Japanese Grammar 100 – Part V

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81. no as a Pronoun

No can be used in place of a noun (indefinite pronoun) to mean “one” or “some.”


Use in place of noun:

青い の。

aoi no.
The blue one.

安い の が ほしい。

yasui no ga hoshii.
I want the cheap one. (computer, car, book, anything)


82. How to... —~かた ~kata

Attach かた kata to the stem of verbs to change it into a noun to mean: Way or Manner of doing or how to do...

Take the ~ます masu form of a verb minus the ます masu and then add かた kata.

漢字 の 読み方

kanji no yomi kata
How/Way to read (a) kanji

漢字 の 書き方

kanji no kaki kata

How/Way to write (a) kanji

Let’s ask, “Please teach me how to use chopsticks correctly.”

はし の 正しい 使い方を 教えて ください。

hashi no tadashii tsukai kata o oshiete kudasai.
Please teach me how to use chopsticks correctly.


83. Please Don’t...—~ないでください  ~naide kudasai

Sometimes you have to tell/ask people to not do something.

Take the ます masu form of a verb and drop the ます masu. Then add ないで ください naide kudasai.

ケーキを 食べないで ください。

ke-ki wo tabe naide kudasai.
Please don’t eat the cake.

スカイダイビングを しないで ください。

sukaidaibingu wo shinaide kudasai.
Please don’t go skydiving.


84. Have Done...—ことがあります koto ga arimasu

This is a very useful construction. Simply add it after a simple past form of a verb:


1) Take the simple past form of a verb.
2) Add ことがあります koto ga arimasu.

アメリカに 行った ことが あります か?

amerika ni itta koto ga arimasu ka?

Have you been to America?

納豆を 食べた ことが あります。

nattou wo tabeta koto ga arimasu.
(I) have eaten natto before.

Want a more in-depth look at こと? Click here for the full lesson.


85. To Decide to Have...—にします ni shimasu

Very often this phrase is used to mean, “I’ll have (some food or drink).” Next time you go to a Japanese restaurant, give this a try.

なにに します か?

nani ni shimasu ka?
What will you have?

私は てんぷら にします。

watashi wa tenpura ni shimasu.
I’ll have tempura.


86. About—ほど hodo

To say “about” as in “about a week” or to show an approximate degree of something, use ~ほど hodo.

1週間 ほど

isshuu kan hodo
About a week

駅は 10キロ ほど さき です。

eki wa jukkiro hodo saki desu.
The train station is about 10 kilometers ahead.

これは 5,000円 ほどで 買えます。

kore wa go sen en hodo de kaemasu.
This can be bought for about 5000 yen.


87. Even if—たとえ~ても tatoe  ~temo

Sometimes you need to wax poetic.

Construction: VERBS
1) たとえ tatoe +
2) Take the て te form of a verb
3) Add ても temo

とえ 世界が 終わっても・・

tatoe sekai ga owattemo
Even if the world ends...

とえ 失敗しても また 頑張りましょう。

tatoe shippai shitemo mata ganbarimashou..
Even if we fail, let’s keep at it.

Make the negative form of the verb with ても temo:

たとえ 二度と 会えなくても 忘れません。

tatoe nido to aenaku temo wasuremasen.
Even if we shall never meet again, I won’t forget.


88. And, and, etc—~たり ~tari

Doing this; doing that

1) Take the た ta form of a verb (simple past)
2) Add たり tari.

立ったり 座ったり。

tattari suwatari
Standing and sitting

ドルが 上がったり 下がったり。

doru ga agattari sagattari.
The dollar is rising and falling.

きょうは 買い物を したり レストランで 食べたり して たくさんの お金を 使った。

kyou wa kaimono wo shitari resutoran de tabetari shite takusan no okane wo tsukatta.
Today, I went shopping and ate at a restaurant, etc; I used a lot of money.


89. Closer While—ながら nagara

While doing this, I also did this...

1) Take the ます masu form of a verb and drop the ますmasu (the stem).
2) Then add ながら nagara.

音楽を 聴きながら 勉強を しました。

ongaku wo kiki nagara benkyou wo shimashita.
While studying, I listened to music.

本を 読み ながら ご飯を 食べます。

hon wo yomi nagara gohan wo tabemasu.
While eating a meal, I read a book.

One useful set phrase is


zan nen nagara

This means “That’s too bad” or “I regret (to say)” or “Unfortunately...”


90. May I...?—~てもいいですか? ~temo ii desu ka?

Asking permission and being polite go hand in hand. Here is how you do both in Japanese.

1) Take the て te form of a verb
2) Add もいいですか? mo ii desu ka.

電話を 使っても いい です か?

denwa wo tsukattemo ii desu ka?
May I use the phone?

休んでも いい です か?

yasundemo ii desu ka?
May I take a break? (from work, from studying, etc)

ちょっと 話しても いい です か?

chotto hanashitemo ii desu ka?
May I say something? (I’d like to speak a little)


91. Not Much—あまり amari

Not much; not really—Followed by a negative verb

Used in a negative sentence

日本語が あまり 上手 じゃない。

nihongo ga amari jouzu ja nai.
I’m not really good at Japanese.

あまり よくない。

amari yokunai.
(That’s) not really good.

踊りは あまり うまく ない。

odori wa amari umaku nai.
I’m not really good dancing.

金は あまり ない。

okane wa amari nai.
I don’t have much money.


92. The Power “そうsou

そう Sou, for our purposes today, means, “That’s right” or “That’s so” (the latter being an easy way to remember!)

This useful word is used in various idiomatic ways. It is best to learn each as an example by heart.

そう です。

sou desu.
Yes, that is right.

そう です か?

sou desu ka?
Is that so?; Really?; You don’t say?

そう いえば・・・

sou ieba...
Now that you mention it; speaking of that...

そう 考える と

sou kangaeru to...
Seen from that light; thinking like that; from that point of view

そう したら

sou shitara...
If you do it that way...; if done that way...

そう しない と

sou shinai to...
If you don’t do it that way, then...

And there are many more you will come across! Listen to how そう sou is used in conversation.


There are three basic types of honorifics for verbs. Which form to use depends on your “status” in relation to the person with whom you are speaking.

A) Humble (丁寧語 teineigo) - This is when referring to oneself or family and (usually) speaking to someone higher up in grade, position, age, or some other criteria for determining status. However, even some people with high positions may choose to use the humble form with those under him or her.

B) Normal - This is the standard form of a verb/noun that you use every day. (ます masu / です desu)

C) Exalted or Honorific (尊敬語 sonkeigo) - This is what you say to your boss or those higher up when speaking about them or to them. If you are speaking about yourself, you will use the humble form.





haiken shimasu



to see


goran ni narimasu





to say







to eat


meshi agarimasu





to come



to go







to do




94. Polite II—お~ください・お~になります o ~ kudasai / o ~ ni narimasu

o + stem + になります ni narimasu This makes a “normal” verb honorific (exalted) [You are speaking to or about someone with a higher status than you (your boss)]

社長と 話しました か?

shachou to hanashimashita ka?
Did you speak with the boss? (normal)

社長と お話 に なりました か?

shachou to o hanashi ni narimashita ka?
Did you speak with the boss? (polite)

何か 飲みません か?

nanika nomimasen ka?
Won’t you drink something? (normal)

何か お飲み に なりません か?

nanika o nomi ni narimasen ka?
Won’t you drink something? (polite)

o + stem + ください kudasai
This also makes a “normal” verb exalted; it is used when asking things - “please give me...”

売って ください。

utte kudasai.
Please sell (me this). (normal)

お売り ください。

o uri kudasai.
Please sell (me this) (honorific)

食べて ください。

tabete kudasai.
Please eat. (normal)

お食べ ください。

o tabe kudasai.
Please eat. (polite)


95. Giving & Receiving—あげる・くれる・もらう ageru / kureru / morau

These three verbs are easy to mix up, but they aren’t too difficult if you spend some time learning each word’s function. It is of course more complex than this page allows, but our overview should give you a fairly good understanding.

The Word: あげる ageru

When you, the speaker, give something to someone, use あげる ageru.

これを あなたに あげます。

kore wo anata ni agemasu.
I will give you this.

NOTE: The receiver is the one with the に ni particle (あなたに anata ni - to you).

The Word: くれる kureru

This is also usually translated as “give” but it is from the receiver’s point of view.

田中さんが これを 私に くれました。

tanaka san ga kore wo watashi ni kuremashita.
Tanaka gave this to me.

NOTE: Again, the receiver is the one with the に ni particle. (私に watashi ni to me)

The Word: もらう morau

もらう morau is used from the perspective of the receiver.

私が 友達から ケーキを もらいました。

watashi ga tomodachi kara ke-ki omoraimashita.

I received a cake from a friend. (My, the receiver, point of view)

NOTE: If から kara is used, the meaning should be pretty clear (友達から tomodachi kara from a freind), but you can also use に ni to show who is doing the action as in:

私が 友達に ケーキを もらいました。

watashi ga tomodachi ni ke-ki wo moraimashita.
I received a cake from a friend.

NOTE: The use of に ni with もらう morau can seem confusing considering に ni is used to mean the receiver in the two previous examples, but the 私が sets who the receiver is.


Add さ sa to adjectives to express a degree or amount.

Construction: -i adjectives:
Remove the trailing い i and add さ sa:

ぞうさんの 高さは どのくらい です か?

zou san no takasa wa dono kurai desu ka?
What is the height of an elephant?

NOTE: The さ sa shows a degree; this can be a higher, lower, wider, thinner, etc—some amount.

Construction: -na adjectives:
Just add the さ sa without the な na

この車 の 静かさは 驚くべき もの です。

kono kuruma no shizukasa wa odoroku beki mono desu.
This car’s quietness is amazing.

NOTE: The finished product (adjective + さ sa) becomes a noun phrase and is treated as a noun grammatically.


97. Just Did...—ばかり bakari

There are other uses for ばかり bakari, but today, let’s look at it as showing a completed action: “just...”

Add ばかり bakari after the simple past of a verb

食べた ばかり です。

tabeta bakari desu.
I just ate.

たてた ばかりの 

tateta bakari no ie.
A newly built house.

今 来た ばかり です。

ima kita bakari desu.
I just arrived.


Potential form of Verbs is used to show ability to do something.

Construction: The ~u Group (group 1 verbs)
Verb Root + eru / emasu

  • 書く kaku to write > kak (verb root) > kakeru (or kakemasu) - able to write

漢字が 書けます か?

kanji ga kakemasu ka?
Can you write kanji?

[NOTE: use が ga with the potential form]

Construction: The ~ru Group (group 2 verbs)
Verb Root + rareru / raremasu

  • 食べる taberu to eat > tabe (verb root) > taberareru (or taberaremasu) able to eat

ピーマンが 食べられます か?

pi-man ga taberaremasu ka?

Can you (Are you able to) eat green peppers?

Construction: The irregular Group (group 3 verbs)
The two irregular verbs should be memorized:

  • くる kuru becomes こられる korareru
  • する suru becomes できる dekiru

パーティに こられます か?

pa-ti ni koraremasu ka?
Can you come to the party?

NOTE: You can also easily do this with any simple past verb + ことができる koto ga dekiru.

 Rules for creating potential form:

  ・For ru-verbs: Replace the る with られる

      Ex. ()る → ()られる

  ・For u-verbs: Change the last character from 

           a / u / vowel sound to the equivalent / e / 

           vowel sound and add る.

                Ex. ()う → ()え → ()える


            1. する becomes できる

     2. くる becomes こられる

  Note: All potential verbs become ru-verbs.


In some very useful cases, you can turn nouns into adjectives. You should learn examples by heart since you can’t just stick 的 teki anywhere.

科学 kagakuscience (noun)

科学的 kagakutekiscientific (adjective)

歴史 rekishihistory (noun)

歴史的 rekishitekihistorical (adjective)


効果 kouka—effect

効果的 kouka teki—effective; successful

日本 nihon—Japan
日本的 nihon teki—Japanese-like; typically Japanese

And here is one more useful word:

目的 mokutekipurpose; goal; aim


100. The Explanatory “んです n desu

You may have heard this quite a lot and wondered what it’s all about! It is most often used, informally, to:

1) Explain something
2) Show emphasis

んです n desu is short for のです no desu; informal usage

Plain form verb + んです n desu

何を しているん です か。

nani wo shite iru n desu ka.
Whatcha doing?

テレビを 見ているん です。

terebi wo mite iru n desu.
Watching TV.

-i Adjective + n desu

この 映画は 面白いん です。

kono eiga wa omoshiroi n desu.
This movie was great!

And it can be used as a way to stress a point:

パーティに 行かない でしょう。

pa-ti ni ikanai deshou.
You won’t be able to make it to the party, right?

いいえ、僕は 行くん です。

iie, boku wa iku n desu.
No, I’m going!

いったい、どうしたん です か?

ittai, doushita n desu.
Just what exactly happened (to you)!!!?

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