Thursday, June 22, 2017

Expressing "Even if" with ても

Adding も to the て form of a word, whether it's a noun, adjective, or verb, will result in an "even if" meaning for that word. Examples will help demonstrate this.

Even if he killed his girlfriend, I still wanted to meet him.

Lee-san was interesting, even if he talked too much.

Now may be a good time to review the positive and negative て forms for everything, since I haven't done much practice with those lately.

訪ねる  ->    訪ねて
忙しい   ->    忙しくて
好き      ->    好きで
靴下     ->    靴下で

訪ねない          ->    訪ねなくて
忙しくない         ->    忙しくなくて
好きじゃない    ->    好きじゃなくて
靴下じゃない   ->    靴下じゃなくて

Words in this ても form don't have a tense, but the clause that follows it can be in either present or past tense.

Even if he's an idiot, he can pass the test.

We'll go to dance club, even if the car's not working.

Even if you're busy, you should still do your homework.

I want to eat lots of vegetables, even if I don't like them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Using まで with Verbs

A verb + まで means "until [verb]." This results in the common sentence format: A まで B, which would mean "Until A, B." This usually results in A describing some kind of completion or change, since B will continue to occur until A has completed. The verb in A is always affirmative and in the present tense.

I'm not leaving until I finish my homework.

Until I understand this kanji, I will study for three hours every day.

If the subject of A differs from the subject of B, then A's subject is marked with the particle が instead of は.

Until Tom returns my money, I'll continue driving his car.

I will assign homework until my students memorize this vocabulary.

Remember that A will remain in the present tense even if the rest of the sentence is in the past tense.

I didn't have any money until I got a job.

I didn't eat much until I wrote that essay.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How to Use 方

Did you get that pun in the title? Huh?? It's because 方 is used as a suffix to describe "the way in which the action is performed" or "how to do X." Brilliant.

方 is attached to a verb stem to convey its "how to do" meaning.

歩き方 - the way someone walks

The way Lee-san walks is funny.

The way Kamoshida teaches is difficult.

Nouns that accompany verbs in this state are followed by the particle の, rather than something like を or が.

The way Ayato holds his kitty is cute.

The way Tom throws rocks is childish.

する verbs take the form of: 勉強のし方.

The way Benny drives is dangerous.

Could you tell me how to spell that word?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Causative Verbs

There's yet another verb conjugation that can be performed to achieve the "causative form" of a verb. Now, verbs in the causative form can mean one of two things: 1. To make someone do X, or 2. To let someone do X. Unfortunately, the only way to distinguish the two meanings is context.

Ichidan Verbs
  • Drop the る and add させる
  • 食べる   ->   食べさせる
  • 震える   ->    震えさせる
Godan Verbs
  • Change the final syllable to the あ equivalent and add せる
  • 走る   ->    走らせる
  • 買う    ->    買わせる
  • する   ->    させる
  • くる    ->    こさせる

The basic sentence structure used with this type of verb is: Director は / が Cast Action. The Director is the one who is making the others perform the action, marked with the usual topic particles. The Cast are the ones who are made (or allowed to) to perform the action, generally marked with に. And of course, the Action is in causative form.

The father made/let his child eat vegetables.

As you can see from this sentence, we have no way of knowing whether this father forced his kid to eat the vegetables, or if the kid actually wanted them and he allowed him to eat them. However, if the causative verb is in て form and followed by あげる, くれる, or もらう, then it almost always will take on the "let" meaning.

The professor did not allow me to speak in English.

Those are two examples from Genki demonstrating what I've written thus far. Now, a causative verb in て form plus ください can also be used to say something like "Let me do X."

Please let me go see my friend.

There is a slang form of causative verbs as well, but I think I'll do a separate post on that since this is already a bit of a brain dump. For now, here's a few more practice sentences.

My mom made my brother clean his room.

Lee-san let his dog eat a lot of Cheetos.

Please let me take this beautiful painting.

The chef makes me drink ramune every time.

Ayato let Yui buy a lot of chocolates.

Please let me look for my fish, Gina.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

More Conditionals - ~ば

Aren't Japanese conditionals the best? Yeah! The one I'm going to look at today is the ~ば form, which can be applied to verbs, nouns, and adjectives. Here are the conjugations for it (and holy crap, there are zero exceptions - not even する or くる).

Affirmative form:
  • Change the last syllable to the え equivalent and add ば
  • 食べる   ->    食べれば
  • 分かる   ->    分かれば
  • 買う       ->     買えば
  • する      ->     すれば
  • くる       ->      くれば
Negative form:
  •  Drop the い in ない and add ければ
  • 食べない     ->    食べなければ
  • 分からない  ->    分からなければ
  • 買わない     ->    買わなければ
  • しない          ->     しなければ
  • こない          ->    こなければ

The pattern used in sentences with this conjugation is typically "Clause A ば clause B" to say "If A, then B."

Now, it's difficult to distinguish this from other conditionals, but there are a few ways. One, it's usually used when condition A results in a non-negative outcome in B. I wouldn't want to use it to say something like "If I walk, I will be late for the train," as Genki says.

Two, it's more neutral in that the "if" part in A doesn't make assumptions about the truthfulness of the condition. For example, if I were to use ば to say something like "If you're a student, you get a discount," I'm not assuming that this person is a student. I'm imply stating a result that will occur, should the condition hold true.

Three, we can kind of rule out a few scenarios where we wouldn't use it, simply based on our other conditionals. なら is context-sensitive and more like saying "given that..." And と is mostly used for stating facts or natural consequences.

With all of that in mind, I'm going to write some example sentences. I still need to read more to better understand how each of these conditionals are most commonly used.

If you read the book, you can pass the test.

If the movie isn't interesting, you don't have to see it.

If you go to bed early, you'll wake up early.

If you don't each lunch, you can eat dinner at my place.

Due to the aforementioned "non-negative outcome" that typically goes along with this conditional, it's also often used in giving advice. This results in clause B often being something generic like いいんですよ.

If you take a nap, you'll be fine.

If you talk to your parents, it'll be fine.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Expressing "like" with のような / のように

When speaking, we often describe things via comparison using words such as "like" or "similar to." In Japanese, the same thing can be expressed in the following format:

A のような B

This states that Noun B is like A, in that it has the same quality or appearance as A. Another way of thinking of it is "An A-like B", to match the given Japanese word order. For example, プルートのような犬 for "a dog like Pluto", or "a Pluto-like dog."

I want to live in a city like Tokyo.

Yesterday at school, I saw a cat like Toki.

I bought a watch for Lee-san like his brother's.

If you want to use this "like" type phrasing to express similarity in relation to a verb or adjective, then のように is used instead.

I want a boyfriend who's kind like Toma.

That man's as strong as a bear.

That group of kids is noisy like a little dog.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Using のに to Connect Two Facts

As the title suggests, のに can be used to connect A and B as follows: "Even though A, B." B holds true, despite the fact that A is also true. So, "B, despite the fact A." I find it much easier to think of it as "even though..." because it follows the same grammar pattern and expresses a similar idea.

The plain form is used for sentence A. And as always, if it ends in a noun or na-adjective, な is required prior to のに.

Even though my mom's a nice person, she's often angry.

Lee's thin, despite eating too much.

Even though Alice saved a lot of money, she didn't want to buy an expensive phone.

The boy continued to bully her, even though she was crying.

Because のに is used to connect two facts, the sentences surrounding it cannot contain things like requests or suggestions. Something like けど or から would be used instead.