しか~ない - Grammar Disucssion

there’s only
nothing but

Structure

  • Noun + しか + Verb[ない]

[Noun + しかない → Nothing but (noun) exists (ある → Verb[ない] = ない)]
[Verb + しかない → Have no choice but to (verb)]

View on Bunpro

What is the [double negative] hint about? :thinking:

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@xBl4ck That’s a good question! I am not sure what I was thinking when I added this hint. Perhaps it had something to do with ちょっと possibly being interpreted as “not many” which would lead to the translation “nothing but not many.” Anyway, I have removed the “[double negative]” hint and replaced it with “nothing but.” Cheers!

For the example where you’re conjugating 空あいている, and しかあいていない is expected, is there a reason that しかあいていません is not also valid?

Isn’t the point just to use a negative existence verb? Another example’s correct answer ends in ありません。

Perhaps the issue is that you don’t typically use polite forms in the middle of sentences like that?

@Talos Thank you for your question.

You are absolutely correct! If a sentence ends in plain form (more often than not in polite form too) then it sounds unnatural to use the polite form of a verb in the middle of a sentence. The specific sentence that you are wondering about pairs しか空いていない with みたい which always pairs with the plain form of the verb. Cheers!

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I just 10 minutes ago added ばかり as a new grammar point, so when this sentence came up in reviews:

すみませんが、午後 ___ みたいです。[空いている]
I am sorry, but it looks like there is only space open in the afternoon.

I thought “brilliant, I just added ばかり so it must be あいていてばかり”.

It wasn’t though, the correct answer was しかあいていない.

Can anyone explain the difference between these two?

すみませんが、午後空いていてばかりみたいです。
すみませんが、午後しか空いていないみたいです。

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@rwmleach
Hey! :cowboy_hat_face:

Very interesting question!

In this context しか~ない fits better. It simply means “only”.

てばかり has a nuance of criticism that someones behavior repeats or continues. Someone does “nothing but (verb)”

いのうえおりひめは一日中泣いてばかりです。
Inoue Orihime does nothing but crying.

猫は一日中寝てばかりいる。
Cats do nothing but sleep whole days.

コーラを飲んでばかりいると太るよ。
If you do nothing but drink cola, then you will get fat.
(if you keep on drinking cola…)

I hope it helps,
Cheers!

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That is helpful, thanks!

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