I’m feeling pretty confident going into this one! I’ve been doing a lot serious grammar study lately, which probably helps. I do have a couple questions…
My attempts at looking things up indicate that 一敬 would mean something like “one respect.” My guess is that 一敬好きな means something like “number-one favorite,” but it is just a guess, and none of my usual resources could confirm that.
The use of する is also a little strange. My first thought was that this line was the mother saying “I made your favorite hamburger steak today.” But I have no source for する meaning “to cook.” So maybe it’s Kanami thinking “It’s because we did his favorite hamburger steak that day.” In the same way people say, 'let’s do lunch." ?
I’ve found the discussion very helpful. Besides everyone’s helpful answers, there have a few times (including just now) that I started to post a question about something that I felt really stumped by, only to find that once I began working on how to phrase the question, something occurs to me that helps me work out the answer on my own.
Ah! I knew I was forgetting something! I was going to include a section listing character names. 一敬 is the name かずたか, Kanami’s older brother.
I’m not very good at explaining 「nounに＋する」 in this usage, so I’ll do something I normally try to avoid, and just give its English counterpart. This is used when you “decide on” something, you “make a decision”. You’re deciding on the noun marked by に. Think of it as doing (する) toward (に) that noun. “I’ve done toward hamburger steak. I’ve decided on Hamburg steak.” Thus, “Today, I’ve decided on Kazutaka’s favorite Hamburg steak, therefore…”
There are a few things going on in Kanami’s line, which build up to the ばっかり at the end. We have a two clauses joined together, the first ending with いない and the second ending in できない. We have こと.
That first clause, 「おにいちゃんがいない」, sets us up with “Big Brother (Makoto) is not here.”
This is followed by the particle と, which makes it into a conditional. “When Big Brother isn’t here …” “If Big Brother isn’t here …”
The second clause tells what is true in that condition of the first clause. When Makoto isn’t around, 「できない」. できる is the potential form of the verb する. So, while する is “to do”, できる is “possible to do”. Attaching the stem でき with ない makes it negative; できない is “not possible to do”.
At this point, we have “When Makoto isn’t around, it’s not possible to do.” However, the sentence doesn’t end there. That whole combined clause is simply a modifier. It’s modifying the noun こと.
The noun こと is like the word “thing” in English, typically referring to a non-tangible thing. It’s like in English: “Why didn’t you do your homework last night?” “The thing is, I was busy reading manga.” This English usage of “thing” is a situation. “The situation is that I was reading manga, and that’s why I didn’t do my homework.” こと has a similar meaning, being an intangible thing, like a situation.
On its own, こと doesn’t have much of a meaning, no more than the word “situation” on its own. It needs to be modified to give it substance. This was seen in chapter five with Kanami wanting to learn more about Makoto’s こと, where 「まことおにいちゃんの」 modified こと.
Here, こと is modified by the clause leading into it: “The situation of not being able to do anything when Makoto isn’t there.”
Now, let’s bring in ばっかり. This is a limiter. When added after こと, it’s saying that that situation is the only situation. “There is only only situation that when Makoto isn’t here, Kanami is unable to do anything.”
In English, we might word this as “I’m never able to do anything when Big Brother Makoto isn’t here.” Note that for the English, I shifted the negative out of “able to do” and into “only”, which became “never”. English and Japanese are very different languages, so sometimes adjustments like this happen in translations for a more natural sound. This is why it’s keep to keep in mind that ばっかり is a limiter.
On thing to know about ばっかり is that it doesn’t have to be literal. It can be hyperbole. Here Kanami is saying she’s not able to do anything she Makoto’s around. But she likely prepares her own meals, goes shopping, maybe even does her own laundry. There’s a lot she can do on her own, but she’s feeling down that she can’t this one thing on her own, so she’s hyperbolically reflecting that she can’t do anything on her own.
なくて represents the connective 「て」 form for adjectives.
Since ない is a helper adjective, when it attaches to the verb できる, the result is actually an adjective as できない. (This is one of those concepts they’ll never teach you in textbooks. Instead, they’ll say ない is a “conjugation” of a verb, and that just makes Japanese come across as more confusing.)
The connective て form functions similar to the connective “and” in English. It can be used with nouns, adjectives, and verbs.
Connecting nouns: “My research is on cats and dogs.”
Connecting adjectives: “Kittens are small and fluffy.”
Connecting verbs: “I am holding scissors and running.” (Please don’t do this.)
In Japanese, you connect something to an adjective by removing the final い (in this case, the last letter in できない), and replacing it with くて. This means ない becomes なくて.
Kanami’s sentence here ends with 「できなくて…」 It’s common for Japanese speakers to end their sentence with this “and”, sort of trailing off without finishing their thought (symbolized here by the … at the end). The unspoken part is implied.
“I was foolishly running with scissors, and…” (unfinished part: “that’s how I ended up in the hospital.”) In this example, the listener is aware of the situation (the speaker being in the hospital), so the speaker doesn’t need to finish their sentence. It’s known from context.
(That should cover the question, but I’ll continue with the whole sentence for anyone who may still be early on in grammar learning and would like to read a bit more on how a sentence pieces together.)
Collapsing for length.
For the whole of Kanami’s line, it’s two sentences combined with けど (a particle similar to “however” in English).
The first clause goes, 「それで料理したんだ」
それだ refers to the story she just told about her brother’s favorite food, and its in the connective て form それで. “That (it the case), and…” In English, we might say “With that…” or “That said…” or “That being the case…” without a connective “and”. (English and Japanese function differently.)
料理する, “to do cooking”, “to cook”. But it’s in the completed form, した, so “did cook”.
「それで料理した」 “That being the case, I cooked.”
The explanatory のだ (spoken here as んだ) came up a bit in volume one’s discussion. The の is modified by the clause before it, making it one big noun, and the copula (coupler) だ says that “A is B”.
“∅ is それで料理した”
From this sentence alone, we don’t know what is 「それで料理した」. I wrote ∅ to represent this unknown subject (just for illustrative purposes here). In Japanese, the subject is simply left unspoken here, but in English we would use the pronoun “it”:
“It is それで料理した”
“It is that due to that being the situation, I cooked.”
Rather than simple saying she did this action, Kanami is explaining that she did this action. (Thus why の in this usage gets called “the explanatory の”.)
Next is the けど, the “however”:
“It’s because of that that I cooked, however …”
The second clause is:
Note that I’m leaving off the connective て at the end, as I’m looking at this clause in isolation for the moment.
やる is similar to する in being a fairly basic “to do” verb.
「何回やる」 “to do how many times”
Here, やる is in its connective て form やって, followed by the particle も. I’m sure there are really good explanations for this usage of も out there, but I’m not able to provide one myself, so I’ll simply go with the “memorize this” route of saying a connective て + も = “even if” in English.
「何回やっても」 “even if I do how many times” “no matter how many times I do it”
This ても suggests that even though the clause before it takes place, the clause after it is an unexpected result. No matter how many time she tries (to cook her brother’s favorite food), the result is not what Kanami expects to be the outcome.
The result portion is:
Here, 上手だ is acting as an adverb (an adjective for a verb). When this happens, the だ becomes に, so we see it is 上手に. The word 上手 means “proficient” or “skilled at”, so as an adverb, it means to do something proficiently, to be skilled at doing that thing.
The action here is the verb する, to do. It’s as generic an action as it can be. “To do proficiently.” “To do skillfully.” As the potential form, できる, to be able to do, it becomes “to be able to do proficiently”, “to be able to do skillfully”. Adding ない to this makes it without できる. “To not be able to do proficiently”, “to not be able to do skillfully.”
“I cannot be proficient at it.”
Bringing this much all together:
“It’s because of that that I cooked, however no matter how many times I do it, I cannot become good at it.”
The final word is in the て form, meaning there’s something that comes after this, words left, and unfinished though.
“It’s because of that that I cooked, however no matter how many times I do it, I cannot become good at it, and (that’s why)…”
Likely she’s leaving out “that’s why I rented you today.” This unfinished thought would be consistent with Kanami’s thoughts at the bottom of the page.
In this case, the first word balloon’s な is a sentence-ending particle. The second word balloon in the same panel is a separate sentence.
If you look at the two separately, does that impact your breakdown?
Here’s my breakdown of the two. I went ahead and put them behind details tags, as I’m sure many people will appreciate not having to scroll so much to get past them =D (My apologizes to anyone reading it when I make a typo correction.)
The core of this is the verb 思う, “to think”. Since there’s a lot of things a person can think about, it’s useful to modify this verb by having a clause before it, which is what we have here:
As you can see, the clause before 思う typically has the particle と after it.
The sentence-ending particle な is the masculine form of ね (meaning な is typically used by males, although it may be used by others who speak like males normally do). The particles な and ね at the end of a sentence give a sense of seeking agreement from the listener, as if you expect them to agree.
In English, we might say, “That was a great movie, huh?” or “You really like cats, eh?” The speaker expects the listener will agree with their statement.
Looking at just this part so far, Kazutaka is saying, “∅ think …, huh?” I’ve again used ∅ to fill in for an unspoken subject. Who is the subject who thinks it? Is it Kazutaka thinking it? Is it Kanami thinking it? Is it Doraemon thinking it? (Hint: It’s not Doraemon.)
Consider the following two sentences:
“I think I’ll be forgiven, don’t I?”
“You think you’ll be forgiven, don’t you?”
The first one doesn’t make sense. You can’t expect someone to agree that you are thinking something, because they have no idea what you are thinking. How can they know what you are thinking to agree that you are thinking it?
The second one, you’re suggesting what you think someone else is thinking, and you’re expecting them to agree that you were right about their thoughts. They know what they are thinking, so they are in a position to tell if you were right.
Logically, he’s suggesting this is what Kanami is thinking:
“You think …, huh?”
What does Kazutaka believe his sister is thinking? Let’s break this down, so we can go over the grammar a bit.
The verb 謝る means “to apologize”. Adding ば to a verb makes it provisional, or hypothetical. For this verb (which is an いちだん class verb), this requires replacing the final る with れ before added the ば. (If you’re not familiar with this, you don’t need to worry about memorizing it, as you’ll become familiar with it over time with exposure to native material.)
What does it mean for 謝れば to be “provisional” or “hypothetical”? “Providing that you do this action, …” It’s essentially “if”: “If you do this, then …”
「謝れば」 “If you apologize …”
When you are saying “if an action is done”, what follows is the expected result from that action. It can be left unstated if clear from context, but here the expected result of apologizing is stated:
This is the verb 許す. This verb doesn’t actually have a clear English counterpart, which is actually often the case when translating words between two languages so different as English and Japanese are.
You can see this when you pull up a Japanese-to-English dictionary, and it tells you 許す means “to allow” and “to forgive”.
These words are sort of two sides of the same coin in English. If you allow someone to do something, then they can do it without consequence for their actions. On the other hand, if they did something they shouldn’t have, you can forgive them, taking away any consequence from their actions.
Over time, though exposure, you get a feel for the meaning of 許す outside of the crutch of directly associating it with one of many possible English words. But since we’re translating this line from Japanese to English to help understand it, I’ll use the word “forgive”, because “allow” takes place before an action and “forgive” takes place after an action. Since the action of Kanami dropping a plate and breaking it has already happened, this 許す is taking place after the action.
The verb 許す appears here as 許される. This is where I pull out my CureDolly-brand soapbox, on which I preach about the Japanese receptive form versus the English passive voice.
In Japanese, essentially everything is what we would call the “active voice” in English. There is no “passive voice” in Japanese. However, when translating Japanese into English, sometimes using the active voice doesn’t sound right in English. This requires the English to be rewritten into the passive voice, but it’s important to understand that the Japanese is not passive.
Japanese uses the うけみ form, which means “receiving body”. It’s a form where the subject is a “receiving body”, a receptive form wherein the subject is receiving the action of a verb.
Consider the following sentences in English:
Passive voice: “Albert was scolded by his math teacher.”
Active voice: “Albert received a scolding from his math teacher.”
In the “passive voice” sentence, the math teacher is performing the action of scolding. In the “active voice” sentence, Albert is performing the action of receiving a scolding.
This is an important distinction because in Japanese, the subject is always the one doing the action of the verb (in this case the action of receiving an action).
The verb 許す (which is a ごだん class verb) becomes its receptive form by changing the す to the あ sound さ, then adding れる onto it. “Receives forgiving.”
「ちょっと謝れば許される」“If you apologize a bit, you will receive forgiving.”
That sounds a bit awkward in English, so we can use the passive voice in our English translation: “If you apologize a bit, you will be forgiven.”
One criticism of the passive voice in English is often you’re losing the subject, the one doing the action. In this Japanese sentence, the subject as Kanami, as she is the one receiving the forgiveness. (Japanese is fine with leaving out the subject when it is considered to be clear from context.) But in English, this might be rewritten to make her brother the subject, with forgiving as the action: “If you apologize a bit, I will forgive you.”
It’s important to understand that this kind of translation, whether using the passive voice, or changing the subject so the active voice can be used, is not intended to perfectly convey the Japanese. It’s intended to make the English sound comfortable to the reader.
Let’s put this back into the whole sentence:
「ちょっと謝れば許されると思うな」 “You think if you apologize a bit, you’ll receive forgiveness, huh?”
The second sentence uses わけ, which came up in chapter 2. This word is used to expression a reason for something. But a reason for what? All kinds of things can have reasons, so we need to modify わけ to narrow down what we’re expressing a reason for.
The expression of a reason わけ is modified by 許す, to forgive. So he’s talking about “a reason to forgive”.
Before I continue, there’s something to know about わけない. Following the rules of grammar, you cannot attach ない onto a noun, such as わけ. Yet, here we have わけ and ない sitting right next to one another. How can this be if it you can’t attach ない to a noun?
What’s actually happening is the particle が has been dropped. わけがない is an adjective clause. It states that the subject わけ, the reason for something, is the adjective ない, “nonexistent”. In English, we might say “without reason”.
The clause わけがない is so common that colloquially, that is to say, when spoken, the が is often dropped, resulting in わけない.
「許すわけがない」 “The reason to forgive is nonexistent.”
“There is no reason to forgive.”
The final だろう (much like its formal counterpart, でしょう) can be added at the end of a sentence to give a meaning of “probably”. However, when used as a question (だろうか, でしょうか), it’s more seeking agreement, like ending a sentence with “right?” in English. You can drop the か when asking a question, so long as there’s still rising intonation at the end of what you’re saying (which we can’t see in printed text).
By context, I have a feeling Kazutaka is going the question route. (But I’m still a learner of the Japanese language, and I could be mistaken.) Going this route, we get:
「許すわけないだろ」“The reason to forgive is nonexistent, right?”
Wow thank you so much for those explanations! I didn’t think there was so much to learn from a few short little sentences, but that info completely changes how I was reading them. Now to go back and see what else I misread
And it’s okay if you don’t learn it all right away. A lot of it becomes more comfortable, more familiar, and more recognizable with repeated exposure. That’s one reason I like writing out these replies, as it helps me become able to more quickly recognize and understand concepts in what I read.
Continuing this volume, we’ll see the うけみ (receptive) form a lot, as well as the potential ば form. 思う will show up more, as well as another わけ. There will be more 謝る and 許す. (Maybe not enough to start to recognize the kanji without furigana, though.) You’ll see more だろ (which this author seems to never write as だろう), as well as more sentences ending in な.
Note: I edited my reply above to include the と missing from one of the quotes:
Hi there everyone!! So glad to see some familiar (digital ) faces in this Volume 2 start!! And a warm hello to others I think I´ve never met! First of all, many thanks to @ChristopherFritz for making the thread! The truth is I think all the reading/grammar (good) suffering I experienced in Volume 1 is now progressively starting to pay off, because structures are now tending to become more and more familiar. Two small questions, though:
I just wanted to check my translation with you guys, because I think this sentence is one of those in which you have to be a bit free in reading-interpretation (for instance in that 目障り or the construction with the verb, both of which I´m not sure how to translate in order to get the exact nuance)
This is what I got (really really free)
Damn it, you just can´t stop bothering me!! You´re such an eyesore!!
I know this is the causative form in the past, but I can´t figure out how that を is working with regards to the verb. I´ve read in Wasabi (a very useful site, just in case someone doesn´t know it) the following:
With intransitive verbs (just as 滑る) に indicates “to let” and を indicates “to make.”
When you let/make inanimate things do something, you use the particle を because inanimate things don’t have their own will, e.g. 携帯を光らせた (I made my mobile flash). However, we can treat some of them as animate things.
ロボット に ・ を 勉強させる。 [I] will let/make the robot study.
When you use the particle を as different functions, e.g. locations to pass, you have to use the particle に for doers even if you try to express “to make.” It’s because multiple use of the same particle can make confusion.
生徒 に 川 を （泳がせた / 泳がせました）。 [I] made the students swim in the river. 生徒 に 公園 を （走らせた / 走らせました）。 [I] made the students run in the park.
My initial intuitive translation was:
What happened was that it slipped out of my hand
But, once again, I don´t know to what extent this reflects the grammar of the Japanese sentence
Many thanks in advance!!
P.S: By the way, thanks to your ukemi breakdown explanation back in Volume I, @ChristopherFritz, this time no される tricked me!!