Short Grammar Questions

While I do not feel comfortable to talk about meaning differences, I totally agree that とは限らない is pretty common while というものではない is quite rare.

4 Likes

Definitely going to disagree on that one.

They have a slight difference and can’t always be swapped. I was really at a loss for how to explain this one though and I’m at work so I can’t sit here typing out an essay, so I found this which I think is a great explanation. Hopefully it’s ok that it’s in japanese, but if not I’ll translate it for OP when I get home

6 Likes

It is my favorite Japanese grammar dictionary (it is just one volume and explanations are very straightforward), 日本語文型辞典 英語版 ―A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners

1 Like

I should learn to rely more on native sources. Thanks for the lesson, Vanilla-sensei.

3 Likes

!! I’m sensei now. Am moving up in the world.

4 Likes

Thank you for the link!

I’m reading a manga, and (roughly) the following exchange happens. (There’s more, but it’s somewhat contextual and I don’t think it’s important.)

A: すごいよね (referring to B / something B did)
B: すごかないよ
A: すごいよ
B:すごくないんだよ

What caught my eye was the first response from B being すごない instead of すごくない. If googled it to see how common this colloquialism might be (assuming it wasn’t a typo), and found a stack exchange question claiming

「か」 is a colloquial contraction of 「くは」, with 「く」 being the last syllable of the 連用形= “continuative form” of an i-adjective (「すごい」 in this case. 「すごく」 is the 連用形.) and 「は」 being a topic marker.

Personally, my assumption was it was simply a colloquial conjugation. Similar to how sometimes you’ll see 違い inappropriately treated as an い-adjective instead of as the 連用形 of 違う, resulting in 違くて, I thought this was treating the 連用形 of すごい, being すごく, inappropriately as a verb, allowing for the negative conjugation すごかない. Though once I saw the second response from B used the standard conjugation, I started to second guess my assumption.

I’m curious what people think. Is my theory more likely to be right? What about the answer on stack exchange? Is it simply a typo?

1 Like

I would read as a くは contraction, as your internet search pointed.

Although I can imagine what you suggested, I have never seen it happening. Neither in real life spoken Japanese nor in written Japanese in Manga or such.

くending verbs are not specially common either, so I don’t think mixing い adjectives with them is a thing among natives.

Edit: also, standard way of making things into verbs in Japanese is by treating them as a godan ru verb, such as バグる、サギる、ミスる、コクる、etc.
So I don’t think a Japanese person would be willing to treat “スゴく" as a verb. They could have done the same with バぐ、ミす、コクハく but instead went all the way around to make them る verbs.

3 Likes

Is this the verb stem or as the screenshot says :o?


餌食(いじき)confusion

Look like verb steam to me. It’s typical of headline to save space. Verb stem, dropping the を particle (餌を食べ), dropping the する after 発光

1 Like

Where’s this from? Context and/or a link is generally useful.

That’s えじき. But yeah, what Arzar said.

1 Like

If you isolate individual kana like that from the words they belong to you’re bound to get weird stuff.

2 Likes

I know this is kinda old, but in my opinion, it’s not necessarily about native sources. You just have to try to translate them fairly literally:
~とは限らない=to not be limited to ~
~というものではない=to not be a ~ thing

I mean, the translations aren’t really accurate (I don’t know how to show the difference between と and に here in English), but they’re enough to show you that the first likely means ‘not necessarily’ and the second can be translated as ‘to not be the case’. When you add that to the fact that もの is often used for habits/general principles, it starts to sound like something that would work as life advice: ‘XYZ is not actually ABC’ or ‘XYZ is not the sort of thing described as ABC’. Breaking things down literally often helps, though you might need to stretch them a little in order for them to make sense.

3 Likes

I’m confused by the particles here:

目標との距離

I believe this means “distance to/from the target”. What does the と do here and is it necessary?

Its necessary to convey what its trying to convey, yes.

と is one that is really hard to define in my opinion, but I think a lot of times you can see it as some thing/property shared between two things.

俺は君と同じ. Im the same as you. If im the same as you, you’re the same as me. Goes both ways.

君と出会った. I met you. If I met you, you met me. Goes both ways.

これはそれとは関係ない。This has nothing to do with that. If this has nothing to do with that, then that has nothing to do with this. Goes both ways.

Distance can be talked about as a general idea, or you can specifically use distance to talk about the relationship between two thing. Thats what your example is doing which is why we use と.

So your example literally translates to the distance between the goal/target and something else. What that something else is something context tells you, but thats the general idea. The と just tells us that theres something else (thats just omitted in this case) that the distance is being measured from.

EDIT: Heres a real example out of a book I read if you wanna try and decipher it

手を繫ぎながら館内を遊覧していると、真唯との心の距離が縮まったような錯覚をしてしまう。

Answer: (Walking around the building enjoying the pictures while holding hands), it felt like the distance between mai’s heart and mine had shrunk.

4 Likes

Ah! Thank you so much for this detailed explanation! I believe this will help me with other cases where the と confused me. It’s one of those situations where I feel like I need to re-wire my brain for Japanese.

2 Likes

So in the game Cyberpunk 2077 there is a neon sign with the text:

その目で未来を

What is the particle を doing at the end all by itself?

The verb is dropped, very common in advertising and such, to make it shorter and punchier. My guess for the full sentence would be その目で未来を見る See the future with those eyes

(Probably a play on words, because it’s not just a poetic formula in cyberpunk 2077, we can actually buy cybernetic eyes!)

6 Likes

Thank you, that makes total sense. I’ll probably see it in ads in Yakuza 0 too, now that I know verbs can be dropped for effect!

I think the reason verbs get dropped in ads like this is probably because a command form would sound rude or pushy…
その目で未来をみろ!

And polite requests would sound patronizing or even ridiculous
その目で未来をみてください

So I think it sounds “cooler” to just leave off the verb and let the reader fill in the blanks. It’s definitely a bit odd since the verb is the one thing required to make a complete sentence in Japanese, but I feel like advertising often does stuff like this so it’s definitely good to watch out for.

4 Likes