Short Grammar Questions (Part 1)

Ah right! Yeah, that’s slightly different - it happens to be included in articles about あげる, くれる and もらう but they’re a bit of a special case in that respect.

For example sentences, I feel something like Goo might be the best source. Jisho and the like tend to use the same example sentences as, which are not written by natives and as such may contain errors or stunted/unnatural grammar. Goo doesn’t have that problem because it’s a native source - but of course it’s all in Japanese with no translations, so that’s a bit of a barrier, and it won’t help you if you’re wondering how to say a particular thing in Japanese. Hinative can help with that if Jisho and the like don’t give you the answer you need.

まで is my first thought. So for 3 minutes to New Years, I’d say 新年まで三分がある. But I’ll admit I’m not 100% sure on that :thinking:

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I think Tae Kim’s articles on particles might be worth a check:

Unfortunately, the examples you mentioned one usually learns from reading and listening, since as you said Japanese expresses certain concepts differently (薬を飲む also comes to mind). Perhaps a dictionary like would be useful here as well, because it gives example phrases and later context sentences.

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More questions! I’m sorry to keep flooding this thread whoops.

How would you ask what gender a person is?
Perhaps one of these?
(the last one would imply there’s only two genders, though :c )

I would likely say option 1.

  • Option 2 is not correct grammatically. It should rather open with あの人の性別は. どの is a question word.
  • Options 3 and 4 sound kind of weird to me.
  • Option 4 would rather use 男性 and 女性 to emphasize gender. Not sure how to phrase it. Something like this maybe?

I think this is very close to how the typical Japanese person would ask the question, but I feel like it’s probably not what you’re looking for. The Japanese word 性別 refers strictly to “the distinction between male and female” (“男性と女性の区別。また,雌と雄の区別。”). The concept of gender that you want to ask about is a bit broader in scope than than the Japanese 性別. Perhaps using the English loanword ジェンダー might work, but if the person you’re asking isn’t aware of the connotations you’ll probably just get confused looks. I’m hoping someone in this thread is more attuned to how young Japanese people discuss these topics and can help you with that.


I’m not at all attuned to how young Japanese people discuss anything, but I remember reading some articles on a similar subject, and maybe swapping in 性自認 for 性別 would be a way to go?

Googling around to check if it’s plausible gives at least one usage of “あなたの性自認(自分の性の認識)は何ですか?” in a poll with lots of options, and curious if you could get away with talking about someone else’s 性自認, I tried “彼の性自認” and the results looked plausibly like the kind of discussions about a third party @TheMostPrizedPigeon was maybe asking about.

Take with a grain of salt though, I have zero experience talking to anyone in Japanese so offered only as potentially interesting speculation.


What does でも mean in “近いうちにうなぎ丼でも食べに行こうよ。” ?

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It means “or something”:でも-demo-meaning-something/

While we’re still close, let’s have an eel bowl or something.


The 近い in 近いうちに is not really referring to the distance (physical or metaphorical) between the speaker and the listener. It’s referring to time. So the translation would just be “soon”, or “before long” if you want something closer to the Japanese nuance.


Ah good point! I forgot it can also have that nuance. Thanks! :slight_smile:

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I think another way of interpreting it is as proposing something that someone can do/consider. ‘Or something’ certainly works, but I think that でも tends to have a slightly different feel from expressions like とか, which can also be translated that way. Of the two translations on JLPT Sensei, I prefer ‘how about’, at least based on how I’ve seen でも used so far.


I think both translations fit, and it’s situationally dependent - and also that it’s a nuance that’s not very helpful to think about in terms of what it translates to out of context, because the translations for both can use the same words but in different situations.

The key part, I think, is that とか is more about examples where でも is more about suggestions (at least in this usage). What English words you use to express that is largely irrelevant.

Of course those can overlap as well, but I’d interpret ウナギ丼でも食べよう as “lets eat an unagi bowl [or something else along the same lines]” whereas I’d interpret ウナギ丼とか食べよう as “let’s eat an unagi bowl [and other things]”


I was initially thinking でも is more akin to など, because I think I’ve seen it in similar contexts in stories, where it would literally mean “or something”. I would need to double-check, though.

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I’d say など is more like とか than でも.

I’d see ウナギ丼など食べよう as roughly the same as using とか as it doesn’t so much imply “unagi bowl or something else” as it does “unagi bowl and other things”. Both など and とか, as I see them, are used to give examples. The difference is a bit subtle, but など is a bit like “etc.” or “and so on” I feel - which can in some cases also be phrased as “or something” but not in the sense of “or something else”, more in the sense of “there are other examples (or I’m implying there are other examples even though there are none)”.

Also according to Goo:


とか also seems more explicitly geared towards giving examples:


I find the list of usages for でも a bit harder to parse, but I think this is the most relevant entry:


So reading that I think suggestions vs examples might have been the wrong way to phrase it, but it’s more along the lines that でも implies “or other things I haven’t mentioned” whereas とか and など imply “and other things I haven’t mentioned”.


It can be translated that way, but the nuance is definitely not the same. でも can be used to list examples but there is a nuance that you are suggesting or offering something to the listener. It also softens the suggestion as well.

でも is like “even” and often lessens the tone of a sentence. In the latter case, it is seen in contexts where the speaker is often trying to make some sort of suggestion or offer to someone. Options are implied given the literal interpretation of “even”. This is meant to be less direct so one doesn’t sound pushy.

  1. ~ and so on / and something: When you suggest something bring up some examples.
  • noun + (particle) + でも ( = demo) : something like ~

For example, when you offer someone specifically a cup of tea, you say:

Ex. お茶飲まない?

= Ocha nomanai?

= Do you want some tea?

But if you say:

→ お茶でも飲まない?

= Ocha demo nomanai?

= Would you like some tea or something?

It sounds softer and gives the listener some other choices. Would you like tea or some other drinks?でも-demo/


True, but I just feel that based on what I’ve seen so far, ‘how about’ fits a little better. In any case, what I tried to do in my post was to express what でも means before commenting on any translations, because its meaning is definitely more important. I guess the primary difference I see between とか and でも in this context, however, is this:

でも raises examples for consideration, particularly as suggestions. とか tends to just list them, and doesn’t seem to allow for whatever the listener might have to say. However, I see that Maggie Sensei is fine with ‘or something’, so I’ll leave it be. I just wanted to be clear for anyone new to the matter that でも is fairly different from とか, at least in terms of tone and context of usage.


I think that’s a very good point. :slight_smile:
でも looks fairly benign and it gets thrown around in fiction quite a bit so one might confuse it with any of the before mentioned grammar points like I did.

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I think what you said also works well. From the Imabi link there’s also this example:

  1. コーヒーでもどう?おごるよ。
    How about a coffee on me?

I don’t think it necessarily needs the ‘or something’ translation thrown in. Though I will say that I often use the ‘or something’ when I’m trying to suggest something but not be too pushy even in English.


What would be the most natural way of saying „I don‘t want to get up“ when you‘re already awake but still just lying there in bed?

  • 起きたくない
  • 起床したくない
  • 立ち上がたくない
  • ベットに出たくない
  • Something else entirely
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There’s more than one natural way of saying it and I’m not sure if I could really rank them…but the first one that comes to my mind is ベッドから出たくない