The Grammar war begins! 文法の戦争が始まる!

I know I posted a somewhat petulant blog about frustrations yesterday, but no worries. Shortly after writing that post, I was reading through the last set of lessons in “Japanese for Busy people” and I understood everything I read… so as I keep saying, I just need to get my speaking/reading weight up.

An awesome site to learn Japanese grammar is Tae Kim’s guide to learning Japanese. Unfortunately, when I started using this site, it was very heavy on the use of Kanji and it discouraged me from using the site to learn grammar. This was before i discovered Rikaichan, which is a web browser plugin that allows you to read the meanings of Japanese Kanji on any web page. Regardless, I recently revisited the site and was QUITE surprised to realize that now I can read almost all the Kanji used in the examples. If I don’t remember the Japanese meaning, I can just hover over it with Rikaichan (as I explained in my blog on Mangafying the Kindle and using Rikaichan).

So now that i’m almost done with the Heisig method, and I’ve been writing sentences for a while and doing tons of listening immersion, I feel more comfortable doing grammar attacks. Okay, maybe “grammar attacks” is a bit strong, but I don’t like “grammar practice”. This is a war! and I shall win! : p

So today with the help of a lovely sensei I chatted to through skype, I revisted the meanings of ので、なのて、のは、のに、なのに and し。

This is my first real start in “actual grammar” practice, as opposed to what I just remember from loads of listening/reading in context. An amazing tidbit I learned was that な(na) added to some of these particles simply just means noun + particle. I used to think that

なので(nanode )and ので(node )were different things completely, and I was wondering how the hell i’d memorize both meanings.

So ので is basically a more formal way of saying “because”. As my sensei said to me, in writing she uses “node” and in speaking she usese “kara” (both mean ‘because’) and then な is just added on to “node” whenever the subject is a noun.

So an example:

Because he is Jamaican, he cannot speak/understand Japanese.


After I learned this, I wrote down a few sentences to try and translate as best I could, which I will re-check with a native/high-level speaker.

I am sure some of these are not correct, but I wrote them to try and “feel out” the use of the expression, when I double check them, I will repost the correct translations. The idea isn’t to think explicity “because X then Y”. Even though I wrote my first few sentences that way, I noticed different examples with new translations.

e.g (taken from Jim Breen’s site)

It is too dark for me to read.


What’s interesting is that the kanji for “book” (本)isn’t even mentioned.

Following this I wrote:


It is too hot for me to think.

This technically is:  “Because it is hot, I cannot think“.  So this is giving me a sense of how you can translate things differently. So trying to take a leap I wrote this.


I’m busy everyday so I can’t enjoy myself.

Now there are many other ways to say “because” but based on the guide this is conditional. My issue with grammar has always been the numerous variations of these, which can only really be encountered through upping the frequency of speaking, and reading. I think listening connects more to reading and speaking once you start doing this stuff. So it’s a good first step.

Either way, I tried finding about 10 examples on the internet that expressed this, but many of the sentences were super long, but on a basic level I can understand the expression. Wish I had some manga to read and start seeing examples. Either way, I’ll keep blogging on what i’m observing as time passes and I tackle more grammatical patterns.


About marcusbird

Writer, Designer, Filmmaker
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