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Grammar page 4

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The third page of the grammar lessons.


Making the て form

If you know how to make this form, you can do a lot! Later we will look at other grammar points that are based on the te form. By itself the te form makes a verb a request (or demand)

1. のむ nomu (to drink) > のんで nonde (drink) 2. たべる taberu (to eat)> たべて tabete (eat) 3. する suru (to do) > して shite (do)

These are the ways to make the te form for each of the 3 types of verbs. If you are new to the "types of verbs" thing, don't worry. Now I know there are many grammarians out there that would argue against what I am about to say, but here's my advice. Don't worry about learning all the confusing rules about how to make this verb do that. Just say it as you feel it should be. Of course you will make many mistakes, but if you keep your ears open and learn from your mistakes you will get a feel for how the verbs work. Take the te form for an example. If you memorize the 3 examples at the top you should be able to guess what other verbs may change to. Or even if you guess wrong, the correct form should be at least familiar to you.

Become になります

To show the state of becoming... something, use ~に なります ni narimasu The ni is placed after what is becoming something. The narimasu means to become. Nouns and -na adjectives use ni narimasu. -i adjectives are different, but for now there are enough useful nouns to look at:

yoru ni narimashita.
It has become night.
[~mashita shows past]

tomodachi ni narimashou.
Let's become friends.
[the ~mashou means "let's"]

genki ni narimashita.
(I) have become fine / healthy.

To do, play する・します

Suru is a very useful verb. It is used where no other verb dares to go! (Foreign words, nouns, and other scary things...) Think of it as "to do..."

ジョギングする jogingu suru - to (do) jogging
ショッピングする shoppingu suru - to (do) shopping
サインする sain suru - to sign (autograph)


勉強する benkyou suru - to study
mainichi, nihongo o benkyou shimasu.
Everyday, (I) am studying Japanese.

The を o is the direct object marker. You will notice it moves around sometimes. Don't worry about this now, just concentrate on suru.

Another usage of する -or- します is "to play" as in sports or games

野球をする yakyuu o suru. To play baseball.
相撲をする。 sumou o suru. To play (do) Sumo.
バスケットバールをする。 basuketto ba-ru o suru. To play basketball.
将棋をする。 shougi o suru. To play shogi (Japanese chess)

more, ~er もっと

One easy way to say "MORE" or "-er" is to add a もっと motto before the thing you want to emphasis. This is one of the rare times that the word order is the same with English - or at least with the more part! Relish the moment (while you can)

{ motto ~ = more ~ }

もっとピーマンを食べなさい。 motto pi-man o tabenasai. Eat more green peppers.[~nasai is like the te form in that it gives commands, but it is stronger. ]


{ motto ~ = ~er }

もっと早く言って下さい。 motto hayaku itte kudasai. (Next time) please say (it) a little earlier. [Useful when someone tells you NOT to cut the yellow wire of the bomb after you have done that...]

Can できます

There are a couple of ways to say "I can..." in Japanese. The easiest is できます dekimasu. Let's look at how to form some sentences.

CAN + NOUN [できます]

1. 日本語ができます。 nihongo ga dekimasu.
I can (speak) Japanese. [I can do Japanese.]

2. 漢字ができます。 kanji ga dekimasu.
I can (read/write) kanji. [I can do kanji.]

3. スカイダイビングができます。 sukaidaibingu ga dekimasu.
I can skydive.

CAN + VERB [ことができます]

Actually, the above are all shortened versions without the verb. Let's add the verb. koto means thing, but here it is used to make a verb a noun so it will work with dekimasu.

1 日本語を話すことができます。 nihongo o hanasu koto ga dekimasu.
I can speak Japanese.

2 漢字を読むことができます。 kanji o yomu koto ga dekimasu.
I can read kanji.

Be creative and come up with things you can do!

more on this

-ing ている

This is a very important grammar point. It corresponds to the English "-ing" form

EAT > EATING (now) たべます > 食べて います

CONSTRUCTION: て form + います or いる

Use this to describe things happening now.

1.今 あなた に 話して います。 ima anata ni hanashite imasu. (I am talking to you now.) 2.今 ごはん を 食べて います。 ima gohan o tabete imasu. (I am eating rice (food) now.) 3.今 スカイダイビング を して います。 ima sukaidaibingu o shite imasu. (I am skydiving now.)

To make a question just add か to the end.

あなた は 勉強 して います か?anata wa benkyou shite imasu ka? (Are you studying?)

more on this

For example たとえば

Anytime you want to make an illustration or give an example this is the phrase to use.

私 は 和食 が 好き です。 watashi wa washoku ga suki desu. I like Japanese style food.

たとえば、ごはんと みそ汁。 tatoeba, gohan to misoshiru . For example, rice and miso soup .

You can also ask someone this to get more concrete information.

たとえば、 何? tatoeba, nani? For example, what?

more on power words

This これ・この

This and that. Actually Japanese also has one more. They also have "that over there" - but we will get at that later.

There are 2 words in Japanese that are translated as "this" in English:

これ kore - When "this" is not connected to a noun - hang on you will get it in a minute

これ は 何 です か? kore wa nan desu ka? What is this?

これ は ねこ です。 kore wa neko desu. This is a cat.

To say "This is" or "is this" the kore will probably be followed by a は wa

この kono - When you put "this" before a noun, it changes to kono

この ねこ は ポチ です か? kono neko wa pochi desu ka? Is this cat, Pochi?.

いいえ。 この 犬 は ポチ です。 iie kono inu wa pochi desu. No. This dog is Pochi.

It may seem strange at first, but after a while This and That become second nature!

That それ・その

This and that. Now we are on the THAT part. So this THAT refers to objects near the listener (not the speaker)

それ sore - when "that" is not connected to a noun

それ は 何 です か? sore wa nan desu ka? What is that?

それ は ねこ です。 sore wa neko desu. That is a cat.

Begin to think of the words starting with K's as "this" and the S's as "that" words

その sono - When you put "that" before a noun, it changes to sono

その ねこ は ポチ です か? sono neko wa pochi desu ka? Is that cat, Pochi?.

いいえ。 その たこ は ポチ です。 iie sono tako wa pochi desu. No. That octopus is Pochi.

This is used in the same way as kono

That over there あれ・あの

This and that. Now we are on the THAT OVER THERE part. So this THAT refers to objects not near the listener or the speaker.

あれ are - when "that" is not connected to a noun

あれ は 何 です か? are wa nan desu ka? What is that over there?

あれ は ねこ です。 are wa neko desu. That over there is a cat.

And now recognize A's mean That over there

あの ano - When you put "that" before a noun, it changes to ano

あの ねこ は ポチ です か? ano neko wa pochi desu ka? Is that cat over there, Pochi?.

いいえ。 あの くじら は ポチ です。 iie ano kujira wa pochi desu. No. That whale over there is Pochi.

Again they ALL are used in the same way.

Must do なければなりません

This is a mouthful! But it is so useful. Learn it well

TO MAKE IT: plain negative form - i +  ければ なりません kereba narimasen

ピーマン を 食べなければ なりません。 [Would be 食べない for the plain negative form ] pi-man o tabenakereba narimasen. (I) must eat green peppers. (Many Japanese children don't like green peppers)

Say that 5 times fast with your mouth full!

Perhaps the most useful usage is:

~しなければ なりません The し shi is from suru (to do)

勉強 しなければ なりません。 benkyou shinakereba narimasen. (I) must (have to) study.

しなければ なりません。 shinakereba narimasen. (I) must (have to) do (it).

た ほうがいい

When giving advice this is useful.

CONSTRUCTION: ta form (#3) + ほう が いい hou ga ii

休んだ ほう が いい。 yasunda hou ga ii. It would be better to rest.

聞いた ほう が いい。 kiita hou ga ii. It would be better to ask (someone).

NOTE: The ta form is the same as the past tense. (But obviously it is not past here)

better / worse than より、のほうがいい

This has the same hou ga ii as above. But here we using it to compare things. Also we will introduce yori (less than).

~の ほう が いい ~no hou ga ii (more than), 
~より ~yori (less than) 

This is a little confusing if you think too much on this! But I suggest memorizing one or two examples and then you should be able to keep it straight.

わたし は いぬ より、 ねこ の ほう が 好き。 watashi wa inu yori, neko no hou ga suki. I like dogs less than cats. (I like cats more than dogs.)

You should spend some time studying the above example to understand how the ordering works.

Notice in English we use either "less than" or "more than" and the meaning is understood by the order of "dogs" and "cats" BUT in Japanese this is also ok:

わたし は ねこ の ほう が 、いぬ より 好き。 watashi wa neko no hou ga inu, yori suki

Continue to lesson 4

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