[aDoBJG] E - J 💮 A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar

Oh, maybe I should try to look for an example after all, then! I feel like it’s honestly super common in real speech, haha (or at least as far as you can count wrestlers’ speech as “real speech”…). Like rodan said, this comes up repeatedly in my translations, and they’ve had to tell me multiple times to get rid of “but” in my sentences ahaha :sweat_smile:.

I’ll try to keep an eye out for it, maybe when I have a bit less on my plate, and see if a particularly good example comes up.


It’s a little tough to find an out and out example, since it is possible in English to trail off after a “but” or go with a “but, anyway…” and I feel like that at least mostly fits how this kind of が works in speech (based on all those promos). And plus it’s easy to feel like since generally the が is probably contrasting something even if it isn’t the following clause, “but” feels like it fits fine.

but I was curious to find back-up for my feeling like this comes up a lot, and I found one probably good example from October 2022, which I mention partly because @fallynleaf I failed to catch something at the time! the transcript originally had 緩急 below, but 感泣 surely makes far more sense in context…

I’m going mainly off of the video, but
(Frankenstein transcript partly from fallynleaf’s translation, partly the transcript it was based off of, partly me summarizing)

(Note on why 声 would be やっぱり a source of emotion here – this would have been one of the first handful of shows where crowd cheering was allowed following the pandemic)

Q: (It’s unusual for you to be unable to stop laughing after a title match. How were you feeling?)
A: なんか…勝負の中での感泣もあると思うんです、やっぱり試合中に聞こえるんですよね。皆の声あと対戦相手の声が。[from there she goes on to talk about how the match made her feel and why that expressed as laughter]

In the bolded が, the clauses before and after definitely don’t contrast with each other. If anything the が is lightly contrasting with the interviewer’s suggestion that her laughing uncontrollably in the match was unusual (by providing an example of other uncontrollable emotion she’s certainly experienced from matches).
But in the transcript, which cleans things up to be readable straight through to a native audience, it’s reproduced as is, with a comma as the only pause. And in the video she does pause, but I wouldn’t call it trailing off or breaking off exactly, she’s just finding the words.

If I tried to express it the same way in English, the closest way I can get is roughly:
”I mean, I believe I’ve cried in matches before, but… Of course what it was is I could hear them: the audience’s voice, and my opponent’s voice”
Without the trail off and restating the subject in the second clause, it definitely doesn’t work:
* “I’ve cried in matches before, but I could hear everyone’s voices”
and she’s also not saying:
“I’ve cried in matches before, but in contrast to those times, this time I could hear everyone’s voices”

The examples the dictionary gives are a lot more quick and simple and it would be harder to track down examples like that but they do feel familiar too. I feel like “but” feels somehow like…
~kachunk~ ↔ ~kachunk~… X but Y
whereas が is often more like… rhetorical pepper? Sprinkled in there like XがY just because I want to soften the assertiveness of X a little.
The impression I get is it’s one of those small things that ends up coloring a lot of how it makes sense to express certain trains of thoughts in either language. In that kind of way that’s hard to notice until trying to translate between them.

I suppose the difference in this specific example is just that when speaking and putting thoughts together,
“I’ve cried in matches が” can mean perfectly well she’s done talking about that, it was just contrast-tinged background for the main point she’s building.
“I’ve cried in matches but” would probably mean she’s going to talk more directly along those lines, like “… this was different” or something. Unless she trails off and actively switches gears.


“a disjunctive coordinate conjunction that combines two sentences”
Ah yes, I’ve definitely slept enough to understand these words put together in this exact order.
This is definitely what I want right after knowing perfectly well what “transitive adjectives” and “stative transitive verbs” are.


I think this is how it breaks down:

disjunctive = word that serves to express opposition or contrast (like “but”)
coordinate = word that connects words, phrases, and clauses that are coordinate, or equal to each other (like “for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so”)
conjunction = word or group of words that joins together words, groups, or clauses

So, putting that together: が is a word that joins together two sentences that are on the same level of importance in a way that expresses opposition or contrast.

I think by “transitive adjective”, they mean words like 欲しい (example 6. a.), which is grammatically an adjective, but which has an object (in English, at least. Not going to get into the transitive/intransitive in Japanese argument haha), which is the thing that is wanted. That “direct object” works as a subject in Japanese, hence being marked with が.

By “stative transitive verb”, I think they’re referring to words like 分かる (example 6. b.), which is a transitive verb in English, and which expresses a state (of understanding). Here again, the “direct object”, the thing that is understood, works as a subject in Japanese, and is marked with が.

I think, at least :sweat_smile:.



I don’t think I’ve learned this one yet in any of my textbooks, though I feel like I’ve definitely seen it before in the wild, haha.

I wish I’d read it slightly earlier, because it actually answered a question I had while trying to compose a tweet in Japanese earlier today. In note 1, it mentions that if an adjective appears in an embedded clause, the がる attachment is unnecessary even if the tense is nonpast and the subject is a person with whom the speaker cannot empathize.

I’d wondered that when trying to use ~たい (with a subject that was not me) in a relative clause earlier, because I couldn’t remember if I was allowed to use it just like that or not, haha. Thankfully it looks like I did it right! The tweet was expressing my opinion on something that was very topical and a bit controversial, so I didn’t want to wait to post it.

Also, look, it’s our good friend the “transitive adjective” 欲しい! Note 1. (2) b. even gives us an example where the direct object actually takes the を particle instead of が.


Here is my cross reference with Bunpro. Once again, please let me know if I have connected the wrong grammar points.

I’ve seen the sentiment in the previous thread that maybe the Basic Dictionary is a bit too old to be a useful reference. Maybe having a more recent (?) option to contrast it with could appeal to some people. Keep in mind though that Bunpro itself uses the Basic Dictionary as a reference, so in the end it could all just be old information passed off as recent.

へ(e) to 〜はじめる
aDoBJG Bunpro
が² が (but)
がる がる
ごろ ごろ
ごとに (ごと)
はじめる (はじ)める
はず to 一番
行く1 to 自分2
aDoBJG Bunpro - -
行く¹ へ行く
行く² ~ていく
いる¹ ()
いる² ~ている ① ~ている ② ~ている ③
いる³ (???)
自分(じぶん)¹ (???)
自分(じぶん)² (???)

I think that for almost everything it’s still fine – it’s only where you get into frequency of use of stuff in more casual speech where pace of change is faster that it might be a bit behind the times. Even there it doesn’t feel like a big deal to me – if something like だい is rarely used nowadays then it just won’t come up and be reinforced in what you hear, so it remains “I theoretically know what this means if I run into it” rather than “I use this in speaking”.


Hehe, fun comment, I thought exactly the opposite when I came across this entry! I have learned about it in Genki but haven’t seen it used yet (or haven’t noticed)
It’s nice with such a big reading groups that there are so many different profiles, makes for interesting discussions :slight_smile:


It comes up a ton in books and manga, especially stuff like “怖がる” I’ve seen a lot. Always thought they were just different words, nice to know that they are not.


Yeah, I’m almost certain I’ve Yomichan’d it before without paying it much more thought, haha. That’s my first exposure to a lot of new grammar points that I encounter in the wild.

Yeah, it’s fun to see how things that feel very common to you aren’t necessarily such fixtures in everyone else’s experience, haha! I know my own exposure to most of this is coming at it in such a strange direction compared to where everyone else is coming from.

I love to see people pull all kinds of different examples, and fixate on different elements of the dictionary that I might have just glossed over myself. For me personally, I find that I learn the most either when helping explain something to someone else, or when I’m getting corrected by someone else, and this club offers plenty of opportunity for both!


This was exactly the link I needed to understand the difference between ごとに and おきに. Reading this entry of the dictionary just left me with a huge “??” in my mind, but I guess it’s just the way they explained it (which somehow just clicked for me when I checked Bunpro).


In support of the “younger native speakers may not make this distinction” note in bunpro, NHK did an interesting little survey on this in 2007 where they asked “if there’s a ferry on the 9th of the month, and ferries are 1日おきに, then when’s the next ferry?”. The traditional answer (i.e. the one that matches the dictionary explanation) is “on the 11th”, and that’s definitely still the overwhelmingly common reply, but the younger you are the more likely you are to answer “on the 10th”. Now, even in the youngest age group 80% of respondents still picked the traditional definition, but it does hint that maybe in future this usage may fall out of favour for being ambiguous. (There are phrases in English, like “Thursday next”, that started with a precise meaning but are no longer clear to all English speakers because the “obvious guess” is not the traditional meaning.) It would be interesting to see the results 15 years on and whether the trend has continued.


Wow you’re right, I have found 3 examples in mangas that I have read, I hadn’t noticed :sweat_smile:

Happiness book 4


Ruri book 1



Recently, I got completely confused during a Genki exercise that was about practicing ほうが~より because I have to answer a multiple choice question, about which was faster, the bus or the train. And I thought obviously the train, but no, it was the bus! The following discussion was great and I learned about 高速バス
And now it happens again, in this dictionary, page 140:
Man, Japan is confusing :sweat_smile: If somebody can explain that one, I’m curious to know how that it possible!


Going by car is cheaper in most countries, I expect, if you do what the typical car owner does and ignore all the sunk costs (depreciation, maintenance, tax) and only consider the one-off cost of petrol for a particular journey and compare it against a bus ticket. And if you have scenarios like “family of four travelling together” car is even more clearly a winner against pretty much any public transport.


Okay, so nothing that surprising. As a car owner, I definitely don’t think it’s cheap to use a car, I see that cost of the car itself, the insurance, the maintenance… I bike / take the bus whenever possible and see it as the cheaper option. Though I’m sure owning a bus would be even more expensive :joy:


Week 8 starts now: はず to 一番

Of course, any comments and such for earlier entries in E-J is still welcome, encouraged even.

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I was surprised that the entry for はず sticks firmly to present tense はずだ and doesn’t mention はずだった which expresses “was/wasn’t supposed to happen”, as in 君に恋をするなんて、ありえないはずだった (a random light novel title I found while googling for examples), or 彼は8時に来るはずだったが、10時になるまで姿を現さなかった – “He was supposed to be there at 8, but he didn’t show up til 10”.


It also says that it can’t be used alone, but I found it alone there? Maybe はずだった has different rules?

Kinda nsfw


I interpret that as being part of the same sentence as the last line in the previous panel; split across panels for dramatic effect because it flips the meaning of the sentence (in a way that you can’t do so easily in English because the word order is different – best I can come up with is “…or so I thought.” which isn’t quite the same meaning).