NHK Easy News

I have no questions about the article itself, but the title seems strange. I mean, is it ok to use casual form いた instead of polite いました in the news article?

It’s the headline. An English headline could also be “3 people killed in an accident” which isn’t a complete sentence either.


Just for your info, it’s also extremely common for titles to contain no verbs whatsoever, with the appropriate verb being replaced by a noun or simply implied by context.


There’s no particular reason for it to use the polite form. It’s not being addressed to anyone in particular, and that would just use more space. Serious writing usually uses plain form.


Article: NEWS WEB EASY|イギリスから日本に来るときの決まりを厳しくする

Sentance (First One): イギリスでは、今までよりうつる力が強くなった新しいコロナウイルスが広がっています

Many things that are confusing me here:

  • Why 2 particles GA イギリスでは、今までよりうつる力 強くなった新しいコロナウイルス 広がっています
  • Not sure if the WA particle is for spread(広がっています) or for the relative clause 今までよりうつる力
  • This part 今までより, I know 今まで means until now but the より part confuses me, is it more than but it’s after a time word so should it be from ? and if its more than then it means lit. until now more than ?? or is with the second GA subject ?
  • 強くなった is this a verb ? it’s the part なった that confuses me because as per Jisho, the first part (強く) is an adjective

What does the は particle relate to?
It is attached to イギリスで, so that is the context for everything that comes after it.

Why 2 particles が?
These are two sentences, one is a relative clause (i.e. a subsentence that qualifies a noun). The subsentence is
今までよりうつる力 強くなった
and it it qualifying 新しいコロナウイルス.
The second GA denotes that this 新しいコロナウイルス is the subject of the overall sentence.

What about this より?
Like you said, より describes a comparison. The bit before より loses out with respect to what comes after より。To break this down a bit:
今まで - until now
より - the “until now” loses, so it is “more than until now”
うつる力 - the power of being contagious
強くなった - this is a combination of 強い (in adverbial form) and なる - to become - in past tense, so all together it is “became strong”

Putting this all together:

イギリスでは、- in England, (the following happened)
新しいコロナウイルスが - a new Coronavirus
今までよりうつる力が強くなった - that has a contagiousness that became stronger than until now
広がっています - is spreading.
(in English relative clauses usually come after the relating noun, that’s why I turned that bit around.)

Does this make things a bit clearer? If there are specific parts you don’t understand, please ask again and I will try to provide some links or the like to explain them further.


Thanks, it helps a lot, I didn’t know about adjectives that can be turned into adverbs so that didn’t help at all in my comprehension. Moreover it’s a completely different way of adding descriptions to nouns from English, so it was difficult for me to understand that this sentence ( 今までよりうつる力 強くなった) was modifying this already “modified(新しい)” noun (コロナウイルス) and that the second particle GA was for this whole “extended noun”. Also, the より didn’t help at all. My biggest hurdle so far is to know what is modifying what in the sentences I read.

(イギリスでは) [ ( 今までよりうつる力が強くなった ) <- Missing link that I couldn’t see -> ( 新しい ( コロナウイルス ) ) ] が 広 がっています

I guess I need more practice… :sweat_smile:

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Agreed, this one single sentence contains a lot of grammar! From your recap it seems that you grasped it all, so that’s excellent :slight_smile:

This can be done with all adjectives by the way (just like in English, where you e.g. add ~ly). In Japanese you can have different types of adjectives (mainly i-adjectives and na-adjectives) and the rules are of course different for them, but it’s pretty straightforward altogether.

Yes! It takes a bit of practice to get used to this, but after a while, you will probably be able to “stack” those descriptions in your head and simply wait for the noun where they get dumped onto :wink:

Oh true, I did not even think about that any more! Like I said, quite a mouthful of grammar in this sentence…

The general rule is “what comes before modifies what comes after”. There is no “backwards referral” like in English, e.g. “The apple that was eaten.” - in Japanese it’s always “The eaten apple”.
The rest probably comes with practice. :+1:

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Not really. You can do the same thing in English. For example you can say both of these things in English grammatically:

‘The wrecked car’ or ‘The car that was wrecked’.

Breaking down Japanese sentences is like looking for onions, honestly. You need to look out for ‘cores’ (which are usually nouns) and ask yourself what might be modifying them. You then build outwards and see whether that ‘onion’ (which has become a noun phrase or an ‘extended noun’, as you call it) has another role in the sentence, as a subject, object or even predicate (i.e. everything other than the subject). Usually, a random verb in dictionary/sentence-final form in the middle of a sentence indicates that you’re looking at a relative clause. @athomasm is right that both sorts of descriptions are possible in English. The thing about Japanese is that it uses the first format for everything by default, so instead of using a relative clause that begins with ‘that’, ‘which’, ‘where’ or something else and putting it after the noun, it just takes that entire clause and plonks it in front of the noun that’s being described. It’s basically an agglutinative language, if you’ve heard of that term. Also, well, Japanese doesn’t have an equivalent of ‘that’, so there are no real alternatives to what I just mentioned beyond breaking things down into smaller sentences. Another major indicator that a very long something or other is a description is the fact that it ends in という. That’s like adding quotation marks in English.

Two quick examples of each sort of structure, but written entirely in English:

  • Japanese is quite comfortable with using very-long-full-of-details-and-circumstantial-elements phrases to modify nouns <– There’s a Japanese-style relative clause for you.
  • I detest his ‘I’m so oh-so-great’ attitude <– That’s what something ‘framed’ using という looks like in a Japanese sentence

I haven’t seen any posts on this thread for a while but I wanted to share a new user script I made for NHK Easy. This script will hide the furigana on NHK Easy articles for any WaniKani vocab or kanji at Guru 1 or above.

Here is a link to my new userscript:
NHK Easy Practice With WaniKani


It sounds great, but I think you might have made a mistake when pasting the link. Clicking the text doesn’t open anything (not even a blank page).

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I updated the link. It should work now. Thanks for the heads up.

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Hey, if you could test the script and give me feedback on the page I linked, that would be awesome. I have someone else who is trying to use it and is having trouble. I don’t know if it is a one off thing or a critical flaw I need to fix.

I’d love to help, but I actually only use the forums. I haven’t used the SRS at all (and don’t intend to), so figuring out how to get a userscript going and so on might be kinda complicated. Sorry. Hopefully someone else will be able to help.

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Alright, no problem. Well, at some point, I was thinking of updating my script to allow you to hide furigana by JLPT level. So maybe in the future that may be something that can help you too.

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Ok, so this is a number pet peeve of mine…

Article NEWS WEB EASY|東日本大震災から10年 今も地震は多い
(about earthquakes since the big one) ends with sentence

The number of earthquakes has increased 1.7 倍に. Now, in English you’d say its +70%, right?
I ask this because I’m Dutch and in Dutch there are two sentence constructions that are pretty similar and a 1.7 times increase can be either +70% or +170%, depending on which construction you use. Dutch newspapers are (imho) notoriously bad at using the correct construction and often end up mangling the actual data.
I didn’t think this was a common issue in English, but I didn’t know about Japanese - so I put this sentence through both DeepL and Google translate to check if my +70% assumption was correct… and they disagree with each other.

This is 1.7 times more than in the 10 years before the earthquake. (+170%)
It has increased 1.7 times in 10 years before the earthquake. (+70%)

It’s either 1.7 times the original (+70%) or 1.7 times more than the original (+170%)
It has increased 1.7 times (+70%) or it has increased by 1.7 times (+170%)

My money is on Google’s translation this time. Would the difference in Japanese be 1.7 倍に versus 1.7 倍で ? Or is the latter just garbage?

I wouldn’t interpret those two sentences the way you did. I would read them both as “previous total times 1.7” same as my Japanese interpretation.

Maybe I’m wrong and that makes me “part of the problem” but I just wouldn’t consider your +170% option.


At least that means the +70% is a go. I’m not surprised the +170% is not an option for other people - it partially explains my perceived sloppiness of Dutch newspapers when it comes to describing statistics.

(It won’t change my mind though. Something that increases by 70% increases by a factor of 0.7 or by 0.7 times, not by 1.7 times, even though it becomes 1.7 times as large - but my main question was about how it should be interpreted in Japanese).

Did some dictionary checks as well and the way I understand is that it’s “1.7 times increase” as compared to 10 years before. So effectively +70%.

I feel what I wrote doesn’t translate well into English.

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