なぜ?どうして?Currently reading pages 121 to 124


That’s how I understand it also.


Page 95. Thanks @Saruko and @emucat for all the helpful comments so far. That first sentence was really tough but think I have got my head around it now with your help!

I poured over the Jisho inflections of つける without finding one that matched. Jisho does have an entry for ならない (can’t help…/must not…/must…) and also for なければならない (have to do/should) though and that led me to this which was really helpful…



I can’t see where “sometimes” comes from.

I wonder if it is just: However, if you happen to put “手紙” in correspondence with a Chinese person, you must be careful.


Verb + ことが あります ?


Oh, right! We had talked about that earlier with this book…
…somewhere around this part of the thread: なぜ?どうして?Currently reading pages 92 to 95

I had forgotten, and was just choosing to ignore that part of this sentence :sweat_smile:

@Micki, how do you get the “to put” part in your translation?


Rather than “sometimes”, I’d translate this as “there is something you must be careful about”. Rather than the ことがある structure, I think it’s just plain old ことが + ある “there is a thing that exists”.

Yeah, it’s annoying when regular grammar disguises itself as an expression.

And boy did I find that pile of conditionals confusing as well…


Thanks all. Well remembered Saruko about the previous discussion on ことがある!

I used “put” because I was trying to get the right English for translating 手紙をやり取りする. The verb is something like “to exchange (letters)” so I went for “to put X in correspondence”. There might be a better way!!


After thinking about it for a bit, I’m wondering if rather than the conditional と, whether there’s it’s a grammar structure something like にする = to decide on. Grammar dictionary is not backing me up on this, though - while there’s a few grammar structures similar, there’s nothing quite the same.


p94 でも、手書きの 手紙は、気もちが こもって いて、もらうと うれしいものです。

I was trying to figure out what もの at the end of the sentence means and from what I can gather, it might have something to do with giving a reason, mean “because”, or emphasize some emotional thought or expression (or maybe none of these). If so, then うれしい might be describing someone who is receiving such a letter.

The sentence starts with “But” so it must be saying something in contrast to the previous sentence.

So my wacky guess would be:
But you are happy when you receive a handwritten letter full of thoughtfulness.

By the way, I’m still trying to figure out why ~ていて is used instead of just ~て. But using just ~て here when combined with もらう would give you ~てもらう construction which is something different from what I think the sentence is trying to say.

Feedback from anyone on the grammar and translation is definitely welcomed.


It just looks like… everything leading up to that is a relative clause modifying もの (thing). What kind of thing is a written letter? It’s a thing that is filled with feelings and which you are happy to receive.

I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that.

They use こもっている (in て form to continue the sentence after), because that’s the form you need to express that a state (such as being filled with something) is ongoing.


Ahhh, thank so much @Leebo! I was totally confused by this and still haven’t figured out what to do with ものだ when it pops up but I guess I was reading too much into it like you said.

So the progressive form to express a continuing state and ていて to make ている work as a conjunction here, OK. Thanks!


No problem. And btw, even if the grammar of “filled with feelings” didn’t require ている, you could have て、もらう and not have it be interpreted as てもらう. In speech you would just take a bit of a pause to make it clear that whatever て form came first was just the end of a clause, and that you were starting a new one that just happens to start with もらう. Here, the comma functions the same way, to make it clear.

And you can have ていてもらう if you wanted because the second て can function like any other.

待っていてもらう (I’m going to have you wait, and keep waiting)


OK, that makes sense. I didn’t want to rely on the commas used by this author because they seem to be very arbitrary and contributed to a lot of confusion earlier on in the book.


Ooh, I didn’t know もらう could be used with the progressive form. Wow, that’s good to know!


I was translating やり取りする as “exchanging” or “going back and forth”, with 手紙を being the object that is being exchanged, so that’s why I was thinking the whole phrase would just be “exchanging letters” or “sending letters back and forth”

The Tae Kim section 5.11.2 I referenced a few posts back is about the grammar construction ~ とする. Is it not in the DoBJ? (I’m not at home right now; can’t check mine.)


Intermediate has とする defined as “a phrase indicating that someone assumes something”

日本行くとすれば、いつ行ったらいいだろう = Assuming that we could go to Japan, I wonder what would be the best time.

Actually, that’s probably it. I’d looked it up in the index originally but didn’t think the summarised definition really worked, but in hindsight, it probably does.


Page 96:

もともと、日本も 中国も、「手紙」という ことばは 「いつも 手元に おいて つかう 紙」と いう いみでしたが、長い 時間が たつうちに、少しずつ べつの いみに、変わっていったのです。

Originally, for both Japan and China the word “手紙 letter” meant “paper to use always at hand”, but long time pass between them and the meaning changed a bit.

わたしたちが つかう かん字は、ほとんどが 中国から 来ました。

The Kanji we use, came mostly from China

しかし、このように 中国と 日本で ちがう いみに なっていった ことばが ほかにも あります。

However, in some cases, a word changed into a different meaning between China and Japan Lose translation

たとえば、中国で 「汽車」と 書くと、自動車の ことを さします。

For example, if you write “汽車 steam train” it means (indicates) automobile in China.


Page 96

Just beat me to it! I’ll put mine up for comparison!

もともと 日本も 中国も 「手紙」という ことばは 「いつも 手元に おいて つかう 紙」と いう いみでしたが、長い 時間が たつうちに 少しずつ べつの いみに、かわっていったのです。

Originally, in both Japan and China the word “手紙” meant “always-kept-to-hand paper”, but over a long time, little by little it changed to a different meaning.

わたしたちが つかう かん字がは、ほとんどが 中国から 来ました。

The kanji we use mostly came from China.

しかし、このように 中国と 日本で ちがう いみに なっていった ことばが ほかにも あります。

However, there are other words which in the same way took on (became) different meanings between China and Japan.

たとえば、中国で 「汽車」と 書くと 自動車の ことを さします。

For example, in China when you write “汽車” (train) it means automobile.


Checked my old Chinese dictionary to see if I could work out what that second line of furigana is doing on 汽車 (especially that (ア) at the end). The reading in Mandarin is qi(4)che(1). I’m… not entirely sure I’d transcribe that as チィーチゥー. And I’m still not sure what the ア is doing. I guess they’d know best, though?

Or perhaps it’s Cantonese?


On this link it says that furigana can be written in katakana when being used to write the foreign pronounciation of a kanji. So I think you are right that the second line of furigana is trying to tell us what the Chinese reading of 汽車 is.

There are more examples coming up on the next page that match up better with their reading in the online Chinese dictionaries.

I know it’s of very little importance but it would be nice to know what the (ア) means at the end!