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

Nice to see my fellow ~ほうが~より confused users around. I’ve always struggled with this grammar point, especially when one of the parts (~ほうが) is omitted or there’s inversion, but somehow I feel that reading the definition in the dictionary helped. I’ve also been taking more time to process the sentences when I read them, so I know that if I can identify which term is associated to ~ほうが and which one to ~より, I can figure out the meaning correctly (and eventually hopefully be able to do it less consciously)


Using ほしい with third person is permitted in more situations than I expected – I knew about the indirect-speech case but either never knew or had forgotten about the others.


ほしい 1

The vast majority of instances of ほしい in my translations were for ほしい 2 (and yes, I remembered to search for the kanji variant this time, haha. The kanji version had 12 uses in this document; the kana had 23), but I did find a few of the first type!

Here's an example from Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling's 2023.01.19 show, after Miu Watanabe and Rika Tatsumi beat Yuki Arai and Saki Akai in the tag team tournament:

Hard mode: here’s the video. (Insert usual disclaimer about the transcripts being from shupro, and the translations are mine and might contain errors.)

Note the dropped particle and who is the experiencer.

辰巳「よかったねー。いやぁ、でもなんかもっと連覇だ! イェイイェイ!みたいなかんじで終わらせたかったんですけど、そういうわけにはいかなかったですね」

Tatsumi: “What a relief! I’d wanted to end it like, ‘Back-to-back victory! Yay, yay!’, but it didn’t work out quite like that, did it?”


Miu: “Yes! Our opponents were former champions too, and AA Cannon are the total package: beautiful and strong.”


Tatsumi: “If it was just Yuki-chan, we’re her senpais and we could just take control without having to worry about a thing, but, well, Akai-san was there, too. She was really a thorn in our sides, and she kept breaking us up and breaking us down.”


Miu: “She kicked us.”


Tatsumi: “It was hard! But we managed to get a win, so we’re OK… You want to get another belt soon, right?”


Miu: “Yes! A pink one!”

Just for fun, I found an example of one of the situations highlighted in note 3.

This one's from TJPW's 2023.03.18 show, Grand Princess, after Mizuki defeated Yuka Sakazaki and won the title:

Hard mode: video version (the part quoted below starts at 2:26).

Once again, note who is the experiencer, and how the word is being used.


(You took some incredibly strong attacks)

“Each blow was stiff. There were so many times where I thought that if I had been the same person as before, my spirit would have been broken. I think I won by being really, really, really strong-willed.”

(Is there a possibility that you will face Sakazaki as the champion?)

“I won’t do it.”

(What do you want your road of title defenses to be like?)

“I, like all the champions before me, strongly wanted this championship. I want to be the kind of champion whom the others in TJPW see holding the belt and think ‘I want that belt.’ I want to walk a very exciting defense road.”

ほしい 2

I personally see ほしい used more with verbs than with nouns, at least in the context of these wrestling translations specifically. I often end up translating it more like “I hope” than “I want”, especially when the wrestler is saying that she ほしい’s the crowd to look forward to something or to come to the next show, just because I think “I want” can have a more selfish/demanding connotation in English than ほしい seems to have in Japanese, at least in some circumstances.

I have a very memorable example for this one! At least it's memorable to me, haha, because this was the first of my translations to get stolen. This is from the 2023.03.20 press conference before TJPW's first show in America:

Here’s the full transcript of the presser for context. And the video, though I’m not gonna go dig around for the timestamp, haha (yes, she really did say “Maki Itoh simps”. That is a direct quote).

伊藤 マジラビとやるのはいつも楽しいけど、毎回負けてばかりなので今回はタッグチャンピオンとして絶対に負けてはいけないと思うので、必ず結果を残したいと思ってます。あとアメリカの「Maki Itoh simps」たちにもいつものアメリカで見れる伊藤麻希じゃなくて、東京女子の伊藤麻希を見れると思うので、楽しみにしててほしいなと思ってます。

Itoh: “It’s always fun to face MagiRabbi, but we just lose every time, so as tag team champions, we definitely can’t lose this time. We have to get results. And the Maki Itoh simps in America will get a chance to see TJPW’s Maki Itoh, not the Maki Itoh they usually see in America, so I hope they’re looking forward to it.”


Interesting that that doesn’t run into the “don’t use ほしい to somebody higher status than you” politeness rule. (A friend of mine once got ticked off by his language school teacher for using ~てほしい rather than something politer when he was asking her to take a look at his homework; I’ve always interpreted this as analogous to not telling people you “want” them to do something for you, politeness wise, but the nuances probably don’t line up quite that neatly.)


Yeah, that surprised me as well! I wonder if part of it is the wrestler trying to seem closer to/more familiar with the audience in like a parasocial performer relationship kind of way. I do think it’s a more demanding way to say you desire something (I could see why ~てほしい wouldn’t be a good choice to use with your teacher haha), but straight up saying “I want you to look forward to it” in English would just sound weird even for a really egotistical performer. I think of it as essentially meaning “I desire [for a thing to happen]”, which is still a pretty self-centered request, because the focus is on your own desire and doesn’t really consider the other person at all, but it’s less demanding than “I want” is in English.


Week 9 starts now: 行く1 to 自分2

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


I wonder if I really didn’t have anything to say about はず to 一番 (week 8), or if I’m letting my focus slip a little. I think I’ll try to keep a bigger eye out for the grammar we’ve read about so far, and pull some examples from things I’m reading.


You should! It does take a bit of time away from reading, but it’s honestly kinda fun haha, and it’s a good way to find examples that are more personally memorable for you.


This is a super, super common word in basically all pro wrestling, haha (there are 42 uses in my 2023 document alone)! I first learned it in the context of 「鈴木軍、イチバン!」which was a common phrase said in relation to the New Japan Pro Wrestling faction Suzuki-gun (which sadly disbanded last year :smiling_face_with_tear:). “SUZUKI GUN ICHI-BAN” is also the name of their entrance theme, which is apparently spelled in romaji? I didn’t realize that until I went looking for it just now, haha.

The main thing that caught my attention in the dictionary entry was the note that 一番 cannot be affixed directly to a noun, and it should precede an adjective (though if the meaning is predictable, the adverbial form of adjectives may be omitted). I feel like I see it without an adjective more often than with? :sweat_smile: I wonder if this is something that has changed over time, because it definitely seems to be a popular slangy word these days…

Here are some examples from Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling that seem to defy the dictionary’s rules:

I guess maybe the first one qualifes as “predictable” meanings?

From the 2023.03.02 press conference before Grand Princess, where Suzume was to face her tag partner Arisu Endo in the opening match:

(Here’s the official transcript for context, and the video, though I’m not gonna timestamp it.)


Suzume: “As everyone can see, she’s grown a whole lot. But the part of her that I respect the most hasn’t changed since her debut match. She gives 100% of her power and beyond. I remember being surprised by that as her opponent at the time, and I’ve felt that grow even stronger as I’ve been watching her over the past two years. It’s an aspect of her that grows more and more throughout the match, and it’s what I respect about her, as well as what I’m most wary of.”

This one is definitely attached to a noun, though:

From Grand Princess on 2023.03.18 after Mizuki won the Princess of Princess title:

(Can’t link a video for this since it’s from an actual show)


Mizuki: “I won’t let anyone take this belt away from me. I got the shit kicked out of me and now I’m hungry, so you all know how I’m going to close the show. When I say, ‘Eat hamburger steak,’ please say ‘Happy happy’ in your loudest voice today. Let’s go! Eat hamburger steak—!” (everyone) “HAPPY HAPPY!”

This one is my favorite because it’s basically exactly what the dictionary says you can’t do:

From TJPW's イッテンヨン show on 2023.01.04 after Juria Nagano and Moka Miyamoto faced Wakana Uehara and Arisu Endo in Wakana's debut match:

Hard mode: video version. Juria’s part quoted below starts at 0:32. Raku’s music is playing loudly in the background, so good luck listening :sweat_smile:.


Juria: “Happy New Year! I’m really happy to win the first match of the year as part of a team with Moka-san. In her debut match, Wakana Uehara-san showed guts and a spirit that wouldn’t give up. I used to be the youngest junior, but now there’s a junior under me. I will keep doing my best in 2023 so that I won’t lose.”



When I first learned 行く and 来る, I thought they were really straightforward, but as it turns out, this is another one that is a mild pain to translate some of the time, haha, as you can probably guess from example (b). I go back and forth on some of them myself.

I actually just shared an example of this one for an earlier grammar point! I’ll share it again. Note Pom switching from いきます to 来ます in relation to the same action:

Here’s my read on it: Pom’s いきます is in response to Nao’s personal request for people to 応援に来てください, which Pom approaches from a direction away from her viewpoint (since she’s not the one with the title match!), and Pom’s 来ます is in response to Nao’s 来てもらいましょう invitation, which Pom approaches from a direction that is toward her viewpoint (since she’s included in Nao’s invitation).

I’ve personally found the direction and position stuff talked about in the notes to be more important when trying to wrap your brain around 行く 2 and 来る 2, since the 1’s for both of them more or less make intuitive sense in English.


Here’s Tobira’s explanation for this one, in case having a few more examples/different wording helps make it a bit more clear:

I decided that trying to search for an example from my wrestling translations was too much of a headache, haha, so I don’t have any to share for this one.


Interesting, I certainly didn’t know the いる3 meaning of the verb. It has a very nice parallel to ある1, surprised that the dictionary doesn’t say anything about it.
For example using the books example sentence:
この子にはいい家族教師がいる → This child needs a good tutor
この子にはいい家族教師がある → This child has a good tutor

Also gotta love the “The sentence is ungrammatical, because one can hardly emphatize with a dead person” quote.




Not a grammar question, but WHAT is the thing next to point A supposed to be? (page 150)

A hermit crab? A lobster? Why is it even there?
Edit: Is it why Mr. X is going to Point B? :rofl:


Isn’t that an eye? Perhaps attempting to illustrate viewpoint. :sweat_smile:


Thank you! This was bothering me so much, lol :rofl: I knew it looked like something, but couldn’t place it.


Now I can’t unsee the alien crab :rofl:


He’ll haunt you forever.


I think I have been conflating 自分 1 and 2 together into “pronoun that refers back to somebody” (i.e. similar to English reflexive pronouns, I guess), and in particular had never noticed the “empathy marker” nuance… Though the Tofugu article on it doesn’t talk about that much – I guess it’s the “When you use 自分 to refer to someone else other than yourself, it’s as if you are telling a story from their point of view as a surrogate speaker.” idea?


いる 3

I’m going to leave the other いるs alone, I think, because there are WAY too many instances of them in my translations, and they’re too much of a pain to sift through, but this use in particular is the one I always forget about, haha. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a great example of it.

I was wondering if anyone here knows anything about the difference in nuance between using いる and 必要とする? (I actually have a men’s wrestling example for the latter! Shocker, I know :sweat_smile:).

Here's an example from Pro Wrestling NOAH's May 4 show after Katsuhiko Nakajima left his former faction to reunite with his old tag team partner Go Shiozaki:

Hard mode: here’s the video. And here’s the official transcript of the text, followed by the official translation for it (this one is not my translation for once!):


Katsuhiko Nakajima: “Did you see? KONGO doesn’t need me anymore. Kenoh doesn’t need me anymore. I don’t need him anymore either. Only from this moment, from now on, AXIZ is back! From now on, AXIZ, don’t miss it!”

I tried to look it up to see if ADoJG covered 必要 at all, but the only instance it seems to have is a note on 必要はない in the entry for までもない on page 159 of the intermediate volume.

My guess from this example is that 必要とする is much stronger than いる, but everything is so extreme in pro wrestling, it’s hard to generalize, haha.


Same!! I think I already talked about my struggles with 自分 and shared an example of that earlier. This is also the first section of this dictionary that I feel like I didn’t fully understand. I’m not sure I’m able to grasp the difference between 1 and 2 as described in these entries, though maybe if I attempt to explain it to myself here, I’ll figure it out :sweat_smile:.

I guess maybe the main difference is what is mentioned in 自分 1 note 2, which says that for 自分 1, the referent is normally a passive experiencer and not an agent (someone who initiates or completes an action).

So, 自分 1:

(Key sentence A)
Tsuchida didn’t know that Sachiko loved him.

自分 2:

(Key sentence B)
Mary does everything by herself.

I think the contrastive marker point in the notes for 自分 2 is clearer in this example in the Tofugu article pm215 linked:

Kyoko built a house.

With this sentence alone, it’s not clear whether Kyoko hired professionals to build the house (which is what most people would do), or if she actually built the house on her own. But if Kyoko is a super hardcore DIYer and built her own home, it’s noteworthy! And, 自分 is the perfect word to use when you want to explain that.

Kyoko built the house herself.

So that’s why the agent part is an important condition for it being a contrastive marker, because it’s contrasting Kyoko building the house by herself vs someone else building the house.

Whereas the empathy marker is just referring back to a person without contrasting them with someone else? I guess maybe I’m not entirely sure why the distinction matters?

Does this mean that we can do it with 自分 2, though? Or would this sentence also be invalid? :thinking:


I guess maybe this is why the empathizing/not-empathizing distinction matters :sweat_smile:…


I feel like it gets used more in the negative – いらない – and in the right context it can be pretty strong that way, but maybe that’s more the context around it doing the heavy lifting rather than the verb itself being inherently strong.


いる2: I had forgotten how many nuances this has. I don’t think any of them is new to me. Although I can’t remember seeing 行っている/帰っている/similar recently, so I might have gotten confused unless the context was clear. Looking at them, I’m not thinking “is going” or “is returning home” so maybe I have already internalized it (meaning I could have seen it and since it wasn’t confusing I didn’t notice ^^).