Have you ever been completely confused by what freaking order you put the words in a sentence?
I have been getting a lot of questions about this recently, So I thought I’d attempt to address it in a simpler way. (please bare with me as this is a work in progress heh)
A part of the problem lies in that Japanese sentence order is completely counter intuitive to what we’re used to.
Some people describe it as backwards, but completely scrambled is a bit closer to the truth (see now doesn’t that make you feel better?)
Ok I’m kidding, it’s not “completely” scrambled, but it is a real toughie for most learners.
Now what most teachers/books/programs try to do is either ignore this fact, and try to teach people standard cookie cutter like sentences. Until they get used to how it’s used.
Or, they attempt to break down the students understanding of how grammar/sentence order works in general (how they have used English), and kind of build an entirely new Japanese grammar base from which to work.
Now both methods are effective, but often times with varying results, and sometimes much frustration.
So I’m gonna try to do something a little different, and link up what you already know about English grammar/sentence order to Japanese grammar.
So to get started here’s a typical English sentence.
I punch people!
Very simple sentence. Now the trick to turning this sentence into Japanese is you have to be able to find the “verb” in the sentence. If you don’t know, the verb is basically “what’s going on” or “the action” in the sentence. In this sentence, what’s obviously going on is the “punching”
So what you do, is you simply grab the “verb”, take it out, and stick it at the back of the sentence.
So “I punch people” = Becomes = “I, people, punch!”
In Japanese this is “Ore, hito, naguru”
Let’s try another sentence.
I love feet! = I, feet, love (ore, ashi, suki)
How about this one?
I’m going to the toilet = I’m, to the toilet, going (Ore, toire, iku)
I’ll give this to you = I‘ll, this, to you, give (ore, kore, omae, ageru)
This is cool = This, cool, is (kore, kakkoi, da)
So as you can see from the above examples the main concept is that all you have to do is take the verb out, and stick it at the end of the sentence, nothing else really matters. (in terms of sentence order anyway)
Now if you’re already studying Japanese you might be asking, what about particles?
And you’d be right on track, because that is what I’ll discuss in tomorrow’s post =)
*Another note is that this formula of sorts does not work with question sentences, such as “what time is it?” Or “Where is that little leprechaun” And those I will address tomorrow as well.
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