Short Grammar Questions


The fisherman compared the two fish.

I can’t yet discern the verb’s construction in this sentence.

  1. Is this <Verb-Te>+見(polite past)
    and that somehow implies “to see if something (verb) could be done”
  2. Or should I think of it as
    (I observed) The fisherman comparing the two fish.
  3. In light of the above I would have expected something like 対比ました


You pretty much figured it out, 〜てみる is a grammar point meaning to try to do something, it does come from the て-form + 見る, though 見る is typically written in hiragana – so the fisherman had tried comparing the two fish :fish:


Thanks! Also, your emphasis on the hiragana representation bears repeating, it helps me realize how a tendency to inappropriately expect (or scan for) kanji stems can make the resulting conjugations seem more complicated than they really are.


That’s the literal translation of the ~てみる structure as “try to” - “do (the verb) and see what happens”. The other “try to” grammar structure is ~ようとする, which means more like “make an attempt”

食べてみる = give this a taste and see if you like it
食べようとする = attempt to even see if it’s edible

Sort of thing.


No problem ^^ it’s a general tendency for verbs following a て-form to be written in hiragana, so if you see a hiragana mess after a te-form it could very well be another verb playing a role :upside_down_face: 〜ていく (行く) and 〜てくる (来る) are a couple other common ones


I am sure this gets asked all the time but damn Japanese grammar.
The bus will come
why is it ga and not wa?
I assume バスは来る has a different meaning


This is a general は vs. が thing, which is probably best explained over a series of full-length lessons, and probably won’t be fully grasped until later than that.

In this kind of basic sentence, the difference between は and が is all about the flow of conversation and the context of the situation, which is why it’s kind of meaningless to ask why one or the other was used in a standalone sentence. Either one is possible.

But if we assume this sentence is happening between two people who are already talking, は indicates that the bus was already a topic of conversation, or that both people should already be aware that a bus could be part of the discussion. Think of it like “The bus is coming.” If you just say this randomly in English, with no context, the listener will think “What bus?” Same thing in Japanese. バスは来る with no justification will sound jarring.

が is just a plain subject marker, and so it is used to introduce things to the conversation that weren’t already in the minds of those talking. This would be like “A bus is coming.” It doesn’t assume the listener knows about any particular bus.

Another thing to remember is that when you say this sentence with a bus actually in sight, that counts as new information, even if you were already talking about the bus. So バスが来る would be most natural. The topic marker meaning of は with バスは来る makes the most sense in a discussion about how you’ll do something in the future.

There are other uses of は as well, such as the contrastive は (which would allow you to bring a bus up out of the blue for the purpose of emphasizing that it, and not some other vehicle, is coming).

But we don’t necessarily need to get into that.


It’s not always a completely accurate equivalent, but as a way of getting an initial grip on what would be more natural in any given situation, you can also try an “as for (the)~” replacement with は. If you could do that as even a remote possibility in English, it might make more sense to use は. (You’re shifting subjects, but it’s something both speakers will be aware of as being within the sphere of conversation–or it’s otherwise not unexpected to bring up.) Basically you’re emphasizing the subject/topic.

But if you couldn’t, が is probably the right choice as just a straight-up grammatical subject marker. (You’re emphasizing, for example, that something is coming, more so than the fact that it’s a/the bus in particular.)

So yeah, in the example above, if you’re both travel-planning, or have already been talking about when a bus will come (like, maybe you’re waiting at a stop and one of you is looking up time-table information), は could make total sense. “As for the bus, it comes here at 5:15.” “The bus (which we both knew would be a part of our travel-planning) stops there.”

But if you’re just somewhere and want to be like, “Hey, a bus is coming,” that’s a situation that fails the “as for~” check pretty handily, so use が.

This is more helpful in eliminating は as an option than it is in determining when you should definitely use it over が, but it’s something.

By the way, this is why you’ll never see は paired with question words or ambiguous subjects like だれか. You’d never be like, “As for who, are they coming?” or “As for someone, they’re coming.” It would be extremely, extremely bizarre to emphasize the subject when there isn’t a clear one to begin with.




What word is わかっちゃいた supposed to be a conjugation of?


Where did you see it?


Class found out that MC and his girlfriend broke up and they were asking who broke up with who. Bottom left.

For context, the girl is way hotter than him and held on a pedestal so I figure hes saying like something related to wakaru since its easy to understand why they think that way, but idk where the い is coming from.


Could it possibly be a contraction for 分かってしまっていた?


it would be わかっちゃった. Or thats the standard way, at least. Thats why I’m asking if theres a reason the い is there.


How about, わかってはいた

Not sure how familiar you are with tossing は into the middle of things like that for emphasis.


Yeah I know of that, but the problem is the lack of the て. I’ve never seen the て omitted.


Isn’t 分かっちゃった just a contraction for 分かってしまった rather than 分かってしまっていた?


Yus. But again that doesn’t solve the い problem.


ちゃ is one abbreviation for ては. You see it a lot in the “don’t do that” expressions. やっちゃだめ and the like


いた is the past tense for いる :smiley: