は as a contrast marker

A series of questions, i apologize in advance but hope each can be answered.

I’ve been reading through a grammar textbook and came across a few concepts that are not explicitly covered. My understanding is that if I say something like

日本語は勉強しないつもりです

I’m saying that I’m not planning to study Japanese but rather planning to study something else. This would be in response to being asked:

日本語を勉強しますか?

But what if I want to respond with, “I’m not studying this weekend,”

Would the proper response then be:

何も勉強しない.

And what if I want to respond by saying that I’m not studying and want to imply that I’m doing something else, is there a grammar construction that lets me make that kind of implication, or is my only option to flat out say I’m not studying because I’m doing something else, like visiting my friend? Would that be

何も勉強しないんですが、友達と遊びに行くんですから

Is the ん necessary in the first clause, does leaving it out change the meaning? Or is leaving it in make it more natural?

Thanks in advance

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Somewhat related, but when using location marker に as in 公園に, if I say 公園には行かない I’m guessing I’m implying I will go elsewhere, but if I want to say I’m not going anywhere, would it be どこにも行かない?

Can “ 公園には行かない” ever imply that I’m not going to the park because I’m not going anywhere, or does it always imply I’m not going to the park but am going elsewhere?

I’d just say「今週末、勉強しない(です)。」

I’d probably say something like「今週末、勉強しないけど。。。」

Not sure if it always implies that you’re going elsewhere, but there’s not really much reason to use 「〜には行かない」if you can just use 「〜に行かない」when you don’t want to imply that you’re going somewhere else.

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That doesn’t sound right. I don’t think you can use both に and は in this sentence.

Sure you can. Why can’t you?

公園は行かない makes no sense at all.

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S-senpai… watashi no koto kirai desu ka?

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Okay, excuse my ignorance.

Here’s a good post about it:

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The question doesn’t mention the weekend, so if you answer that way, (and probably even if the weekend was already mentioned) you are literally saying you won’t study anything, let alone Japanese, ever. Just leave out 何も and add a time specification, a la 週末は勉強しない。to let the listener know that you won’t study on the weekend (but you might on other days). So you want the contrast to be on the time marker.

Here you want to contrast what you are doing, and what you are doing is something other than studying, so let’s put the contrast marker there: 勉強はしないけど、友達と遊びに行くつもりです。“I’m not studying but, I’m going somewhere to spend time with a friend.” or 勉強はしません。友達と遊びに行くんです。“I’m not studying. Because I’m gojng somewhere to spend time with a friend.”

The first clause does not need the ん. You usually use んですが if you need a favor, ie are going to ask the other to help you in some way. In the second clause it becomes explanatory, so you either use んです or ますから or even からです, but not んですから. That would be doubly explanatory.

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Saying that you do not intend to study Japanese kind of implies that the person asking already knows that you are not studying it. The new information would be that you’re not intending to do it in the (near) future as well.

But if someone simply asks you, if you are studying Japanese this is what they would like to know. Therefore I’d be surprised if for example I ask you “Are you learning Spanish?” and you’ll answer “Spanish, I do not intend to study.”

Answering with「日本語は勉強しないつもりです」may makes more sense in a scenario as the following:

  • Let’s assume you are planning to study East Asian Studies. And I’ll ask you if you are planning to include Chinese, Korean and Japanese into your studies. You then can let me know that you will study Chinese and Korean but you do not intent to study Japanese.

Wouldn’t that also be a good opportunity to use より, by the way? Maybe like 勉強するより友達と遊びに行くつもりです。Or is this only used in written language :sweat_smile:

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Related question to that: If you want to reply you’re not studying japanese but still study something else, would you be able to form that sentence with なら as in:
(今週末)日本語なら勉強しません。(intended meaning: when it comes to studying (this weekend), i’m not studying japanese (but rather something else)).
or is that solely used when implying something positiv about what you’re talking about?

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I think you can say it, but to me it also sounds like the first should be a perceived negative to the speaker, so I can imagine a mum saying to her kid, 友達に会うより、勉強しなさい!Or, maybe a friend could say: 勉強するより、遊びに来て?

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This more implies ‘when it comes to Japanese, I’m not studying, (but I will do other things related to Japanese)’ I feel.

If you want to express what you wrote, the なら goes here: 勉強なら、日本語は勉強しません。But it sounds odd to end the sentence there. So you would maybe add what you will study instead?

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Thanks for the example. I didn’t know I can use ~nara directly with nouns :slight_smile: DoBJG mainly stresses on ~nara used with sentences.

wasabi has the following example:

  • 日本ほんはなせるひとは(いる / いますか)?
    Is there a person who can speak Japanese?
  • ほん なら ボブがはなせ(る / ます)よ。
    If [you’re talking about] Japanese, Bob can speak [it].

So my understanding of 「日本語なら勉強しません。」would be something like “If it is Japanese you’d like to know about, I’m not studying it.”

I feel the same. I’d probably say something like「 勉強(する)なら、中国語と韓国語を勉強します。日本語は勉強しません。」or「勉強なら、中国語と韓国語です。日本語は勉強しません。」should be fine as well. => So in contrast to studying Chinese and Korean, I’d not be studying Japanese.

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Just a tip, with each entry in the DoBJG it’s important to pay close attention to the section labeled formation:

Formation

  1. {V / Adj (i)} inf(の)なら
    {話す / 話した} (の)なら (if it is true that s.o. talks / talked)
    {高い / 高かった} (の)なら (if it is true that s.t. is / was expensive)

  2. {Adj (na) stem / N} { ø / だった (の)} なら
    {静か / 静かだった (の)} なら (if it is true that s.t. is / was quiet)
    {先生 / 先生だった (の)} なら (if it is true that s.o. is / was a teacher)

In truth, 「なら」requires a noun. Note #3 from the DoBJG explains:

Since「なら」is the simplified conditional form of the copula, it requires a noun or noun equivalent. Thus, if the preceding element is not a noun, it is nominalized by 「の」, although this 「の」is optional in modern Japanese.

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Thank you very much for your explanations. I think I understand a little better where the contrast element gets placed depending on what it is that I’m trying to negate.

In the examples that have been provided, when using a negative construction は has been used. Is there ever an instance when を is used in negative sentence construction?

Again, thank you for the clarification you have provided!

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Plenty.

姉は日本語を勉強しないんだ。
My older sister doesn’t study Japanese.

駅の中にタバコを吸わないで。
Don’t smoke inside the train station.

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Of course :joy: !

So the は would replace the を when the object is the focus of contrast, correct?

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Yes, that’s a common use case for replacing 「を」 with 「は」

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Fair 'nough.