Short Grammar Questions

Well, ない is a bit special, since it acts like an いadjective, but it is technically the negative form of the verb ある, so you can use it the same way as other negative verbs.


It also seems to be a set phrase or expression. Japanese Dictionary

I haven’t seen ない used as a prefix very often either, I wonder if it mainly shows up in expressions like this?

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Neither have I. I only ever saw ない/いない in longer phrases like:
誰もいない町 - a town with no people

Nice catch, @jneapan ! :slight_smile:

Hmm but ある日, for instance, is very much a thing.

That‘s a different ある, though… The kanji is also different: 或る日


Nice catch, @phyro :slight_smile: So the meaning seems to be close to my literal guess, but it’s nice to know it’s a set expression. The parser I use for mouse-over dictionary lookup while reading sometimes recognizes such phrases, but this time it didn’t - perhaps it would if it was written exactly like in jisho entry? (無い instead of ない)

And so I guess it wasn’t totally unreasonable to get weirded out by lone ない used as a prefix?

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What does the と do here? Placed between two verbs, does that make it the “and” type と?

It’s the “volitional form + と” use.

()ようと(…)()(かえ)る - turning back in order to try and seeようとする-you-to-suru-meaning/

Usually it’s volitional + とする, but it can take this form as well, replacing する with another action verb. I’m not sure that there’s a specific page for exactly this use.

Basically, it reflects the intention to do the thing described by the verb in volitional form.


Would this still be grammatical if you replaced 見ようと with 見るように? That would just place less emphasis on the “trying” part, but would still be valid, right?


Yeah, seems about right. Also I feel like this use of ようと is a bit literary, I haven’t heard it in spoken language, just read it in books :thinking:

Could be wrong about that though, but that’s the impression I got.


Thanks for the help!
That would make a lot of sense. The sentence is from the first Harry Potter book :+1:

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What does わけ in 透から聞いた釣り合わないとか本気で言ったわけ!? mean?

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I might be wrong, but for me in this sentence it looks similar to "explanatory"の. わけ can also sometimes be used in similar way as こと.
So it would translate to something like “Was it really that xyz?” Or “Are you telling me that xyz??”
I also found this thread which seems to confirm:

So it seems to be used kind of to emphasize the question. (?)


That character in Fruits Basket has a very weird speaking style if you ask me. I’d get annoyed at someone who changed every sentence to a question like “are you telling me (main point)?”.

Still good to understand the usage of course. Just pointing out how weird it is to do this so often. (Which you may already know, but can’t hurt to mention.)


Yeah, 訳 is one of those weird ones that you have to hear/read in a bunch of contexts to figure out.


@adamstan @seanblue @alo Thanks everyone


I was looking up the difference between あえて & 思い切って the DoJG and came across the following explanation:

…There are also cases in which only 「思い切って」 can be used, as in [2], because 「あえて」is used when one does something that runs counter to common sense, whereas 「思い切って」 is used when one does something difficult to do, regardless of whether it is common sense or not. It is quite natural for a person to speak in English with an American as in [2a] or to talk to a girl as in [2b].
a. {思い切って/ *あえて} アメリカ人と英語で話してみたら、通じたのでとても嬉しかった。
b. {思い切って/ *あえて} 彼女に声をかけたら、にっこりと笑ってくれたんだ。

I managed to ask 11 natives about 2A, using the あえて version, and 9 of them said it sounded totally fine. The other 2 said 思い切って should be used instead - I tried summarizing their replies below (I hope I didn’t butcher the Japanese):


Should I just treat 思い切って & あえて as if they’re interchangeable when used in contexts similar to the example sentences above? If I didn’t tell you that the example sentences above came from the DoJG, would both the 思い切って & あえて versions sound fine to you?

Why is it written 入って, and not 入て? Isn’t 入る and ichidan verb?

No, 入る is a godan verb


入る (はいる) is a godan verb.
You might be confusing this with 入れる (いれる) which is an ichidan verb.

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I thought all verbs that end with いる/える were ichidan verbs.