役に立つ adjective?

Hi,

Wanikani translates 役に立つ as “to be useful”. This is a verb.

However the first example of usage is the following:
日本語の勉強の役に立つサイトを見つけました。
役に立つ here is used as an adjective.

Is this common?

Can I translate “this is useful” as これは役に立つです。?
I guess not but…

Thanks in advance!
Simon

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It’s not an adjective but verbs can be used before nouns to modify them (essentially functioning as adjectives).

I would say これは役に立ちます instead, as it is a verb.

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役に立つ is not used as an adjective here. It’s the verb in a relative clause describing the website:

[日本語の勉強の役に立つ]サイトを見つけました。
-> i found a website [that is useful for studying japanese]

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This is probably my favorite aspect of Japanese! So much more convenient that using “that” everywhere.

@Gooner17 Google around for “relative clause” and you should find a lot more information on this. Here is one to get you started (in addition to the one @charlesfm just added):

http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/clause#Using_relative_verb_clauses_as_adjectives

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It can also lead to some impressively long sentences.

Anywho @Gooner17 , I don’t know if this part confused you, but keep in mind that for a natural sounding translation, parts of speech will very often be mixed around due to the preferences of the target language. English likes to say we’re hungry (adjective), Japanese likes to say their 腹が減った (verb). English likes to say we like (verb), Japanese likes to say things are 好き (adjective).
So.

Also the difference in context use between 怖い and scary/scared has made a lot of Japanese people I’ve known say “I was scary” and “It was scared” when they mean the reverse.
:woman_shrugging:

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Truer words have never been written.

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Or endlessly trying to work out whether to use “that” or “which”…

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Don’t forget “who” :slight_smile:

By the way, on this topic I have noticed in visual novel that very often there is sentence in the form “super-long-relative-clause character-name。”, which look ungrammatical (no verb at the end) but seems to be a common stylistic choice ?

For example, instead of a standard sentence like : character-nameさんはビールをゆっくり飲んでいる。it would be ビールをゆっくり飲んでいるcharacter-name。

I wonder what kind of nuance it brings ? Seems we would translate the same way in English.

Do you have an actual example from a visual novel? Is it intended to be a sentence? Or is it like
Character A: sentence here

Where “character A” is the non-sentence you described?

That can be the implied copula, like だ and です, but invisible.

Trying to translate a sentence like that overly literally would probably just make it sound awkward, like
“It’s character-name who is drinking beer slowly.”

Ok for example :
ほんのちょっとだけ希望が見えたかのような顔をする田中。

No verb, the sentence just ends there. The english translation (of the VN, not mine!) is straight :
Tanaka looks up as if he just found a thin glimmer of hope.

Like @Darcinon said.
Just seems to be a slightly more interesting way of introducing a character into the scene.

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Yeah, I also think there’s an implied copula.

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Looks so. Delaying the name of the character until the very end can lead to interesting effect, for sure. What’s a bit weird though, in this VN, is that this style is used all the time, in fact almost always when describing what a character is doing, even for mundane situation. I guess the writer like it that way !

Anyway, sorry for derailing, but I thought it would be an interesting example for the OP… long-clause qualifying noun are extremely common in Japanese, better get used to it !

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I just thought of a narrative style in English that is somewhat similar. This method breaks it into two sentences though.

Someone walks into the room, gesturing wildly. It’s Ben.

I don’t know if the nuance is similar or not though :laughing:

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Naaahhh I think that’s more jarring and intended to give a things-as-the-character-experiences-them kinda feel. Like it conveys that you see someone come in gesturing wildly before you can even register who they are.

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Yeah, totally. I don’t get that jarring feeling from Japanese.

Another example of relative clauses in Japanese:

(giant relative clause)時だった。
It was the time when (something something).

You can’t just use a phrase like that willy-nilly in English, but it’s totally normal in Japanese. I’m guessing translators would make it more natural, like, “At that time, (something something).”

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