Short Grammar Questions (Part 1)

To be more specific, translation models are built from huge corpora of bilingual texts, e.g. sets of (for example) Japanese texts and their English translations. Therefore, they become quite good at plausible translations, because they can build up connections between Japanese text passages and how they’re usually translated in English.

This means that the translation is always going to prioritize natural sounding English over a literal translation - which often is what you want, but it will not be able to convey all the nuances necessarily.

Furthermore, such models are a bit limited compared to human translators in that humans don’t only establish connections between pairs of expressions (a trained translator probably has those too), but they can also connect language to real-world phenomena, something which is generally not accessible to language models.


The less you rely on it for language learning, the better, in my opinion.

I wanted to ask about this point for awhile. In situations where I’m completely stuck (which is when I use DeepL), what else am I to do? If I come here I’d be asking like… 12 questions a day or more lol. How can I better problem solve on my own?

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Doesn’t answer your question but don’t forget that just moving on is a very valuable skill when you can’t find the answer on your own.


Hey, man. I really liked the video! I remember you mentioning that, but I seemed to ignore the advice haha. Could you explain a bit more on why that’s useful? I feel like I’m losing out on a learning experience if I don’t get the 100% confirmation on something.

Yeah, no problem. Well, first it assumes one very important thing: You have a lot of stuff that you’re coming across that you have yet to learn. For a very advanced learner coming cross one or two things they don’t know for book this doesn’t really apply.

You’re absolutely right that you are losing out on a learning experience by not getting caught up on a single sentence, but its more about the opportunity cost. Spending several, sometimes dozens of minutes on something you can’t find the answer to (thus its probably a bit above your level) is time that you aren’t spending consuming more content that could present you with some lower hanging fruits better suited to your current level.

In addition, a lot of things that you can’t seem to find online are usages (or combinaitons of usages) of more fundamental grammar. The thing about fundamental grammar though, is it can be very difficult because it has so many different ways it can be used. If you move on, you’re destined to see that exact same usage in a context that makes its meaning much more clearer for you, which will help you better understand it. A lot of times, sentences you didn’t understand will just magically seem to become comprehensible. Not to say this will never happen with advanced grammar too, but usually I feel advanced grammar is relatively distinct and thus easy to find just googling.


Plus when something makes no sense even when you look up vocab, grammar, etc, it’s often because one sentence has multiple things you don’t understand in it all at once, like maybe there’s a grammar structure you haven’t studied yet, plus a colloquial spoken contraction, plus some abstract words that don’t pin down the meaning very well. In that kind of case, moving on helps, because chances are you’ll run into all those things again, only in separate sentences, where you’ll have a much better chance of understanding them because you get to deal with them one isolated unknown at a time.


Some options:

  • move on, don’t worry about not having understood whatever it is (as discussed above)
  • ask here anyway :slight_smile: – it works for the person working through Attack on Titan…
  • consider whether shifting to slightly less challenging material would make for faster progress (depends, among other things, how much input you’re consuming while you’re generating those 12 questions: reading 12 pages of manga or 120 pages of a novel?)
  • look at whether there are patterns in the answers to the questions you post: what sort of resources are people using to answer, and are you using those resources?

One thing I’d recommend is using as a grammar lookup tool. You might have to make an account to use the search tool (I don’t remember), but it’s free anyway. So let’s say you see ば in a sentence. Search Bunpro for ば, scroll through until you see one that may be relevant, and then read the resources provided by Bunpro as well as the example sentences. Now of course, it won’t always be that simple. Sometimes you won’t even know you’re looking at grammar or you won’t know which part of the sentence is the grammar to look up. But often this can be a simple first step for looking up grammar you don’t know.

For your specific question, especially since you already knew で could be the て-form of だ, this may have helped you find the “so” / “because” meaning as a possibility to consider. Of course, sometimes even after you look through all the options you still may not know which one is right in the given context. But becoming more self sufficient doesn’t mean you can never ask for help. So if you get stuck at any step in the process, we’re all still here to help if you need us. :slight_smile:


What’s up guys! I have a question about ても/でも, and a one other question as well. Here’s a portion of the book with the problem areas highlighted:


For the ても parts, I just don’t see how even if/though fits in. So if y’all could help wrap my head around that! As for 香ばしく煎って作ります, I’m unsure how to interpret this at all, tbh.


It’s okay to boil it. Before they mention that you throw the leaves into boiling water and drink it, but it’s okay (also) to boil them.


Quick question: I read a sentence where a character is annoyed at an unexpected situation and says "なんでこんな事に。。” I understand what it means but I’d like to know exactly which of に’s properties is used here. I’ve found quite a few, but none seem to match.

I assume this is a shortened version of something like ”なんでこんな事に起こってしまた” but I would expect は here…




That sentence makes much more sense yeah, but I still don’t know the exact property of に here. I know its not time based or direction based, but I’m having trouble puttign a name to the function that it does here

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I’ve never really thought about it, but I guess you could think of it like this.

なる expresses a change in some manner. So に is used to denote the direction of the change (from some other state to こんなこと).


Thanks that makes sense. So the new state is the result of the change, and the existing state would have been the subject if it was explicitly stated in the sentence. So something like “how did this become like that”

I’m trying to be more explicit about grammar instead of just “feeling” it because that won’t fly anymore, and these particles are killing me :slight_smile:

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Thanks! Any idea for the part where ても precedes まずに?


There are a lot of different senses of に – check out the 6 or 7 entries in the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar.

Often I find it is simplest to just think of it as “some verbs take particular particles” – Xになる and Xにするare very common and while you can classify it under some flavour of the ‘point of contact’ or ‘destination’ senses of に I’m not sure that really clarifies anything.


This is a bit of a garden-path sentence. If they’d thrown in a comma it would have clarified:

ie this is the verb もむ (kanji form 揉む but usually written in kana) in the -zu inflection. So “steam the leaves and dry them without crumpling them”.

(This web page has a similar sentence where the writer did add the comma: その葉を蒸して、もまずに乾燥させたのち、丁寧に葉脈などが取り除かれた葉の部分だけを粉にして完成です。)


Thanks! (10k post get)


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