Short Grammar Questions

There’s a couple things to unpack there.

Firstly, the textbook correct sentence would be

傘が好きです

You can’t put a の there unless the intended meaning is “I like the umbrella’s [something that was previously referred to]”

For instance

A: 傘の色とコートの色、どっちが好きですか
B: 傘のが好きです

And in that sentence 色 is just being omitted because it’s not necessary to repeat.

Maybe you’re mixing up のが from things like およぐのが好きです (I like swimming) where の is needed to turn およぐ, a verb, into a noun.

Hopefully that clarifies what the の might be doing in a 好き sentence.

Lastly, can you omit the が and say 傘好きです if you mean “I like the umbrella” or “I like umbrellas”?

In casual conversation, yes, you can. You can omit many particles in conversation. Don’t do it in your classes though, or when you are speaking formally.

Let me know if that doesn’t clear things up.

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Very interesting! In genki 1 i was only tought __のが好きです etc with nothing like the explanation you have provided. Maybe that is something I looked over or it is just not explained ( my textbook is not with me at the moment) but i am glad i asked this question. I feel like this clarification is important

It may be that i would have known sooner if i were not only self taught and took classes as well

They explain this in Genki, the grammar point is even called „verb のが好きです“. But they don’t teach you about the option to omit the particle in casual speech. :v:

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Just note that in something like およぐのが好きです, you could omit the が in conversation, but it would be strange to omit the の as well.

およぐの好きです is okay in casual conversation
およぐ好きです sounds strange

Not every particle can be omitted, some have to be present if their role requires it even if the conversation is super casual. Some things may get slurred, but they will remain in some form.

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It’s also worth noting that attaching 好き to a noun (when read ずき) is similar to the suffix phile. For example, 本好き can mean “someone who loves books”.

I’m mentioning this because in written text the reader can’t know if 好き is すき (from skipping a particle) or ずき (a suffix) unless it’s obvious from context.

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Ok so kind of like the vocab 酒好き. Thanks!
Also @buburoi thanks i probably didnt read close enough😅

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What’s the difference between these two sentences:

知らない人に漢字を読んでもらった。
知らない人が漢字を読んでくれた。

I know that 〜てもらう usually indicates a request but Genki says that sometimes it expresses gratefulness for the goodwill.

If that gratefulness nuance is the one we’re thinking of why would we say 〜てもらう and not 〜てくれる?

I think the perspective is just different here. In sentence 1 the speaker is the subject and receives. In sentence 2 the stranger is the subject and is giving. The meaning is the same but the focus is different.

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It’s the difference between ‘to get/have someone to do something’ and ‘to do for me/people close to me’, except that てもらう can be a little more polite than ‘to get to do’ because it literally expresses ‘receiving’ an action, which can indicate that the action is perceived as a favour. もらう emphasises your POV and reception, while くれる emphasises the action of someone else.

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With もらった it sounds like you asked them to read the kanji for you and they agreed. With くれた it sounds like they offered to read you the kanji and you accepted or they read the kanji for you unprompted and you are grateful. I think both have some level of gratitude to them, but くれる sounds more like someone did you a favor whereas もらう sounds more like you asked someone to do something.

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Found this sentence from Fruits Basket I can’t wrap my head around:

てめえさえ来なきゃ 俺は元気でいられるともよ

The English subtitles translated it as “I’ll be fantastic as long as you stay away” which makes sense to me in the context. Kyu doesn’t want to deal with Kagura.

What I don’t get at all is 来なきゃ - I think this is the negated verb form + なければいけない, shortened to なきゃ and the いけまない left out. Afaik this should mean “have to”? How does it translate to something like “as long as you don’t come”?

This whole double negative thing is really bending the brain. :exploding_head:

It’s not a double negative though.

いけない isn’t omitted… it’s just not there. ~なければ is just a standard conditional for a negative. It’s often used in the [negative conditional] + [bad outcome] to create the “have to” grammar, but you can also just have [negative conditional] + anything else.

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Oh right, there’s the なければ conditional, too. I guess I was a bit too fixated on the “have (not) to” grammar. Now that I look at it again with the conditional in mind, it’s cleared up. Thanks!

There’s actually a rule for it: you should only assume いけない/ならない is implied if you find なきゃ/なくちゃ is at the end of a sentence. Otherwise, you should see if the conditional is a better fit.

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Well, even that “rule” isn’t sufficient I think, since you can flip the order of two parts of a sentence in colloquial speech. Someone could say something, and then append the conditional at the end.

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Good point. Thanks for pointing that out. It’s still rarer to swap the sentence parts for this structure though, at least in my experience. Ultimately, the important thing is to know that なきゃ and なくちゃ really just mean ‘if…not…’ and to decide if ならない/いけない should be appended based on context.

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What does なんて mean in “なんて美しい身体なのでしょう!” ?

It’s meaning 1 for 何て here:

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what is the difference between the topic marker わ and the subject marker が when the subject is the topic?
For example: what’s the difference between くるまがなんですか and くるまわなんですか

First of all, it’s pronounced ‘wa’, but it’s spelt ‘ha’=は. It’s a special spelling rule. Probably some remnant of old spelling conventions/pronunciations. Just a friendly reminder. I know it takes time to get used to.

As for the examples you gave… I could be wrong, but I think that くるまがなんですか is very unnatural in most cases. For that matter, I think the two sentences that you’ve presented illustrate exactly why は is the topic marker, and not が.

は is used to raise a point or idea for discussion, and is usually used for things that are already known to those in the discussion. It can also be used to contrast two or more people or things. Some websites liken it to a spotlight, but I think a more helpful analogy is the colon (:). 「Aは」could be quite accurately captured by the following structures:

  • As for A
  • About/regarding A
  • A:

が, on the other hand, specifically points to someone or something, and indicates that they are something or are doing something. It often indicates that that particular person or thing is the one doing something, often the only one.

A final point that’s a consequence of sorts of these differences: が tends to place emphasis on what comes before it, while は places emphasis on what comes after it. As such, if we use these ideas in order to analyse the sentences you’ve presented:

くるまはなんですか

This is the typical everyday question: ‘what’s XYZ?’ Here, ‘car’ is the topic, and what you want to know is what it is. Because that’s usually how things go when you ask ‘what’ something is – i.e. everyone in the conversation has heard of that ‘something’, so the word is common knowledge, but the concept behind it might not be –, this is the more natural sentence.

くるまがなんですか

The first thought I had when I read this sentence was to parse it as ‘A car is なん, is it?’ I couldn’t think of anything sensible. However, then I remembered a line from an anime I watched two years ago: 「『パー』がなんだって?」(‘What do you mean, “poof”?’ – Konosuba Season 1 Episode 1) Based on that, I think this sentence would only make sense if you wanted to emphasise ‘cars’ (and nothing else) as the focus of your question. Maybe something like ‘Cars are what?’ I saw quite a few instances of 「それがなんですか」being used to express dissatisfaction on Google, basically meaning something like ‘what the heck is that (supposed to be)?’

Honestly though, I think this probably isn’t the best sort of sentence for analysing the differences between が and は. Here’s a page covering most of the things you might want to consider: http://www.japanese-language.aiyori.org/article1.html There are other resources that are perhaps a bit more complete or helpful, but they’re in Japanese. Here’s the translation for one of them: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/3555911. The English isn’t great, but it should be comprehensible.

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