaning of the verb and the tense that count.
The adverb doesn’t mean “well” when it modifies verbs such as 作る(make), 行く(go), 乗る(ride), 飲む(drink) when the verbs are used in simple present form. There are many exceptions, though, let me explain about the basics.

どんなりょうりを作りますか?

The verb is 作る, which doesn’t take the adverb よく as the one about the quality. Because you don’t know how it is good or bad when you are making it. You can tell only when it is done. (well-make vs. well-made)
So, どんなりょうりを「よく」作りますか? always means “often”.
Meaning-wise, よく行くレストラン cannot mean “the restaurant you are good at going to”. It’s the restaurant you go often.

Secondly, when a sentence describes some “result”, the adverb modifies the verb which is usually in like present perfect tense.

よくできたりょうりだ。(良く出来た料理だ)
This is a well-made dish.
この絵はよく描けている。
This picture is well drawn/painted.

Again, it cannot mean “often painted picture”, semantically.


Thirdly, there are some verbs which take the adverb as the meaning of “well” even when it is in simple form.

よく見たら、ジョンではなかった。
Watching the person carefully, I noticed that he was not John.
日本にいるときは、よく日本映画を見たよ。
I used to watch Japanese movies (often) when I was in Japan.

Even in these cases, however, you’d see the context (semantically-based meaning) leads you to know what the adverb means.
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby Hektor6766 » Sat 12.24.2011 8:34 pm

Nile-cat san wroteThe verb is 作る, which doesn’t take the adverb よく as the one about the quality. Because you don’t know how it is good or bad when you are making it. You can tell only when it is done. (well-make vs. well-made)
So, どんなりょうりを「よく」作りますか? always means “often”.
Meaning-wise, よく行くレストラン cannot mean “the restaurant you are good at going to”. It’s the restaurant you go often.


One must admire the infallible logic of Japanese grammar!

この絵はよく描けている。
This picture is well drawn/painted.

あの絵はよく描いた。 "That picture (we had seen) was well drawn."
Does that make sense?
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby NileCat » Sat 12.24.2011 11:07 pm

Hektor6766 wrote:
この絵はよく描けている。
This picture is well drawn/painted.

あの絵はよく描いた。 "That picture (we had seen) was well drawn."
Does that make sense?

Unfortunately, I have to say no. That is a “bad” sentence.
Perhaps nine out of ten people would think that you used to draw the picture of the object frequently in your past. Because there is no clue that it is an “appreciation of the result”.

Here’s an (exceptional) example for you.
A: 先生、虎の絵をいくつか描きました。
B: ほう? よく描いたね。

In this conversation, it is obvious that 先生’s words are meant to mention the drawing. So you can take it as a compliment. But note, even in this case, it only compliments the effort, not the picture itself. (cf. よく描けているね) The logic is exactly same as the one of 作る I wrote above. The verb 描く can’t take “well” alone when it doesn’t come with “you were able to do/ well done/you managed well”. Only when it is obvious in the context, you can get rid of the “you have done” part.
The word よく is not equivalent to English adverb ‘well’. Try not to translate it into English especially when you want to use it. You can’t put this word as the substitute of “well”. うまく(上手く)would work better in many cases.
The basic rule is that the word よく requires “was able to do” or/and “done” (meaning-wise) in its sentence.


EDIT:
The idea might be similar to the English word “pretty”, in a way.
“This picture is pretty damn good” (adverb) is different from “That’s pretty” (adjective), right?
Both of よく(often) and よく(well) are adverb, however, the latter itself does not have a definitive meaning like “good/well” has. In many cases, the former meaning is dominant when it comes alone with “ordinary” verbs in the plain/simple sentences.
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby Hektor6766 » Sun 12.25.2011 1:42 am

1 more stupid question: would 描けていた make sense? It uses the 已然形 and (at least the past tense) of いる. :?
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby NileCat » Sun 12.25.2011 10:00 am

That’s not a stupid question, Hektor.
The answer is yes.
e.g.
その宗教画は、よく描けていた。
The religious picture was well drawn.

But this subject is tough even for native people.
Now, let me show you some of the usages of “描く & よく”.

< plain >
私はよく絵を描きます(I draw pictures often)
絵をよく描きました (I drew pictures often)
花の絵をよく描きます(I draw pictures of flowers often)

(我ながら)よく描けたと思う (I think I drew it well)
(我ながら)よく描いたと思う (meaning-wise) (I can’t believe I drew it)

< imperative >
Sorry, it cannot make imperative form.
よく描きなさい sounds off.
Nevertheless, people say like “よく描(か)いてね” meaning “draw ME good… better looking than I actually am“. I think we should see it as exceptional.

< subject=you >
よく描くね (casual)
This phrase expresses the speaker’s feeling about the effort of the person.
(You are a hard worker) (You are such a painter) (How dare you draw that?)

< subject=the picture >
oその絵はよく描けていた (The picture was well drawn)
xその絵はよく描かれている (It’d be controversial, I’m afraid. But I for one find it odd because it requires an object grammatically…その絵にはキリストが昇天する様がよく描かれている is fine)

よくわかる is a very common expression. But this word よく is not always assumed as the adverb altered from the adjective 良い(good).
I don’t think this is a good explanation. But well, I hope I managed to show you well a little bit of well of information.  :shock:
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby yangmuye » Sun 12.25.2011 5:47 pm

The verb is 作る, which doesn’t take the adverb よく as the one about the quality. Because you don’t know how it is good or bad when you are making it. You can tell only when it is done. (well-make vs. well-made)

Secondly, when a sentence describes some “result”, the adverb modifies the verb which is usually in like present perfect tense.

Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or frequency?

It's an adverb of frequency. :D

Hi. In fact, I posted some different use of よく but I finally deleted it because I think it's not strict.
At first I wrote,
“Do something well” is a resultative phrase. The verb is usually unintentional and expresses the result of an particular action in past tense, or the attributed/ability in non-past tense.
However I thought there were many exceptions, so I deleted it, just leaving the first line.

今度はおいしく作ります
もっと美味しく作りたい
料理が上手な人は、なんでもおいしく作ります
They are not present-perfect. (and the last one is even imperfective)

よくつくる has the same structure as おいしく作る. I think the grammar has no problem, just that よく is ambiguous.

よく○○する especially in imperative form may also mean “pay much/more effort to do”.
よく○○い・だ also means “very much”.
よく○○する in past tense may even mean “well done” or something like “I'm glad to hear that happened”.
よく来た…=良うこそいらっしゃいました
よく言った
...

Just avoid よく when it's ambiguous. “Make something well” has the lowest priority.
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby yangmuye » Sun 12.25.2011 5:59 pm

Hektor6766 wrote:1 more stupid question: would 描けていた make sense? It uses the 已然形 and (at least the past tense) of いる. :?

It's not 已然形 but 可能形. However 可能形(as well as all 無意志動詞) is usually used to express a situation “something is finished” or “you find something done”.(Maybe we can call it resultive apsect?) So 已然形 may be a better name. :D

I want to start a new thread to talk about it.
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby NileCat » Sun 12.25.2011 7:12 pm

Thanks for clarifying it, yangmuye.
Yeah, this is an interesting subject, isn’t it? :wink:

Well, there is just one very little, tiny thing I’d like to point out, I'm afraid.
yangmuye wrote:よくつくる has the same structure as おいしく作る. I think the grammar has no problem, just that よく is ambiguous.

There is a very subtle difference in grammar, I guess. I’m not that sure about this, though…
おいしく is a…形容詞の副詞的用法 whereas よく is an adverb.
Say, you can use any i-adjective’s 副詞的用法 here. 青く作る/低く作る/凄く作る・・・no matter how ambiguous the meaning is, the verb 作る can take any adverb-ish adjectives grammatically, right?
But when it comes to adverbs, this verb 作る can’t take, say, 程度を表す副詞 like とても. So, strictly speaking, よく is not in the same group as おいしく. Do you know what I mean? The word よく has two faces. One of which is an 形容詞「よい」の副詞的用法. And another one is a pure adverb which doesn’t conjugate. Which means, the word よく is…a kind of special term in grammar. Any opinion on this? :)
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby yangmuye » Sun 12.25.2011 8:29 pm

こんばんはNileCatさん。いや、おはようですね。

I mean there is no grammatical problem to use “どんなろうりをよく作りますか” to express “What kind of cooking do you make well?”, but よく is ambiguous so we should avoid it(using よく to express do ~ well).
Actually I'm not sure if there is any non-ambiguous use of よく, so I didn't write “just avoid any such use”.


The verb is 作る, which doesn’t take the adverb よく as the one about the quality

But when it comes to adverbs, this verb 作る can’t take

In my deleted post, I have also mentioned the difference between adverbial form of adjective(形容詞の副詞的用法) and pure adverb such as まだ. However the boundary is hard to define.
Do you think よく as the one about the quality is 単純副詞 or is 形容詞の副詞的用法?
I think it's 形容詞の副詞的用法(the same as おいしく).
When reading 漢文, “善・能~” is read as “よく~す”. It means “do something well”. In modern Chinese, “能~” usually means ~ことができる. I know some Japanese people still use よく(ええ/よう○する) to express ability.

I found a sentence in my (Japanese-Chinese) dictionary:
よく詩を解する
Do you think it means “彼はしばしば詩を解読する” or “彼は詩を解読することが上手だ”?
The translation is the latter.
Well, it's probably because 解する also means わかる. Here よく means “very much”.

I searched “もっとよく作り” and “もっとよく作る” using google and found
来年はもっとよく作りたいと思っております
酷いのが俺作でマシなのが母作。次はもっとよく作る!
It's obviously that the よく is “the adverb よく as the one about the quality”, I think.
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Re: Is there a way to tell whether よく is an adverb or freque

Postby Hektor6766 » Sun 12.25.2011 11:52 pm

Thank you NileCat san.Your examples were illuminating.

yangmuye wrote
It's not 已然形 but 可能形. However 可能形(as well as all 無意志動詞) is usually used to express a situation “something is finished” or “you find something done”.(Maybe we can call it resultive apsect?) So 已然形 may be a better name. :D


已然形 is, I believe, the one of the only six Japanese verbal stem forms that indicates potential/ability. But with those qualities normally resting in the present or future, I can understand how 可能形 (the Chinese verbal form?) would certainly apply. So much was said about potentiality/ability (at least as far as よく referring to the performer as opposed to the quality of the resultant object), I began to wonder if past tense was applicable at all! Of course, NileCat san cleared that up. Now, I will read again to digest all this.

edit: I forgot to mention that the 已然形, which was the classical perfect form (hence the name), is used as the potential form in modern Japanese.
Last edited by Hektor6766 on Mon 12.26.2011 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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