Short Grammar Questions (Part 1)

The meaning of 試す does already include the てみる idea of “try and see” within its definition, so you are correct that 試してみる is redundant.

But adding みる softens it and clarifies the speaker’s perspective on the attempt.

Can you clarify what you mean by “softens”? What does it mean that it “clarifies the speaker’s perspective on the attempt” Does it make me look very determined to try it, if I say it that way?

It makes you seem like you aren’t sure what is going to result from it, the same way that てみる implies when appended to other verbs.

When you go ask someone for help at the store, in English we would probably just say “Let’s go ask someone” but in Japanese you almost always hear 聞いてみる, because it shows that even if you ask you might not get the info you want. But that idea is already kind of implied by the idea of “ask” in the first place, so it’s slightly redundant, but it makes it clear that it’s a “try” and not a sure thing.

The Japanese tend to prefer things that sound less direct generally.

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Hmmmm, so saying “試す” is like saying I will try it, while “試してみる” is more akin to saying I want to try it but who knows? And in addition the “てみる” version might sound better to 日本人?

Yeah, basically.

Like I said, 試す already does contain the てみる within it (if you look at definitions in Japanese, they actually say やってみて) but yeah, they have a tendency to soften things whenever they can.

But I think we’re talking about the difference between “soft” and “a bit softer”

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As long as I don’t sound like the weirdo redundo 外人 I’m happy. And sounds like both work for my purposes. And you’ve clued me on some grammar nuances I didn’t understand before. Thank you :slight_smile:

Just realized … are you saying it’s better to use やってみて generally?

One last thought - after your feedback I think I could start seeing “てみる” as “I’ll see about”
As in, “I’ll see about trying that” might be an appropriate translation for “試してみる”

やってみて is just the dictionary definition of 試す. So it is not that one is better than the other.

So, say I’m in a restaurant. How do I order for other people at the table?

When I travelled to Japan last April, I went with a friend who basically had no head at all for Japanese, so I had to convey his order to waiters on his behalf. Generally I went with (gesture towards my friend) こちらは~~、(そして)私は~~ください or something like that, and I didn’t particularly notice any raised eyebrows or other quizzical looks, but is that the way to go about it?


I can’t say what you did was weird, but often when I’ve went out with friends who ordered for the whole table, they didn’t even bother differentiating who is ordering what. They go down the list of what is wanted for the entire table. For example, ハンバーグ定食を1つ、シーザーサラダを2つ、ドリンクバーを3つください。以上。Or something like that.

Even if you do say “he’s having x, and I’m having y,” the people who drop off the food have no idea who gets what and usually the server will only print one bill for the entire table.

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I’m stuck with a translation. The japanese sentence is “どう見てもそうとしか”, I literally translate it to “Even if I looked in what way (?), it would only be that.” I have no idea what it could mean, thanks!

どう見ても is not “Even if I looked in what way” (I’m not sure what that would mean)

It’s “No matter how I look at it”
“Any way you look at it”

Ran across this compound verb phrase that I was hoping to get some help with. Here is the text (context, coworkers are complaining about a worker who seems really spaced out):

そうよ。 いつも、ブツブツひとりごとをいっていてきいていたら、 訳のわからないセリフをしゃべっているの。

I believe that is 言いていて聞いていたら - continuous form of 言う and 聞く with the たら conditional

I think so too, but what would that mean in this sentence?

I read that as hes always grumbling to himself and if you listen in on it, he’s really just saying incomprehensible words/speech.

the いっていて is just saying hes always saying it, which sorta pairs with いつも in this case. Its in te form as if to say “and…” or something of that nature. 聞いていたら is 聞いている which I think is in the enduring state because you dont just hear it in an instant, but you sorta have to listen and then keep listening to try and hear what hes saying. If it were a single word, i think it would be 聞いたら, but since hes sorta going on and on, they make it 聞いている. I translated that as listening in on something because that sorta gives the idea of listening for a small period rather than just an instant.


kekkou desu comes to mind, but there may be a better one.

written as 結構です


You are so fast, haha. Yes, it was kekkou desu. I remembered as soon as I posted my question. Thanks so much and good night!

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I think it seems weird to me because in that interpretation the subjects of the two verbs are different. I didn’t know that て-form could work that way. But i think you are right. Thanks

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As in the person speaking and the person listening are different? Both the speaking and the listening are done to the ブツブツひとりごと