Potential - Grammar Discussion

Please change the link for ’ Kanji Link’ to an anchor link :grinning:

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@Ambo100 Done! Thank you for drawing this to our attention. Cheers!

The language in this warning is confusing:

Great! However, remember that らless potential form is considered to be grammatical error by the number of Japanese speakers.

It took me a while to figure out that “らless” meant “the potential form without ら,” and not “ら (the less potential form).” Would highly recommend changing this!


@petepolack Thank you for your report! I have updated the hint to read: “Great! However, remember that ら抜き言葉 (words that omit ら) is considered to be a grammatical error by a number of Japanese speakers. To avoid issues, it might be better to avoid it, especially in polite (です・ます) speech.” Cheers!


I just ran into the exercise 私わたしの好すきな映画えいがが みられ たらいいね. It seems weird to me that an exercise for an N4 grammar point would use N3 grammar (たらいい).

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So potential form can’t be used for permission but it can be used to give permission?

@Johnathan-Weir I believe the confusion comes from a poor translation on my part. The subject of the sentence should be “I,” not “You.” Cheers!

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Ahh, that makes more sense.

Thanks :+1:

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In “ほしいけど、お金がないから買えないですよ。”, why must it be informal? Because of the です? What is the です doing there anyway?

Basically yes. The formality comes at the end of a sentence, and you only need one indicator in a sentence that it is formal. Please don’t think of 買えない as informal, but rather as plain form.
Both 買えないです and 買えません are perfectly acceptable, but 買えませんです is too much.

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Thanks! But what’s the grammar that makes this plain verb + です work? Is there a Bunpro grammar point for it, or do you know any other website that explains it? I don’t think I have ever seen that before.

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I think it would be difficult to create a dedicated BP grammar point that is specifically aimed at avoiding a common mistake. We know from this grammar point that です makes something polite, and we know the meaning of ない from here. I don’t know… I just feel like creating separate points for ないです, なかったです, etc. would be difficult to implement.


Maybe a note could be added to the です grammar point that it can also be used with negative verbs? It already has one for adjectives.

There also is the じゃない grammar point that doesn’t mention です but actually has example sentences that use it.

Since this is kind of an exception for です where it doesn’t actually have a grammatical purpose and is only used for politeness, a dedicated grammar point on informal politeness or something could be focused on that? I don’t think it has to be different grammar points for each individual case. A lot of people seem to simply consider です a polite version of だ in the beginning, but that’s not true in modern Japanese, so IMHO it makes sense to highlight this.

@testing please note that this is not “plain verb + です”. It’s specifically negative forms (-ない) or い-adjectives or other words that act like い-adjectives where this originally ungrammatical use of です is now established as a less stiff way to make a sentence polite. In the じゃない grammar point I found this stackexchange post that has some interesting comments on nuance. This page on imabi.net goes into a bit more detail as well.


@matt_in_mito @nekoyama @testing
I think we can add another N5 grammar point with those conjugations with next batch of N1 grammar points :thinking:

For the time being I will add some notes :blush:


What do you think?



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Ah, gotcha! That’s what I wanted to know, thanks :slight_smile:


I just faced the “CDを持もってくるのを忘わすれたから、車くるまで音楽おんがくが____。[聴きく]” quiz and confused it with the ~得る rule. Still, the system didn’t adviced me this being different rule and immediately wronged it. I believe, both of grams express quite the same idea, though.

So I’m here would like to ask if it’s possible to just “shake” input for 得る in this case and promt to enter something different?

What does “⇄ !” mean? That this cannot be done?

⇄ means that you can use both forms, 見 られる and !見 れる, however, the second one has some catches - it is closer to slang (though it is widely used) and some people (grammar purist especially) might consider it to be incorrect.

We are reworking the structure section, so it would be easier to understand.

Ah thanks for the clarification, have added it to my notes.

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