Help me with this sentences

My boss says: Let’s have a drink together.

じょうし = boss
いっぱい = drink
のもう = togheter?
いった = said

Can you help me understand the no mou part of the sentences?
Does that mean together?


You have it almost right!

いっぱい can mean a drink like you said, but in this case it means ‘a lot’. Check out definition 5. [Edit: Nevermind, it does mean ‘a drink’ in this case]

のもう is 飲もう, the volitional (I think) form of 飲む (to drink). It basically means ‘let’s drink’ in this case.

Hope that helps

Also, there’s a specific thread for this type of questions, where you’ll probably get faster replies: Short Grammar Questions (Part 2)


So basically you can say that the “togheter” part is, more something that comes out of understanding when this is being said.

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Here’s how to parse this sentence:

  • 上司(じょうし) (Boss)

  • が (Particle identifying the 主語(しゅご), the “master word” that performs an action. In other words, the grammatical subject. The boss (subject) said something.)

  • 一杯(いっぱい) (literally one cupful, one drink, more figuratively it’s never just one :smile:)

  • ()もう (as @Milgram said, volitional form of 飲む: i.e. “let’s drink”)

  • と (particle indicating something being quoted. The boss said 「いっぱいのもう」)

  • ()った (said)

Putting it all together, it means

The boss said, “let’s have a drink”

The concept of “together” isn’t stated explicitly anywhere in the sentence.

(It was actually quite difficult to read that sentence entirely in hiragana, by the way!)

Diagramming this sentence

I’m unsure if you’ll find this helpful, but I’ve recently been trying to come up with a way of diagramming Japanese sentences. Please let me know if you find the diagram below useful.

Here is how I'd diagram this sentence

This is a compound sentence. There are two clauses, which makes it more complicated than you might have expected.

Every clause in Japanese has a 主語(しゅご) (subject) and a 述語(じゅつご) (predicate, the action or state relating to the subject). We diagram each clause on a horizontal line with the 主語 and 述語 separated by a vertical line.

The top line

The top horizontal line is the primary clause: 上司(じょし)が言った (“The boss said”). This is a complete clause or sentence, a complete thought. Everything else just provides more information about this “core” clause (specifically, what was said).

Since が is explicitly present in the core clause, and が is a particle that identifies the subject, we write it immediately to the right of the vertical line.

The bottom line

What was quoted is another clause, written on another horizontal line below the first. The two clauses are connected by a line labeled with the と to indicate it’s quoting something.

Ignore the stuff in square brackets for the moment (it’s not actually explicitly present in the original sentence).

Basically, the “core” of this quoted clause was just the solitary verb: ()もう ("let’s drink).

Imaginary subjects (the “zero pronoun”)

But a verb alone isn’t a complete clause. Remember: every clause has a subject and a predicate (an action). 飲もう is a 動詞(どうし) (a verb, an action word) meaning “[let’s] drink” but it’s just a verb — who or what is the subject doing that verb?

You may have heard that Japanese often omits the subject. It’s often implied by context. There is a subject in this clause doing the drinking: it’s you! Only you aren’t specified by name or even out loud at all.

Japanese learners often use a concept called the “zero pronoun” or “null pronoun” to stand in for missing subjects. I’ve indicated zero pronoun by the character “@” in the diagram (again in brackets, because it isn’t explicitly in the sentence). The subject of the quoted clause is the zero pronoun, a magic pronoun that can mean I, he, she, it, they or any of the above.

In this case the zero pronoun is standing in for “us”! It’s the “us” in “let’s” or “let us”.

Finally, the core quoted clause “let us drink” has a further modification/qualification: 一杯(いっぱい) (one cupful).

The particle を could have been used but wasn’t so it’s in square brackets. Neither the zero pronoun nor が are actually in the sentence, either, so they are also in square brackets.


So to finally answer your question, the concept of “together” is implied in the imaginary “us” as the subject of the quoted clause (the so-called “zero pronoun” or “null pronoun” indicated by @ in the diagram).

I suspect that’s an awful lot to absorb, especially as I suspect your first language isn’t English, but I encourage you to read this article if you’d like to understand the null particle better. That article focuses on は which isn’t in this sentence, but the zero pronoun is explained fully.


Ah oke understand, makes sense now.

The と particle in this case is used as quote, because normally it means “and also” right?

And the volitional form is more of an invitational form of a verb?


Japanese without kanji is so frustrating to read. My method of dealing with it is pretending it doesn’t exist.



‘Yes’ and ‘yes, in this case’. The volitional form (it’s in the name, because ‘volition’ is about one’s will i.e. desire/intention to do something) is something that expresses the intention to do something (like ‘I shall do…’), but it can also be used for suggestions or invitations, as you’ve just seen here! :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t say so. と is definitely more commonly used as a quotation particle. Here’s a rough guide:

  • と + verb expressing speech, writing, thought etc.: quotation particle
  • と + other verb: quotation particle being used to frame/put forward a description of how that action is done (very basic and common example of this: 〜とする, as in その色(いろ)を黒(くろ)とする=‘to consider that colour as black’, literally ‘to do that colour [as] “black”’. You could even parse it as something like
    ‘to do/act(する), with that action applying to ‘that colour’(その色を), while [thinking, saying etc.], “Black.”(黒と)’ .)
  • noun + と (+ noun): means ‘and’ or ‘with’

The other と usage missing from your list is the one marking the other person in an action you’ve jointly done together with them, eg 花子さんと話しました “I talked to/with Hanako”.

Oh, and there’s the conditional と as well (先生に聞くとすぐわかった) but that’s kinda different as it joins two sentences rather than connecting a noun up to something.

As usual, the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar has entries for all these different uses of と if the OP wants a reference for getting them disentangled.


Yes exactly the one I meant, was, for example, わたしとともだち。

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Yeah, that’s the “noun と noun” at the end of @Jonapedia 's list. I think the overall takeaway is that と has four or five different uses of which that is just one.

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That was the last one actually. I grouped AとB and Aと [verb] together because I think they’re fundamentally the same. Both involve bringing two nouns together, even if in the second case, the second noun is only implied. That’s why I had the second noun in parentheses.

The sentence structures they’re a part of are different though, of course, so perhaps it would be better to split them. I was focusing on semantics, not syntax. It seems the clarification was necessary though. Thanks.

And yes, there’s this one too. I rarely think about it unless I need it, but it’s good to know it exists.


Oh oke, yeah my grammar understanding and exposure is still around n5.

Interesting, I think of them as being significantly different, both in syntax and in meaning (one’s just “and” and the other is “in a reciprocal relationship with the subject of the verb”, to borrow DoBJG’s way of putting it).

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I guess I just prefer to combine things as much as possible so long as it’s possible in an intuitive fashion. That way I have fewer possibilities to consider, and I split them further down the line whenever necessary with more concrete concepts, like what you’ve just quoted from the DoBJG. I mean, of course, the way the DoBJG splits them is correct, but if you think about it, ‘with’ and ‘and’ are fundamentally the same thing: they express unity. The core concept they relate to is one and the same. If you were to ask me to break down the meanings of と, I would only cover three:

  1. Quoting/framing
  2. Unity
  3. Habitual condition/near-simultaneous causation

You can then combine 2 & 3 by noting that with 3, regardless of whether you’re expressing a habitual relationship or an observation (when A happened, B happened/when I did A, I saw B), the idea is that those two actions/occurrences necessarily occur together. You can then attempt to combine that with 1 by attempting to see と as something that indicates co-occurring ideas or states, but I think that’s going a bit too far, so I’ll leave it at that.

The reason I do this is that I don’t want to have to keep asking myself, ‘Which と is this? Why are there different とs?’ Doing that tends to just lead to headaches and frustration, and most importantly, I think that in many cases, it’s illogical: to many native speakers, the particle is the same even when it seems different to us as learners. Therefore, they have to be seeing some commonality that we don’t, and my job is to understand what commonality they see intuitively, without thinking about grammar.


I was so confused for a second because there was no kanji shows what having a sentence with no kanji in japanese is like.I started thinking it said の like the particle and もう like already.But yeah like the others said のもう is basically a less formal form of のみましょう at least thats what ive learnt dont trust me though as im still not nihongo jyouzu :joy:

Yeah, you can definitely climb up and down the ladder of how much you split this into different sub-concepts and how much you bundle it up into overarching shared concepts. (The DoBJG actually has a tree diagram where they relate all the uses of と, including the conditional.) I guess I tend as a preference when I’m trying to explain something to go for a relatively granular level, because I think pointing out the specific differences and nuances is helpful, and that most people are then able to reach the insight of “in some ways these are all related” for themselves (and indeed that having the insight themselves is both important for learning and one of the pleasures of language learning).

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Heh. I had to look it up.

If you’re talking about the diagram labeled “Semantic Derivations of To”, I count five separate classifications of usage with four more sub-classifications.

I actually made it to the last major classification (“Condition of noncontrollable occurrence”) before my head inevitably fell hard onto the desk. (The example was 「ニューヨークへ行く と ()いレストランがある」).

I don’t know how you real linguists do it. Trying to understand succinct but dense descriptions of nuanced semantic meaning puts me to sleep faster than anything I know! In this case it was on the third attempt at understanding: “Condition of noncontrollable occur…<snore>”.

That’s much more my speed! Succinct, but not too succinct. Much easier to understand even if it isn’t exhaustive.


The example sentence above might be a better example for your second category in the list.


  • と + verb expressing speech, writing, thought etc.: quotation particle: (いた)いと()いた

  • と + other verb: quotation particle being used to frame/put forward a description of how that action is done: ニューヨークへ行く と ()いレストランがある (“If you were to go to New York, there is a good restaurant”)

  • noun + と (+ noun): means ‘and’ or ‘with’:「鉛筆(えんぴつ)(かみ)()いた」 or 「友達(ともだち)()った」

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The diagram is at the end of nine pages where the book has laid out the different uses in a non-dense way with plenty of examples to illustrate them. You’re not supposed to start with the diagram and work backwards :slight_smile:


Nope, that sentence is the conditional と (“if”), not quotational. (It links two things that look like complete sentences; quotative と links a thing-being-quoted directly to a verb.)

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@Jonapedia 's simpler list has just three categories. It doesn’t break out “condition of non-controllable occurrence” separately.

Since this is a と preceded by a verb, and is basically a framing sentence (“if you were to go to New York”) it seems to fall in his second bucket, no?