Code and Stuff

Japanese Grammar Extravaganza!

by Don on November 22, 2020 underjapanese

It’s been a little while since I’ve written anything on the subject of Japanese grammar, or indeed anything at all, so I figured I’d do a little catch up by making some notes of grammar points and what not that I’ve recently studied on my own and while working with my instructor. This is mostly for my own use, to collect this stuff into a single repository where I can check back on it, but if you find it to be useful at all, then great!

On to the grammar!

Noun+で/から できる/できている

This is a construct to indicate that something is made of something else. から is used when the material isn’t obvious, and できている is used when speaking of something specific, while できる is used more generally.

私の家は木でできています。
My house is made of wood.

この車はプラスチックからできています。
This car is made of plastic.

ボルチモアのバーガークッキーは沢山のチョコレートでできています。
Baltimore Berger Cookies are made with a lot of chocolate.

Adjective Stem + さ

If you attach this to an adjective, it becomes a noun - this works for both い and な adjectives.

私の昼ご飯の辛さは足りない。
My lunch isn't spicy enough.

カナダの冬の寒さは苦手だと思います。
I think the coldness of winter in Canada is hard to deal with.

コーヒーの温かさは最高ですよ!
The warmth of coffee is the best!

Noun + の / Verb + ように

This indicates that something resembles something else, or when something is as the latter part explains.

彼は子供のように見えるけど、35歳です。
He looks like a child, but he's 35.

赤ちゃんのように泣き続けたら、マクドナルドに行けません!
If you keep crying like a baby, you can't go to McDonald's!

CDで聞いたように歌えば、上手になるでしょう。
If you sing as yo uheard on the CD, you'll become good at it.

~は~で(有名だ/知られている)

This gives a reason for something being famous.

ボルチモアはカニで有名です。
Baltimore is famous for crabs.

猫は昼寝をすることで知られているのに、僕の猫はいつも走り回っています!
Although cats are known for napping, my cats are always running around!

日本語の難しさで有名ですけど、勉強したいです。
Although Japanese is famous for its difficulty, I want to study it.

ロシアは冬で有名です。
Russia is famous for winter.

Verb (non past)+こと(が/も)ある

This indicates that something occasionally occurs.

日本語がわからないことがあるけど、毎日勉強をしています。
Sometimes I don't understand Japanese, but I study every day.

お金があっても、時々レストランに行きたくないことがある。
Even if I have money, sometimes I don't want to go to a restaurant.

毎日のように掃除をしていますが、ゴロゴロをすることもあります。
I clean almost every day, but sometimes I relax.

学校の後に、たいてい家に帰るが、おなかがすいてコンビニに行くこともある。
After school, I usually go home, but occasionally I'm hungry and I go to a convenience store.

~か/かどうかは Noun に(よって違う/よる)

This says that something is different depending on the situation.

一番好きな食べ物は人によって違う。
Favorite foods depend on the person.

卒業式は学校によって違います。
Graduation ceremonies vary depending on the school.

犬を飼うことができるかどうかは、家の大きさによります。
Whether you can keep a dog depends on the size of your house.

Verb stem + 始める

This is used to say that you are beginning to (verb).

私は起きた後に、朝ご飯を食べ始めた。
After I woke up, I started eating breakfast.	

元気になりたいから、最近走り始めている。
I want to get well, so I started running recently.

兄はラジオを点けた時、みんなは歌い始めた。
When my brother turned on the radio, everyone started singing.

Noun + Particle + の + Noun

明日、午後9時からのコンサートに行きます。
Tomorrow, I'm going to a concert which starts at 9pm.

水曜日までの祭りがあるから、新宿に行きたいです。
I want to go to Shinjuku, because there's a festival that lasts until Wednesday.

兄へのゲームを買いに行く。
I'm going to buy a game for my brother.

~は Sentenceと言われている

This indicates something is commonly said about the something.

漢字のせいで日本語は難しいと言われている
Because of Kanji, Japanese is said to be difficult.

犬は本当に優しいと言われている
It's said that dogs are very kind.

~と言えば

This is basically “speaking of ~”

カニと言えば、お腹が空いた。。
Speaking of crab, I'm hungry..

あ!学校と言えば、私の宿題を忘れてしまった!
Oh!  Speaking of school, I forgot my homework!

東京と言えば、新宿御苑に行ったことがある?
Speaking of Tokyo, have you been to Shinjuku Gyoen?

本と言えば、先週、妻と一緒に新しい本屋に行った。
Speaking of books, last week I went to a new bookstore with my wife.

~とか

This lists things in a way that indicates there are more things, much like や, but can also be used for verb phrases. The final とか is optional if it’s followed by a particle, but required if it isn’t. It’s also required when using する.

毎日、運動とか掃除とか昼寝をします。
Every day, I do things like exercising, cleaning and napping.

日本に行った時、ラーメンとかカレーを食べました。
When I went to Japan, I ate things like ramen and curry.

キックボクシングとかボルダリングとか合気道とかすることが好きです。
I like things like kickboxing, bouldering and Aikido.

~というのは (Nounのこと/ということ or Sentenceということ/という意味)

This gives a definition of a word.

"How are you?"というのは「元気?」という意味だ。
"How are you?" means 「元気?」

「ちょっと待って!」というのは"Hold on a moment"という意味です。
「ちょっと待って!」 means "Hold on a moment".

「柔術」というのは"gentle art"という意味です。
Juujutsu means "gentle art".

Conclusion

That’s it for now! Mind you, some of these sentences may not be perfect, or they may be grammatically correct but a bit unnatural to actually use - nevertheless, they illustrated the grammatical concepts enough for me not to be corrected too harshly on them.

Most of this can be found in the first chapter of Tobira, which is a pretty good intermediate level textbook. Of course, you can also find these at many sites around the Internet.


© 2021 Don Walizer Jr