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Grammar page 3

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The third 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.


But でも

But, a small word, but... There are other "buts" but demo is the most common. Learn this first and you can pick the others up later.

でも demo - but

nihongo ga suki demo, furansugo wa kirai desu.
I like Japanese, but I hate French.

But けれども

From most formal to least formal けれども keredomo けれど keredo and けど kedo.

  • although, though

けれども can be used as a conjunction to join two sentences. It goes after the verb or copula (です / だ) of the first sentence.

konpyu-ta- wa suki dakedo, takai desu.
I like computers but they are expensive.

But ですが desu ga will be covered in a later lesson.

Fillers ええと

In English, we have our "um." in Japanese, they have their "eeto." This is the sound you make when you can't think of what to say, but want to say something!

何の動物が好きですか? nan no doubutsu ga suki desu ka? What animal do you like?

ええと・・・、ねこがすきです。 eeto..., neko ga suki desu. Um..., I like cats.

Very とても

とても totemo, often written as とっても tottemo.

Sometimes mom's cooking isn't just oishii (delicious) it is VERY OISHII!

Add とても totemo before adjectives to say "very"

totemo oishii desu.
It's very delicious!

totemo ookina ki desu.
It is a very big tree.


非常に hijou ni 超 chou (kind of slang - chou means "super-")

I think と思います

This goes at the end to show that you believe what you say, but are not 100% sure. It is also used to show one's opinion.  If there is a desu change it to da which is the more casual form and add to omoimasu

1. The speaker is not totally sure of the accuracy of his info...

kuma no pu-san wa kuma da to omoimasu.
Winnie the Pooh is a bear, I think...

Next is an example of showing one's opinion. It is true for the speaker, but may not be so for the listener.

nattou wa oishii to omoimasu.
I think Natto is delicious

Basically you can say any sentence and if you want to soften it or show you are not sure, or show your opinion add to omoimasu

To want ~がほしい

Saying "I want (something)" is pretty easy. Just say the thing you want and add ga hoshii to it.

nomimono ga hoshii desu.
飲み物【のみもの】:"a drink." がほしい【がほしい】:"want to have."
(I) want a drink.

NOTE: The desu is not used in plain or informal Japanese.

Next, let's ask a question. Can you figure out how to do it? That's right, add a ka.

ke-ki ga hoshii desu ka.
ケーキ【ケーキ】:"cake" がほしい【がほしい】:want to have Do you want cake?

ほしい hoshii is an adjective so can be conjugated just like other i-adjectives.

ke-ki ga hoshikatta desu.
I wanted cake.

As ほしい hoshii is an adjective it can be used before nouns like other adjectives.

hoshii hon ga arimasu.
There is a book I want. すs

Want to do~ ~たい

First get the ~ます masu form of the verb you want to do. Then drop the ~ます masu and add ~たい tai.

たべます tabemasu (to eat) たべ tabe たべたい tabetai (want to eat)
のみます nomimasu (to drink) のみ nomi のみたい nomitai (want to drink)
します shimasu (to do) し shi したい shitai (want to do)

Of course if you want to say "do you want to..." Just add ka

ke-ki o tabetai desu ka.
Do you want to eat cake?

~たい tai is an adjective and can be conjugated like normal i-adjectives.

shinitakatta desu.
I wanted to die.

As ~たい tai is an adjective it can also be used before nouns like other adjectives.

yomitai hon ga arimasu.
There is a book I want to read.

There is / There are

For inanimate objects (objects, plants...), end the sentence with ~が あります ga arimasu

木です。 ki desu. It's a tree. [lit. tree is.]

木があります。 ki ga arimasu. There is a tree(s).

For living things (people and animals) use ~が います ga imasu.

ねこがいます。 neko ga imasu. There is a cat(s).

To show the negative just add -sen to the end

あります arimasu  ありません arimasen Another more casual form of arimasu that you don't have to learn now is... ある aru  ない nai

います imasu  いません imasen Another more casual form of imasu that you don't have to learn now is... いる iru  いない inai

Maybe you know these useful phrases:

お願いがあります。 onegai ga arimasu. I have a favor to ask. 問題ない。 mondai nai. No problem! [this is the casual form of arimasen]

To like... がすき

It is easy to like something and to say it! Just add ga suki after the object that you like:

neko ga suki desu.
I like cats.
[note: Nouns don't change in number (no s) so it could mean "a cat". Also note the desu is often dropped in speech - "neko ga suki." is fine!]

Why なぜ、どうして

2 ways to say "why" are:

  1. なぜ naze - why
  2. どうして doushite - why

They are basically interchangeable and start at the beginning of the sentence and are followed by the question

naze (doushite) watashi no ke-ki o tabemashita ka?
Why did you eat my cake?
[There isn't a "you" but obviously you wouldn't be asking yourself this question.]

You can skip ahead to lesson 5 to read about the related なぜなら.

Making adverbs from adjectives

However i-adjectives and na-adjectives can be used other ways as well.

  • Adjectives at the ends of sentences.

クレイさんの車は赤いです。kureisan no kuruma wa akai desu.
Clay's car is red.

クレイさんは元気です。kureisan wa genki desu.
Clay is well.

In polite (~masu form) text both sorts of adjectives are used with です desu after them. With i-adjectives it is usual to have the adjective change, but the desu not changing. (前の車は黒かったです。mae no kuruma wa kurokatta desu. The previous car was black.)

In dictionary (plain) form i-adjectives need nothing after them at the end of sentences. (クレイさんの車は赤い kureisan no kuruma wa akai) but na-adjectives are more like nouns and have to have the plain copola だ da after them (クレイは元気だ。kurei wa genki da.)

  • Turning adjectives into adverbs

Both i-adjectives and na-adjectives can be turned into adverbs, that is used to modify verbs. Let's see how that works.

i-adjective as an adverb
クレイさんの車は速く走っています。kureisan no kuruma wa hayaku hashitteimasu.
Clay's car is going fast.

As you can see you just change the final 'i' to a 'ku'.

And now for na-adjectives.
ポールさんは下手に歌っています。po-rusan wa heta ni utatteimasu.
Paul is singing badly.

This time you just put a 'ni' after the na-adjective (instead of a 'na').

STOP and test yourself.

Continue to lesson 4 Go back and review lesson 2

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