LearnJapanese Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese





Other Grammar

Posted by Tae Kim

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

Vocabulary

  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

Examples

  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

Vocabulary

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

Examples

  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

Vocabulary

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

Examples

  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.