Grammar Dictionary


aru ある )

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Definition:  1. to be, to exist (for inanimate things) ;
2. to have

Aru‘ is a verb meaning “to exist” or “to have”. It is only used to indicate the existence of inanimate objects such as:OBJECTS 2

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Example Sentences:

1. くうせきはありますか。
Kuuseki ga arimasu ka?
Are any seats available?

2. せっけんがありません
Sekken ga arimasen.
There is no soap.

3. わたしにはゆめがふたつある
Watashi ni wa yume ga futatsu aru.
I have two dreams.

4. わたしははやくおきたくありませんでした
Watashi wa hayaku okitaku arimasen deshita.
I didn’t want to get up early.

exclamation-markAru is a verb, therefore it can be conjugated into the following tenses like any other Japanese verb:


exclamation-markiru is a verb which also means (to exist / to have) just like aru does, the difference is that iru is used to refer only to animate, living things such as:

People & Animals


haha wa daidokoro ni imasu.
My mother is in the kitchen.

Watashi wa inu to neko wo katte imasu.
I have a dog and a cat.

ato de あとで )

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Definition:  Afterwards; after; later

Ato de is an adverb meaning “after” or “later”. ‘Ato de‘ comes after nouns, the particle no, and verbs in plain past form.

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Example Sentences:

1. くわしいことはあとではなします。
Kuwashii koto wa ato de hanashimasu.
I will tell you the details later.

2. がっこうのあとできみのいえにいきます。
Gakkou no ato de kimi no ie ni ikimasu.
I’ll go to your house after school.

3. あとででんわをします。
Ato de denwa wo shimasu.
I’ll call you later.

4. あらしのあとはしずかでした。
Arashi no ato wa shizuka deshita.
It was calm after the storm.

post-it-note   exclamation-markThe particle “de” is sometimes dropped in casual conversation since the noun “ato” alone carries the meaning of “after a certain point in time”. (See example #4)

ba ば )

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Definition: if

The ~ba conditional is used to indicate a condition, and an action, or state that will come to exist or be performed whenever that condition holds true. Like the other Japanese conditionals (“nara”, “tara” and “to”) it corresponds to the English “if” conditional.

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Example Sentences:

1. あしたあめがふれあらんへいかない。
Ashita ame ga fureba Aran e ikanai.
If it rains tomorrow, I won’t go to Aran.  (“Aran” is a park in Hokkaido, Japan)

2. もっとせがたかけれいいのになあ。
Motto se ga takakereba ii no ni naa.
I wish I were taller.
(This sentence literally reads : If I were taller, it would be nice.)

3. しんしであれ、そんなことはしないでしょう。
Shinshi de areba, sonna koto wa shinai deshou.
If you were a gentleman, you would not do such a thing.

post-it-note   There are 3 other ways to express the conditional -if form. They are are very similar in meaning but the usage changes as well as the nuance. They are “nara”, “tara”, and “to”. So try and get used to those other forms as well.

baai ( ばあい )

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Definition:  in the case, if

Expresses the consequence of a hypothetical situation. It is also used to tell you what action to take if a given situation occurs. ‘baai‘ is used similarly to the expression “In the case” or “if” in English.

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Example Sentences:

1. しゅうまつ に しゅっぱつ する ばあい は りょうきん が ご せん えん あがり ます。
Shūmatsu ni shuppatsu suru baai wa ryōkin ga gosen-en agarimasu.
In the case that you depart on a weekend, the fee will increase by 500 yen.

2. カップル ばあい ペア せん えん なり ます
Kappuru no baai wa pea de nisen-en ni narimasu.
In the case of couples, it will be 2000 yen for the two.

3. かじのばあいはベルをならせ。
Kaji no baai wa beru o nanarase.
In case of a fire, ring the bell.

bakari ( ばかり )

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Definition:  only, about to, just did, always

Bakari is a particle that roughly corresponds to the English words “just” or “only”. However, while the use of bakari implies that “nothing else exists but this”, it also implies “there is a lot of the thing that *does* exist”.

When used in the context of time, bakari means “to be ready to” (when used together with the plain non-past tense), or “has just happened” (when used together with the plain past tense).

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Example Sentences:

Watashi wa ima tsuita bakari desu.
I just arrived now.

2. かのじょはいつもこうかなふくをかってばかりいる。
kanojo wa itsumo kouka na fuku wo katte bakari iru.
She is always buying expensive clothes.

3. かれはゆうきがあるばかりでなくけんめいでもある。
kare wa yuuki ga aru bakari de naku kenmei demo aru.
He is not only brave but wise.

4. 私はここ3年ばかりあの人に会ってない。
Watashi wa koko san-nen bakari ano hito ni atte nai.
It’s been about three years since I’ve seen that person.

post-it-note   When “bakari” follows a noun, it usually replaces other particles.

Similar expressions:
bakari de naku, bakari ka, dake, hodo, kurai, shika, tokoro da

darou ( だろう )

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Definition: probably; seems; I think; must be; most likely

Darou is the volitional form of the Japanese copula de aru.
Darou is used when making a conjecture:

Definition of conjecture: an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.

Darou roughly translates to “Probably” in English and carries the nuance of :
(It am pretty certain that it will probably X, although there is a slight chance that it might not X)

Using Darou is like saying you are 90% sure of what you are stating, but you acknowledge that there is a 10% chance that you might be wrong.


verb + darou
Present: iku +   darou (will probably go)
Past:       itta +   darou (probably went)

i-Adjective in plain past or present form + darou
Present:  hayai darou         (is probably fast)
Past:        hayakatta darou (was probably fast)

na-Adjective in it’s stem form + (datta) darou
shizuka darou
shizuka datta darou

Present form:   noun + darou
Past form:         noun + datta + darou
Present:             gakusei darou   ( is probably a student)
Past:                   gakusei datta darou  (was probably a student)

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Example Sentences:

1. かれはねっているだろう
kare wa nette iru darou.
He’s probably sleeping.

2. たぶん、あしたはゆきがふるだろう
Tabun, ashita wa yuki ga furu darou.
It will (probably) snow tomorrow.

3. こにやはあめがふるだろう
konya wa ame ga furu darou.
It will (probably) rain tonight.

4. あれがしやくしょだろう
are ga shiyakusho darou.
That must be the city hall.

5. かれはまもなくつくだろう
kare wa mamonaku tsuku darou.
He is likely to arrive soon.

6. そのしけんはたぶんとてもむずかしいでしょう
Sono shiken wa tabun totemo muzukashii deshou.
That test is probably very difficult.

post-it-note   Deshou is the formal version of darou. These two terms can be used interchangeably.  It’s simply a matter of deshou being formal, and darou being informal.

Other usages of darou/deshou:

Usage 2: (Right?)
When Darou/deshou is said in a rising intonation, the meaning changes to (Right?) (Don’t you agree?) or (isn’t it?)
Saying darou/deshou in a rising tone means that the speaker is seeking agreement or confirmation from the listener.

A. Kimi datte sou omou darou?
You think so too, don’t you?

B. Sorosoro kurisumasu darou?
Christmas is soon, right?

C. Ano hito wa Yamada san deshou?
    That person is Mr. Yamada, am I right?

D. Kono pizza wa oishii deshou?
This pizza is delicious, isn’t it?


Usage 3: (I wonder…..)
When the particle ‘ka‘ is added to ‘darou’ or ‘deshou’,  the meaning changes to:  “I wonder..”

A. Kore ikura darou ka.
     I wonder how much this is.

B. Kono fureezu no imi wa dou naru deshou ka.
    I wonder what this phrase means.

C. Hikouki ga jikan doori kuru darou ka.
    I wonderif the plane will arrive on time.

Two things you must keep in mind about darou is:

  • darou can mean anything from “probably” to “most likely” in terms of certainty
  • darou is a unique word whos meaning can change depending on the context and tone.

hou ga ii ( ほうがいい )

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Definition: had better, should

hou ga ii is a Japanese expression used to make a strong suggestion, roughly equivalent to the English expression “[You] had better ~~.”

“hou ga ii” follows verbs in plain form. When used to make a suggestion about what one *should* do, it is possible to combine it with both the past (example sentence #1) and non-past (example sentence #2) affirmative forms of the verb. Use of the past form is more common, usually taught first in beginner’s Japanese courses, and indicates a stronger suggestion than use of the non-past verb.

When used to make a suggestion about what one *should not* do, “hou ga ii” follows negative verbs in non-past form only. (Example sentence #3.) It is not possible to combine “hou ga ii” with the past form of negative verbs.



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Example Sentences:

1. 彼らの言うとおりにしたほうがいい。
Karera no iu tōri ni shita hou ga ii.
You had better do what they say.

2. もっとゆっくり食べるほうがいい。
Motto yukkuri taberu hou ga ii.
You ought to eat more slowly.

3. 君はそこに行かないほうがいい。
Kimi wa soko ni ikanai hou ga ii.
You had better not go there.


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Definition: I wonder

“Kashira” is a sentence ending particle used in informal speech, almost exclusively by females, to express a high degree of uncertainty.

Formation: :

V.plain/plain past + kashira
会う + かしら・au + kashira – I wonder if someone will meet.
会った + かしら・atta + kashira – I wonder if someone met.

i-adj /past + kashira
美味しい かしら・oishii kashira – I wonder if something is delicious
美味しかった かしら・oishikatta kashira – I wonder if something was delicious

na-adj /past + kashira
幸せ かしら・shiawase kashira – I wonder if someone/somthing is happy
幸せだった かしら・shiawase datta – I wonder if someone/something was happy

noun /past + kashira
先生 かしら・sensei kashira – I wonder if someone is a teacher
先生だった かしら・sensei datta kashira – I wonder if someone was a teacher

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Example Sentences:

1 今日はもう来ないつもりかしら。
Kyō wa mō konai tsumori kashira. – I wonder if he/she plans on coming today.

2 週末は晴れるかしら。
Shūmatsu wa hareru kashira. – I wonder if it’ll be sunny this weekend.

3 また会えるかしら。
Mata aeru kashira. – I wonder if we’ll be able to meet again.

post-it-note   ‘kashira’ is primarily used by females in informal situations. ‘kana’ also means “I wonder” and is used by male and female speakers although its intended for male speakers. ‘ kana ‘ is used in informal speech, whereas ‘kashira’ is considered polite speech.

koro / goro(ころ)

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Definition: around, about

“Koro” is a Japanese word meaning “about” or “around”, in reference to some period of time. When this word is used as a suffix, its pronunciation changes to “goro”.

When suffixed to a word directly indicating time (such as “noon”, “1969”, etc.) it obfuscates the time. Thus, 一時ごろ (“ichi-ji-goro”) means “around one o’clock”. (Example sentence #1)

In addition to this most common usage, “goro” has two other meanings.
1) When suffixed to the -masu stem of a verb, it indicates the ideal time for that verb to take place. Thus, 食べごろ (“tabegoro”) means “ready to eat”. (Example sentence #2)
2) When suffixed to a noun, it creates a new compound word indicating “moderacy”, “appropriacy”, etc. with respect to the original noun. Thus, 年頃 means “an appropriate age”. (Example sentence #3)



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Example sentences:

1. 一時ごろ帰りますよ。
Ichi-ji-goro kaerimasu yo.
I’ll be back at one o’clock.

2. このミカンは食べごろだ。
Kono mikan wa tabegoro da.
This mandarin orange is ripe for the eating.

3. 私は一人で生活できるぐらいの年頃です。
Watashi wa hitori de seikatsu dekiru gurai no toshigoro desu.
I’m around the right age to start taking care of myself.

post-it-note   “Goro”, in its most commonly used sense, is not to be confused with “kurai”/”gurai”, which is used to obfuscate a period of time. “Goro” is not used in combination with time periods, but is used to obfuscate the exact instant at which something will occur.

This expression is usually written in hiragana only.

mae ni(まえに)

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Definition: before, in front of

“mae” is a noun that means “before” in both the spatial and temporal sense. When used to express “before” in its temporal sense, the form “mae ni” is most commonly used.

“Mae”/”mae ni” directly follows verbs in plain, non-past form, and nouns (followed by the particle “no”).


Verb.plain.nonpast + mae ni
Noun + no + mae ni

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Example Sentences

1. 私の家の前に車が止まっています。
Watashi no ie no mae ni kuruma ga tomatte imasu.
There’s a car parked in front of my house.

2. 食事の前に手を洗いなさい。
Shokuji no mae ni te o arainasai.
Wash your hands before eating.

3. 暗くなる前に家に帰ってきなさい。
Kuraku naru mae ni ie ni kaette kinasai.
Come home before it gets dark.

nai de(ないで)

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Definition: without doing something

“nai de” is a negative te-form of a verb. It is used to express that someone does not do something that he or she is expected to do. Also it is used with “kudasai” to form the command “please don’t do~.”

negative form of verb + de (で) (ex: tabenaide = without eating)
Example Sentences:

1. 努力しないで合格しようなんて考えがあまい。
Doryoku shinai de gōkaku shiyou nante kanngae ga amai.
Wanting to pass an exam without effort is just wishful thinking.

2. 図書館では飲食はしないでください。
Toshokan dewa inshoku wa shinaide kudasai.
Please don’t eat or drink anything in the library.

3 動物にえさをあたえないでください。
Dōbutsu ni esa o ataenaide kudasai.
Please don’t feed the animals.

post-it-note   Zuni is another way of saying “without doing something”. Zuni is an exact equivalent to the naide form. They both convey the same meaning and serve the same pupose. The difference is that zuni is considered to be more polite and is not often used in everyday day conversation, but you will hear zuni quite often in songs and see it written in Japanese literature.So keep an ear out for it!

nakereba narimasen(なければなりません)

nakereba naranai(なければならない)

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Definition: have to, need to, must, should

‘Nakereba narimasen’ is a phrase consisting of the -ba conditional and “narimasen” which is the negative form of the verb “naru” which means “to become; to change into”. This phrase is used to indicate necessity, or make an assertion that something is expected to exist in a certain state. In English, this phrase translates to “have to”, “should” or “must”.


  • -nakereba narimasen with verbs:
    verb in negative form + nakereba narimasen
  • -nakereba narimasen with i-adjectives:
    i-Adj. stem + ku nakereba narimasen
  • -nakereba narimasen with na-adjectives:
    na-Adj.stem + de nakereba narimasen

Example Sentences:

1. 8時に駅まで彼女を迎えにいかなければならない。
Hachi-ji ni eki made kanojo o mukaeni ikanakereba naranai.
I have to be at the station to pick her up by 8 o’clock.

2. 明日のテストで100点とらなければならない。
Ashita no tesuto de hyaku-ten toranakereba naranai.
I have to get 100% on tomorrow’s test.

3. 玄関では靴を脱がなければならない。
Genkan de wa kutsu o nuganakereba naranai.
You have to take your shoes off in the genkan.

post-it-note   This expression is related to ‘ nakereba ikenai ‘.


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Definition: do (Imperative form also known as the command form)

Nasai is used to command someone to do something. “nasai” is known as the imperative form of the polite honorific verb “nasaru” which is verb meaning ‘to do’. When suffixed to the -masu stem of another verb, it acts as an auxiliary, expressing a polite imperative.

Although “nasai” is in the polite form, it should not be used if the listener is higher in status than the speaker. ‘nasai’ is most commonly used by parents or teachers when speaking to the children.



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Example Sentences:

1. 早く部屋を掃除しなさい。
Hayaku heya o sūji shinasai.
Hurry up and clean your room.

2. 私の言うことをちゃんとききなさい!
Watashi no iukoto o chanto kikinasai!
Listen to what I say!

3. 夕飯までには帰ってきなさいよ。
Yūhan made ni wa kaette kinasai yo.
Get back home before dinner.

post-it-note   Although it is possible for other forms of the verb “nasaru” to suffix to -masu stems of other verbs, the -nasai form is easily the most common. The form ‘te kudasai” is also used to make requests, and is more polite and less commanding therefore it is best to stick with ‘te kudasai’ in formal situations.Both ‘te kudasai’ and “nasai” are commonly used so try to learn both.


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Definition: because

The conjunction node indicates a reason or cause. When we use it in this way, it is interchangeable with kara. However,node is more objective than kara. Because of that, node carries a softer and more polite connotation.

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Example Sentences:

1. 結婚するので、家を買った。
Kekkon suru node, ie o katta.
“Since we’re getting married, we bought a house.”

2. その店は安いので人気がある。
Sono mise wa yasui node ninki ga aru.
“That store is inexpensive so it’s popular.”

3. iPhoneは便利なので人気がある。
Aifon wa benri na node ninki ga aru.
The iPhone is popular because it’s so useful.

4. 今日は日曜日だったので、たくさん人がいる。
Kyō wa nichi-yōbi datta node, takusan hito ga iru.
“There were a lot of people because today was Sunday.”


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Definiton: although

“Noni” is a conjunction that connects two facts, and is used in a structure like “[fact A] + noni, [fact B] .” This structure means “in spite of the expectations stemming from [fact A], [fact B] goes against those expectations.” So, “noni” means “despite–“, “in spite of the fact that —“, or “although”.

“Noni” may also be used at the end of a sentence, in which case it indicates dissatisfaction with an unexpected result. If a sentence ending with “noni” is directed towards the person believed to be responsible for this result, “noni” converts the sentence into an admonition.


i-Adjective.plain + noni(のに)
Verb.plain + noni(のに)
na-Adjective, stem + na + noni(のに)
Noun + na + noni(のに)

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Example Sentences:

1. くたびれているのに休む時間がありません。
Kutabirete iru no ni yasumu jikan ga arimasen.
I’m exhausted, but I don’t have time to rest.

2. 外は寒いのにT−シャツ一枚の人がいました。
Soto wa samui no ni T-shatsu ichi-mai no hito ga imashita.
It’s cold out, but there are still people wearing just t-shirts.

3. 食べているのに太らない。
Tabete iru no ni futoranai.
He eats a lot, but he doesn’t get fat.

4. 君は私に真実を言うべきだったのに。
Kimi wa watashi ni shinjitsu o iu beki datta no ni.
You should have told me the truth.


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Definition: seems like, looks like, I hear/heard, like something/someone

the auxiliary adjective rashii is the commonly used informal phrase to convey “seems like, looks like, I hear/heard, like something/someone.” It expresses the speaker’s conjecture based on what the speaker knows or has heard or seen. Rashii is used to express that something/someone is like something/someone. This usage may be best exemplified by the fact that rashii can be directly appended to a person’s name to indicate that some act, speech, etc. is highly characteristic of the person whose name rashii has been appended to.

V.informal + rashii
i-adjective + rashii
na-adjective + rashii
noun + rashii

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Example Sentences:

Yoshi wa sono kakō de dekaketa!! Yoshi rashii.
Yoshi went out looking like that!! That’s just like Yoshi.

post-it-note   Rashii is often used in informal Japanese to substitute for sou desu.


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Definition: want to do something

The auxiliary adjective -tai is used to express a desire to do something. When using this grammatical construction, the subject is usually the speaker expressing either a desire to do something or asking the listening party about its desire to do something. This grammar construction is created by adding tai to the masu stem of verbs.

As tai is an auxiliary adjective, it is conjugated as an i-adjective. Therefore, to express the desire to not do something the negative form of tai, takunai, is used.


Verb Class;Dictionary Form;Masu Stem;Tai Construction;English
Class I;飲む・Nomu;飲み・nomi;飲みたい・nomitai;want to drink
Class II;食べる・taberu;食べ・tabe;・食べたい・tabetai;want to eat
Class III;する・suru;し・shi;したい・shitai;want to do

Plain; Negative; Past affirmative; Past negative
飲みたい; 飲みたくない; 飲みたかった;飲みたくなかった
nomitai;nomitakunai; nomitakatta; nomitakunakatta
tabetai; tabetakunai; tabetakatta; tabetakunakatta
shitai; shitakunai; shitakatta; shitakunakatta

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Example Sentences:

Maguro no sutēki ga tabetai desu.
I want to eat tuna steak.

Kanojo to issho ni sumitai desu.
I want to live with her.

Benkyō shitakunai desu.
I don’t want to study.

Pairotto ni naritakatta.
I wanted to be a pilot.

Kinō wa, nani mo tabetakunakatta.
I didn’t want to eat anything yesterday.

post-it-note   The tai form expresses one’s desire to “do” something, and should not be confused with the related expression hoshii, which means to want something.

When speaking about the third person, one usually does not use -tai, but rather, -tagaru is used. Adding tagaru to the masu stem of verbs creates a standard class 1 verb and conjugates as such. See tagaru.

te kara

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Definition: after / after having done something / since

After the –te form of a verb, kara means ‘after’. In this construction the event in the main clause (i.e. the verb at the end of
the sentence) generally follows on immediately after the verb in the subordinate clause and the sequence of events has been planned in advanceby the subject of the main clause.


te-form of Verb + kara + [main clause]

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Shokuji shite kara térebi o mimáshita.
I watched television after having my

Suzuki san ga kite kara
soodan shimashóo.
Let’s discuss it after Mr Suzuki comes.

Nihón ni tsúite kara súgu Nihongo no benkyoo o hajimemásu.
I’ll start studying Japanese
immediately after I arrive in Japan.

te kudasai

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Definition: Please do something

The formation of “te-form of verbs + kudasai” allows us to make polite requests. It is used to ask someone to do something for you. It literally means “Please give me your doing of…”


* [te-from of a verb] + kudasai. = Please do…

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Example Sentences:

Kore o tabete kudasai.
Please eat this.

Eki ni kite kudasai.
Please come to the station.

Kono hon o yonde kudasai.
Please read this book.

te miru

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Definition: try to do something

“-te miru” means to try to do something to for the experience or in order to see the result. In this structure the attached “miru” acts as an auxiliary verb, and is conjugated as a class 2 verb.


V.te + miru

Class1: au-> atte + miru = attemiru (try to meet)
Class2: taberu-> tabete + miru = tabetemiru (try to eat)
Class3: suru -> shite + miru = shitemiru (try to do)

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Example Sentences:

1. 私はやってみる。
Watashi wa yatte miru.
I will try to do it.

2 沖縄へ行ってみてください。
Okinawa e itte mite kudasai.
Please try to go to Okinawa.

3 私も食べてみたいです。
Watashi mo tabete mitai desu.
I also want to try to eat it.

te mo ii

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Definition: 1. may / is alright

The phrase te mo ii has two major usages. (1) to give permission or express that something is alright, and (2) to ask for permission to do something.


(V / adj-i / adj-na , N + Copula).te mo ii

食べて も いい
tabete mo ii
may eat; it is alright to eat

冷たくて も いい
tsumetakute mo ii
it is alright if s.t. is cold

静か で も いい
shizuka de mo ii
it is alright if s.t. is quiet

学生 で も いい
gakusei de mo ii
it is alright if s.o. is a student

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Example Sentences:

1 ラジオを聞いてもいいです。
Rajio o kīte mo ii desu.
You can listen to the radio. (permisson)

2 ここで本を読んでもいいですか。
Koko de hon o yonde mo ii desu ka?
May I read a book here?

3 それが欲しいので、高くてもいいです。
Sore ga hoshii node, takakute mo ii desu.
I want it, so it’s alright if it is expensive.

4 急いでいるから、タクシーでもいいです。
Isoide iru kara takushī demo ii desu.
I’m in a hurry, so a taxi is alright.

post-it-note   When the te mo ii phrase is attached to a verb, it expresses a request for permission, or giving permission.In casual speech the ‘mo’ in te mo ii is often omitted, exmaple “kiite ii desu (You may listen/ It’s alright to listen.)

When te mo ii is used with the negative te-form, it means “one does not have to do s.t.” or “it is all right if s.t. is not s.t.”.

1 今日、学校に行かなくてもいいですか。
Kyō, gakkō ni ikanakute mo ii desu ka?
Is it all right if I don’t go to school today?

2 もうAさんに頼んだので、Bさんじゃなくてもいいです。
Mō A-san ni tanonda node, B-san janakute mo ii desu.
I already asked A-san, so it is all right if it is not B-san.

Furthermore, more polite expressions, such as yoroshii and kamaimasen, can be used in place of ii to make the phrase more polite.

1 窓を開けてもよろしいですか。
Mado o akete mo yoroshii desu ka?
Would it be all right to (May I) open the window?

to iu

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Definition: called ~, that ~

The phrase to iu is the combination of the quotation-marking particle to and the verb iu (言う), meaning “to say.” This phrase is followed by a noun, as in “–to iu [noun]” and it marks the information which identifies or explains the following noun.

A noun or phrase comes before this phrase, like “[noun A] to iu [noun B]” or “[clause] to iu [noun].” “[noun A] to iu [noun B]” means “B called A.” “[Clause] to iu [noun]” means “the noun that ~.” The noun can be a noun indicating communication or emotion, such as hanashi meaning “story,” shirase meaning “news” or kimochi meaning “feeling.” It can also be koto meaning “thing,” as in “[clause] to iu koto” which is usually tranlated as “that —.”

Formation: :

1) [noun A] という [noun B] = “B called A”

2) [clause] という [noun*] = noun that ~

Clause to iu noun Translation
明日の会議は延期する という こと that tomorrow’s meeting will be postponed
彼が引っ越す という 知らせ the news that he is going to move
彼女に戻ってきて欲しい という 気持ち the feeling that he wants her to come back

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Example Sentences:

Watashi no shusshin wa “Tsu” to iu machi desu.
“I’m from a city called ‘Tsu.'”
•「HANA-BI」っていう映画が 好き。
“Hana-bi” tte iu eiga ga suki. ]
“I like a movie called ‘Hana-bi.'”
•あの人は 何という人ですか。
Ano hito wa nan to iu hito desu ka.
“What is that person’s name?”
Kanojo ga kekkon suru to iu koto o shitte imasu ka.
Do you know that she is getting married?
Watashi wa, kanojo ga Amerika ni iku to iu hanashi o kikimashita.
I heard (the story) that she is going to US. = I heard about her going to the US.


  •  This phrase is usually written in all kana.
  • Please note that in informal conversation, we often replace the quotation particle to (と) with tte (って).


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Definition: speaking of

This –tte(って) is a colloquial topic-introducer. When it is attached to a noun, it corresponds to the topic marker wa(は). When it is attached to a sentence, it is corresponds to “to iu no wa(というのは).”


* Noun + tte(って)
* Verb/i-adj. plain nonpast + tte(って)(= to iu no wa(というのは))

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Example Sentences: :

Tokyo no chikatetsu tte, benri da ne.
Speaking of the subway in Tokyo, it is convenient.

Yakyū tte, hontō ni tanoshii yo. Issho ni yarō!
Baseball is a lot of fun. Do you want to join us?

Heya ni hana ga aru tte ii ne.
It’s nice to have a flower in the room, isn’t it?

Mainichi nikki o kaku tte muzukashii yo.
It’s so hard to keep writing a diary every day.

post-it-note   The sentence final particles ne(ね) or yo(よ) is often used in the sentences with -tte(って) used in.

wake ga nai

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Definition: there is no reason why

“Wake ga nai” is a phrase which indicates the lack of a reason to believe something, or that a given result does not follow from some line of reasoning.”Wake” acts as a dependent noun, and follows verbs in plain form, adjectives, and nouns (followed by the “de aru” copula.


i-Adjective + i + わけがない
na-Adjective + na + わけがない

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Example sentences:

1. こんな大変な仕事が君に出来るわけがない。
Konna taihen na shigoto ga kimi ni dekiru wake ga nai.
There is no way you can do such a hard job.

2. よしがプロのダンサーであるわけがない。
Yoshi ga puro no dansā de aru wake ga nai.
There’s no way that Yoshi is a professional dancer.

post-it-note   This expression is usually written in hiragana only.

When “wake” acts as an independent noun, this expression indicates that something occurs easily.

Yosen no tsuuka wa wake ga nai.
Getting through the preliminaries was a piece of cake.

related expression: hazu ga nai


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Definition: than

“Yori” is a particle used to compare the degrees of a quality of two different objects. It is used in a sentence structure like “A wa B yori X” which means “A is X-er than B.”


A + wa(は) + B + yori (より) + X
A is X’er than B

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Example Sentences:

1 電車は車より速いです。

– Densha wa kuruma yori hayai desu.
Trains are faster than cars.

2 金は銀より値段が高いです。

– Kin wa gin yori nedan ga takai desu.
Gold is more expensive than silver.

3 ひらがなは漢字より簡単です。

– Hiragana wa kanji yori kantan desu.
Hiragana is easier than Kanji.

you da

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Definition: it seems that

“you da” expresses the speaker’s conjecture based on what one can see, but also “yō da” can express the speaker’s judgment based on the first hand information from other senses like taste, smell or touch. It is conjugated in the same way as na-adjectives.


* Verb/i-adj. plain + you da.
* Noun/na-adj.stem + no + you da.

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Example sentences:

1. お店はもう閉まっているようだ。
O-mise wa mou shimatte iru you da.
It seems that the shop is already closed. (→ visual information)

2. 少しゆで過ぎたようだ。
Sukoshi ude sugita you da.)
It seems that I boiled it too long. (→ taste)

3. いいにおいがする。隣の家の夕食はシチューのようだ。
Ii nioi ga suru! Tonari no ie no yuushoku wa shichū no you da.
Smells good! It seems that my neighbor is going to have stew for dinner. (→ smell)

Douyara, kore wa honmono no kegawa no you da.)
Apparently, it’s a real fur. (→ touch)

post-it-note    This expression is related to ‘ Mitai da ‘.

you ni/na ( ように・な )

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Definition: like, resembling

The you ni/na construction is one of the ways of expressing the idea of “like, resembling.” This construction is usually used with very “concrete” information that is based on things such as reliable first hand knowledge and/or observations. Of the “like, resembling” phrases, this is the most sure, the least based on heresay or conjecture.


To use the you ni/na construction with a noun, simply place the particle no after the noun, followed by you ni/na.

Part of speech;Example;Plain present/past;Add you ni/na
verb;taberu;taberu/tabeta;you ni/na
i-adj;oishii;oishii/oishikatta;you ni/na
na-adj;hima;hima na/hima datta;you ni/na
noun;Nihon;Nihon no/Nihon datta;you ni/na

We also have the construction “A wa B no you da” or “A wa B no you desu” which simply means “A is like/resembles B.”

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Example Sentences

1 山下さんのように強くなりたい。
Yamashita-san no you ni tsuyoku naritai.
I want to become strong like Mr. Yamashita.

2 山下さんのような人になりたい。
Yamashita-san no you na hito ni naritai.
I want to become a person like Mr. Yamashita.

3 このような天気では外に出られない。
Konoyou na tenki dewa soto ni derarenai
I can’t go outside because of weather like this./I can’t go outside in weather like this.

post-it-note   Take a look at sentence examples 1 and 2. These two examples both use the you ni/na construction, but with one important difference. The particle following you is different in each sentence. When an adverb, verb, or i-adjective follows you, ni is used as shown in sentence 1)  and when a noun or na-adjective directly follows follows you, na is used (as shown in sentence 2).

zuni ( ずに )

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Definition: without doing something

“Zuni” is a compound word constructed from “zu” (the connective form of the negative auxiliary “nu”) and the particle “ni”. It attaches to the imperfective form of the verb (i.e. the -nai stem), and is used as an adverb meaning “without doing something”.

Although “zuni” is identical in formation and meaning to the “naide” form, it should be noted that “zuni” is primarily used in formal speech and written Japanese. In addition, the “zuni” form for suru-verbs is not “shizuni”, but “sezuni”.

Verb.negative. stem + ずに (ex: tabezuni = without eating)

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Example Sentences

Kare wa nezuni benkyou shita.
He studied without sleeping.

Takeshi wa kinou bangohan o tabezuni neta.
Takeshi went to bed without eating dinner.

post-it-note   naide is another more popular way to say “without doing something”. It is more commonly used in everyday conversation, whereas ‘zuni’ is considered more polite and mostly seen in written Japanese.


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