Short Grammar Questions (Part 1)

Nice. Then the next question is “what does it mean?” :thinking: I would assume it has a nuance of comparing something or highlighting a contrast.


Yes, seems to be just “to be (in contrast to something that isn’t)”, I thought you were mostly asking about the stray は, though.

And I haven’t found an explanation for that.


It’s like
“The boss room - well, for now at least - …”
Maybe it helps to imagine the 今のところは in quotes. They’re only talking about something that is true right now, but can’t make any statement if this will change in the future.


Oh, that makes sense!

Especially with this nuance, hehe, since I already where the plot is going :slight_smile: Thanks for chiming in!


Is there some kind of structural pattern to when verbs are transitive vs intransitive?
I thought I’d noted that える ending verbs are transitive but I’ve come across some new vocab in my WaniKani lessons recently that is the opposite.
I know generally if a verb has a pair that ends in るorす the る is the intransitive one. Right?
Does anyone have any tips for this besides just…memorizing?


I think you already have the tips, besides that it’s just memorizing.

す is the transitive one, though.

Ah, I can’t read.


There are some rules of thumb (mostly “if you have a pair of verbs with endings X and Y then X will be the transitive one” kinds of thing) but nothing 100% reliable. I believe (if I’m reading my copy of A History of the Japanese Language correctly) that transitive-intransitive pairs date back to at least Old Japanese (~800AD) and are thought to originally (ie even further back from that when we have no written language evidence) be the result of some grammar that presumably at the time would have followed more-or-less-regular rules. But that fossilised into “these are just different verbs”, and then you get changes in sounds, and in meaning, and new verbs are coined that were never part of the old system at all. So today you can see the fossilised bones of what was once a living grammar rule, which is why you can construct rules of thumb and see patterns in the verb pairs, but that’s all there is left.


For the actual rules of thumb, try this page which has a big list of verbs divided into tables for the categories “eru/aru”, “u/eru”, “eru/u”, “su/something else” and a few irregulars (where I have listed these as transitive/intransitive). Note that there are both “eru/u” and “u/eru”, and that you can’t necessarily tell what you’ve got if you only know one verb of the pair, not both. Also the patterns are easier to see in romaji than in kana.

My overall advice is to look at the tables and think about the patterns for a bit, but then not to study them or try to memorize pattern rules. Instead when you’re learning new verbs pay attention to whether they’re transitive or intransitive, same as you would for any language.


I’m only N5 level so it’s probably a dumb question, but because it’s about the が particle I’m not sure I’d easily find the answer just googling it…
In the following sentence, what is the purpose of が ? From what I learnt so far, I understand that いきたいんです means “I want to go”, with the "んです” whose purpose is to give an explanatory sense to the sentence. But I don’t get the が :frowning:


Thanks so much in advance !


This が vaguely means “but”, but together with the explanatory ん it serves as more of an introduction or an attempt to request help with something or ask a question. When translating to English that entire nuance would probably disappear.


Alright, thank you !
Yeah that can’t be translated per se, I guess it would be like “because I want to go to the station, I need to ask you a question : how long does it take to get there from here ?” which is far too cumbersome.

It’s very interesting how Japanese is context-based for “what one is talking about”, like not needing subjects, plural, etc but goes into great detail as to the precise intended sense of the sentences, in grammar that is as basic as N5. I absolutely love coming across these principles that literally don’t have any counterpart in English or French, my native language.


I think you’re overthinking it :slight_smile: The Dictionary of Basic Japanese says “‘ga’, like ‘but’ in English, combines two sentences which express contrastive ideas. However, ‘ga’ is much weaker than ‘but’ in that it is sometimes used simply to combine two sentences for stylistic reasons even if those two sentences do not represent contrastive ideas.”

The ん here is noting a “this is a reason” which English doesn’t bother to mark; but the が is just linking the two sentences together.



Why is the たり form used? Isn’t this for listing? The complete context of where this was written only dealt with food, so what purpose does putting 食べる as one of two or more possible actions serve?


It’s comparing some non-Japanese food to yakisoba right? Is it the case that this food is often eaten at food stalls, but it’s not technically limited to that? Like, you could eat it in other situations too, so eating it at a food stall is just one situation you could eat it, given as an example for why it’s similar to yakisoba, which is also not solely eaten at food stalls.


That makes sense. Thanks!

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Yeah it’s in reference to the 屋台で. Interpret it as 屋台で食べたり、レストランで食べたり、自宅で食べたり etc etc…


I’m trying to wrap my head around this sentence after learning のと+ので, but I’m confused because when I initially ran it through DeepL, the resulting English it gives me makes me wonder… Am I wrong or is DeepL wrong? Tell me what you guys think, and if I’m wrong, please guide me!


me: I think a good point about trams is that it’s easy to remember the way, because the transfers are easy to understand, and they run while you can look at the scenery.

DeepL: The good thing about streetcars is that they are easy to understand transfers and easy to remember the way because they run with a view.

Now this is what confuses me:

Isn’t what’s marked by のと paired with what’s marked with ので? According to that Stackexchange page, that should be the case; “because(ので) the transfers are easy and(と) they run while you look at the scenery”

But DeepL has it all mixed up, which makes me wonder if I’m missing something or it just can’t handle this sentence? What do y’all think? Also, do you guys follow the authors logic here? I fail to see how any of those reasons are connected, lol. How does appreciating scenery help with remembering directions?

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You can see where you are. You can see landmarks and street names, buildings and intersections. You cannot do this on a typical subway, and so riding a subway does not offer any benefit to learning your way around a city, except by the subway itself.


Oh, thanks. I think she actually did mention subways prior to that sentence, I seemed to have forgotten about them haha.

I‘m more on DeepL‘s side here. She’s giving two arguments:
路面電車のいいところは positive aspects of trams are:
乗り換えがわかりやすい transfers are easy to understand
景色を見ながら走るので道を覚えやすい the route is easier to remember since you can look outside

The ので is contained in the second argument, it doesn’t apply to the first one. I think this structure is a bit different from the stackexchange link you posted.