[aDoBJG] S 💮 A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar


A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar :white_flower: Home Thread

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Start Date
Reading Entry Count Page Numbers Page Count
#22 Aug 19th さ to 〜し〜 (“し2”) 6 381 - 398 18
#23 Aug 26th しか to それで 6 398 - 414 17
#24 Sep 2nd それでは to すぎる 6 414 - 425 12
#25 Sep 9th 好きだ to すると 7 426 - 439 14

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  • ~さ - Loving this dictionary but you really need to be rested and focus to understand the English sentences sometimes :sweat_smile: Thinking of Note 3., “When an adjective can be paired with another adjectival antonum, the positive counterpart tends to acquire a meaning of absolute degree when -sa is attached”. But eventually it made sense and found it to be a very enlightening info!
    Also I don’t think I knew about ~み, always happy to learn something new!

  • さま also new to me to use it to a personified object, nice one! Also the English word endearing is so endearing. <3

  • せっかく I’ve encountered it pretty early in my studies, it is taught on WK + it showed up in the first book I read with the ABBC (Ruri). It didn’t make sense to me at the time but I’ve seen it many other times in manga since so I feel like I’ve started to grasp it! And now with the Dictionary explanation, that pretty much confirms what I was thinking it was!

  • し (1) I remember learning randomly about what this one meant thanks to reading a post in the Grammar Short Questions on this forum, that was awesome, then I was super prepared whenever I saw it and when I officially learned about it. Thanks, WK community!!


Typo alert:

should be adjectival antonym


I also really enjoy when I read an entry about a grammar point I’m somewhat familiar with (さ) but learn something completely new, in this case about the “positive” adjective (it took me a while to grasp the concept of ‘positive’ here too) acquiring the absolute meaning. I was also not really familiar with み, I had seen it in the wild (such as 楽しみ) but didn’t know it was a grammar construction in itself!


I found it a little odd that ~し~ gets an entry in this dictionary as an ‘infix’, because to my mind it isn’t grammar at all any more. In Classical Japanese these two categories were く adjectives and しく adjectives, and they did inflect slightly differently. But in modern Japanese there’s no grammar distinction to be made. Apparently even back in Old Japanese the ‘shi for psychological adjectives’ distinction had quite a lot of exceptions (my reference quotes a study saying about 20% were in the “wrong” category), and the origin of the し is lost to us, with only guesses and no consensus about its initial meaning and use.


Here starts week 23, しか to それで. 6 entries this week. :slight_smile:

  • しか

I thought I knew しか well but I hadn’t realized that it was marking the element before it, that matters a lot in a longer sentence.
戸田さんしかたばこを吸わない → No one but Mr. Toda smokes
戸田さんはたばこしか吸わない → Mr. Toda smokes nothing but tobacco

Also I didn’t know that ばかり couldn’t be used on single entities.


し(“1”): I learnt this one as marking a reason, and you could have many of those in a sentence. It was never mentioned it worked as “and”, although I suppose I could have inferred that. Some of the key sentences seemed weird to me, but if し just works as an empathic and, then they do make sense. I wonder why the textbooks/lessons I’ve had only teaches it as marking reasons when it seems it has a wider use than that. I can’t say I’ve ever seen it and felt it was confusing (aka not marking a reason for something).


And now on to week 24, それでは to すぎる. 6 entries this week too.


Hello book club! I’m going to be joining in super late! :smile:
I recently found ADoBJG in my desk at work, and I’ve been trying to find a way to better incorporate grammar into my study routine, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I read a few of last week’s sections to get a feel for the format, and I’ll start following along properly from now.

Thanks MissDagger for starting the club, I love the idea so much! And it’s fun to tell people irl I’m joining a book club for a dictionary, haha

Edit: Just realized I probably should’ve posted this in the main thread, oops. Sorry!


Welcome to the group! I hope you find it helpful! :smiley:


Last week (#25) of S is here. 好きだ to すると, which is 7 entries.


4 of them are する😆


I should have expected that. :laughing:


I been really enjoyed learning the different variations of する!
する1 I was definitely already familiar with, but I don’t have any memory of learning the others, at least formally. I did immediately recognize the grammar patterns, though, so I’ve definitely run into them before. It makes me wonder how my brain interpreted them before fully learning their meanings–did I intuit the basic meaning somehow based on context? Was I confused? Did I think I understood but was actually totally wrong? :laughing: I wish I could remember.


It’s the one set of anki cards I have in my deck for this series that I sometimes throw back into the queue just to be sure. They got a lot of versatility!


I’m a month late, but I’m finally here!


Example c’s claim about pioneering spirit being one of America’s good qualities does date this book a little bit…

I got tripped up a bit by the same thing that confused Akashelia at first, haha. The examples were a lot clearer than the sentence explaining them.

I didn’t know that み is a more emotive and concrete characterization of some state (based primarily on direct perception), compared to さ, which describes in an analytical manner the degree of the state represented by an adjective.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve encountered both 強さ and 強み a fair number of times in Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling! I went looking for examples, and I lucked into finding a sentence that uses both of them!

This is from the TJPW show on 2023.02.18, where Miyu Yamashita teamed up with Yuki Arai against Moka Miyamoto and Aja Kong (it was a preview match for an upcoming Aja vs Arai singles match):

Hard mode: here’s the video. As always, the transcript is from shupro, and translation is mine, and there might be errors in one or both:


Yamashita: “It was fun teaming up with Arai-chan after a long time, and I’ve been watching as she’s gotten stronger. I was able to face Aja-san for the first time. I knew how big she was, but when we faced off, I thought she was truly a great wrestler. I was dizzy after taking that backfist, but I was really hoping to land a Skull Kick, so I’m glad that I was able to do that even though my head was spinning. Arai and Aja-san are having a singles match next, but I’d have liked to have been able to face Aja-san in a singles match first. Also, when she’s in matches like this, Moka is really strong. I think being able to show her strength in a situation like this is itself a strength. I really enjoyed fighting her.”


I didn’t think I’d learn anything new from this, but I totally did, actually! I’d never actually considered why this kanji was used, but I had no idea that it’s actually using it fairly literally. As note 1 says, 山田様 is a more indirect way to refer to a person called 山田 than to call him simply 山田 because 山田様 literary (did they typo “literally”?) means ‘appearance of 山田’.

I thought it was interesting that they mention that a personal name +様 is not used in conversational Japanese, except in highly polite speech used to clientele by clerks/attendants of hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, department stores, etc. I’ve definitely not seen it terribly often in TJPW (with one VERY notable exception), though I’d chalked that up to it being wrestling, haha. I’ve seen it used for Aja Kong (who is a respected legend), but besides her, I think the only time it really comes up in my translations is of course 沙希様.

Mr. Haku always romanized her name as “Sakisama” instead of “Saki-sama” (and it seems like her profile on the official site still spells it that way) because the 様 is treated as basically part of her name (her character is portrayed by Saki Akai (赤井沙希), but they’re considered totally different characters in kayfabe). You never hear 沙希様 referred to without the 様.

Obviously this is not representative of regular conversational Japanese, haha! But it’s making me think about how that character choice comes across to a Japanese audience. It’s certainly more unusual/over-exaggerated than I first assumed when I first encountered the character in 2019.

I like note 2 specifying that 様 attached to a personified object shows more endearment than respect. And I have seen it in letters before (there have been a few storylines in wrestling in the past month that have involved letters, haha).

The related expressions note that さん and ちゃん (but not 君) are derived from 様 is interesting! And King and God being the only two examples in the book where 様 can’t be replaced by さん… This puts 王様, 神様, and 沙希様 in the same group. Sounds about right.

EDIT: Good timing for my current status on the forum: " お疲れサマー!", which is a pun I stole from the TJPW wrestlers, haha, after their summer-themed show a few weeks ago.


Been some time since I’ve read this part, but let’s collect some thoughts I had on it.

  • -さま having a previous meaning never occured to me. Of course, it had to come from somewhere. The kanji 様(さま) led me down a rabbit hole of looking up what could have led to this use, but I think I need to look for more specialized publications… which I’m not in the mood for right now. :sweat_smile:
  • させる: I was so sure I had recently seen a nice lesson on this item, but then I spend like half an hour looking for it and couldn’t find it… because it was somewhen in June and therefore not recent. But that the fact I remembered it shows how well retained the information!
  • それとも: it’s always handy to have words for comparing and contrasting things. This and よりも are helpful when expressing opinions or describing situations and are relatively easy to use for a beginner, expanding ones capabilities beyond the simple [XはYです。] sentences without needing to learn to much other grammar.
  • 少(すく)ない: I need to remember that this means “very few” and not “not few, e.g. many”.

Wait till you get to 少なくない - “Not few, e.g. many.”


Totally ran out of time for dictionary reading last month, but I’m back now! Let’s see how much time I can make up before NaNoWriMo happens…


This is another one that I probably would’ve had trouble locating in the dictionary as a beginner, haha. My main struggle with this is remembering which particles to use when producing it. The point note 1 makes about に being used when the causee has taken an action intentionally is good to try remembering.

The real tricky part is what note 2 says, which is that if the main verb is transitive, the causee can only be marked by に, because を can’t appear more than once in a clause. So intentionality doesn’t matter in these cases.

Note 3 points out that the giving and receiving verbs can make it clear if the causee is willing to do something (and unwillingness can be more explicitly expressed by the causative-passive construction).

Note 4 reminds us that the causer must be equal to or higher than the causee in terms of status.

I’m not sure I learned about the alternate set of formation rules that note 6 talks about? These express a more direct causation. Though maybe I have seen this and didn’t notice they were formed differently, haha.

No examples for this one because they’re too much of a pain to search for.


I feel like I got somewhat of a grasp on this one just from seeing it repeatedly in Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling before I’d formally learned it in my textbook, haha. It’s a word that’s tricky to translate, so I’ve often found that my English translations of sentences containing it lose some of the nuance of the Japanese…

Here's one from one of the September translations that was keeping me away from this book club. This is from TJPW's show on 2023.09.23, the last show before Wrestle Princess on 10.09. Yuki Kamifuku and Mahiro Kiryu had a preview match for their tag title match at Wrestle Princess:

Hard mode: here’s the video. Keep watching past the point quoted below for a pachinko metaphor that I had no idea how to translate, haha.


Kamifuku: “They beat us in the preview match today.”


Kiryu: “I lost right before the title match… Ah, I’m so sorry.”


Kamifuku: “To be honest, before today, although I have a title match coming up, before this point, I didn’t really have that like ‘I’m going to do a title match!’ feeling. I thought about it yesterday. I was wondering what I wanted to do with Mahiro-chan after we win the belts. Up to this point, Mahiro-chan and I were classmates, and we were eventually able to meet here. I’ve always thought it was important to aim for one goal with Mahiro-chan, but just as I thought it didn’t have the right punch, I just now found my reason for why I had to go get a belt.”

Here’s a わざわざ example as well! The “intentionally took the trouble to do something” aspect is really clear in this one.

This is from the 2023.08.13 show, after Miyu Yamashita won the Tokyo Princess Cup, earning her a shot at Mizuki's belt:

Hard mode: here’s the video (the part quoted below starts around 0:40):

瑞希「(タイトルマッチでいえば過去に挑戦して敗れています)そうなんですよ。負けてます。ですけどトーナメントは私が勝ってきたんですよ。だけど、ホントになんだろうな。みいちゃんのここ負けたくないって時はホントに強いなって感じる…見るからに強いのが分かるけど。ホントにバケモノ? 作品が違う? 人間? みいちゃんは私のこと『めっちゃプリキュアみたいだね』ってわざわざお客さんが上げた写真を保存して私に送ってくるんですけど。みいちゃんはどっちかっていうと違う作品に出てる大きい強いバケモノ…?みたいなかんじなんですけど。でも、負けたくないなってやっぱり思います」

(In terms of title matches, in the past, you’ve challenged her and lost)

Mizuki: “Yes, I’ve lost. But I have won tournaments. Though, I really don’t know. When Mii-chan doesn’t want to lose, she gets really strong… I can see her strength just by looking at her. Is she truly a monster? A different type of work? A human? Mii-chan saves the photos that the audience members took the trouble to post, and she’ll send them to me saying, ‘You look like a Pretty Cure.’ But if I had to say, I’d say that Mii-chan is more like a big strong monster that shows up in a different kind of work? But I don’t want to lose.”


I don’t know if I have any comments for this one? I always thought it was pretty straightforward.

Not going to hunt down any examples specifically (I’m sure that searching for just “し” would go well…), but you can find this one in the first example I linked above!


It blew my mind that this got its own entry! I never would’ve thought of this as grammar in its own right, though I suppose it is…

Not a lot to this entry, but the description for it goes surprisingly hard: “an infix attached to the stem of an Adj(i) to indicate s.t. that one cannot objectively measure on any scale (e.g. human emotion)”.

The note says: “Adjs (i) that do not contain -し- are, for the most part, descriptive adjectives that are dependent on the speaker’s objective judgement. In other words, they are adjectives which indicate something that one can objectively measure on some scale.”


悲しい vs 赤い