Tuesday, December 31, 2019

tehe pero てへぺろ

In Japanese, tehe pero てへぺろ is a silly pose that basically means "oops!"

There are many variations of the pose, but it's generally used when a character cute girl does something wrong, a mischief, so they giggle a "tee hee" and put their "tongues" out in a silly expression.

This gesture is often accompanied by placing one hand behind the head, like to say sorry, or using the hand to strike a pose, like with a peace sign, with one eye close, as if they're about to take a photo or something like that.

Lilith リリス striking a  tehe pero てへぺろ pose.
Character: Lilith リリス
Anime: Machikado Mazoku まちカドまぞく (Episode 8)

It's also spelled terepero テヘペロ, tehe pero with star てへぺろ☆, and, in English, "teehee pero."

kaogei 顔芸

In Japanese, kaogei 顔芸, "face performance," refers to comedic performance (in real life) using the face, specially making weird facial expressions.

From that, in anime and manga, kaogei can refer to basically any facial expression used to communicate a characters' emotions, but specially the intense, ridiculous, or over the top ones, like those often used when a character is shocked or enraged.

Examples of 顔芸, exaggerated anime facial expressions.
Anime: Shinchou Yuusha 慎重勇者 (Various Episodes)
Monday, December 16, 2019

kateikei 仮定形

In Japanese, the kateikei 仮定形 is one of the six basic inflectable forms of verbs and adjectives.

The term kateikei is used with modern Japanese. The term izenkei 已然形 is used with classical Japanese. The kateikei evolved from the izenkei. Although they're similar, their functions are different.

For example, in nomeba 飲めば, the nome~ 飲め~ part is the kateikei or the izenkei. In modern Japanese, it's the kateikei, and nomeba means "if [you] drink [it]." In classical Japanese, it's the izenkei, and nomeba means "because [you] drink [it]."
Sunday, December 15, 2019

rentaikei 連体形

In Japanese, the rentaikei 連体形 is one of the six basic inflectable forms of verbs and adjectives.

For example, in {kirei na} neko 綺麗な猫, "a cat [that] {is pretty}," and {shaberu} neko しゃべる猫, "a cat [that] {talks}," the phrases kirei na 綺麗な and shaberu しゃべる are in the rentaikei.
Saturday, December 14, 2019

ren'youkei 連用形

In Japanese, the ren'youkei 連用形 is one of the six basic inflectable forms of verbs and adjectives.

For example, in yomimasu 読みます, "to read (polite)," and yomitai 読みたい, "want to read," the yomi 読み is the ren'youkei form of the verb yomu 読む, "to read."
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

mizenkei 未然形

In Japanese, the mizenkei 未然形 is one of the six basic inflectable forms of verbs and adjectives. It doesn't mean anything on its own, and acts as an intermediary step to construct more complex forms.

For example, in yomanai 読まない, "doesn't read," and yomareru 読まれる, "to be read," the yoma~ 読ま~ is the mizenkei of yomu 読む, "to read."
Monday, December 9, 2019

Potential Verbs

In Japanese, a kanou doushi 可能動詞, "potential verb," is a shimo-ichidan verb conjugated from a godan verb consonant stem plus ~eru ~eる, which adds an "able to" meaning to it.

For example: yomeru 読める, "to be able to read," or "can read," is the potential verb variant of yomu 読む, "to read."

It is, in practice, the potential form of godan verbs.
Sunday, December 8, 2019

gojūon 五十音

In Japanese, go-juu-on 五十音, "fifty sounds," refers to a way to layout the kana 仮名 characters as a table of five columns (vowels) per ten rows (consonants), totaling fifty table cells. This layout is also used to sort Japanese words.

The term is also romanized gojūon, with a macron on the long vowel.
Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Ichidan vs. Godan Verbs

In Japanese, two major groups of verbs are ichidan verbs and godan verbs, and a major doubt of many beginners is: what's the difference between godan and ichidan? How do you tell if a verb is ichidan or godan? What do the words ichidan and godan mean?

The answer for these three questions is conjugation, conjugation, and conjugation. But I suppose I should explain it in more detail.
Monday, November 25, 2019

Verb Groups

In Japanese, verbs are sometimes divided into group 1, group 2, and group 3, or type 1, type 2, type 3, or class 1, class 2, class 3, ichi-guruupu Iグループ, ni-guruupu IIグループ, san-guruupu IIIグループ, or whatever in the world your teacher, book, resource, material, or blog is calling it now.

Point is: there are three groups of verbs in modern, standard Japanese, which group verbs according to their conjugation, and for some reason are always, consistently enumerated in the following order:
  1. godan verbs, also called consonant-stem verbs,
  2. ichidan verbs, also called vowel-stem verbs, which always end in ~eru or ~iru.
  3. The rest. Which are only two verbs: suru する and kuru 来る, which are also called irregular verbs.

As long as you aren't reading some poem from the 9th century, any verb you find in Japanese will fall into one of the three groups above. In other words, if you know how to conjugate the three groups, you know how to conjugate any verb in Japanese.

See also: ichidan vs. godan verbs.

Irregular Verbs

Among verb types, irregular verbs are verbs whose conjugation is non-standard, and doesn't follow the usual conjugation rules that basically every other verb in the language follows.

The Japanese language is often said to have only two irregular verbs: suru する, "to do," and kuru 来る, "to come," which are also called "group 3 verbs," among the three groups of verbs in Japanese, the other two being godan verbs and ichidan verbs, whose conjugation would be regular.

Besides those, the words aru ある, nai ない, yoi よい, ii いい, and iku 行く also feature irregularities to watch out for. So I'm listing all of them here.

Ichidan Verbs

In Japanese, ichidan verbs are verbs that end in ~eru and ~iru, which undergo ichidan katsuyou 一段活用, "one-column conjugation." This means that, when conjugated, their stem ends at the vowel, ~e or ~i, and it's always that same one vowel, no matter what suffixes are attached to it.

They're also called "group 2 verbs," among the three groups of verbs that exist in Japanese.
Sunday, November 24, 2019

Godan Verbs

In Japanese, godan verbs are verbs which undergo godan katsuyou 五段活用, "five-column conjugation." This means that, when conjugated, their stem ends at the consonant, and the vowel of the last syllable can change into any of the five vowels: a-i-u-e-o.

They're also called "group 1 verbs," among the three groups of verbs that exist in Japanese.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Changes in Pronunciation

In Japanese, sometimes words are pronounced in a way different from how you'd expect them to be pronounced. This specially happens at the boundary of two morphemes forming a word.

For example, combining the number "one," ichi 一, with the counter for shots, hatsu 発, gets you ippatsu 一発, not ichi-hatsu. Combining the ren'youkei 連用形 form of shinu 死ぬ, shini 死に, with the jodoushi 助動詞 ~ta ~た gets you shinda 死んだ, not shini-ta.

Long Vowels

In Japanese, long vowels, or "long sounds," chouon 長音, refer to vowels pronounced for twice as long than normal. See also: mora. The opposite are short vowels, or "short sounds," tan'on 短音.

For example, ko こ has a short vowel, while kou こう, koo こー, and koo こぉ have long vowels.


In Japanese, yotsugana 四つ仮名, refers to ji じ, di ぢ, zu ず, and dzu づ. These "four kana 仮名," were originally pronounced distinctly, but in modern Japanese, in some regions of Japan, they're all pronounced the same way, they've become homonyms.

痔ってなぁ ・・・・・・え? よーひらがなで「じ」やなくて「ぢ」って書くやんかぁー 普通「ち」に点々なんか使わへんよなぁー ・・・・・・ そんでこの前辞書で調べたら「痔」も「じ」になっとったんよー ・・・そうか
Manga: Azumanga Daioh あずまんが大王 (Volume 1, Chapter 8, August: Part 2, Page 84, ぶち壊しさわやか)
Wednesday, November 13, 2019


In Japanese, handakuonka 半濁音化 is a change in pronunciation similar to rendaku 連濁 in which the syllables ha-hi-fu-he-ho はひふへほ get a handakuten 半濁点, turning into the semi-voiced pa-pi-pu-pe-po ぱぴぷぺぽ.

For example: kinpatsu きんつ (金髪), "golden hair, "blond," which combines the morphemes "gold" and "hair," kin きん and hatsu はつ, or ippatsu いっつ (一発), "one shot," which combines "one" and "shot," ichi いち and hatsu はつ.
Monday, November 11, 2019

tenten 点々

In Japanese, tenten 点々 means "dots" or "points." It's a reduplication of ten 点, which means a "dot" or "point."

The word is sometimes used to refer to symbols that look like dots, such as dakuten 濁点 (゛) and the ditto mark (〃), which are also called chonchon ちょんちょん, *striking repeatedly* (phenomime), due to how your hand moves in order to write them.

見ろよ, ここに血のアトみたいに転々と・・・・・・
Manga: Hikaru no Go ヒカルの碁 (Chapter 1, 棋聖降臨)
  • miro yo
  • koko ni chi no ato mitai ni ten-ten to......
    In here, [something that] looks like blood marks [is stuck] in drops.
    • ato
      Something left behind by something else, usually as evidence.
      Tracks, traces, marks, scars, etc.
    • tenten to 点々
      Scattered around as spots, dots, points.


In Japanese, ten'on 転音, also called boin koutai 母音交替, "vowel change," is a change in pronunciation where the vowel of a morpheme changes in order to connect to another morpheme in a word.

Examples include:
  • fune-ashiあし
    funaashiあし (舟足)
    Boat speed.
  • kaze-kamiかみ
    kazakamiかみ (風上)
  • kami-nagaraながら
    As a god.
    As in the age of gods.
  • ame-kasaかさ
    amagasaがさ (雨傘)
  • sake-taruたる
    sakadaruだる (酒樽)
    Alcohol barrel, cask.
  • ue-ki
    uwagiぎ (上着)
    Outer garment. Coat.
  • ki-tachi たち
    kodachiだち (木立)
    Tree grove.

Note: in the words above, ka becoming ga, ta becoming da, and ki becoming gi consist of a different change in pronunciation called rendaku 連濁.
Sunday, November 10, 2019

onbinkei 音便形

In Japanese onbinkei 音便形 is a verb form that has been affected by onbin 音便, by changes in pronunciation. This term is used to distinguish between the original forms and forms that were changed due to euphony.

In general, onbin seems to affect only the ren'youkei 連用形 form of verbs and adjectives. So you have the normal ren'youkei form, and the distorted onbinkei form.

onbin 音便

In Japanese, onbin 音便, often translated as "euphonic change," refers to four types of changes in pronunciation that affect, among other things, the ren'youkei 連用形 conjugation of verbs. Such changes exist to make the words easier to pronounce. They are:
  1. u-onbin
    Changes a kana to u う.
    Example: omohi-te
    Becomes: omouteて.
  2. i-onbin
    Changes a kana to i い.
    Example: kaki-te
    Becomes: kaiteて.
  3. hatsuonbin
    Changes a kana to n ん. This n ん is called hatsuon.
    Example: shini-te
    Becomes: shindeで.
  4. sokuonbin
    Changes a kana to the small tsu, which represents a "geminate consonant," sokuon 促音.
    Example: tori-te
    Becomes: totteて.

See onbinkei 音便形 for a more complete list of uses.

According to the dictionary Nihon Kokugo Daijiten 日本国語大辞典, Motoori Norinaga 本居宣長 (1730–1801) was the scholar that introduced the onbin terms to Japanese grammar. When he did so, he also included the rendaku 連濁 in the definition of onbin.[音便 - kotobank.jp, accessed 2019-11-10]


In Japanese, renjoudaku 連声濁 is a change in pronunciation similar to rendaku 連濁, where the first syllable of a suffix gets a "diacritic," dakuten 濁点. Unlike rendaku, renjoudaku merges a nasal or voiced syllable with another syllable, and can affect syllables beyond suffixes.

For example: nado, "et cetera," comes from nani-toにと, or nantoんと. While shinda 死ん, "died," comes from shini-taにた.


In Japanese, renjou 連声 is a change in pronunciation that generally happens when two kanji form a single word, and the last sound of the first kanji is the nasal vowel ~n ~ん, or from the m~ or t~ rows, while the first sound of the second kanji is a vowel, or from the y~ or w~ rows, and they combine to form a syllable from the n~, m~, or t~ rows.

For example: hannou 反応, "response," is formed by han はん and ou おう, but since han はん ends in ~n ~ん, and ou おう starts with a vowel, ou おう becomes nou のう.


In Japanese, hatsuonbin 撥音便 is a change in pronunciation of a word where a kana 仮名 is changed to the nasal n ん, also known as hatsuon 撥音. This mainly happens in the conjugation of certain verbs.

For example: shindaだ, "died," is supposed to be shini-ta 死にた, but ni に and ta た are pronounced merged together.

Note: not to be confused with hatsuon 発音, "pronunciation," which is a homonym.
Friday, November 8, 2019


In Japanese, u-onbin ウ音便 is a change in pronunciation where a kana 仮名 becomes u う.

For example: arigatai 有り難, "unlikely," "thankful," becoming arigatou 有り難 in arigatou-gozaimasu 有難御座います.

キミコ よろしゅうござあます。
Game: Gyakuten Saiban 2 逆転裁判2
Thursday, November 7, 2019


In Japanese, i-onbin イ音便 is a change in pronunciation often seen in conjugations where a kana 仮名 of the word gets pronounced as i い instead.

For example: the past form of sagasu 探す is sagashi-ta 探した, but the past form of kaku 書く, isn't kaki-ta 書きた, it's kaitaた, with an i い.
Sunday, November 3, 2019

desu shi ですし

In Japanese, desushi ですし is the polite copula desu です plus the shi し particle. It works the same way as dashi だし, which has the plain copula da instead.
  • tetsudatte-kuremasu ka?
    Will [you] help [me]?
  • ii desu yo, douse hima desu shi
    Fine, since [I] have nothing to do anyway.

The only different, as usual, is when dealing with i-adjectives.
  • kawaii shi
    Since [it] is cute.
  • kawaii desu shi
    (polite variant of the above.)
  • kawaii da shi
    (this is wrong, because da だ can't come immediately after an i-adjective, even though desu です can.)

dashi だし

In Japanese, dashi だし is the da だ copula plus the shi し particle. The shi し particle is used to list facts, reasons, and so on, and it comes after the predicative form of words.

For some words, the predicative form ends in the da だ copula, that's when it forms dashi だし, but for other words, like i-adjectives, it does not, and you end up with just shi し.

Beware of homonyms: dashi 出し, "putting out," the noun form of dasu 出す, "to put out," can also mean a Japanese kind of soup stock.

Manga: Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. 古見さんは、コミュ症です。 (Chapter 14, あがり症です)
  • Context: regarding Komi-san 古見さん.
  • bijin dashi,
    atama mo ii shi,
    ninkimono dashi,
    [She] is a beautiful-person, [she] is also smart, [she] is a popular-person,
    • atama ga ii 頭がいい
      Literally "head is good."
      To be smart.
    • Here, shi し comes after words in their predicative forms.
    • For adjectives like bijin and ninkimono, those forms are bijin da and ninkimono da, with the predicative copula da だ.
    • For an i-adjective like ii いい, "good," the da だ copula isn't necessary, so shi し comes right after it.

し Particle

In Japanese, the shi し particle is a conjunctive particle used to express the reason, or reasons, for something. More generally, it's used to emphasize facts regarding something.

For example: in douse hima da shi どうせ暇だし, the shi particle expresses that douse hima da, "I'm free," in the sense of "I don't have anything better to do anyway," is the reason for doing something.

Not to be confused with the homonyms: shi し, the ren'youkei 連用形 form of suru する, shi 死, "death," or shi 四, the number "four."

いや・・・ 別にいいよ 知りたくないし・・・
Manga: Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san からかい上手の高木さん (Chapter 2, プール)
Saturday, November 2, 2019


An "auxiliary" in Japanese might be any of the following things:
  1. jodoushi 助動詞
    Morphemes suffixed to verbs and adjectives in order to inflect them, like ~tai ~たい.
  2. Auxiliary adjectives.
    Including suffixes of compound adjectives, and adjectives like ii いい,"good."
  3. Auxiliary verbs.
    Including suffixes of compound verbs, and verbs like suru する, "to do."
  4. hojo-yougen 補助用言
    An umbrella term for auxiliary words that go after the te-form of verbs: the hojo-doushi 補助動詞 and hojo-keiyoushi 補助形容詞.
  5. keishiki-meishi 形式名詞
    Formal nouns, like koto こと.
  6. rengo 連語
    "Collocations" are sometimes referred to as auxiliaries, like kamoshirenai かもしれない, "might be," which is composed by the particles ka か, mo も, and the verb shiru 知る in its negative potential form.
Friday, November 1, 2019

Auxiliary Adjectives

In Japanese, auxiliary adjectives are auxiliaries that work like adjectives. This single English term, "auxiliary adjective," has been used to refer to various things in Japanese, like:
  1. hojo-keiyoushi 補助形容詞
    "Support adjectives."
    Adjectives that come after the te-form of a verb, or after the adverbial form of an adjective.
    Example: in tabete-hoshii 食べてほしい, "[I] want [you] to eat [it]," the auxiliary adjective hoshii ほしい.
  2. fukugou-keiyoushi 複合形容詞
    "Compound adjectives."
    The ones where an adjective is attached to the noun form of a verb.
    Example: in tabe-yasui 食べやすい, "easy to eat," the auxiliary adjective yasui やすい.
  3. jodoushi 助動詞
    "Helper verbs."
    The ones which inflect like adjectives.
    Example: in tabetai 食べたい, "want to eat," the ~tai ~たい suffix.
  4. The adjective ii いい.
    Just... the adjective ii いい. And its conjugations.
    It doesn't fall in any of the categories above, but it's practically an auxiliary.

In Japanese, the term hojo-keiyoushi is sometimes used to refer to words that aren't technically hojo-keiyoushi. As far as I know, only hoshii, and perhaps nai ない, are hojo-keiyoushi. Everything else is something else.

Auxiliary Verbs

In Japanese, auxiliary verbs are auxiliaries which are verbs. This single English term, "auxiliary verb," has been used to refer to various, completely different things in Japanese, like:
  1. hojo-doushi 補助動詞
    "Support verbs."
    Verbs that come after the te-form of another verb, or the adverbial form of an adjective.
    Example: in tabete-iru 食べている, "to be eating," the verb auxiliary verb ~iru ~いる.
  2. fukugou-doushi 複合動詞
    "Compound verbs."
    The ones composed of two verbs, where the suffix is the auxiliary verb.
    Example: in tabe-yagatta 食べやがった, "dared to eat [it]," the auxiliary verb ~yagaru ~やがる.
  3. jodoushi 助動詞
    "Helper verbs."
    Verbs, and other morphemes, that come after one of the basic forms of another word.
    Example: in tabesaserareru 食べさせられる, "to be forced to eat [it]," the auxiliaries saseru and rareru.
  4. Light verbs.
    Like suru する, its irregular potential form, dekiru できる, aru ある, and naru なる.

In Japanese, sometimes the term hojo-doushi is used, perhaps mistakenly, to refer to the suffixes in fukugou-doushi, and even to some jodoushi, which, as far as I'm aware, aren't technically hojo-doushi, they just kind of work like auxiliary verbs.

jodoushi 助動詞

In Japanese, jodoushi 助動詞 are the morphemes suffixed to the six basic forms of verbs and adjectives in order to conjugate them into more complex forms.

For example, in nomaserarenakatta 飲ませられなかった, "[I] didn't let [you] make [me] drink [it]," there are four jodoushi: the past ta, the negative nai, the passive rareru, and the causative saseru, thus, the verb nomu 飲む, "to drink," is in its past, negative, passive, causative form.

In English, jodoushi is often confusingly translated as "auxiliary verb." There are various types of auxiliary verbs in Japanese, and jodoushi are the ones that least look like verbs. I mean, nai is an adjective, and even the ~ta ~た of past forms is a jodoushi.

In dictionaries, it's abbreviated to jodou 助動.
Thursday, October 31, 2019

fukugou-keiyoushi 複合形容詞

In Japanese, fukugou-keiyoushi 複合形容詞, "compound adjectives," are adjectives composed of two words: a stem, and an adjective head suffixed to that stem.

For example: yomi-yasui 読みやすい, "easy to read," ii-nikui 言いにくい, "hard to say," kata-kurushii 堅苦しい, "formal," na-dakai 名高い, "famous," ao-jiroi 青白い, "bluish white, "pale," and chikara-dzuyoi 力強い, "strong," "reassuring," are all compound adjectives.
Monday, October 28, 2019

fukugou-doushi 複合動詞

In Japanese, fukugou-doushi 複合動詞, "compound verbs," are verbs composed of two words: a stem, and a verb head suffixed to that stem.

For example: nomi-komu 飲み込む, "to gulp down," mochi-dasu 持ち出す, "to take out," bukkorosu ぶっ殺す, "to beat to death," hiki-komoru 引きこもる, "to shut in," and mezameru 目覚める, "to wake up," kawai-sugiru 可愛すぎる, "to be too cute," are all compound verbs.

hojo-keiyoushi 補助形容詞

In Japanese, hojo-keiyoushi 補助形容詞 are a type of auxiliary adjective that's attached to the te-form of verbs and the adverbial form of i-adjectives.

For example, in katte-hoshii 買ってほしい, "[I] want [you] to buy [this] for [me]," the word hoshii ほしい is a support adjective.
Sunday, October 27, 2019

hojo-doushi 補助動詞

In Japanese, hojo-doushi 補助動詞, literally "support verb," is a type of auxiliary verb that attaches to the te-form of verbs or the adverbial form of i-adjectives.

For example: tabete-iru 食べている, "to be eating," has the verb iru いる, "to exist," as a support verb for teberu 食べる, "to eat."
Saturday, October 26, 2019

nee ねー, ねえ, ねぇ

In Japanese, nee ねえ, also spelled nee, or nee, is the relaxed pronunciation of nai ない, or a longer variant of the ne ね particle, or an interjection used to call people's attention, or the word oneesan お姉さん, "older sister," without honorific affixes.

ねえ、西方。 な、何!?高木さん!? 何してんの? 別に・・・何も・・・ ふーん。
Manga: Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san からかい上手の高木さん (Chapter 1, 消しゴム)
Friday, October 25, 2019

ね Particle

In Japanese, the ne ね particle is a sentence-ending particle used to seek or demand agreement, or confirmation from the listener. It's also used as an interjection sometimes.

It's also lengthened to nee ねえnee, or nee, in which case it's homonymous with the relaxed pronunciation of the nai ない suffix.

俺はね、もう死んでるんですよ。 あんたがそう言った。
Manga: Black Lagoon (Chapter 1, Chase for ring-ding ships)
Saturday, October 19, 2019

dato だと

In Japanese, dato だと means "you said" most of the time. It's the da だ copula plus the to と particle, which is a quoting particle.

Synonymous variants include datte だって, with the tte って particle instead, desu to ですと, with the desu です polite copula instead, and desu tte ですって.
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

dano だの Particle

In Japanese, ~dano~dano ~だの~だの is normally used to list examples of things that the speaker is complaining about.

Not to be confused with the no-adjective tada no ただの, "just," "merely." Or with a verb in past form plus the no の particle: yonda no? 読んだの?, "did you read it?"
Friday, October 11, 2019

に Adverbial Copula

In Japanese, the ni に particle is sometimes an adverbial copula.
Sunday, October 6, 2019

で Copula

In Japanese, the de で particle is sometimes actually a copula. Specifically, it's the te て form of the da だ copula, and consequently the te て form of na-adjectives and no-adjectives.

の Attributive Copula

In Japanese, the no の particle is sometimes an attributive copula.
Friday, October 4, 2019

だ Copula

In Japanese, da だ is usually the predicative plain copula: kirei da 綺麗, "[it] is pretty."

Sometimes, da だ isn't the copula, but part of the past form of certain verbs: shinda 死ん, "died."

Manga: Kemono Michi けものみち (Chapter 3)
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

な Attributive Copula

In Japanese, the na な particle is actually an attributive copula sometimes.
Tuesday, October 1, 2019

korya, sorya, arya こりゃ, そりゃ, ありゃ

In Japanese, korya, sorya, arya こりゃ, そりゃ, ありゃ are contractions of kore, sore, are これ, それ, あれ marked as the topic by the wa は particle.

For example: nanda korya なんだこりゃ means the same thing as nanda kore wa なんだこれは, "what is this?!" See also: nani kore なにこれ and emotive right-dislocation.

Interrogative pronouns, like dore どれ, can't be marked as the topic, so there's no contraction for dore wa どれは. However, the word dorya どりゃ does exist, and it does come from dore どれ, but its usage is different.

The word dorya is used to say "how do you like that!" when someone just did something, or will do something. In anime, it's generally used after a character attacks another, and then it's translated as "take that!" or something similar.

nani kore なにこれ

In Japanese, nani kore なにこれ means literally "what is this?" However, being an instance of emotive right-dislocation, the phrase isn't used when someone is actually asking "what" this is, it's used to express shock, surprise, or disgust about something, like "what the...?" in English.

More technically, nani, "what, kore, "this," is a dislocation of kore nani これなに, which is a null-marked kore wa nani これはなに, which is a casual variant of kore wa nandesu ka? これはなんですか? which does actually mean "what is this?" in Japanese.

It's also spelled nani kore 何これ. Variants include nanda kore なんだこれ, nanda yo kore なんだよこれ, nandesu ka kore wa なんですかこれは, nanda korya なんだこりゃ, and so on.

なにこれ・・・・・・? へへへ♡当たってる?
Manga: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - Part 5: Golden Wind, JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 黄金の風 (Chapter 456, 5プラス1)
  • Context: Fugo フーゴ gives Narancia ナランチャ a math question to solve.
  • 16 × 55 = 28.
  • *stares puzzledly.*
  • nani kore......?
    What is this?
  • hehehe♡
  • atatteru?
    [Did I get it right]?

Emotive Right-Dislocation

In Japanese, emotive right-dislocation happens in sentences featuring dislocation without a pause, where the speaker is surprised, shocked, disgusted, insulted, and so on. Such sentences often resemble questions, but the speaker doesn't expect answers, they're just expressing their emotions.

Examples include: nani kore なにこれ, nani sore なにそれ, nani are なにあれ, "what's this/that," nanda koitsu なんだこいつ, "what's [up with] this guy," nani kono onna なにこの女, "what's [up with] this woman," and so on.

Similarly: dare da omae 誰だお前, "who are you?" baka ka omae 馬鹿かお前, "are you stupid?" korozu zo temee 殺すぞてめえ, "[I'm] going to kill you," and so on.

See the article on dislocation for details about the grammar.
Monday, September 30, 2019


In Japanese, dislocation happens when the subject or object, or other argument, comes after the verb, at the very end of the sentence, even though, normally, they're supposed to come before the verb.

More generally, in grammar, dislocation is when part of a clause, a constituent, shows up outside of that clause. In Japanese, clauses often end at the verb, so anything after that verb is outside of the clause.

Manga: Dr. Stone, ドクターストーン (Chapter 1, Stone World)
Monday, September 23, 2019

と vs. って

In Japanese, the to と particle and tte って particle are quoting particles: they're used to quote things. It's often said one is the formal quoting particle while the other is the causal quoting particle, but there are various situations where you can't just replace one by the other.

In this article, I'll list the differences between to と and tte って, for reference.

Quoting Particles

In Japanese, quoting particles are particles used to mark a phrase literally. They're used with verbs that deal with communication: to say, to hear, to write, to read, and also with thoughts: to think, to feel, to plan, to predict. Sometimes, they're also used without verbs at all.

Quoting particles are also called quotative markers. In Japanese, in'you 引用, "quotation," "citation," refers to their function: in'you no joshi 引用の助詞, "particle of quotation."

Quoting particle example.
Manga: Doushirou degozaru 道士朗でござる (Chapter 5, 道士郎、ブチ切れる)
Friday, September 20, 2019

って Topic Marker

Sometimes, the tte って particle can mark the topic of the sentence under certain circumstances. In Japanese, topic-marking is a function generally associated with the wa は particle, so this article lists the difference between tte って and wa は in this usage.

Manga: Machikado Mazoku まちカドまぞく (Volume 1, Page 113, 普通に加熱することの難しさ)
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

って Particle

In Japanese, tte って is a quoting particle. It's sometimes used as the casual counterpart of the to と particle, but it has other uses, too, like mentioning things in order to refer to them.
Sunday, September 8, 2019

~nai to ~ないと

In Japanese, ~nai to ~ないと generally translates to "if not," or "if [you] don't," or "when [you] don't." It's the i-adjective nai ない plus the conditional to. Note that it could also be another use of the to と particle, or even a different word, like naito ナイト, "night" or "knight."

Some examples:
  • benkyou shinai to daburu
    If [you] don't study, [you] will repeat a year.
  • okane ga nai to komaru
    If [you] don't have money, [I] will be troubled.
  • bakuhatsu shinai to omou
    [It] won't explode, is what I think. (this isn't the conditional to と, this is the quoting particle.)

Conditional と

In Japanese, the conditional to と refers to the to と particle when it's used as a conjunction. That's because it often translates to "if X, Y," or "when X, Y."

For example: hashiru to tsukareru 走る疲れる, means "if [I] run, [I] get tired," or "when [I] run, [I] get tired."
Friday, September 6, 2019

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Among verb types, intransitive, transitive, and ditransitive verbs are verbs of varying transitivity. A ditransitive verb has three arguments: subject, direct object, and indirect object. A transitive verb has two: a subject and a direct object. An intransitive verb only has one: a subject.

Normally, you wouldn't have any problem with such verbs, except that in Japanese they work differently from how they do in English, and most people have trouble with transitive-intransitive verb pairs, which take different particles.
Wednesday, September 4, 2019


In grammar, adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. For example: to speak quickly, to be very fast, and to run very quickly have the adverbs "very" and "quickly."

In Japanese, "adverbs," fukushi 副詞, do exactly the same thing, except that Japanese adverbs are a bit different from English adverbs..
Monday, September 2, 2019

Case Markers

In Japanese, case markers are particles that mark nouns and noun phrases with a "grammatical case," such nominative and accusative, or subject and object.

In Japanese, case marking particles are called kaku-joshi 格助詞.

Parallel Markers

In Japanese, parallel markers are particles that translate to "and" and "or" in English. They're parallel marking particles because they put nouns and nouns phrases in parallel. The Japanese term for them is heiritsu-joshi 並立助詞, "lining-up particles."

と Particle

In Japanese, the to と particle has various functions.
Friday, August 30, 2019

Ergative Verb Pairs

Among verb types, an ergative verb pair refers to an intransitive-transitive verb pair, where the subject of the intransitive is the object of the transitive, and the transitive expresses the causation of the intransitive event. Although there are some exceptions, like ditransitive verbs.

For example: ageru 上げる, "to raise," and agaru 上がる, "to rise," form an ergative verb pair both in English and in Japanese. If "you raise something" (object), you cause: "something rises." (subject)

Unaccusative Verbs

Among verb types, unaccusative verbs are intransitive verbs whose subject is the patient of the action. For example:
  • nan'i-do wo ageru
    To raise the difficult-level.
    • nan'i-do wo - patient, accusative case.
  • nan'i-do ga agaru
    The difficult-level rises.
    • nan'i-do ga - patient, nominative case.

Above, agaru is an unaccusative verb, and ageru is its lexical causative verb counterpart. Together, they form an ergative verb pair. The article about the verb pairs contains details on how both types of verbs work in Japanese.

By the way, the opposite of an unaccusative verb is called an unergative verb, whose subject is the agent, unless in passive voice.

Lexical Causative Verbs

Among verb types, lexical causative verbs are transitive verbs that form causative sentences without being conjugated to the causative form. For example:
  • musume ga naku
    The daughter cries.
  • musume wo nakasu
    To cause: the daughter cries.
    To make the daughter cry.

Above, we have the intransitive verb naku 泣く, "to cry," and the lexical causative verb nakasu 泣かす, "to make cry." Together, they form an ergative verb pair. The article about verb pairs explains the grammar in detail. This article will focus only on the verbs themselves.

Causative Sentences

In Japanese, "causatives," shieki 使役, happen when the subject of a sentence causes a causee to perform an action, where "causing" means either "forcing" or "allowing." Causative sentences usually feature verbs in the causative form, like suru する becoming saseru させる.

For example: kekkon saseta 結婚させた is a causative meaning either "[a causer] made [a causee] marry [someone]" or "[a causer] let [a causee] marry [someone]."
Monday, August 26, 2019

Suffering Passive

In Japanese, the suffering passive is when a sentence in passive voice has a subject that's negatively affected by an action without being directly involved in it. For example:
  • Tarou ga ame ni furareta
    Tarou is suffering because:
    • ame ga futta
      The rain fell from the sky.
      The rain is raining.
      It's raining.
    • Implicature: Tarou is inconvenienced by the rain.
  • Tarou ga Hanako ni shinareta
    Tarou is suffering because:
    • Hanako ga shinda
      Hanako died.
    • Implicature: Tarou was a friend of Hanako.

They're also called adversity passives or "indirect passives," kansetsu-ukemi 間接受身.

Passive Voice

In grammar, the passive voice is when the subject and object appear to switch roles. In active voice, the subject is generally the agent and the object is the patient: the cat ate the rat. In passive voice, the subject is the patient instead: the rat was eaten by the cat.

In Japanese, the passive voice, ukemi 受け身, is identified by the verb being in the passive form: suru する "to do," is active voice, sareru される "to be done," is passive voice. The way particles are used in the passive voice is different, and there are different types of passives.