Japanese Grammar

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What is grammar? When we try to tell something, we use “words” and the words should put together to create a proper sentence. In order to make your sentences correctly, you must follow its “set of rules“. 

Units of words and how to create sentences

Japanese sentence

  • Units of words

Phrases that are one of the units of words and it refers to the shortest part of a range that makes sense are important when you think Japanese grammar. When you first learned grammar, it is said that “A place that isn’t unnatural if you put 「ネ」(ne) is a delimit of a phrase.”.

e.g.)「今日はとてもいい天気です。」(Kyo u ha to te mo i i te n ki de su) =It is very good weather today.

→「今日はネ/とてもネ/いい天気です。」

「赤いチューリップの花が咲いた。」(a ka i tyu-rippu no ha na ga sa i ta) =Red tulip flowers bloomed.

→「赤いネ/チューリップのネ/花がネ/咲いた。」

Units of words are arranged in descending order of units: sentences > sentence(“.” to “.”) > phrase > word.

  • How to create sentences

A sentence is made of:

  • Subject: 雨が降る。(a me ga hu ru) It is rain.
  • Predicate (Verb): 虫が鳴く。(mu shi ga na ku) Insects crow.
  • Modifier: 彼は、速く走れる。(ka re wa ha ya ku ha shi re ru) He can run fast.
  • Conjunction: おなかが空いたので、お菓子を食べた。(o na ka ga su i ta no de o ka shi wo ta be ta) I ate snacks because I’m hungry.
  • Independent word: さあ、行こう!(sa- i ko u) Alright, let’s go!

Part of speech

  • A part of speech

part of speech of Japanese

  • Independent words that have to utilize: Verb, Adjective, Adjective verb
    1. A group whose basic form of a word’s the end with a sound of 「う(u)」 syllable such as「書く(ka ku=write)」and「読む(yo mu=read)」 is called Verb.
    2. A group whose basic form of a word’s the end with a sound of 「い(i)」 syllable such as 「楽しい(ta no shi i=enjoynable)」and「多い(o o i=many)」 is called Adjective.
    3. A group whose basic form of a word’s the end with a sound of 「だ(da)」 syllable such as 「穏やかだ(o da ya ka da=calm)」and「元気だ(ge n ki da=fine)」 is called Adjective verb.
      • These three part of speech that can become Predicate alone are called 「用言(yo u ge n=inflection)」.
  • Independent words that don’t have to utilize: Noun, Adverb, Ad-nominal, Conjunction, Interjection
    1. A group which mainly becomes subject such as 「私(wa ta shi=I)」and「富士山 (Fu ji sa n=Mt. Fuji)」 is called Noun.
      • A noun that can become Subject alone is called 「体言(ta i ge n=substantive)」.
    2. A group which mainly becomes attributive modifier that qualifies inflections such as 「とても(to te mo=really)」and「すぐに(su gu ni=soon)」 is called Adverb.
    3. A group which mainly becomes attributive modifier that qualifies substantives such as 「あの(a no=that)」and「たいした(ta i shi ta=great)」 is called Ad-nominal.
    4. A group which becomes connected words such as 「だから(da ka ra=so)」and「しかし(shi ka shi=but)」 is called Conjunction.
    5. A group which becomes independent words such as 「はい(ha i=Yes)」and「こんにちは(ko n ni chi wa=Hello)」 is called Interjection.
  • A dependent word that has utilize: Auxiliary verb

 

  • A dependent word that doesn’t have to utilize: Post-position

Demonstrative

It is a word pointing things, nature, condition etc. is called 「”こそあど”言葉(“ko so a do” ko to ba)」.

demonstrative of Japanese "kosoado"kotoba

This” 「これ(ko re)」 (近称=Ki n sho u) is close to you.

That” 「あれ(a re)」(中称=Chu- sho u) is far from you and the other person.

That” 「それ(so re)」(遠称=E n sho u) is close to the other person.

Which” 「どれ(do re)」(不定称=Fu te i sho u) is not determined how far from you.

Type of sentence

type of sentence in Japanese

 

  • Categorization of meaning
  • Declarative sentence 平叙文(he i jo bu n): It is a sentence that describe a meaning of assertion and guess. It is common that a declaration phrase is the final form of inflection or auxiliary verb.
    • e.g.) 私は会社員です。(wa ta shi wa ka i sha i n de su)=I’m a office worker.
  • Interrogative sentence 疑問文(gi mo n bu n): It is a sentence that states a meaning of interrogation and rhetorical question. It is common that a declaration phrase’s end with “ka(?)” of a particle.
    • e.g.)今日のお昼ご飯は何を食べましたか。(kyo u no o hi ru go ha n wa na ni wo ta be ma shi ta ka)=What did you eat for lunch today?
  • Exclamatory sentence 感嘆文(ka n ta n bu n): It is a sentence that meaning of impression. It is often accompanied by interjection and the proportional particle that express a meaning of impression.
    • e.g.)ああ、素敵な景色だ。(a a ki re i na ke shi ki da)=Wow, what a beautiful landscape!
  • Imperative sentence 命令文(me i re i bu n): It is a sentence that describes a meaning of instruction, prohibition, and desire. A declaration phrase finish the form of instruction and 「な(na)」that express prohibition.
    • e.g.)ここでたばこは吸うな。(ko ko de ta ba ko wo su u na)=Do not smoke here.

 

  • Categorization of structure
  • Simple sentence 単文(ta n bu n): It is a sentence that consists only of a relationship between subject and predicate.
    • e.g.)私は会社員です。(wa ta shi wa ka i sha i n de su)=I’m a office worker. 
  • Complex sentence 複文(hu ku bu n): It is a sentence that has multiple relationships between subject and predicate and is not in a parallel relationship.
    • e.g.)私は会社員を辞め、教師になった。(wa ta shi wa ka i sha i n wo ya me kyo u shi ni na tta)=I quit a office worker and became a teacher.
  • Compound sentence 重文(ju u bu n): It is a sentence that has multiple relationships between subject and predicate and is a parallel relationship.
    • e.g.)私は教師になり、彼は医師になった。(wa ta shi wa kyo u shi ni na ri ka re wa i sha ni na tta)=I became a teacher and he became a doctor.

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