Short Grammar Questions (Part 1)

Question: when to use short form

I still don’t know and I’ve lived here for almost two years. Of course if the other person uses ます/です I will too. But is it okay to use it with people who are older than me (usually by 5-10 years) who use short form to me? Like at my gym or club or church? I have no idea…

No one can really tell you if it’s okay or not.

I live in Kansai, and people use casual Japanese without regard for age or superiority at my workplace quite frequently. In other parts of Japan, doing that at work would be far less common.

As a non-native speaker, people are unlikely to deeply scrutinize your choice of politeness, unless you are clearly at a native level and displaying the ability to use various registers flawlessly.

I doubt anything bad would happen if you used it. At the same time, older people who you only know as aquaintances are textbook examples of people to speak politely toward.

Experiment if you’re up for it.


I wrote this sentence the other day,


and a native gave me some feedback saying that it was kinda vague and replaced the で particle with では / においては (refer to the screenshot below). I was just wondering why(?) or how the sentence is made clearer with those two replacements.

Screenshot 2021-04-10 at 10.04.53 PM

Just at a glance, when you reach 学校のプロジェクトで, you cannot tell what function で is performing.

It could be the particle で, or it could be the て form of the copula. You have to go farther to tell.

Applying は to で instantly clarifies its purpose and presumably that feels more right to a native speaker.


I still have some difficulties to understand the sentences on nhk easy

those who “link” sentences or end them, for example




and usually they end the article with といました

If I get to know these small words I would increase a lot in understanding the sentences.

i learn stuff like this via bunpro and it really is improving my japanese skills waaay more than wanikani could at this point. alternatively you could load those small words into kamesame and learn them that way.

yes, i’m really taken in by the SRS way of learning xD

kamesame looks just like WK, no?

bunpro seems nice, I dont know if they have the same methodology of only focus on grammar and doing reviews and lessons (wk style) but only with sentences, that would be great later when I get more vocabs from WK

ように言いました could probably be translated as “like it was said”, but a broader context would be more useful.

いました is one of those clause “finishers” like と思う (I/he/she thought), と言う (I/he/she said), と聞く (I/he/she heard), etc. It’s more a tiny clause one would add to the end of another clause to emphasize that the preceding clauses are not expressed directly, but either second hand or in quotation.

For example:
Sunflowers are beautiful, I heard.

However, と言う can also mean “is called” if you attach it to an expression or noun, but that would fall under “quotation”, I think.

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It’s what Leebo said in essence, but personally, based on the difficulty I had parsing your sentence at first, I think I can make a case for the importance of making the purpose of で clear by adding は or by replacing it with a phrase that indicates that the context of discussion is being highlighted.

It could of course just be that it’s been a while since I’ve seen a sentence this long, but for some reason, I kept getting stuck around


I kept telling myself, ‘This is way too long. There’s no way that 問い is linking to 思っています, but I keep feeling like that’s what’s happening. What am I missing? Isn’t there another division somewhere?’ I eventually realised that the final verb of that chain of clauses was actually 探る, and that the entire chunk was modifying 意識. My suggestion would be that for the sake of clarity, you add という right after 探る so that the reader knows that the modifying phrase is something long, very possibly almost everything that has gone before. However, that’s probably not strictly necessary, and maybe my parsing isn’t as good as I think it is.

Nonetheless, here’s the thing: initially, I interpreted「学校のプロジェクトで」as a simple circumstantial element likely meaning ‘in a (certain) school project’, and proceeded to read the rest of the sentence as a series of actions undertaken during that project. I read it like a series of events in a story, and I had no idea why「が重要だと思っています」appeared because I thought 思っています was at the same level of the hierarchy as 傾け and 問い. (For a while, ‘thinking’ just seemed to fit better with ‘asking’ and ‘lending one’s ears’.) Even if I had parsed it correctly the first time around, it still felt wrong because as a series of events, everything from 傾け to 探る felt like something that would happen in isolation or that had already happened, so I couldn’t see why the ている form was being used: either 思っています was at the same level as 学校のプロジェクトで, which would make little sense unless you were at a project meeting and talking about it; or 学校のプロジェクトで was part of the relative clause that stretches all the way to 探る and modifies 意識, which makes more sense but is a little strange, because that makes it sound like there’s a specific sort of ‘awareness’ or ‘frame of mind’ that is characterised by being involved in a school project, and that this frame of mind is important (even though it’s not clear that it exists).

To round it all off, the interpretation that probably makes the most sense – and which I think is what you intended, right? – is the one that requires で to be on the same level as だ. Specifically, 重要だと思っています expresses a judgement, so it would be good for it to have a context, because few judgements are general or absolute. That’s why using では or においては is helpful, particularly the は itself: it makes it very clear that you’re making a judgement in this context. Without it, as I’ve just illustrated, there are too many possible ways placing of で into the hierarchy of the sentence. I believe that’s why you received such feedback, and I hope my explanation (along with my stories of faulty parsing) makes things clearer.



exactly like this I would like to learn and then understand better the sentences.

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kamesame is mostly used to train reproduction instead of only recognition, so you’re prompted an english word and have to answer in japanese (IME required). there’s quite a few settings and ways to use it, plus it’s free.

bunpro i think you can try out for free for a month or so to see what it’s like. it’s also possible to link your wanikani data so you only get furigana for vocabs you haven’t unlocked here yet but yeah, the most fun for me personally came when i began approaching level 20 or so on wanikani, cause i didn’t have to look up too many vocabs in the bunpro sentences anymore.

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so I can use the token from wk in bunpro?

way better now, I thought I would be lost with sentences with kanji and vocab I didn’t learn yet.


here is my default prompt (no furigana, because i already unlocked 人形 in wanikani)
Screenshot 2021-04-10 185006

if not, it would automatically show the furigana (which you can toggle by clicking the word) + you can toggle if you want to have the whole translation shown
Screenshot 2021-04-10 185020

and the answer is こういう - a ko-so-a-do type of small word.

noob question, what is to be written before ningyou?

Because I would translate that as “I want a doll” lmao

That’s where I see I still lack some details to translate better. The “the like this” I always thought It was only “noyouna”

that becomes clear by using bunpro for a bit (getting used to how it works) plus doing the lessons of course. although the actual content on the site is pretty limited, so they link to external sources for more in-depth learning.

のような・のように is actually another bunpro item but that i haven’t learned yet. there’s quite often more than one grammatical way to express something i guess :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: or it has different nuances in meaning or use cases, which is also a common thing.

Screenshot 2021-04-10 190057

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There are different forms and they depend on what’s before and after the clause. のような would be an adjectivial form between two nouns:
学生のような人 (a person resembling a student)

のように focuses on the likeness in behavior, for instance:
山のように見える (looks like/appears to be a mountain)

But you can also have のよう when the preceding word is a noun and simply よう when the preceding word is a verb.


This is the context sentence for 随時:

If new information comes in, contact me at any time.

致す is kenjougo, right? So doesn’t this mean: I will contact you at any time. instead? And to apply it to the other person, it should be ご連絡ください。?


I take it they never emailed the WK team after it was suggested to do so.


It does :slight_smile: thank you for the reply !

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Okay, I sent the email just now. Thanks!