Short Grammar Questions

I’m a little confused by the example sentence for 押し

I’m too weak to push it I guess.

I can’t help but read this as “I’m weak to being pushed around/people being forceful” or the like because of the に. Am I missing something?


押しに弱い is a set expression meaning “pushover” or “easily pressured.” Looks like the English is just wrong.


thanks. I guess I should email them…


My Grammar book offered me the following sentence:
Yesterday/This evening I ate sweets/will eat sweets
Their translation went like this:

Why is there a は after “this evening”, but not after “yesterday”? Thank you.

1 Like

Two reasons:

  1. You can omit the particle with a time reference like in the first sentence.
  2. The は in the second sentence emphasizes the time reference there.

Time Expressions with and without a particle – Maggie Sensei

The part about は is near the end so you’ll have to scroll a bit.


Would anyone be so kind as to translate the following? (You’ll probably have to zoom in)

All of it? I think the going rate for that would be about 2000 yen, haha

What’s your question?


Haha, perhaps just the diagram part? The one with 以前 & 以後 (i.e. the first paragraph).

When the spatial positional relationship is transferred to the time axis, ~てくる is used to describe the transition or change from before the reference point to the reference point, while ~ていく is used to describe the transition or change from the reference point to after the reference point.

(The reason for the slightly complex phrasing is because “the reference point” need not be the same as “now”, as the table below illustrates.)


Hello! I encountered something I seem not to have fully understood.

In the Genki workbook I am supposed to translate a sentence>
“Masako is very popular because she is good at dancing.”

I translated it to: “踊るのが上手だから、まさこさんはとても人気です”

The answer keys that I have however put it this way:

My first confusion is the です & があります usage here as I understood desu to mean “is” and aru to be “exists”. Another confusion would be why it isn’t iru if we are talking about a person (or is this about the state of being popular)

My second question is if despite my version seemingly being more a literal translation if まさこさんは being at the beginning of the sentence is of any importance.

Thank you!

1 Like

Your translation is fine. 人気がある would be using the word 人気 as its noun form meaning “popularity”, whereas 人気です is treating it like a の/な adjective meaning “popular.” We don’t usually say “x has popularity” in English, so the 人気がある structure probably doesn’t come to mind, but it’s common in Japanese. You will encounter it both ways though, so it’s not that big of a deal. The position of まさこさんは is also doesn’t alter the meaning enough to say that one way or the other is wrong.


@Leebo has most of it covered, but I did want to point out that textbooks will create their answers based on the material they expect to cover.

So that answer is probably specifically designed to give you an example of the “Xがある” construction.

Just something to be aware of.


As said, 人気だ is fine, particularly since using は doesn’t call for the same grammatical category (i.e. part of speech) on both sides, and it’s often fine to use a noun like an adjective since both are associated with the same central concept. However, if you want to say ‘a popular person’, another word you can use is 人気者(にんきもの)e.g. 「…、…とても OR 大(だい)人気者です」would have been another way to end your sentence. 人気がある is probably closer to the adjective ‘popular’ than using 人気者, and is perhaps the most ‘technically correct’ phrase here, but the overall implications of all three phrases are the same.

1 Like

That helps a lot, thank you for your explanations.

How would you express “I can’t read everything” versus “I can’t read anything?”

There might be a more “pure” expression you’re looking for, but if I wanted to say “I can’t read everything” I would say 全部読めるわけじゃない (literally “It’s not that I can read everything”)


And the second one would be: 何も読めない。Or just 読めない/読むことができない。I can’t read.

1 Like

Here’s a sentence from a book I was reading:

一応、神妙な顔で座っているが、本当は「やめて! 余計なこと喋らないで! せめて、わたしのいない時にして!」と叫んで、この部屋から出て行きたい。

In this context, 叫んで is linked to 出て行きたい, so she wants to shout the quoted text, but doesn’t actually shout. This is especially clear because the sentence starts with 神妙な顔で座っているが, so her actually shouting something would make no sense.

However, if the first clause didn’t exist, would it be possible to interpret the sentence as her actually shouting but only wanting to leave? Maybe I’m just being thrown off by the comma after 叫んで. If 叫んで has to be linked to 出て行きたい here (as て-form generally is), how would you change the sentence (just pretend the first clause doesn’t exist) to say that she actually shouted but only wanted to leave?

1 Like

I asked a native speaker. She felt that if you strike the entire first part and starts directly with the quote やめて… without any other context she would still interpret it as wants to shout and wants to leave. Couldn’t get into details if she felt like that purely because of the て form or if the semantic also influence the interpretation.

About changing the sentence (again without first part), she would either break the sentence into two (put a 。after 叫んだ) or use the same technique as the original sentence, break up what actually happen from what the character wants with a が or けど + 本当は.


What is the difference between 怖がる and 恐れる? I know one is marked as transitive and another as intransitive, but I’m still confused regarding scenario they represent. I mean,


Does this mean “I’m scaring a kid” (i.e. it’s me who doing scare faces and screams, and it’s kid who is scared and crying etc,etc) or “I’m afraid of kids” (i.e. I hate these little ones break everything so I’m trying to stay away from them)? (sentences for example purpose only, actually I love kids. Just the most vivid case I come up with)

Have doubt regarding intransitiveness of 怖がる as well, since here 「怯える」「恐れる」「怖がる」この三つは何が違うの?例文も書いていた... - Yahoo!知恵袋 I see an example like 犬を怖がる.

Would be happy to get any input to figure out an actual differences between these verbs - or! - common points instead, since I feel they’re interchangeable a lot, but I’m still keep missing this nuance.

1 Like