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Grammar page 2

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(Practice Text 2)
(Practice Text 2)
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じゅうたい (n,vs) congestion (e.g., traffic); delay; stagnation; (P)
じゅうたい (n,vs) congestion (e.g., traffic); delay; stagnation; (P)
*josei:sumimasenga, bureisan desuka.
*josei:sumimasenga, bureisan desuka.
*po-ru:hai, po-ru burei desu. tanakasan desu ka.
*po-ru:hai, po-ru burei desu. tanakasan desu ka.
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*tanaka : gomen ne, jiko de michi ga juutai deshita.
*tanaka : gomen ne, jiko de michi ga juutai deshita.
*Woman : Excuse me, are you Mr Blay?
*Woman : Excuse me, are you Mr Blay?
*Paul:Yes. I'm Paul Blay. Are you Mrs Tanaka?
*Paul:Yes. I'm Paul Blay. Are you Mrs Tanaka?

Revision as of 20:48, 7 July 2008

The second page of the grammar lessons.

Have you learned the kana yet? It's not good to have to rely on romaji all the time. See Learn Hiragana and Katakana lesson 1.


Practice Text 2

This text uses concepts explained up to this point

Paul is still at the airport and has been sitting and waiting for some time when a man comes up to him.

  • じょせい:すみませんが、ブレイさんですか。
  • ポール:はい、ポール・ブレイです。田中さんですか。
  • 田中:はい、田中です。日本へようこそ。
  • ポール:どうしておくれましたか。何かありましたか。
  • 田中:ごめんね、事故で道がじゅうたいでした。

はい (int) yes
日本 【にほん(P); にっぽん】 (n) Japan; (P)
(N.B. にほん is the normal way to say Japan but にっぽん is still often used in some circumstances).
ようこそ (int) welcome!; nice to see you!; (P)
遅れる(P) 【おくれる】 (v1,vi) to be late; to be delayed; to fall behind schedule; to be overdue; (P)
ごめん (int,n) (uk) your pardon; declining (something); dismissal (P)
事故 【じこ】 (n) accident; incident; trouble (P)
道 【みち】 (n) road; street; way; (P)
じゅうたい (n,vs) congestion (e.g., traffic); delay; stagnation; (P)


  • josei:sumimasenga, bureisan desuka.
  • po-ru:hai, po-ru burei desu. tanakasan desu ka.
  • tanaka:hai tanaka desu. nihon e youkoso.
  • po-ru : doushite okuremashita ka. nanika arimashitaka.
  • tanaka : gomen ne, jiko de michi ga juutai deshita.


  • Woman : Excuse me, are you Mr Blay?
  • Paul:Yes. I'm Paul Blay. Are you Mrs Tanaka?
  • Tanaka:Yes, I'm Mrs Tanaka. Welcome to Japan.
  • Paul : Why were you late? Did something happen?
  • Tanaka : Sorry, the road was jammed by an accident.


Pronouns are not used nearly as much in Japanese as they are in English. Often the pronoun is used once and then after (until the topic shifts to someone else) the pronoun is dropped. Still they are very important!

Learn watashi and anata well tachi and ra are endings that indicate plurality! Easy! :)

I - わたし watashi WE - わたしたち watashi tachi
YOU - あなた anata

YOU - あなたたち anata tachi

HE - かれ kare THEY - かれら kare ra
SHE - かのじょ kanojo
IT - IT isn't used but in IT's place sore (that) is often used -- Don't worry!

Another meaning of kare (he) is actually "boyfriend" and kanojo is "girlfriend"!
When the meaning is obvious, the pronoun is usually dropped. In context both of the following are clear in meaning:
わたしはアメリカからきました。watashi wa amerika kara kimashita. I came from America.
アメリカからきました。amerika kara kimashita. (I) came from America.

See more about this on the Pronouns page.

Possessive "'s" の

This is another nice part about Japanese. To show relationship or possession between 2 things just put a の no between them. The trick is knowing which goes to the left of the no and which goes to the right...

Think of it as: の => 's

わたしのねこ watashi no neko - My cat
日本の車 nihon no kuruma - Japanese car [Japan's car]
ねこのおもちゃ neko no omocha - Cat's toy

Also think of: わたしの watashino as "my" and
あなたの anatano as "your"

Particles intro

In Japanese, grammatical parts of the sentence are shown very clearly by "particles." These particles are placed after the word (or phrase) they modify. The best way to learn to use them is to memorize useful examples and say them!

See also Particles page.
In colloquial use, some particles are often omitted. Dropping a particle is called 無助詞.

wa - overall topic particle

wa - overall topic particle - shows the main topic of the conversation (NOTE: it is a hiragana ha but pronounced as "wa" (See Wa vs Ha)

あなたはやさしいです。 anata wa yasashii desu. You are nice. [Makes "you" the main topic]

ga - the subject particle

ga - the subject particle - sometimes the difference between wa and ga is hard to tell. Sometimes they can be used interchangeably with only a slight change in meaning. More on wa vs ga in the next section.

ねこがへんです。 neko ga hen desu. The cat is strange. [Makes the "cat" the subject]

Comparing は and が

See also が vs は

The topic particle は can easily be confused with the subject particle が. That is because は overrides が, in other words in a sentence something can very easily be both the topic and the subject of that sentence. In such cases the が 'disappears' and it looks like the は is acting as a subject marker.

Take this simple sentence.

watashi wa kurei desu.
I am Clay.
["I" (that is the speaker, Clay) is the topic and now this is known, it won't be repeated unless the topic changes]

What is the subject of the sentence? That's right - "I" watashi is. But because "I" is also the topic only the topic marker は is used. Now we'll let Clay continue and say another sentence ...

neko ga suki desu.
(I) like cats.
["cats" is the subject here. "I" is still the topic. He could have said "watashi wa neko ga suki desu." but that is unnecessary because he has already said "watashi wa" establishing the topic in the previous sentence.]

if both are in a sentence, the wa is first.

o - The Direct Object particle

を o - The Direct Object particle

hon o yomimashita.
(I) read a book.
[NOTE: it makes "book" the object. If we were to say "I" it would be watashi wa at the beginning.]

ni - usually shows movement (to)

に ni - usually shows movement (to)

nihon ni ikimashou!
Let's go to Japan!
[There is movement going to Japan]

or shows time (at)

roku ji ni ikimashou!
Let's go at 6.

de - Shows location (at, in)

で de - Shows location (at, in)

nihon de asobimashou!
Let's play (have fun) in Japan!
[Notice there is no movement]

mo Also

も mo means "also" or "too" and like other particles, it is placed after the word it modifies. Let's see some examples:

watashi wa neko ga suki desu.
I like cats.

watashi wa neko ga suki, soshite inu mo suki desu.
I like cats, and I also like dogs.

N.B. The mo after inu replaces ga. You can't say "ga mo"

watashi mo neko to inu ga suki desu.
I also like cats and dogs.

NOTE: 私も watashi mo by itself means "Me too."

to And

と to - connecting nouns

watashi wa nihongo to eigo to furansugo ga hanasemasu.
I can speak Japanese and English and French.

More detail can be seen on と in Expressing and/or in Japanese#と and と can be used in more ways, detailed in Particles#と to

STOP and test yourself.

more on this

Adjectives (part 1)

There are 2 types of adjectives:

-i adjectives - adjectives that end in 'i', if you like their 'dictionary form' ends in 'i'.
-na adjectives - adjectives that add -na when placed before nouns

The -i adjectives change:

あつい atsui - (It's) hoti
あつくない atsukunai - not hot-i + kunai
あつかった atsukatta - was hot-i + katta
あつくなかった atsukunakatta - wasn't hot-i + kunakatta

The -na adjectives don't change! But when placed before nouns they add a -na

げんき genki (healthy, active, fine) げんきな子 genki na ko (healthy child)

The basic definition of adjectives is that they go before a noun to modify or further define it. For example in English "Car." -> "Red car." Japanese does just the same "車 kuruma" -> "赤い車 akai kuruma".

  • i-adjectives that are also na-adjectives

Some adjectives have both i-adjective and na-adjective forms. 大きい ookii vs 大きな ookina 小さい chiisai vs 小さな chiisana. For more insight on those see Ookii vs ookina.

  • Irregular adjectives

良い is an irregular adjective. It can be read both as よい yoi and as いい ii. However the いい version only exists in the dictionary form. When inflected the first part is always read as よ yo. In other words 良かった is always よかった yokatta and should never be いかった ikatta.

See more on よかった.

Negative i-adjectives

We say `not red` to show an absence of that color in English. In Japanese as with the verbs, the adjective`s ending is modified with a negative ending. You will notice a great similarity with the verbal endings.

With `i` adjectives the `i` changes to a `ku` before adding the `nai`.

At the end of sentences;
そのりんごは赤くないです。sono ringo wa akakunai desu. That apple isn`t red.

And in the middle of sentences;
赤くないリンゴもあります。akakunai ringo mo arimasu. There are also apples that aren't red.

Negative na-adjectives

`na` adjectives, when at the end of sentences, behave exactly like nouns.

First the positive sentence with です desu.

くるまです。kuruma desu. (That is) a car.

Then the negative sentence with a noun (exactly as seen earlier in conjugating Desu in Lesson 1).

くるまではありません。kuruma de wa arimasen. That is not a car.

Now the same with a na-adjective.

かのじょは元気です。kanojo wa genki desu. She is well.

And negative

かのじょは元気ではありません。 kanojo wa genki dewa arimasen.

Other versions of ではありません can be used instead (e.g. plain form - ではない dewanai, casual じゃない janai etc.)

私は、きれいじゃない。watashi wa kirei ja nai. I am not pretty.

To learn more about adjectives click here.

STOP and test yourself.

More on what can be done with adjectives in Japanese later.

Continue to lesson 3 Go back and review lesson 1

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