1.3. Grammatical terms

I use several grammatical terms in this site, and they might be difficult if you haven't learned English grammar. Since most grammatical terms are used in both English grammar and Japanese grammar, knowing English grammar will help you learn Japanese grammar. You can skip this section if you are familiar with them.

I explain some of them here.

An addressee is a person who receives a sentence, i.e. a listener or a reader. In English, an addressee is referred to with the second-person pronouns such as you.

An adjective is a word that means an attribute of a thing and adds information to a noun. An adjective is almost always placed before a noun in English. Beautiful, tasty, and good-looking are all adjectives.

An adposition is a word that works as a marker of the grammatical relation of the accompanying noun or noun phrase. It is called a preposition if placed before a noun, and is called a postposition if placed after a noun.

An adverb is a word that adds information to a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. An adverb is often a form of an adjective in English. Very, quickly, and beautifully are all adverbs.

A copula is a word that combines the subject and its explanation. The verb be is the English copula. The Japanese copula is not a verb.

Inflection is having more than one form to express different grammatical roles. English nouns have inflection to show number, such as cat and cats. Verb inflection is sometimes called conjugation. English verbs have inflection to show tense, such as eat and ate.

An interjection is a word that is independent from other words and used as it is. Yes, hello, and hi are all interjections.

An interrogative is a word to ask specific information. In English, who and what are interrogative pronouns, and when and how are interrogative pro-adverbs.

A noun is a word that means a thing, either concrete or abstract. A noun can be the subject or the object of a sentence in English. Textbook, PC, and web site are all nouns. A proper noun is a noun that is the name of a person or a thing. In English, proper nouns are always capitalized. John and Japan are both proper nouns.

A phone is actual pronunciation of a phoneme. A phone is represented between brackets.

A phoneme is the smallest unit of the sound system of a language. If two sounds have the same phoneme, they are treated equally. A phoneme is represented between slashes.

A postposition is an adposition placed after a noun. Japanese has several postpositions, but English has few postpositions.

A preposition is an adposition placed before a noun. In, for, and from are all prepositions. Japanese has no prepositions.

A pronoun is a word that refers to a person or a thing that has already talked about. It is a kind of noun, but its function is different from nouns in English. What a pronoun actually means depends on context. Me and yourself are pronouns.

A speaker is a person who sends a sentence, i.e. a person who speaks or writes. In English, a speaker is referred to with the first-person pronouns such as I and we.

A verb is a word that means an event or an action, and it combines things involved in the event in a sentence. A verb has several forms such as present, past, and gerund in English. Read and have are all verbs.

Further readings:

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