So far I’ve focussed only on reading comprehension. I draw a blank when I have to use the language to actually express myself. To correct that, I want to practise writing in Japanese. Could someone please look over this piece I’ve written and correct it for grammar and other mistakes? I’m sorry that it looks kind of dense and unpleasant to read. Wonder how I should fix that…
There are many people great at Japanese here and more often than not they’re better at explaining things that natives are (as they went through the process of learning the language).
However, it you’d like to make sure your Japanese is natural I’d recommend asking native speakers for corrections, e.g. on HelloTalk or Lang-8. Also, those are great places to hang around if you plan to write regularly.
I also am not advanced enough to rate this but if you want to practice writing (in shorter segments) I can recommend the Japanese Sentence a Day Challenge thread. Write a sentence or two everyday and if you mess something up there are a ton of people ready to help you.
@ekanek I’ll see if I can make it all the way through and offer some suggestions. However, I definitely second what @adr-p said: native speakers will have a much better feel for how different words are used, whereas for many people on the WK forums, what we’ll be able to tell you really depends on the context in which we’re used to using Japanese. Plus (someone please enlighten me if I’m wrong), I feel it’s really a lot harder to reach native-speaker standard for Japanese outside Japan because there aren’t really any textbooks specifically for the highest JLPT levels (N1 and upper N2), and honestly, even people who have reached N1 say it doesn’t count for much since what’s tested is so limited (and 100% MCQ). I would quite confidently offer to correct a text like this for you if it were in French, because I’ve been able to find resources that piece together what ‘advanced’ French looks like, beyond just muddling my way through news articles and gaining the skills myself. Those resources were a fairly significant part of what got me to my current standard of French. I don’t really have anything like that for Japanese. With that said, here I go…
I will not be able to comment too much on if it all sounds completely natural, and I have tried to keep opinions I have about style, as opposed to grammatical mistakes, to myself.
First thing I notice, is you might want to leave off あなたたちは. It is not necessary for the meaning, and too direct. You can just say 幽霊とかに信じますか。and the reader will interpret it as being directed at them.
You’re inconsistent in how you write わたしたち. I would stick to one or the other. Same with わたし.
残されています⇒残っています it’s not like science is leaving the wonders there on purpose.
驚くべきであること⇒驚くべくこと I think. Not too sure about this one.
と言う⇒という you’re not quoting anyone, so best to go kana only.
怖くもの・面白くもの⇒怖いもの・面白いもの This is simply adjective+noun, no adverb needed.
歩いてるとべとべとさんが…⇒歩いたら It’s not automatic that the ghost will come. もし goes with たら.
ところで⇒ちなみに you’re still on the same topic.
または⇒そして last line, I don’t think you mean to say 'I will keep enjoying scary stories or I will keep asking people their opinions.
Final bit of advice, I think you are going between neutral and colloquial voice too much. In some places I could understand changing it up for effect, but now it feels too much like a seesaw to me.
Some of the changes I suggest are based on what I think might sound more natural. I can’t guarantee that I’m right though.
It’s 〜を信じる, and とか can take the place of が and を (if I’m not wrong). I can see where に comes from, since we say ‘believe in’, in English, but we can’t translate directly here. Also, I think it should be 信じていますか. I’m not sure, but I feel as though 信じる is more appropriate for statements of trust, whereas this is a sort of sustained belief. EDIT: @Saida is right. You should probably remove あなたたち. Perhaps I was just too tired to notice. I was reading your text in my ‘Tobira textbook’ voice, but frankly, even in Tobira, when ‘you’ is added as a pronoun, the form of choice is just あなた. No need for たち. Also, the reason textbooks use あなた is that they have no other convenient way of addressing the reader. It’s very rare to use second-person pronouns in real life otherwise.
信じる is an ichidan verb. You just drop the る and add the endings.
に 同意する is indeed the correct structure, and it’s what you used in the previous sentence. I know that the 〜く forms are valid connective forms, but I think the sentence just felt like it didn’t flow. If you look at NHK articles, the masu-stem/〜く forms tend to be used as connectors between major blocks (like complex clauses), whereas て forms are used for connections within those blocks. (Of course, maybe I’m wrong and it’s the other way around, but I strongly doubt it.) I added も to より because I think it better achieves the sort of emphasis you were seeking by repeating もっと. より + adjective is the closest thing Japanese has to a comparative form, and very often, より and whatever comes before it is dropped entirely. Adding もっと is something meant to indicate a greater degree, especially in the context of actions or quantities. It’s not very natural to add it to adjectives in order to translate ‘more [adjective]’.
It’s common to daisy-chain questions that present two sides of a discussion, so by all means, do so. I’m not certain if 答えをあげる is natural since it doesn’t match the (likely) elevated status of science, even if it’s not grammatically wrong. More importantly, science doesn’t ‘simply’ hand over answers, which is the sort of vibe I get with あげる. I agree with @Saida’s comment: switching between the polite and plain forms usually doesn’t happen unless certain structures that call for the plain form appear. In addition, it’s incongruous to combine あげる (casual/dictionary form) with けれども (the most formal form in the けど family). 残される indicates that somebody left those things there, because 残す is a transitive verb that means ‘to leave behind’. That isn’t the case here.
This is a grammar point: plain past form of verb + 後 is how you say ‘after doing [verb]’. Here’s a quote from Maggie Sensei about the nuances:
後で／後 focusing on the order/what you are going to do after ~
After finishing (A), you do (B)
後に focusing on the time, the particular time after ~
The other option was to say 死の後 – literally ‘the after of death’. As for そう思うなら, I changed it because I felt a cause-and-effect relationship between ‘if that really happens’ and ‘it’s such a waste/not worth it’ made more sense.
First of all, the dictionaries I use seem to list the structure as 〜は別として, probably because 別に usually means ‘particularly’. Secondly, 〜は別として usually means ‘~ aside’, or ‘~ excepted’, which I’m not sure is what you mean here, because there’s nothing exceptional/contradictory about liking ghost stories while also finding the possibility of life after death attractive. The two don’t conflict, so 〜は別として doesn’t really fit. I think you mean something like ‘on another note’ or even ‘on a related note’. I think I would replace ‘しかしそれを別にしても’ with ‘ちょっと話題を変えて’. As for 普通とはちょっと意外, I think that 意外 doesn’t have a 〜と意外 construction. You could replace it with 普通とちょっと違う if you want, instead of using my original suggestion.
I could be wrong, but I think は is more appropriate than が here. My only justification for the moment is that the second half of the sentence seems to be the main point.
自分 because… I’m not sure, I guess it’s just a more natural way of referring to yourself? 私 is probably not wrong, but it sounds too much like ‘I/me’ as opposed to everyone else. I used は after こと (which I also added), because that makes 安心 less awkward: technically, if you use を for the first thing you ‘feel’, then you should also use it for the second thing you ‘feel’. By the way, I didn’t change this, but it’s apparently more natural to use the casual form when you’re talking to yourself, so it might be better to say something like「あ、無事だ。ただの話で、よかった！」. I added the Japanese equivalent of quotes to make the logical flow easier to follow because you were expressing your inner thoughts instead of something that fit directly into the rest of the text. そういう because you’ve just described your feelings with your inner thoughts.
あります because it’s not clear that all the things you’re talking about are animate.
After 誰か, you can drop the を or が particles. たら because it’s not a ‘natural’ consequence: the logical consequence of walking alone at night is not Betobeto-san’s appearing, but rather something like, for instance, ‘feeling lonely’. Also, I think もし usually only appears with the たら and ば forms. Finally, once again, try not to switch between polite and plain forms without a specific reason.
It is ‘bakeneko’ (‘monster cat’), right? Because ‘bakaneko’ would probably have been something like ‘the idiot cat’, which is a quite funny name for a monster. I combined the two sentences because I felt that would improve the flow.
Honestly, I feel it might be more natural if you put colons after the names of those stories, like ‘べとべとさん：’ or ‘ばけねこ：’. Also, it might make more sense if you added things to indicate that these things are stories, like ‘長い間生きてきた大きな猫がときどき化け物になって、そして人間のように話すことができるようになる と言われている。’
@Saida is right about ちなみに being more appropriate. ところで is meant for changing the subject. I thought it was OK because there’s also ところが, which indicates much more contrast (it’s like ‘however/in spite of that’), but turns out ところで doesn’t indicate a lack of contrast either.
That’s it. I’m finally done. Please don’t take it personally if I sound critical at any point: I’m really just trying to explain why I made each of those changes, and it has nothing to do with you as an individual. I hope the explanations are clear, and that I didn’t accidentally say anything rude or callous. I’ve never seen anyone write about their opinion about the supernatural in Japanese. Hahaha. It was a fresh experience.
thank you so much for your comments and for being so detailed. i did go to lang-8 right after i posted this and was directed to the site. its a great resource that i definitely plan to use now onwards! But @Saida and your comments really helped shine a light on the areas that are fuzzy in my head and that i need to go back and spend more time on.