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Just confused

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Just confused

Postby tanuki » Fri 05.26.2006 9:43 pm

Hello, people!

How are you doing? I was just learning the ways of saying "only, just..." and I got confused. I have some questions for you.

1) What's the difference between a positive だけ and a negative しか? For example, what's the difference between saying:

シャツだけを買いました。

and

シャツしかを買いませんでした。 ?

2) I didn't understand how ばかり must be used, nor its meaning very well. I'm confused! Is it also used like a particle, like だけ and しか? And what does it mean?

I hope you can help me clarify my doubts. Thanks a lot in advance, bye!
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RE: Just confused

Postby keatonatron » Fri 05.26.2006 10:16 pm

1. The meaning is basically the same, however しか adds the feeling of the item's quantity being small. Kind of like "I only bought a shirt" and "I bought one measly shirt".

If your girlfriend was going to hang out with a friend of hers who is a guy, and explains with "話したりだけするだよ!" that's okay, but if she said "話したりしかしないよ!" you should be worried because it sounds like she wants to do more than talk (but can't). ;)

2. ばかり has many meanings. Using ばかり after a noun means "only" or "nothing but", but in the sense that there is a lot of it. Like "I went to a party last night, and there was nothing but guys" or "I went to a potluck and there was nothing but appetizers."

タバコ屋へ行って、Zブランドだけあった。 I went to the tobacco shop, and they only had Z brand. (so, I bought Z brand)
タバコ屋へ行って、Zブランドしかなかった。 I went to the tobacco shop, but they only had Z brand (and I wanted X brand. [so, I didn't by anything])
タバコ屋へ行って、Zブランドばかりだった。 I went to the tobacco shop, and it was wall-to-wall Z brand!

All of these terms are quite flexible, and can be used in situations different from above. Using ばかり, for example, can convey one's disappointment like しか. It could also mean good things; if you WANTED Z brand, walking into a shop that is Zブランドばかり might make you very happy.
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RE: Just confused

Postby tkbits » Sun 05.28.2006 2:14 pm

だけ emphasizes exclusion of all else.

テレビだけする。 He watches TV only, he does nothing else.

ばかり emphasizes sameness. Such as every time, everywhere, it's the same, it's the only thing there.

テレビばかりする。 Every time he's here, it's the same thing. That's the only thing he does - watch TV.

http://www.guidetojapanese.org states the difference as "lack" (だけ) vs. the opposite (ばかり). (It doesn't say "abundance".)
Last edited by tkbits on Sun 05.28.2006 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Just confused

Postby tanuki » Tue 05.30.2006 7:07 pm

Great, guys, I think I understood it now. Thanks.

Keatonatron-san, that was a very funny example (that with the girlfriend)! :D
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