Other Grammar

Hopefully, you’ve managed to get a good grasp of how grammar works in Japanese and how to use them to communicate your thoughts in the Japanese way. In this final section, we’ll be covering some left-over grammar that I couldn’t fit into a larger category.

Using 「思いきや」 to describe something unexpected


  1. 思う 【おも・う】 (u-verb) – to think
  2. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  3. 昼間 【ひる・ま】 – daytime
  4. 絶対 【ぜっ・たい】 (na-adj) – absolutely, unconditionally
  5. 込む 【こ・む】 (u-verb) – to become crowded
  6. 一人 【ひとり】 – 1 person; alone
  7. いる (ru-verb) – to exist (animate)
  8. この – this (abbr. of これの)
  9. レストラン – restaurant
  10. 安い 【やす・い】 (i-adj) – cheap
  11. 会計 【かい・けい】 – accountant; bill
  12. 千円 【せん・えん】 – 1,000 yen
  13. 以上 【い・じょう】 – greater or equal

This is a grammar I learned out of a book and was surprised to actually hear it used in real life on a number of occasions. You use this grammar when you think one thing, but much to your astonishment, things actually turn out to be very different. You use it in the same way as you would express any thoughts, by using the quotation 「と」 and 「思う」. The only difference is that you use 「思いきや」 instead of 「思う」. There is no tense in 「思いきや」, or rather, since the results already went against your expectations, the original thought is implicitly understood to be past tense.

Using 「思いきや」 to describe something unforeseen or unexpected

  • Attach 「思いきや」 to the thought using the quotation 「と」.
    Example: ある → ある → あると思いきや


  1. 昼間だから絶対込んでいると思いきや、一人もいなかった。
    Despite having thought that it must be crowded since it was afternoon, (surprisingly) not a single person was there.
  2. このレストランは安いと思いきや、会計は5千円以上だった!
    Thought this restaurant would be cheap but (surprisingly) the bill was over 5,000 yen!

Using 「~がてら」 to do two things at one time


  1. 散歩 【さん・ぽ】 – walk, stroll
  2. 作る 【つく・る】 (u-verb) – to make
  3. タバコ – tobacco; cigarettes
  4. 買う 【か・う】 (u-verb) – to buy
  5. 行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) – to go
  6. 博物館 【はく・ぶつ・かん】 – museum
  7. 見る 【み・る】 (ru-verb) – to see
  8. お土産 【お・みやげ】 – souvenir
  9. つもり – intention, plan

This rather formal and seldom-used grammar is used to indicate that two actions were done at the same time. The nuance is a bit difference from 「ながら」 in that some or all of the time spent on doing one action was also used to do another action as an aside. Remember, 「ながら」 is used to describe two exactly concurrent actions.

The interesting thing about this grammar is that no verb is required. You can just attach it a noun, and the verb “to do” is inferred. For instance, “while taking a stroll” can simply be expressed as 「散歩がてら」. In the case where you want to employ a different verb, you also have the option of attaching 「がてら」 to the stem similar to the 「ながら」 usage. In addition, the verb or noun that is accompanied by 「がてら」 is the main action while the following action is the one done on the side.

Using 「~がてら」 to do two things at one time

  • Attach 「がてら」 to the noun or verb stem of the main action. In case of a noun, the verb 「する」 is inferred.

    1. 散歩 → 散歩がてら
    2. 作る → 作 → 作りがてら


  1. 散歩がてら、タバコを買いに行きました。
    While taking a stroll, I also used that time to buy cigarettes.
  2. 博物館を見がてらに、お土産を買うつもりです。
    While seeing the museum, I plan to also use that time to buy souvenirs.

Using 「~あげく(挙句)」 to describe a bad result


  1. 挙句 【あげ・く】 – in the end (after a long process); at last
  2. 喧嘩 【けん・か】 – quarrel
  3. 考える 【かんが・える】 (ru-verb) – to think
  4. 事情 【じ・じょう】 – circumstances
  5. ~時間 【~じ・かん】 – counter for span of hours
  6. 掛ける 【か・ける】 (ru-verb) – to hang; to take (time, money)
  7. 説明 【せつ・めい】 – explanation
  8. する (exception) – to do
  9. 納得 【なっ・とく】 – understanding; agreement
  10. もらう (u-verb) – to receive
  11. 先生 【せん・せい】 – teacher
  12. 相談 【そう・だん】 – consultation
  13. 退学 【たい・がく】 – dropping out of school
  14. こと – event, matter

「あげく」 is a grammar used to describe a result, usually negative, that came about after a great deal of effort. The rule for this grammar is very simple. You modify the verb or noun that was carried out with 「あげく」 and then describe the final result that came about from that verb or noun. Because this grammar is used to describe a result from an action already completed, it is used with the past tense of the verb. 「あげく」 is essentially treated the same as any noun. In other words, you would need the 「の」 particle to modify another noun.

「あげくの果て」 is another stronger version of this grammar.

Using 「~あげく」 to describe a final result

  • Attach 「あげく」 to the verb or noun that created the end result (「の」 particle is required for nouns)

    1. けんか → けんかのあげく
    2. 考えた → 考えたあげく


  1. 事情を2時間かけて説明したあげく、納得してもらえなかった。
    (After a great deal of) explaining the circumstances for 2 hours, (in the end), couldn’t receive understanding.
  2. 先生と相談のあげく、退学をしないことにした。
    (After much) consulting with teacher, (in the end), decided on not dropping out of school.

Immediate Events

In this section, we will be covering some advanced grammar that describe an action that takes place right after something else has occurred. I suggest you look over this section if you are really serious about completely mastering Japanese, or if you plan to take the level 1 JLPT exam, or if you enjoy reading a lot of Japanese literature.

Using 「が早いか」 to describe the instant something occurred


  1. 早い 【はや・い】 (i-adj) – fast; early
  2. 言う 【い・う】 (u-verb) – to say
  3. 彼女 【かの・じょ】 – she; girlfriend
  4. 教授 【きょう・じゅ】 – professor
  5. 姿 【すがた】 – figure
  6. 見る 【み・る】 (ru-verb) – to see
  7. 教室 【きょう・しつ】 – classroom
  8. 逃げ出す 【に・げ・だ・す】 (u-verb) – to run away
  9. 食べる 【た・べる】 (ru-verb) – to eat
  10. 口 【くち】 – mouth
  11. 中 【なか】 – inside
  12. 放り込む 【ほう・り・こ・む】 (u-verb) – to throw into

The phrase 「が早いか」 is used to describe something that happened the instant something else occurred.

While very similar to the 「とたんに」 grammar, it has a strong emphasis on how soon one thing occurred after another as if it’s almost simultaneous. This grammar is rarely used outside of Japanese language tests.

To use this grammar, you attach 「が早いか」 to the first verb, then you describe the event that happened the next instant. While it’s conventional to use the non-past tense (dictionary form) for the first verb, you can also use the past tense. For example, you can say either 「言うが早いか」 or 「言ったが早いか」. The curious thing about this grammar is that the 「が」 particle comes right after the verb. Remember, you can do this only with this specific grammatical phrase.

Using 「が早いか」 to describe what happened the instant something occurred

  • Attach 「が早いか」 to the non-past or past tense of the verb that just occurred

    1. 言う → 言うが早いか
    2. → 言った → 言ったが早いか
  • You can only use this grammar only for events that are directly related.
  • You can only use this grammar only for events that actually happened (past tense).


  1. 彼女は、教授の姿を見るが早いか、教室から逃げ出した。
    The instant (she) saw the professor’s figure, (she) ran away from the classroom.
  2. 「食べてみよう」と言うが早いか、口の中に放り込んだ。
    The instant (he) said “let’s try eating it”, he threw (it) into his mouth.
  3. 「食べてみよう」と言ったが早いか、口の中に放り込んだ。
    The instant (he) said “let’s try eating it”, he threw (it) into his mouth.

Using 「や/や否や」 to describe what happened right after


  1. 早い 【はや・い】 (i-adj) – fast; early
  2. 否定 【ひ・てい】 – denial
  3. 見る 【み・る】 (ru-verb) – to see
  4. 私 【わたし】 – me, myself, I
  5. 顔 【かお】 – face
  6. 何 【なに/なん】 – what
  7. 言う 【い・う】 (u-verb) – to say
  8. する (exception) – to do
  9. 搭乗 【とう・じょう】 – boarding
  10. アナウンス – announcement
  11. 聞こえる 【き・こえる】 (ru-verb) – to be audible
  12. 皆 【みんな】 – everybody
  13. ゲート – gate
  14. 方 【ほう】 – direction, way
  15. 走り出す 【はし・り・だ・す】 (u-verb) – to break into a run

The 「や」 or 「や否や」(やいなや) phrase, when appended to a verb, is used to described something that happened right after that verb. Its meaning is essential the same as 「が早いか」. It is also another type of grammar that is not really used in regular conversational Japanese.

「否」 (read here as 「いな」) is a Kanji meaning “no” used in words like 「否定」. The literal meaning of this grammar is “whether the action was taken or not”. In order words, the second action is taken before you even take the time to determine whether the first event really happened or not.

You can use this grammar by attaching 「や」 or 「や否や」 to the dictionary form of the first verb that occurred. Since this grammar is used for events that already have occurred, the second verb is usually in the past tense. However, you can use the dictionary tense to indicate that the events happen regularly.

Using 「や/や否や」 to describe what happened right after

  • Attach 「や」 or 「や否や」(やいなや) to the dictionary form of the first verb that occurred

    1. 見る → 見る
    2. 見る → 見るや否や
  • This grammar is almost always used for events that actually happened (past tense).
  • This grammar can be used with the present tense for regularly occurring events.


  1. 私の顔を見るや、何か言おうとした。
    (He) tried to say something as soon as he saw my face.
  2. 搭乗のアナウンスが聞こえるや否や、みんながゲートの方へ走り出した。
    As soon as the announcement to board was audible, everybody started running toward the gate.

Using 「そばから」 to describe an event that repeatedly occurs soon after


  1. 早い 【はや・い】 (i-adj) – fast; early
  2. 読む 【よ・む】 (u-verb) – to read
  3. する (exception) – to do
  4. 子供 【こ・ども】 – child
  5. 掃除 【そう・じ】 – cleaning
  6. 散らかす 【ち・らかす】 (u-verb) – to scatter around; to leave untidy
  7. もう – already
  8. あきらめる (ru-verb) – to give up
  9. なる (u-verb) – to become
  10. 教科書 【きょう・か・しょ】 – textbook
  11. 忘れる 【わす・れる】 (ru-verb) – to forget
  12. 勉強 【べん・きょう】 – study
  13. 出来る 【で・き・る】 (ru-verb) – to be able to do

「そばから」 is yet another grammar that describes an event that happens right after another. However, unlike the expressions we have covered so far, 「そばから」 implies that the events are a recurring pattern. For example, you would use this grammar to express the fact that you just clean and clean your room only for it to get dirty again soon after.

Besides this difference, the rules for using this expression are exactly the same as 「が早いか」 and 「や否や」. Just attach 「そばから」 to the dictionary form of the first verb that occurred. The past tense, though rare, also appears to be acceptable. However, the event that immediately follows is usually expressed with the non-past dictionary form because this grammar is used for repeated events and not a specific event in the past.

Using 「そばから」 to describe an event that repeatedly occurs soon after

  • Attach 「そばから」 to the dictionary form of the first verb that occurred

    1. 読む → 読むそばから
    2. する → するそばから
  • This grammar implies that the events occur repeatedly.


  1. 子供が掃除するそばから散らかすから、もうあきらめたくなった。
    The child messes up (the room) [repeatedly] as soon as I clean so I already became wanting to give up.
  2. 教科書を読んだそばから忘れてしまうので勉強ができない。
    Forget [repeatedly] right after I read the textbook so I can’t study.

Covered by something

This is a short lesson to cover several specialized expressions that describe the state of being covered by something. Mostly, we will focus on the differences between 「だらけ」、「まみれ」 and 「ずくめ」.

Using 「だらけ」 when an object is riddled everywhere with something


  1. 間違い 【ま・ちが・い】 – mistake
  2. ゴミ – garbage
  3. 埃 【ほこり】 – dust
  4. この – this (abbr. of これの)
  5. ドキュメント – document
  6. 全然 【ぜん・ぜん】 – not at all (when used with negative)
  7. 役に立つ 【やく・に・たつ】 (u-verb) – to be useful
  8. 携帯 【けい・たい】 – handheld (phone)
  9. ~年 【~ねん】 – counter for year
  10. 使う 【つか・う】 (u-verb) – to use
  11. 傷 【き・ず】 – injury; scratch; scrape
  12. なる (u-verb) – to become
  13. テレビ – TV, television
  14. ちゃんと – properly
  15. 拭く 【ふ・く】 (u-verb) – to wipe; to dry
  16. くれる (ru-verb) – to give

「だらけ」 is usually used when something is riddled everywhere. It generally carries a negative connotation. As a result, you’ll often see 「だらけ」 used with expressions like 「間違いだらけ」, 「ゴミだらけ」, or 「埃だらけ」. There is no conjugation rule to cover here, all you need to do is attach 「だらけ」 to the noun that is just all over the place. You should treat the result just like you would a regular noun.

Using 「だらけ」 to describe the state of being riddled everywhere by something

  • Attach 「だらけ」 to the noun that is covering the object or place

    1. 間違い → 間違いだらけ (riddled with mistakes)
    2. 埃 → 埃だらけ (riddled with dust)


  1. このドキュメントは間違いだらけで、全然役に立たない。
    This document is just riddled with mistakes and is not useful at all.
  2. 携帯を2年間使ってたら、傷だらけになった。
    After using cell phone for 2 years, it became covered with scratches.

※Notice how the 「の」 particle is used to modify since 「だらけ」 functions like a noun.

  1. この埃だらけのテレビをちゃんと拭いてくれない?
    Can you properly dust this TV completely covered in dust?

Using 「まみれ」 to describe a covering


  1. 間違い 【ま・ちが・い】 – mistake
  2. 血 【ち】 – blood
  3. 油 【あぶら】 – oil
  4. ゴミ – garbage
  5. 彼 【かれ】 – he; boyfriend
  6. なる (u-verb) – to become
  7. 車 【くるま】 – car
  8. 修理 【しゅう・り】 – repair
  9. 頑張る 【がん・ば・る】 (u-verb) – to try one’s best
  10. たった – only, merely
  11. キロ – kilo
  12. 走る 【はし・る】 (u-verb) – to run
  13. 汗 【あせ】 – sweat
  14. 情けない 【なさ・けない】 (i-adj) – shameful; deplorable

「まみれ」 may seem very similar to 「だらけ」 but there are some very important subtle differences. First, it’s only used for actually physical objects so you can’t say things like 「間違いまみれ」 like you can with 「だらけ」. Plus, you can only use it for things that literally cover the object. In other words, you can’t use it to mean “littered” or “riddled” like we have done with 「だらけ」 So you can use it for things like liquids and dust, but you can’t use it for things like scratches and garbage.

The grammatical rules are the same as 「だらけ」.

Using 「まみれ」 to describe a covering by sticking

  • Like 「だらけ」, you attach 「まみれ」 to the noun that is doing covering.

    1. 血 → 血まみれ (covered in blood)
    2. 油 → 油まみれ (covered in oil)
  • You can only use 「まみれ」 for physical objects that literally covers the object.

    1. 間違いまみれ (not a physical object)
    2. ゴミまみれ (doesn’t actually cover anything)


  1. 彼は油まみれになりながら、車の修理に頑張りました。
    While becoming covered in oil, he worked hard at fixing the car.
  2. たった1キロを走っただけで、汗まみれになるのは情けない。
    It’s pitiful that one gets covered in sweat from running just 1 kilometer.

「ずくめ」 to express entirety


  1. 黒 【くろ】 – black
  2. 白 【しろ】 – white
  3. いい (i-adj) – good
  4. こと – event, matter
  5. 団体 【だん・たい】 – group
  6. 去年 【きょ・ねん】 – last year
  7. ニュース – news
  8. なる (u-verb) – to become
  9. この – this (abbr. of これの)
  10. シェーク – shake
  11. おいしい (i-adj) – tasty
  12. 栄養 【えい・よう】 – nutrition
  13. たっぷり – filled with
  14. 体 【からだ】 – body

The 「大辞林」 dictionary describes exactly what 「ずくめ」 means very well.


In other words, 「ずくめ」 describes something that applies to the whole thing. For instance, if we were talking about the human body, the expression “is [X] from head to toe” might be close to what 「ずくめ」 means.

In actuality, 「ずくめ」 is an expression that is rarely used and usually with a color to describe people completely dressed in that color. For example, you can see what 「黒ずくめ」 looks like via Google Images.

Grammatically, 「ずくめ」 works in exactly the same ways as 「だらけ」 and 「まみれ」.

Using 「ずくめ」 to describe something that applies to the whole thing

  • Attach 「ずくめ」 to the noun that applies to the whole thing.

    1. 白 → 白ずくめ
    2. いいこと → いいことずくめ


  1. 白ずくめ団体は去年ニュースになっていた。
    The organization dressed all in white was on the news last year.
  2. このシェークは、おいしいし、栄養たっぷりで体にいいですから、いいことずくめですよ。
    This shake is tasty and filled with nutrients, it’s good for (your) body so it’s entirely good things.

Advanced Volitional

We learned in a previous lesson that the volitional form is used when one is set out to do something. In this section, we’re going to cover some other ways in which the volitional form is used, most notably, the negative volitional form.

Negative Volitional


  1. 見る 【み・る】 (ru-verb) – to see
  2. 行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) – to go
  3. する (exception) – to do
  4. 来る 【く・る】 (exception) – to come
  5. なる (u-verb) – to become
  6. 相手 【あい・て】 – other party
  7. 剣 【けん】 – sword
  8. 達人 【たつ・じん】 – master, expert
  9. そう – (things are) that way
  10. 簡単 【かん・たん】 (na-adj) – simple
  11. 勝つ 【か・つ】 (u-verb) – to win
  12. そんな – that sort of
  13. 無茶 【む・ちゃ】 – unreasonable; excessive
  14. 手段 【しゅ・だん】 – method
  15. 認める 【みと・める】 (ru-verb) – to recognize, to acknowledge
  16. その – that (abbr. of それの)
  17. 時 【とき】 – time
  18. 決して 【けっ・して】 – by no means; decidedly
  19. 彼 【かれ】 – he; boyfriend
  20. 会う 【あ・う】 (u-verb) – to meet
  21. 心 【こころ】 – heart; mind
  22. 決める 【き・める】 (ru-verb) – to decide
  23. あの – that (over there) (abbr. of あれの)
  24. 人 【ひと】 – person
  25. ~度 【~ど】 – counter for number of times
  26. 嘘 【うそ】 – lie
  27. つく (u-verb) – to be attached
  28. 誓う 【ちか・う】 (u-verb) – to swear, to pledge
  29. 明日 【あした】 – tomorrow
  30. やめる (ru-verb) – to stop; to quit
  31. 肉 【にく】 – meat
  32. 食べる 【た・べる】 (ru-verb) – to eat

You may have seen the negative volitional form in a verb conjugation table and wondered, “What the heck is that used for?” Well the answer is not much, or to put it more accurately, there are various ways it can be used but almost all of them are extremely stiff and formal. In fact, it’s so rare that I only found one explanation in English on the web or anywhere else. (I also found this one in Japanese.)

The negative volitional is used to express negative intention. This means that there is a will for something to not happen or that someone is set out to not do something. As a result, because one is trying not to do something, it’s probably not going to happen. Essentially, it is a very stiff and formal version of 「でしょう」 and 「だろう」. While this form is practically never used in daily conversations, you might still hear it in movies, etc.

Verbs are conjugated to the negative volitional by simply attaching 「まい」 to the verb. Another alternative is to attach 「まい」 to the stem. The conjugation for the negative volitional is quite different from those we are used to because it is always the last conjugation to apply even for the masu-form. There is no way to conjugate 「まい」 to the masu-form, you simply attach 「まい」 to the masu-form conjugation.

Using 「まい」 to express a will to not do something

  • For ru-verbs: Attach「まい」 to the verb or verb stem.
    Example 1: 見る → 見るまい
    Example 2: 見 → 見まい
  • For u-verbs: Attach 「まい」 to the end of the verb
    Example: 行くまい
  • Exceptions:
    1. する → するまい or しまい
    2. くる → くるまい
  • This conjugation must always come last. For masu-form, attach 「まい」 to the masu-form verb.
    Example: な → な → なります → なりますまい


  1. 相手は剣の達人だ。そう簡単には勝てまい
    Your opponent is a master of the sword. I doubt you can win so easily.
  2. そんな無茶な手段は認めますまい
    I won’t approve of such an unreasonable method!

We already learned that you could use the volitional form to say “let’s” and to express an attempt do something. But that doesn’t mean you can use the negative volitional to say “let’s not” or “try not to”. The tone of this grammar is one of very strong determination to not do something, as you can see in the following examples.

  1. その時までは決して彼に会うまいと心に決めていた。
    Until that time, I had decided in my heart to not meet him by any means.
  2. あの人は、二度と嘘をつくまいと誓ったのです。
    That person had sworn to never lie again.

In order to express “let’s not”, you can use the verb, 「やめる」 with the regular volitional. In order to express an effort to not do something, you can use 「ようにする」 with the negative verb.

  1. 明日に行くのをやめよう
    Let’s not go tomorrow. (lit: Let’s quit going tomorrow.)
  2. 肉を食べないようにしている
    Trying not to eat meat.

Using the volitional to express a lack of relation


  1. 食べる 【た・べる】 (ru-verb) – to eat
  2. 行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) – to go
  3. あいつ – that guy (derogatory)
  4. 大学 【だい・がく】 – college
  5. 入る 【はい・る】 (u-verb) – to enter
  6. 俺 【おれ】 – me; myself; I (masculine)
  7. 関係 【かん・けい】 – relation, relationship
  8. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  9. 時間 【じ・かん】 – time
  10. 合う 【あ・う】 (u-verb) – to match
  11. 間に合う 【ま・に・あ・う】 – to be in time
  12. 最近 【さい・きん】 – recent; lately
  13. ウィルス – virus
  14. 強力 【きょう・りょく】 (na-adj) – powerful, strong
  15. プログラム – program
  16. 実行 【じっ・こう】 – execute
  17. する (exception) – to do
  18. ページ – page
  19. 見る 【み・る】 (ru-verb) – to see
  20. 感染 【かん・せん】 – infection

We will now learn a grammar that’s actually practical for everyday use using the negative volitional grammar. Basically, we can use both volitional and negative volitional forms to say it doesn’t matter whether something is going to happen or not. This is done by attaching 「が」 to both the volitional and the negative volitional form of the verb that doesn’t matter.

Using the volitional to express a lack of relation

  • Attach 「が」 to the volitional and negative volitional form of the verb.

    1. 食べる → 食べよう、食べまい → 食べよう食べまい
    2. 行く → 行こう、行くまい → 行こう行くまい


  1. あいつが大学に入ろうが入るまいが、俺とは関係ないよ。
    Whether that guy is going to college or not, it has nothing to do with me.
  2. 時間があろうがあるまいが、間に合わせるしかない。
    Whether there is time or not, there’s nothing to do but make it on time.
  3. 最近のウィルスは強力で、プログラムを実行しようがしまいが、ページを見るだけで感染するらしい。
    The viruses lately have been strong and whether you run a program or not, I hear it will spread just by looking at the page.

Using 「であろう」 to express likelihood


  1. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  2. 困難 【こん・なん】 (na-adj) – difficulty, distress
  3. する (exception) – to do
  4. 今後 【こん・ご】 – hereafter
  5. ~年 【~ねん】 – counter for year
  6. 人間 【にん・げん】 – human
  7. 直面 【ちょく・めん】 – confrontation
  8. 問題 【もん・だい】 – problem
  9. 正面 【しょう・めん】 – front; facade
  10. 向き合う 【む・き・あ・う】 (u-verb) – to face each other
  11. 自ら 【みずか・ら】 – for one’s self
  12. 解決 【かい・けつ】 – resolution
  13. はかる (u-verb) – to plan, to devise
  14. その – that (abbr. of それの)
  15. ノウハウ – know-how
  16. 次 【つぎ】 – next
  17. 産業 【さん・ぎょう】 – industry
  18. なる (u-verb) – to become
  19. シナリオ – scenario
  20. 考える 【かんが・える】 (ru-verb) – to think
  21. もちろん – of course
  22. 生徒数 【せい・と・すう】 – number of students
  23. 減少 【げん・しょう】 – decline, reduction
  24. 現在 【げん・ざい】 – present time
  25. 学科 【がっ・か】 – course of study
  26. 新設 【しん・せつ】 – newly organized or established
  27. 職業科 【しょく・ぎょう・か】 – occupational studies
  28. 統廃合 【とう・はい・ごう】 – reorganization
  29. 科内 【か・ない】 – within study course
  30. コース – course
  31. 改編 【かい・へん】 – reorganization
  32. 時代 【じ・だい】 – period, era
  33. 合う 【あ・う】 (u-verb) – to match
  34. 変革 【へん・かく】 – reform
  35. 求める 【もと・める】 (ru-verb) – to request; to seek

We already found out that the negative volitional can be used as kind of a formal version of 「でしょう」 and 「だろう」. You may wonder, how would you do the same thing for the volitional? The answer is to conjugate the verb 「ある」 from the formal state-of-being 「である」 to the volitional to produce 「であろう」. Remember 「でしょう」 can already be used as a polite form, so this form is even a step above that in formality. We’ll see what kind of language uses this form in the examples.

Using 「であろう」 to express likelihood

  • Attach 「であろう」 to the noun, adjective, or verb.

    1. 困難 → 困難であろう
    2. する → するであろう


  1. 今後50年、人間が直面するであろう問題に正面から向き合って、自ら解決をはかりつつ、そのノウハウが次の産業となるシナリオを考えたい。(from www.jkokuryo.com)
    I would like to directly approach problems that humans have likely encounter the next 50 years and while devising solutions, take that knowledge and think about scenarios that will become the next industry.
  2. もちろん、生徒数減少の現在、学科の新設は困難であろうが、職業科の統廃合や科内コースの改編などで時代に合わせた変革が求められているはずである。(from www1.normanet.ne.jp)
    Of course, setting up new courses of study will likely be difficult with this period of decreasing student population but with reorganizations of occupational studies and courses within subjects, there is supposed to be demand for reform fit for this period.

Using 「かろう」 as volitional for 「い」 endings


  1. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  2. 早い 【はや・い】 (i-adj) – fast; early
  3. どんな – what kind of
  4. 商品 【しょう・ひん】 – product
  5. ネット – net
  6. 販売 【はん・ばい】 – selling
  7. 売上 【うり・あげ】 – amount sold, sales
  8. 伸びる 【の・びる】 (ru-verb) – to extend, to lengthen
  9. 言う 【い・う】 (u-verb) – to say
  10. 物 【もの】 – object
  11. 運動 【うん・どう】 – exercise
  12. 始める 【はじ・める】 (ru-verb) – to begin
  13. 遅い 【おそ・い】 (i-adj) – late
  14. 健康 【けん・こう】 – health
  15. いい (i-adj) – good
  16. 変わる 【か・わる】(u-verb) – to change
  17. 休日 【きゅう・じつ】 – holiday, day off
  18. この – this (abbr. of これの)
  19. 関係 【かん・けい】 – relation, relationship

We learned in the lesson about formal grammar that 「ではない」 was the negative of 「である」. So how would we say something like 「であろう」 but for the negative? The answer is to use yet another type of volitional for negatives and i-adjectives used only in formal and literary contexts. You can think of this grammar as a very old-fashioned version for i-adjectives and negative 「い」 endings.

The conjugation rule is simple: remove the last 「い」 and attach 「かろう」. You can use it for negatives and i-adjectives just like the 「かった」 past conjugation form.

Using 「かろう」 to express volition for 「い」 endings

  • Drop the last 「い」 and attach 「かろう」

    1. ではな → ではなかろう
    2. → 早かろう


  1. どんな商品でもネットで販売するだけで売上が伸びるというものではなかろう
    It’s not necessarily the case that sales go up just by selling any type of product on the net.
  2. 運動を始めるのが早かろう遅かろうが、健康にいいというのは変わりません。
    Whether you start exercising early or late, the fact that it’s good for your health doesn’t change.
  3. 休日であろうが、なかろうが、この仕事では関係ないみたい。
    Whether it’s a holiday or not, it looks like it doesn’t matter for this job.


In this lesson, we will go over various types of grammar that deal with tendencies. Like much of the Advanced Section, all the grammar in this lesson are used mostly in written works and are generally not used in conversational Japanese.

Saying something is prone to occur using 「~がち」


  1. 見る 【み・る】 (ru-verb) – to see
  2. なる (u-verb) – to become
  3. 病気 【びょう・き】 – disease; sickness
  4. 確定 【かく・てい】 – decision; settlement
  5. 申告 【しん・こく】 – report; statement; filing a return
  6. 確定申告 【かく・てい・しん・こく】 – final income tax return
  7. 忘れる 【わす・れる】 (ru-verb) – to forget
  8. 手続 【て・つづき】 – procedure, paperwork
  9. 留守 【るす】 – being away from home
  10. 家庭 【か・てい】 – household
  11. 犬 【いぬ】 – dog
  12. 猫 【ねこ】 – cat
  13. 勧め 【すす・め】 – recommendation
  14. 父親 【ちち・おや】 – father
  15. 皆 【みんな】 – everybody
  16. 心配 【しん・ぱい】 – worry; concern
  17. する (exception) – to do

This is arguably the most useful grammar in this lesson in terms of practically. By that, I mean that it’s the only grammar here that you might actually hear in a regular conversation though again, it is far more common in a written context.

With this grammar, you can say that something is likely to occur by simply attaching 「がち」 to the stem of the verb. While, 「がち」 is a suffix, it works in much same way as a noun or na-adjective. In other words, the result becomes a description of something as being likely. This means that we can do things like modifying nouns by attaching 「な」 and other things we’re used to doing with na-adjectives. You can also say that something is prone to be something by attaching 「がち」 to the noun.

As the word “prone” suggest, 「がち」 is usually used for tendencies that are bad or undesirable.

Using 「~がち」 as a description of an action prone to occur

  • For verbs: Attach 「がち」 to the stem of the verb.

    1. → 見がち
    2. → な → なりがち
  • For nouns: Attach 「がち」 to the appropriate noun
    Example: 病気 → 病気がち

All adjectives that are conjugated with 「~がち」 become a noun/na-adjective
Positive Negative
Non-Past なりがち
prone to become
is not prone to become
Past なりがちだった
was prone to become
was not prone to become


  1. 確定申告は忘れがちな手続のひとつだ。
    Filing income taxes is one of those processes that one is prone to forget.
  2. 留守がちなご家庭には、犬よりも、猫の方がおすすめです。
    For families that tend to be away from home, cats are recommended over dogs.
  3. 父親は病気がちで、みんなが心配している。
    Father is prone to illness and everybody is worried.

For more examples, check out the WWWJDIC examples.

Describing an ongoing occurrence using 「~つつ」


  1. テレビ – TV, television
  2. 見る 【み・る】 (ru-verb) – to see
  3. 寝る 【ね・る】 (ru-verb) – to sleep
  4. 思う 【おも・う】 (u-verb) – to think
  5. なる (u-verb) – to become
  6. 二日酔い 【ふつ・か・よい】 – hangover
  7. 痛む 【いた・む】 (u-verb) – to feel pain
  8. 頭 【あたま】 – head
  9. 押さえる 【おさ・える】 (ru-verb) – to hold something down; to grasp
  10. トイレ – bathroom; toilet
  11. 入る 【はい・る】 (u-verb) – to enter
  12. 体 【からだ】 – body
  13. いい (i-adj) – good
  14. 最近 【さい・きん】 – recent; lately
  15. 全然 【ぜん・ぜん】 – not at all (when used with negative)
  16. 運動 【うん・どう】 – exercise
  17. する (exception) – to do
  18. 電気 【でん・き】 – electricity; (electric) light
  19. 製品 【せい・ひん】 – manufactured goods, product
  20. 発展 【はっ・てん】 – development; growth; advancement
  21. つれる (ru-verb) – to lead
  22. ハードディスク – hard disk
  23. 容量 【よう・りょう】 – capacity
  24. ますます – increasingly
  25. 大きい 【おお・きい】(i-adj) – big
  26. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  27. 今 【いま】 – now
  28. 日本 【に・ほん】 – Japan
  29. 終身 【しゅう・しん】 – lifetime
  30. 雇用 【こ・よう】 – employment
  31. 年功 【ねん・こう】 – long service
  32. 序列 【じょ・れつ】 – order
  33. 年功序列 【ねん・こう・じょ・れつ】 – seniority system
  34. 言う 【い・う】 (u-verb) – to say
  35. 慣行 【かん・こう】 – customary practice
  36. 崩れる 【くず・れる】 (ru-verb) – to collapse; to crumble

「つつ」 is a verb modifier that can be attached to the stem of verbs to express an ongoing occurrence. Though the meaning stays essentially the same, there are essentially two ways to use this grammar. The first is almost identical to the 「~ながら」 grammar. You can use 「つつ」 to describe an action that is taking place while another action is ongoing. However, there are several major differences between 「つつ」 and 「~ながら」. First, the tone of 「つつ」 is very different from that of 「~ながら」 and you would rarely, if ever, use it for regular everyday occurrences. To go along with this, 「つつ」 is more appropriate for more literary or abstract actions such as those involving emotions or thoughts. Second, 「~ながら」 is used to describe an auxiliary action that takes place while the main action is going on. However, with 「つつ」, both actions have equal weight.

For example, it would sound very strange to say the following.

  • テレビを見つつ、寝ちゃダメよ!
    (Sounds unnatural)
  • テレビを見ながら、寝ちゃダメよ!
    Don’t watch TV while sleeping!

The second way to use this grammar is to express the existence of a continuing process by using 「ある」, the verb for existence. Everything is the same as before except that you attach 「ある」 to 「つつ」 to produce 「~つつある」. This is often used in magazine or newspaper articles to describe a certain trend or tide.

Using 「~つつ」 to describe a repetitive occurrence

  • To describe an ongoing action, attach 「つつ」 to the stem of the verb.

    1. → 見つつ
    2. → 思 → 思いつつ
  • To show the existence of a trend or tide, add 「ある」 to 「つつ」
    Example: な → な → なりつつ → なりつつある


  1. 二日酔いで痛む頭を押さえつつ、トイレに入った。
    Went into the bathroom while holding an aching head from a hangover.
  2. 体によくないと思いつつ、最近は全然運動してない。
    While thinking it’s bad for body, haven’t exercised at all recently.
  3. 電気製品の発展につれて、ハードディスクの容量はますます大きくなりつつある
    Lead by the advancement of electronic products, hard disk drive capacities are becoming ever larger.
  4. 今の日本では、終身雇用や年功序列という雇用慣行が崩れつつある
    In today’s Japan, hiring practices like life-time employment and age-based ranking are tending to break down.

For more examples, check out the WWWJDIC examples.

Describing a negative tendency using 「きらいがある」


  1. 嫌い 【きら・い】 (na-adj) – distasteful, hateful
  2. 依存症 【い・ぞん・しょう】 – dependence; addiction
  3. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  4. 多い 【おお・い】 (i-adj) – numerous
  5. 大学生 【だい・がく・せい】 – college student
  6. 締切日 【しめ・きり・び】 – closing day; deadline
  7. ぎりぎり – at the last moment; just barely
  8. 宿題 【しゅく・だい】 – homework
  9. やる (u-verb) – to do
  10. コーディング – coding
  11. 好き 【す・き】 (na-adj) – likable; desirable
  12. 開発者 【かい・はつ・しゃ】 – developer
  13. ちゃんと – properly
  14. する (exception) – to do
  15. ドキュメント – document
  16. 作成 【さく・せい】 – creation
  17. 十分 【じゅう・ぶん】 – sufficient, adequate
  18. テスト – test
  19. 怠る 【おこた・る】 (u-verb) – to shirk

「きらいがある」 is a fixed expression used to describe a bad tendency or habit. I suspect that 「きらい」 here might have something to do with the word for hateful: 「嫌い」. However, unlike 「嫌い」, which is a na-adjective, the 「きらい」 in this grammar functions as a noun. This is made plain by the fact that the 「が」 particle comes right after 「きらい」, which is not allowed for adjectives. The rest of the phrase is simply expressing the fact that the negative tendency exists.

Using 「きらいがある」 to describe a negative tendency

  • The 「きらい」 in this grammar functions as a noun. 「ある」 is simply the existence verb for inanimate objects.
    Example: 依存症きらいがある。


  1. 多くの大学生は、締切日ぎりぎりまで、宿題をやらないきらいがある
    A lot of college students have a bad tendency of not doing their homework until just barely it’s due date.
  2. コーディングが好きな開発者は、ちゃんとしたドキュメント作成と十分なテストを怠るきらいがある
    Developers that like coding have a bad tendency to neglect proper documents and adequate testing.

Expressing non-feasibility

We learned how to express feasibility in the section on the potential form quite a while ways back. In this section, we’ll learn some advanced and specialized ways to express certain types of feasibility or the lack thereof. Like much of the grammar in the Advanced Section, the grammar covered here is mostly used for written works and rarely used in regular speech.

Expressing the inability to not do using 「~ざるを得ない」


  1. 得る 【え・る】 (ru-verb) – to obtain
  2. 意図 【い・と】 – intention; aim; design
  3. する (exception) – to do
  4. 来る 【く・る】 (exception) – to come
  5. 食べる 【た・べる】 (ru-verb) – to eat
  6. 行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) – to go
  7. この – this (abbr. of これの)
  8. テレビ – TV, television
  9. これ – this
  10. 以上 【い・じょう】 – greater or equal
  11. 壊れる 【こわ・れる】 (ru-verb) – to break
  12. 新しい 【あたら・しい】(i-adj) – new
  13. 買う 【か・う】 (u-verb) – to buy
  14. ずっと – the whole time, all along
  15. 我慢 【が・まん】 – tolerance; self-control
  16. 状態 【じょう・たい】 – situation
  17. 歯医者 【は・い・しゃ】 – dentist
  18. 上司 【じょう・し】 – superior; boss
  19. 話 【はなし】 – story
  20. 聞く 【き・く】 (u-verb) – to ask; to listen
  21. どうしても – by any means, no matter what
  22. 海外 【かい・がい】 – overseas

This grammar is used when there’s something that just can’t be helped and must be done. It is the negative version of the grammar we previously covered for something that has to be done. It uses the negative of the verb 「得る」 or “obtain”, to roughly mean that “one cannot obtain not doing of an action”. This means that you can’t not do something even if you wanted to. As a result of the use of double negatives, this grammar carries a slight suggestion that you really don’t want to do it, but you have to because it can’t be helped. Really, the negative connotation is the only difference between this grammar and the grammar we covered in this “have to” section. That, and the fact that this grammar is fancier and more advanced.

This grammar uses an archaic negative form of verbs that ends in 「~ざる」. It is really not used in modern Japanese with the exception of this grammar and some expressions such as 「意図せざる」. The rules for conjugation are the same as the negative verbs, except this grammar attaches 「ざる」 instead. To reiterate, all you have to do is conjugate the verb to the negative form and then replace the 「ない」 with 「ざる」. The two exception verbs are 「する」 which becomes 「せざる」 and 「くる」 which becomes 「こざる」. Finally, all that’s left to be done is to attach 「を得ない」 to the verb. It is also not uncommon to use Hiragana instead of the Kanji.

Using 「~ざるを得ない」 for actions that must be done

  • To say that you can’t not do something replace the 「ない」 part of the negative verb with 「ざる」, then attach 「を得ない」 to the end of the verb.

    1. → 食べない → 食べざる → 食べざるを得ない
    2. → 行かない → 行かざる → 行かざるを得ない
  • Exceptions:
    1. するせざる → せざるをえない
    2. くるこざる → こざるをえない


  1. このテレビがこれ以上壊れたら、新しいのを買わざるを得ないな。
    If this TV breaks even more, there’s no choice but to buy a new one.
  2. ずっと我慢してきたが、この状態だと歯医者さんに行かざるを得ない
    I tolerated it all this time but in this situation, I can’t not go to the dentist.
  3. 上司の話を聞くと、どうしても海外に出張をせざるを得ないようです。
    Hearing the story from the boss, it seems like I can’t not go on a business trip overseas no matter what.

Expressing the inability to stop doing something using 「やむを得ない」


  1. 止む 【や・む】 (u-verb) – to stop
  2. 仕方 【し・かた】 – way, method
  3. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  4. しょうがない – it can’t be helped, nothing can be done
  5. 得る 【え・る】 (ru-verb) – to obtain
  6. 事由 【じ・ゆう】 – reason; cause
  7. 手続 【て・つづき】 – procedure, paperwork
  8. 遅れる 【おく・れる】 (ru-verb) – to be late
  9. 必ず 【かなら・ず】 – without exception, without fail
  10. 連絡 【れん・らく】 – contact
  11. この – this (abbr. of これの)
  12. 仕事 【し・ごと】 – job
  13. 厳しい 【きび・しい】 (i-adj) – strict
  14. 最近 【さい・きん】 – recent; lately
  15. 不景気 【ふ・けい・き】 – recession, depression
  16. 新しい 【あたら・しい】(i-adj) – new
  17. 見つかる 【み・つかる】 (u-verb) – to be found
  18. 状態 【じょう・たい】 – situation

This grammar is very similar to the one we just learned above except that it uses the verb 「止む」 to say that one cannot obtain the stopping of something. Remember that we normally can’t just attach the 「を」 direct object particle to verbs, so this is really a set expression. Just like the previous grammar we learned, it is used to describe something that one is forced to do due to some circumstances. The difference here is that this is a complete phrase, which can be used for a general situation that doesn’t involve any specific action. In other words, you’re not actually forced to do something; rather it describes a situation that cannot be helped. If you have already learned 「仕方がない」 or 「しょうがない」, this grammar means pretty much the same thing. The difference lies in whether you want to say, “Looks like we’re stuck” vs “Due to circumstances beyond our control…”

Since this is a set expression, there are really no grammar points to discuss. You only need to take the phrase and use it as you would any regular relative clause.


  1. やむを得ない事由により手続が遅れた場合、必ずご連絡下さい。
    If the paperwork should be late due to uncontrollable circumstance, please make sure to contact us.
  2. この仕事は厳しいかもしれませんが、最近の不景気では新しい仕事が見つからないのでやむを得ない状態です。
    This job may be bad but because (I) can’t find a new job due to the recent economic downturn, it’s a situation where nothing can be done.

Expressing what cannot be done with 「~かねる」


  1. かねる (ru-verb) – to be unable to; to find difficult (unpleasant, awkward, painful) to do;
  2. 決める 【き・める】 (ru-verb) – to decide
  3. する (exception) – to do
  4. なる (u-verb) – to become
  5. この – this (abbr. of これの)
  6. 場 【ば】 – place, spot
  7. ちょっと – a little
  8. また – again
  9. 別途 【べっ・と】 – separate
  10. 会議 【かい・ぎ】 – meeting
  11. 設ける 【もう・ける】 (ru-verb) – to establish
  12. 個人 【こ・じん】 – personal
  13. 情報 【じょう・ほう】 – information
  14. 漏洩 【ろう・えい】 – disclosure; leakage
  15. 速やか 【すみ・やか】 (na-adj) – speedy; prompt
  16. 対応 【たい・おう】 – dealing with; support
  17. 願う 【ねが・う】 (u-verb) – to wish; to request
  18. 致す 【いた・す】 (u-verb) – to do (humble)

The meaning and usage of 「かねる」 is covered pretty well in this jeKai entry with plenty of examples. While much of this is a repetition of what’s written there, 「かねる」 is a ru-verb that is used as a suffix to other verbs to express a person’s inability, reluctance, or refusal to do something

「かねる」 is often used in the negative as 「かねない」 to indicate that there is a possibility that the verb in question might happen. As the jeKai entry mentions, this is usually in reference to something bad, which you might express in English as, “there is a risk that…” or “there is a fear that…”

One important thing that the jeKai doesn’t mention is how you would go about using this grammar. It’s not difficult and you may have already guessed from the example sentences that all you need to do is just attach 「かねる」 or 「かねない」 to the stem of the verb.

Using 「~かねる」 for things that cannot be done

  • To say that something cannot be done using 「かねる」, change the verb to the stem and attach 「かねる」.

    1. 決め → 決めかねる
    2. する → しかねる
  • 「かねる」 is a ru-verb so use the negative 「かねない」 to say that something (bad) might happen.

    1. → なりかね → なりかねない
    2. する → しかね → しかねない


  1. この場ではちょっと決めかねますので、また別途会議を設けましょう。
    Since making a decision here is impossible, let’s set up a separate meeting again.
  2. このままでは、個人情報が漏洩しかねないので、速やかに対応をお願い致します。
    At this rate, there is a possibility that personal information might leak so I request that this be dealt with promptly.

Showing signs of something

In this lesson, we’ll learn various expressions involving how to describe people who are expressing themselves without words. For example, we’ll learn how to say expressions in Japanese such as “They acted as if they were saying goodbye,” “He acted disgusted,” and “She acts like she wants to go.”

Showing outward signs of an emotion using 「~がる」


  1. 嫌 【いや】 (na-adj) disagreeable; unpleasant
  2. 怖い 【こわ・い】 (i-adj) – scary
  3. 嬉しい 【うれ・しい】 (i-adj) – happy
  4. 恥ずかしい 【は・ずかしい】 (i-adj) – embarrassing
  5. 早い 【はや・い】 (i-adj) – fast; early
  6. する (exception) – to do
  7. 何 【なに/なん】 – what
  8. いる (ru-verb) – to exist (animate)
  9. 彼女 【かの・じょ】 – she; girlfriend
  10. 朝 【あさ】 – morning
  11. 起こす 【お・こす】 (u-verb) – to cause, to wake someone
  12. タイプ – type
  13. うち – referring to one’s in-group, i.e. company, etc.
  14. 子供 【こ・ども】 – child
  15. プール – pool
  16. 入る 【はい・る】 (u-verb) – to enter
  17. 理由 【り・ゆう】 – reason
  18. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  19. 欲しい 【ほ・しい】 (i-adj) – desirable
  20. カレー – curry
  21. 食べる 【た・べる】 (ru-verb) – to eat
  22. 家 【1) うち; 2) いえ】 – 1) one’s own home; 2) house
  23. 帰る 【かえ・る】 (u-verb) – to go home
  24. すぐ – soon
  25. パソコン – computer, PC
  26. 使う 【つか・う】 (u-verb) – to use
  27. 皆 【みんな】 – everybody
  28. イタリア – Italy
  29. 行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) – to go
  30. 私 【わたし】 – me, myself, I
  31. 予算 【よ・さん】 – budget
  32. どう – how
  33. とても – very
  34. 怪しい 【あや・しい】 (i-adj) – suspicious; dubious; doubtful
  35. 妻 【つま】 – wife
  36. バッグ – bag
  37. そんな – that sort of
  38. もん – object (short for もの)
  39. 買う 【か・う】 (u-verb) – to buy
  40. 訳 【わけ】 – meaning; reason; can be deduced
  41. 恥ずかしがり屋 【は・ずかしがり・や】 – one who easily feels or acts embarrassed
  42. 寒がり屋 【さむ・がり・や】 – one who easily feels cold
  43. 暑がり屋 【あつ・がり・や】 – one who easily feels hot
  44. ミネソタ – Minnesota
  45. 暮らす 【く・らす】 (u-verb) – to live
  46. 辛い 【つら・い】 (i-adj) – harsh

The 「~がる」 grammar is used when you want to make an observation about how someone is feeling. This is simply an observation based on some type of sign(s). Therefore, you would not use it for your own emotions since guessing about your own emotions is not necessary. This grammar can only be used with adjectives so you can use this grammar to say, “He is acting scared,” but you cannot say “He acted surprised,” because “to be surprised” is a verb in Japanese and not an adjective. This grammar is also commonly used with a certain set of adjectives related to emotions such as: 「嫌」、「怖い」、「嬉しい」、or 「恥ずかしい」.

Using 「~がる」 for observing the emotions or feelings of others

  • For i-adjectives: Remove the last 「い」 from the i-adjective and then attach 「がる」
  • Example: 怖 → 怖がる
  • For na-adjectives: Attach 「がる」 to the end of the na-adjective
  • Example: 嫌 → 嫌がる

All adjectives that are conjugated with 「~がる」 become an u-verb
Positive Negative
Non-Past 怖がる
act scared
not act scared
Past 怖がった
acted scared
didn’t act scared


  1. 早くきてよ!何を恥ずかしがっているの?
    Hurry up and come here. What are you acting all embarrassed for?
  2. 彼女は朝早く起こされるのを嫌がるタイプです。
    My girlfriend is the type to show dislike towards getting woken up early in the morning.
  3. うちの子供はプールに入るのを理由もなく怖がる
    Our child acts afraid about entering a pool without any reason.

This grammar is also used to observe very frankly on what you think someone other than yourself wants. This involves the adjective 「欲しい」 for things one wants or the 「~たい」 conjugation for actions one wants to do, which is essentially a verb conjugated to an i-adjective. This type of grammar is more suited for things like narration in a story and is rarely used in this fashion for normal conversations because of its impersonal style of observation. For casual conversations, it is more common to use 「でしょう」 such as in, 「カレーを食べたいでしょう。」. For polite conversations, it is normal to not make any assumptions at all or to use the 「よね」 sentence ending such as in 「カレーを食べたいですか。」 or 「カレーを食べたいですよね。」


  1. 家に帰ったら、すぐパソコンを使いたがる
    (He) soon acts like wanting to use computer as soon as (he) gets home.
  2. みんなイタリアに行きたがってるんだけど、私の予算で行けるかどうかはとても怪しい。
    Everybody is acting like they want to go to Italy but it’s suspicious whether I can go or not going by my budget.
  3. 妻はルイヴィトンのバッグを欲しがっているんだけど、そんなもん、買えるわけないでしょう!
    My wife was showing signs of wanting a Louis Vuitton bag but there’s no way I can buy something like that!

「~がる」 is also used with 「屋」 to indicate a type of person that often feels a certain way such as 「恥ずかしがり屋」 (one who easily feels or acts embarrassed)、 「寒がり屋」 (one who easily feels cold)、or 「暑がり屋」 (one who easily feels hot).

  • 私は寒がり屋だから、ミネソタで暮らすのは辛かった。
    I’m the type who easily gets cold and so living in Minnesota was painful.

Using 「ばかり」 to act as if one might do something


  1. 言う 【い・う】 (u-verb) – to say
  2. ボール – ball
  3. 爆発 【ばく・はつ】 – explosion
  4. する (exception) – to do
  5. 膨らむ 【ふく・らむ】 (u-verb) – to expand; to swell
  6. あんた – you (slang)
  7. 関係 【かん・けい】 – relation, relationship
  8. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  9. 彼女 【かの・じょ】 – she; girlfriend
  10. 彼 【かれ】 – he; boyfriend
  11. 無視 【む・し】 – ignore
  12. 昨日【きのう】 – yesterday
  13. 喧嘩 【けん・か】 – quarrel
  14. 何 【なに/なん】 – what
  15. 平気 【へい・き】 (na-adj) – coolness; calmness
  16. 顔 【かお】 – face

We just learned how to observe the emotions and feelings of other by using 「~がる」 with adjectives. But what about verbs? Indeed, there is a separate grammar used to express the fact that someone else looks like they are about to do something but actually does not. Similar to the 「~がる」 grammar, this is usually not used in normal everyday conversations. I have seen it several times in books and novels but have yet to hear this grammar in a conversation.

For the regular non-past, non-negative verb, you must first conjugate the verb to the negative ending with 「ん」, which was covered here. Then, you just attach 「ばかり」 to the end of the verb. For all other conjugations, nothing else is necessary except to just add 「ばかり」 to the verb. The most common verb used with this grammar is 「言う」 . It is also usually used with the 「に」 target particle attached to the end of 「ばかり」.

This grammar is completely different from the 「ばかり」 used to express amounts and the 「ばかり」 used to express the proximity of an action.

Using 「ばかり」 to indicate that one seems to want to do something

  • For present, non-negative: Conjugate the verb to the 「ん」 negative form and attach 「ばかり」
  • Example: 言 → 言わない → 言わ → 言わんばかり
  • For all other tenses: Attach 「ばかり」 to the end of the verb
  • Example: 言わなかった → 言わなかったばかり

Summary of basic conjugations
Positive Negative
Non-Past 言わんばかり
as if to say
as if [she] doesn’t say
Past 言ったばかり
as if [she] said
as if [she] didn’t say


  1. ボールは爆発せんばかりに、膨らんでいた。
    The ball was expanding as if it was going to explode.
  2. 「あんたとは関係ない」と言わんばかりに彼女は彼を無視していた。
    She ignored him as if to say, “You have nothing to do with this.”
  3. 昨日の喧嘩で何も言わなかったばかりに、平気な顔をしている。
    Has a calm face as if [he] didn’t say anything during the fight yesterday.

Using 「めく」 to indicate an atmosphere of a state


  1. 謎 【なぞ】 – puzzle
  2. 秘密 【ひ・みつ】 – secret
  3. 皮肉 【ひ・にく】 – irony
  4. 紅葉 【こう・よう】 – leaves changing color
  5. 始まる 【はじ・まる】 (u-verb) – to begin
  6. すっかり – completely
  7. 秋 【あき】 – autumn
  8. 空気 【くう・き】 – air; atmosphere
  9. なる (u-verb) – to become
  10. そんな – that sort of
  11. 顔 【かお】 – face
  12. する (exception) – to do
  13. うまい (i-adj) – skillful; delicious
  14. 説明 【せつ・めい】 – explanation
  15. 出来る 【で・き・る】 (ru-verb) – to be able to do
  16. いつも – always
  17. 言う 【い・う】 (u-verb) – to say
  18. ~方 【~かた】 – way of doing ~
  19. 皆 【みんな】 – everybody
  20. 嫌 【いや】 (na-adj) disagreeable; unpleasant

By now, you’re probably thinking, “Ok, we’ve done adjectives and verbs. What about nouns?” As a matter of fact, there is a similar grammar that is used usually for nouns and na-adjectives. It is used to indicate that something is showing the signs of a certain state. Unlike the 「~がる」 grammar, there is no action that indicates anything; merely the atmosphere gives off the impression of the state. Just like the previous grammar we learned in this section, this grammar has a list of commonly used nouns such as 「謎」、「秘密」、or 「皮肉」. This grammar is used by simply attaching 「めく」 to the noun or na-adjective. The result then becomes a regular u-verb.

Using 「めく」 to indicate that one seems to want to do something

  • Attach 「めく」 to the noun or na-adjective. The result then becomes a regular u-verb.
  • Example: 謎 → 謎めく

Summary of basic conjugations
Positive Negative
Non-Past 謎めく
puzzling atmosphere
not puzzling atmosphere
Past 謎めいた
puzzled atmosphere
not puzzled atmosphere

*The negatives conjugations are theoretically possible but are not likely used. The most common usage is the past tense.


  1. 紅葉が始まり、すっかり秋めいた空気になってきた。
    With the leaves starting to change color, the air came to become quite autumn like.
  2. そんな謎めいた顔をされても、うまく説明できないよ。
    Even having that kind of puzzled look done to me, I can’t explain it very well, you know.
  3. いつも皮肉めいた言い方をしたら、みんなを嫌がらせるよ。
    You’ll make everyone dislike you if you keep speaking with that ironic tone, you know.

For a whole slew of additional real world examples, check out the jeKai entry. It states that the grammar can be used for adverbs and other parts of speech but none of the numerous examples show this and even assuming it’s possible, it’s probably not practiced in reality.

The minimum expectation

In this section, we’ll learn various ways to express the minimum expectation. This grammar is not used as often as you might think as there are many situations where a simpler expression would sound more natural, but you should still become familiar with it.

Using 「(で)さえ」 to describe the minimum requirement


  1. 私 【わたし】 – me; myself; I
  2. 子供 【こ・ども】 – child
  3. 食べる 【た・べる】 (ru-verb) – to eat
  4. 行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) – to go
  5. 言う 【い・う】 (u-verb) – to say
  6. 読む 【よ・む】 (u-verb) – to read
  7. 宿題 【しゅく・だい】 – homework
  8. 多い 【おお・い】 (i-adj) – numerous
  9. トイレ – bathroom; toilet
  10. 時間 【じ・かん】 – time
  11. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  12. お金 【お・かね】 – money
  13. 何 【なに/なん】 – what
  14. 出来る 【で・き・る】 (ru-verb) – to be able to do
  15. お弁当 【お・べん・とう】 – box lunch
  16. 買う 【か・う】 (u-verb) – to buy
  17. あんた – you (slang)
  18. 楽ちん 【らく・ちん】 (na-adj) – easy
  19. ビタミン – vitamin
  20. 健康 【けん・こう】 – health
  21. 保証 【ほ・しょう】 – guarantee
  22. する (exception) – to do
  23. 自分 【じ・ぶん】 – oneself
  24. 過ち 【あやま・ち】 – fault, error
  25. 認める 【みと・める】 (ru-verb) – to recognize, to acknowledge
  26. 問題 【もん・だい】 – problem
  27. 解決 【かい・けつ】 – resolution
  28. 教科書 【きょう・か・しょ】 – textbook
  29. もっと – more
  30. ちゃんと – properly
  31. いる (ru-verb) – to exist (animate)
  32. 合格 【ごう・かく】 – pass (as in an exam)
  33. 一言 【ひと・こと】 – a few words
  34. くれる (ru-verb) – to give
  35. こんな – this sort of
  36. こと – event, matter
  37. なる (u-verb) – to become

In English, we might say, “not even close” to show that not even the minimum expectation has been met. In Japanese, we can express this by attaching 「さえ」 to the object or verb that miserably failed to reach what one would consider to be a bare minimum requirement. Conversely, you can also use the same grammar in a positive sense to express something is all you need.

Using 「(で)さえ」 to describe the minimum requirement

  • For nouns: Attach 「さえ」 or 「でさえ」 to the minimum requirement.

    1. さえ – even me
    2. 子供でさえ – even children
  • For verbs: Change the verb to the stem and attach 「さえ」. For verbs in te-form, attach 「さえ」 to 「て/で」.

    1. 食べ → 食べさえ
    2. → 行 → 行きさえ
    3. 言っくれる → 言ってさえくれる
    4. 読んいる → 読んでさえいる


  1. 宿題が多すぎて、トイレに行く時間さえなかった。
    There was so much homework, I didn’t even have time to go to the bathroom.
  2. お金さえあれば、何でも出来るよ。
    The least you need is money and you can do anything.
  3. お弁当を買うお金さえなかった。
    I didn’t even have money to buy lunch.

For nouns only, you can add 「で」 and use 「でさえ」 instead of just 「さえ」. There are no grammatical differences but it does sound a bit more emphatic.

  1. でさえ出来れば、あんたには楽ちんでしょう。
    If even I can do it, it should be a breeze for you.

You can also attach 「さえ」 to the stem of verbs to express a minimum action for a result. This is usually followed up immediately by 「する」 to show that the minimum action is done (or not). If the verb happens to be in a te-form, 「さえ」 can also be attached directly to the end of the 「て」 or 「で」 of the te-form.

  1. ビタミンを食べさえすれば、健康が保証されますよ。
    If you just eat vitamins, your health will be guaranteed.
  2. 自分の過ちを認めさえしなければ、問題は解決しないよ。
    The problem won’t be solved if you don’t even recognize your own mistake, you know.
  3. 教科書をもっとちゃんと読んでさえいれば、合格できたのに。
    If only I had read the textbook more properly, I could have passed.
  4. 一言言ってさえくれればこんなことにならなかった。
    If you only had said something things wouldn’t have turned out like this.

「(で)すら」 – Older version of 「(で)さえ」


  1. 私 【わたし】 – me; myself; I
  2. 子供 【こ・ども】 – child
  3. この – this (abbr. of これの)
  4. 天才 【てん・さい】 – genius
  5. 分かる 【わ・かる】 (u-verb) – to understand
  6. 緊張 【きん・ちょう】 – nervousness
  7. する (exception) – to do
  8. ちらっと – a peek
  9. 見る 【み・る】 (ru-verb) – to see
  10. こと – event, matter
  11. 出来る 【で・き・る】 (ru-verb) – to be able to do
  12. 人 【ひと】 – person
  13. 漢字 【かん・じ】 – Kanji
  14. 知る 【し・る】 (u-verb) – to know
  15. 生徒 【せい・と】 – student
  16. いる (ru-verb) – to exist (animate)

「(で)すら」 is a older variation of 「(で)さえ」 that is not as commonly used. It is essentially interchangeable with 「(で)さえ」 except that it is generally used only with nouns.

「(で)すら」 is used in the same way as 「(で)さえ」 for nouns

  • For nouns: Attach 「すら」 or 「ですら」 to the minimum requirement.

    1. すら – Even me
    2. 子供ですら – Even children


  1. この天才の私ですらわからなかった。
    Even a genius such as myself couldn’t solve it.
  2. 私は緊張しすぎて、ちらっと見ることすら出来ませんでした。
    I was so nervous that I couldn’t even take a quick peek.
  3. 「人」の漢字すら知らない生徒は、いないでしょ!
    There are no students that don’t even know the 「人」 Kanji!

「おろか」 – It’s not even worth considering


  1. 愚か 【おろ・か】 (na-adj) – foolish
  2. 漢字 【かん・じ】 – Kanji
  3. ひらがな – Hiragana
  4. 読む 【よ・む】 (u-verb) – to read
  5. 結婚 【けっ・こん】 – marriage
  6. ~ヶ月 【~か・げつ】 – counter for span of month(s)
  7. 付き合う 【つ・き・あ・う】 (u-verb) – to go out with; to accompany
  8. 結局 【けっ・きょく】 – eventually
  9. 別れる 【わか・れる】 (ru-verb) – to separate; to break up
  10. 大学 【だい・がく】 – college
  11. 高校 【こう・こう】 – high school
  12. 卒業 【そつ・ぎょう】 – graduate
  13. する (exception) – to do

This grammar comes from the adjective 「愚か」 which means to be foolish or stupid. However, in this case, you’re not making fun of something, rather by using 「おろか」, you can indicate that something is so ridiculous that it’s not even worth considering. In English, we might say something like, “Are you kidding? I can’t touch my knees much less do a full split!” In this example, the full split is so beyond the person’s abilities that it would be foolish to even consider it.


  1. 漢字はおろか、ひらがなさえ読めないよ!
    Forget about Kanji, I can’t even read Hiragana!
  2. 結婚はおろか、2ヶ月付き合って、結局別れてしまった。
    We eventually broke up after going out two months much less get married.
  3. 大学はおろか、高校すら卒業しなかった。
    I didn’t even graduate from high school much less college.

This grammar is rarely used and is primarily useful for JLPT level 1. The expression 「どころか」 is far more common and has a similar meaning. However, unlike 「おろか」 which is used as an adjective, 「どころか」 is attached directly to the noun, adjective, or verb.

  1. 漢字どころか、ひらがなさえ読めないよ!
    Forget about Kanji, I can’t even read Hiragana!

Things that should be a certain way

In this lesson, we’ll learn how to express the way things are supposed depending on what we mean by “supposed”. While the first two grammar points 「はず」 and 「べき」 come up often and are quite useful, you’ll rarely ever encounter 「べく」 or 「べからず」. You can safely skip those lessons unless you are studying for the JLPT.

Using 「はず」 to describe an expectation


  1. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  2. 日曜日 【にち・よう・び】 – Sunday
  3. 可能 【か・のう】 (na-adj) – possible
  4. おいしい (i-adj) – tasty
  5. 帰る 【かえ・る】 (u-verb) – to go home
  6. 彼【かれ】 – he; boyfriend
  7. 漫画 【まん・が】 – comic book
  8. マニア – mania
  9. これ – this
  10. ~ら – pluralizing suffix
  11. もう – already
  12. 全部 【ぜん・ぶ】 – everything
  13. 読む 【よ・む】 (u-verb) – to read
  14. この – this (abbr. of これの)
  15. 料理 【りょう・り】 – cooking; cuisine; dish
  16. 焦げる 【こ・げる】 (ru-verb) – to burn, to be burned
  17. まずい (i-adj) – unpleasant
  18. 色々 【いろ・いろ】 (na-adj) – various
  19. 予定 【よ・てい】 – plans, arrangement
  20. する (exception) – to do
  21. 今年 【こ・とし】 – this year
  22. 楽しい 【たの・しい】 (i-adj) – fun
  23. クリスマス – Christmas
  24. そう – (things are) that way
  25. 簡単 【かん・たん】 (na-adj) – simple
  26. 直す 【なお・す】 (u-verb) – to correct, to fix
  27. 打合せ 【うち・あわ・せ】 – meeting
  28. 毎週 【まい・しゅう】 – every week
  29. ~時 【~じ】 – counter for hours
  30. 始まる 【はじ・まる】 (u-verb) – to begin

The first grammar we will learn is 「はず」, which is used to express something that was or is supposed to be. You can treat 「はず」 just like a regular noun as it is usually attached to the adjective or verb that is supposed to be or supposed to happen.

The only thing to be careful about here is expressing an expectation of something not happening. To do this, you must use the negative existence verb 「ない」 to say that such an expectation does not exist. This might be in the form of 「~はずない」 or 「~はずない」 depending on which particle you want to use. The negative conjugation 「はずじゃない」 is really only used when you want to confirm in a positive sense such as 「~はずじゃないか?」.

Using 「はず」 to describe an expectation

  • Use 「はず」 just like a regular noun to modify the expected thing

    1. 日曜日のはず (noun)
    2. 可能なはず (na-adjective)
    3. おいしいはず (i-adjective)
    4. 帰るはず (verb)
  • For the case where you expect the negative, use the 「ない」 verb for nonexistence
  • Example: 帰るはず → 帰るはずがない


  1. 彼は漫画マニアだから、これらをもう全部読んだはずだよ。
    He has a mania for comic book(s) so I expect he read all these already.
  2. この料理はおいしいはずだったが、焦げちゃって、まずくなった。
    This dish was expected to be tasty but it burned and became distasteful.
  3. 色々予定してあるから、今年は楽しいクリスマスのはず
    Because various things have been planned out, I expect a fun Christmas this year.
  4. そう簡単に直せるはずがないよ。
    It’s not supposed to be that easy to fix.
  5. 打合せは毎週2時から始まるはずじゃないですか?
    This meeting is supposed to start every week at 2 o’clock, isn’t it?

Here are more examples from the WWWJDIC. You may also want to check out the jeKai entry.

Using 「べき」 to describe actions one should do


  1. 絶対 【ぜっ・たい】 (na-adj) – absolutely, unconditionally
  2. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  3. 強い 【つよ・い】 (i-adj) – strong
  4. 推奨 【すい・しょう】 – recommendation
  5. する (exception) – to do
  6. 擦る 【す・る】 (u-verb) – to rub
  7. 行う 【おこな・う】 (u-verb) – to conduct, to carry out
  8. 何 【なに/なん】 – what
  9. 買う 【か・う】 (u-verb) – to buy
  10. 前 【まえ】 – front; before
  11. 本当 【ほん・とう】 – real
  12. 必要 【ひつ・よう】 – necessity
  13. どう – how
  14. いい (i-adj) – good
  15. 考える 【かんが・える】 (ru-verb) – to think
  16. 例え 【たと・え】 – example
  17. 国 【くに】 – country
  18. 国民 【こく・みん】 – people, citizen
  19. 騙す 【だま・す】 (u-verb) – to trick, to cheat, to deceive
  20. 思う 【おも・う】 (u-verb) – to think
  21. 預金者 【よ・きん・しゃ】 – depositor
  22. 大手 【おお・て】 – large corporation
  23. 銀行 【ぎん・こう】 – bank
  24. 相手 【あい・て】 – other party
  25. 取る 【と・る】 (u-verb) – to take
  26. 訴訟 【そ・しょう】 – litigation, lawsuit
  27. 起こす 【お・こす】 (u-verb) – to cause, to wake someone
  28. ケース – case
  29. 出る 【で・る】 (ru-verb) – to come out
  30. 金融庁 【きん・ゆう・ちょう】 – Financial Services Agency
  31. 被害者 【ひ・がい・しゃ】 – victim
  32. 救済 【きゅう・さい】 – relief, aid
  33. 優先 【ゆう・せん】 – preference, priority, precedence
  34. 金融 【きん・ゆう】 – financing
  35. 機関 【き・かん】 – institution
  36. 犯罪 【はん・ざい】 – crime
  37. 防止 【ぼう・し】 – prevention
  38. 強化 【きょう・か】 – strengthen
  39. 促す 【うなが・す】 (u-verb) – to urge
  40. 判断 【はん・だん】 – judgement, decision
  41. 朝日 【あさ・ひ】 – Asahi
  42. 新聞 【しん・ぶん】 – newspaper

「べき」 is a verb suffix used to describe something that is supposed to be done. This suffix is commonly defined as “should”, however, one must realize that it cannot be used to make suggestions like the sentence, “You should go to the doctor.” If you use 「べき」, it sounds more like, “You are supposed to go to the doctor.” 「べき」 has a much stronger tone and makes you sound like a know-it-all telling people what to do. For making suggestions, it is customary to use the comparison 「方がいい」 grammar instead. For this reason, this grammar is almost never used to directly tell someone what to do. It is usually used in reference to oneself where you can be as bossy as you want or in a neutral context where circumstances dictate what is proper and what is not. One such example would be a sentence like, “We are supposed to raise our kids properly with a good education.”

Unlike the 「はず」 grammar, there is no expectation that something is going to happen. Rather, this grammar describes what one should do in a given circumstance. In Japanese, you might define it as meaning 「絶対ではないが、強く推奨されている」.

There is very little of grammatical interest. 「べき」 works just like a regular noun and so you can conjugate it as 「べきじゃない」、「べきだった」, and so on. The only thing to note here is that when you’re using it with 「する」, the verb meaning “to do”, you can optionally drop the 「る」 from 「するべき」 to produce 「すべき」. You can do this with this verb only and it does not apply for any other verbs even if the verb is written as 「する」 such as 「擦る」, the verb meaning “to rub”.

Using 「べき」 for actions that should be done

  • Attach 「べき」 to the action that should be done

    1. 行う → 行うべき
    2. する → するべき
  • For the generic “to do ” verb 「する」 only, you can remove the 「る」
  • Example: す+べき → すべき


  1. 何かを買う前に本当に必要かどうかをよく考えるべきだ。
    Before buying something, one should think well on whether it’s really necessary or not.
  2. 例え国のためであっても、国民を騙すべきではないと思う。
    Even if it is, for example, for the country, I don’t think the country’s citizens should be deceived.
  3. 預金者が大手銀行を相手取って訴訟を起こすケースも出ており、金融庁は被害者の救済を優先させて、金融機関に犯罪防止対策の強化を促すべきだと判断。(朝日新聞)
    With cases coming out of depositors suing large banks, the Financial Services Agency decided it should prioritize relief for victims and urge banks to strengthen measures for crime prevention.

Using 「べく」 to describe what one tries to do


  1. 連用形 【れん・よう・けい】 – conjunctive form
  2. 早い 【はや・い】 (i-adj) – fast; early
  3. 帰る 【かえ・る】 (u-verb) – to go home
  4. 準備 【じゅん・び】 – preparations
  5. する (exception) – to do
  6. 始める 【はじ・める】 (ru-verb) – to begin
  7. 思う 【おも・う】 (u-verb) – to think
  8. 出来る 【で・き・る】 (ru-verb) – to be able to do
  9. 行う 【おこな・う】 (u-verb) – to conduct, to carry out
  10. 試験 【し・けん】 – exam
  11. 合格 【ごう・かく】 – pass (as in an exam)
  12. 皆 【みんな】 – everybody
  13. 一生懸命 【いっ・しょう・けん・めい】 – with utmost effort
  14. 勉強 【べん・きょう】 – study
  15. 今後 【こん・ご】 – from now on
  16. お客様 【お・きゃく・さま】 – guest, customer
  17. 対話 【たい・わ】 – interaction
  18. 窓口 【まど・ぐち】 – teller window, counter; point of contact
  19. より – more
  20. 充実 【じゅう・じつ】 – fulfilled
  21. 行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) – to go
  22. 努力 【ど・りょく】 – effort
  23. 参る 【まい・る】 (u-verb) – to go; to come (humble)

Grammatically, 「べく」 is really a conjunctive form (連用形) of 「べき」, similar to what the te-form does to connect another phrase. However, what needs mentioning here is that by changing it into a conjunctive and adding a predicate, the meaning of 「べく」 changes from the ordinary meaning of 「べき」. While 「べき」 describes a strong suggestion, changing it to 「べく」 allows you to describe what one did in order to carry out that suggestion. Take a look that the following examples to see how the meaning changes.

  1. 早く帰るべき
    Should go home early.
  2. 早く帰るべく、準備をし始めた。
    In trying to go home early, started the preparations.

As we can see in this example, adding the 「準備をし始めた」 tells us what the subject did in order to carry out the action he/she was supposed to do.In this way we can define 「べく」 as meaning, “in order to” or “in an effort to”. Similarly, 「べく」 might mean the Japanese equivalent of 「しようと思って」 or 「できるように」. This is a very seldom-used old-fashioned expression and is merely presented here to completely cover all aspects of 「べき」.

Using 「べく」 for actions that are attempted to be done

  • Attach 「べく」 to the action that is attempted to be done

    1. 行う → 行うべく
    2. する → するべく
  • Same as 「べき」, you can remove the 「る」 for the generic “to do ” verb 「する」 only
  • Example: す+べく → すべく


  1. 試験に合格すべく、皆一生懸命に勉強している。
    Everybody is studying very hard in an effort to pass the exam.
  2. 今後もお客様との対話の窓口として、より充実していくべく努力してまいります
    We are working from here in an effort to provide a enriched window for customer interaction.

Using 「べからず」 to describe things one must not do


  1. 未然形 【み・ぜん・けい】 – imperfective form
  2. 行う 【おこな・う】 (u-verb) – to conduct, to carry out
  3. する (exception) – to do
  4. ゴミ – garbage
  5. 捨てる 【す・てる】 (ru-verb) – to throw away
  6. 安全 【あん・ぜん】 – safety
  7. 措置 【そ・ち】 – measures
  8. 忘れる 【わす・れる】 (ru-verb) – to forget

Moving on to yet another from of 「べき」 is 「べからず」. This is undoubtedly related to the 「ず」 negative ending we learned in a previous section. However, it seems to be a conjugation of an old 未然形 of 「べから」. I have no idea what that means and you don’t have to either. The only thing we need to take away from this is that 「べからず」 expresses the opposite meaning of 「べき」 as an action that one must not do. I suppose the short and abrupt ending of the 「ず」 form makes this more useful for laying out rules. In fact, searching around on google comes up with a bunch of 「べし・ベからず」 or “do’s and don’ts”. (べし is an older form of べき, which I doubt you’ll ever need.)

Using 「べからず」 for actions that must not be done

  • Attach 「べからず」 to the action that must not be done

    1. 行う → 行うべからず
    2. する → するべからず
  • Same as 「べき」, you can remove the 「る」 for the generic “to do ” verb 「する」 only
  • Example: す+べからず → すべからず


  1. ゴミ捨てるべからず
    You must not throw away trash.
  2. 安全措置を忘れるべからず
    You must not forget the safety measures.

Formal Expressions

What do you mean by formal expressions?

So far we have learned casual, polite, and honorific/humble types of languages. So what do I mean by formal expressions? I think we are all aware of the type of language I am talking about. We hear it in speeches, read it in reports, and see it on documentaries. While discussing good writing style is beyond the scope of this guide, we will go over some of the grammar that you will commonly find in this type of language. Which is not to say that it won’t appear in regular everyday speech. (Because it does.)

Using 「である」 for formal state-of-being


  1. 我輩 【わが・はい】 – I; we
  2. 猫 【ねこ】 – cat
  3. 夏目 【なつ・め】 – Natsume (last name)
  4. 漱石 【そう・せき】 – Souseki (first name)
  5. お任せ 【お・まか・せ】 – leaving a decision to someone else
  6. 表示 【ひょう・じ】 – display
  7. 混合物 【こん・ごう・ぶつ】 – mixture, amalgam
  8. 種類 【しゅ・るい】 – type, kind, category
  9. 以上 【い・じょう】 – greater or equal
  10. 純物質 【じゅん・ぶっ・しつ】 – pure material
  11. 混じりあう 【ま・じりあう】 (u-verb) – to mix together
  12. 物質 【ぶっ・しつ】 – pure material
  13. 何 【なに/なん】 – what

We have already learned how to speak with your friends in casual speech, your superiors in polite speech, and your customers in honorific / humble speech. We’ve learned 「だ」、「です」、and 「でございます」 to express a state-of-being for these different levels of politeness. There is one more type of state-of-being that is primarily used to state facts in a neutral, official sounding manner – 「である」. Just like the others, you tack 「である」 on to the adjective or noun that represents the state.


  • 吾輩は猫である
    I am a cat. (This is the title of a famous novel by 夏目漱石)

Since I’m too lazy to look up facts, let’s trot on over to the Japanese version of Wikipedia and look at some random articles by clicking on 「おまかせ表示」.

  • 混合物(こんごうぶつ, mixture)とは、2種類以上の純物質が混じりあっている物質である。(Wikipedia – 混合物, July 2004)
    An amalgam is a mixture of two or more pure materials.

To give you an idea of how changing the 「である」 changes the tone, I’ve included some fake content around that sentence.

  1. 混合物は
  2. 混合物は何ですか
  3. 混合物は何でしょうか
  4. 混合物とは

Negative of 「である」


  1. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  2. それ – that
  3. 不公平 【ふ・こう・へい】 – unfair
  4. 言語 【げん・ご】 – language
  5. 簡単 【かん・たん】 (na-adj) – simple
  6. マスター – master
  7. する (exception) – to do
  8. こと – event, matter
  9. 出来る 【で・き・る】 (ru-verb) – to be able to do
  10. 学生 【がく・せい】 – student

Because the negative of 「ある」 is 「ない」, you might expect the opposite of 「である」 to be 「でない」. However, for some reason I’m not aware of, you need to insert the topic particle before 「ない」 to get 「ではない」.


  1. それは不公平ではないでしょうか。
    Wouldn’t you consider that to be unfair?
  2. 言語は簡単にマスターできることではない
    Language is not something that can be mastered easily.
Using 「である」 to sound official

  • Attach 「である」 to the verb or adjective that the state-of-being applies to.
  • Example: 学生 → 学生である
  • For the negative, attach 「ではない」 to the verb or adjective that the state-of-being applies to.
  • Example: 学生 → 学生ではない
  • For the past tense state-of-being, apply the regular past tenses of 「ある」

Complete conjugation chart for 「である」
Positive Negative
学生である is student 学生ではない is not student
学生であった was student 学生ではなかった was not student

Sequential relative clauses in formal language


  1. 花火 【はな・び】 – fireworks
  2. 火薬 【か・やく】 – gunpowder
  3. 金属 【きん・ぞく】 – metal
  4. 粉末 【ふん・まつ】 – fine powder
  5. 混ぜる 【ま・ぜる】 (ru-verb) – to mix
  6. 物 【もの】 – object
  7. 火 【ひ】 – flame, light
  8. 付ける 【つ・ける】 (ru-verb) – to attach
  9. 燃焼時 【ねん・しょう・じ】 – at time of combustion
  10. 火花 【ひ・ばな】 – spark
  11. 楽しむ 【たの・しむ】 (u-verb) – to enjoy
  12. ため – for the sake/benefit of
  13. 企業内 【き・ぎょう・ない】 – company-internal
  14. 顧客 【こ・きゃく】 – customer, client
  15. データ – data
  16. 利用 【り・よう】 – usage
  17. する (exception) – to do
  18. 彼 【かれ】 – he; boyfriend
  19. 行方 【ゆく・え】 – whereabouts
  20. 調べる 【しら・べる】 (ru-verb) – to investigate
  21. こと – event, matter
  22. 出来る 【で・き・る】 (ru-verb) – to be able to do
  23. 封筒 【ふう・とう】 – envelope
  24. 写真 【しゃ・しん】 – photograph
  25. 数枚 【すう・まい】 – several sheets (flat objects)
  26. 入る 【はい・る】 (u-verb) – to enter
  27. 手紙 【て・がみ】 – letter
  28. 添える 【そ・える】 (ru-verb) – to garnish; to accompany (as a card does a gift)
  29. この – this (abbr. of これの)
  30. ファイル – file
  31. パスワード – password
  32. 設定 【せっ・てい】 – setting
  33. 開く 【ひら・く】 (u-verb) – to open
  34. ~際 【~さい】 – on the occasion of
  35. それ – that
  36. 入力 【にゅう・りょく】 – input
  37. 必要 【ひつ・よう】 – necessity
  38. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)

In the Compound Sentence lesson, we learned how to use the te-form of verbs to express multiples sequential actions in one sentence. This practice, however, is used only in regular everyday speech. Formal speeches, narration, and written publications employ the verb stem instead of the te-form to describe sequential actions. Particularly, newspaper articles, in the interest of brevity, always prefer verb stems to the te-form.


  1. 花火(はなび)は、火薬と金属の粉末を混ぜたものに火を付け、燃焼時の火花を楽しむためのもの。
    Wikipedia – 花火, August 2004)
    Fireworks are for the enjoyment of sparks created from combustion created by lighting up a mixture of gunpowder and metal powder.
  2. 企業内の顧客データを利用、彼の行方を調べることが出来た。
    Was able to investigate his whereabouts using the company’s internal customer data.

For the 「~ている」 forms, the stem becomes 「~てい」 but because that doesn’t fit very well into the middle of a sentence, it is common to use the humble form of 「いる」 which you will remember is 「おる」. This is simply so you can employ 「おり」 to connect relative clauses instead of just 「い」. It has nothing to do with the humble aspect of 「おる」

  1. 封筒には写真が数枚入っており、手紙が添えられていた。
    Several photos were inside the envelope, and a letter was attached.
  2. このファイルにはパスワードが設定されており、開く際にはそれを入力する必要がある。
    A password has been set on this file, and it needs to entered when opening.