1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Japanese Lesson 40: Compound …


Japanese Lesson 40: Compound Sentences Part 1

So help me. Here it is folks. We've now entered the danger zone. I have SUCH a hard time with compound sentences... I STILL don't get them right.

But don't worry! This is one of my language blocks. You'll hit one eventually too, but don't get discouraged. You can leave whatever subject you're having trouble with and return to it now and again. Just keep chipping away at it and eventually it will click. It's weird.

You'll also come across language plateaus, where no matter how hard you try you just can't seem to learn ANYTHING new. Usually at those times it's best to study just as much vocabulary as possible and lay off of grammar... but back to the matter at hand.


If: (Moshi) .... -eba: (もし)...-えば

*GRAMMAR: so as you can see this is a two part piece of grammar. Via Tae Kim's Guide to Japanese on the subject, "Moshi" is a conditional that sort of softens the question so to speak. "moshi" needs to be the start of your sentence if you use it.

-eba is a conjugation... let me preface this with according to Tae Kim there are 4 different ways to say "if" and this one is just a standard if question without "any assumptions or embedded meanings" For Verbs you want to change your "u" vowel to an "e" and add "ba"... for "i adjectives" you want to take off the last "i" and replace it with "kereba".

That's right! You can conjugate an adjective!!

Via Tae Kim for nouns and "na" adjectives you need to add "deareba"*

Because: (Nazenara)...(Da)kara: (なぜなら)...(だ)から: (何故なら)...(だ)から

*GRAMMAR: Another two part piece of grammar... about this one... well... from what I can find about "Nazenara" ... which I've been using because Duo told me to... I guess "Nazenara" isn't really common to hear in Japan. If you use "nazenara" you'll be understood but it's just uncommon.

If you do use it, like "moshi" it's used at the beginning of your sentence.

(da)kara is a conjunction ♪conjunction junction♪... -cough- Once again heading over to Tae Kim for help here. When making a compound sentence using the word "because" you need to start with the reason, and end with the result.

This is a little backwards compared to English because naturally we cite the result before the reason.
"I didn't go because I didn't have time" VS Japanese "Because I didn't have time, I didn't go" or... how it's literally written... "I didn't have time because I didn't go"

You use "kara" when connecting two complete sentences that end in a verb... and you use "dakara" when connecting a sentence that ends in a noun or a verb to your next sentence. Otherwise that "kara" will be mistaken for the word "from" (also kara)

To take the example from Tae Kim (sorry sorry sorry!)
Tomodachi kara puresento ga kita
the present came from a friend
Tomodachi dakara puresento ga kita
the present came because (that person is) friend

You can leave off the end part of a "because" compound sentence just as long as it's still understood through context... I think most of the example sentences are missing the result part of the sentence*

But: (da)kedo: (だ)けど
Shikashi: しかし
(Da)Ga: (だ)が
Demo: でも

*GRAMMAR: These seem to be fairly interchangeable... just remember that "demo" is to be used at the beginning of a new sentence... and not like "moshi" or "nazenara" It's not a two part sentence piece. The others sit between two sentences with little structural change... however for the most part I'll be using "(da)kedo". Same rules as "(da)kara" I believe (you'll get these confused often probably, don't worry. :3 you'll get it!)


Because I like it
(nazenara) watashi wa suki dakara
(なぜなら) わたし は すき だから

If you want
(moshi) anata wa hoshikereba
(もし) あなた は ほしければ

He likes animals but he eats meat
Kare wa doubutsu ga suki dakedo niku o tabemasu.
かれ は どうぶつ が すき だけど にく をたべます。

He likes animals but he eats meat.
Kare wa doubutsu ga suki desu, shikashi niku o tabemasu.
かれ は どうぶつ が すき です、 しかし にく お たべます

He likes animals but he eats meat.
Kare wa doubutsu ga suki daga niku o tabemasu.
かれ は どうぶつ が すき だが にく お たべます

Because he drinks
(nazenara) kare ga nomu kara.
(なぜなら) かれ が のむ から
you'll notice the result of this man's drinking is omitted... in a real conversation we'd have that information through context at least

I hope this was informative. :( I know there aren't a whole bunch of example sentences with this one... but hopefully it gives you some idea of how these work.

My personal advice, try to memorize these example sentences. Once you have them memorized you can replace the words in the sentences to construct new sentences. That's really how we learn our native languages as children anyway... memorizing grammatically correct examples of sentences and replacing words.

Anyway. As always feel free to discuss, add to, or even correct this lesson in the comments, as well as ask and answer questions if you wish!

Next Lesson
Previous Lesson
First Lesson
Table of Contents

April 9, 2016



I have endless trouble with Japanese compound sentences as well.


;A; glad it's not just me! XD I understand the concept but in practice it's just... just UGH.


If you want (moshi) anata wa hoshikereba (もし) あなた は ほしければ (もし)あなたは欲しければ

(もし) あなた が ほしければ




「もし(あなたが)水が欲しいなら、その水飲んでもいいよ。」←I don't care

3「もし欲しければ」「もし欲しいのなら」は私には関係無い、どうでもいい、勝手にすれば? というような冷たくてキツイ、失礼な言い方なのであまり使いません。普通は↓をつかいます


↑”私が” あなたに水を持っていくことができる



友達や家族なら 「(もし)よかったら水飲む?」や もしあなたが望むなら「手伝おうか?」で十分です。

もし困っている日本人を見たらあなたから手伝ってあげてください。何故なら日本人は「手つだって」と言うのが 相手にとって迷惑になると思っているからです。

もし こまっている にほんじんを みたら あなたから てつだってあげて ください。  なぜなら にほんじんは てつだって と いうのが あいてにとって めいわく になるとおもって  いるから です。


Over the past 1-2 weeks I've been working on making a memrise course based on these lessons. It's been pretty easy, I normally understand new concepts quickly. But then Japanese compound sentences came along, and I'm just. All I can think is "?????"

So far this is the most difficulty I have ever had with Japanese!


OH YEAH. Japanese compound sentences for some reason are just REALLY HARD. I'm going to try and go back through these lessons and see if I can post any more clarifying detail and possibly some links to other sites to help.

Even I still don't get them, but I found that writing them out in a lesson has sort of helped me grasp it a little bit more.


Slowly but surely, I'm getting it!

By the way, you have "Because I like it" and "If you want" translated as 私が好きだから and あなたが欲しければ but doesn't that translate as "because I like me" and "If I want you"? (I use "I" because the pronoun was omitted in the Japanese). I think you meant to use は instead of が, because doesn't が denote the thing being liked/wanted?


@_@ GAH! Don't worry this sort of thing happens to me a lot. XD You're absolutely right on those corrections. Don't know why I had "ga" on the brain. (maybe because the lesson after this one has a lot of "ga" in it)

Ga does denote the thing being liked/wanted. :) It would only act like a subject marker in compound sentences like "I play while she sleeps" or w/e. XD That's in the next lesson anyway.

Thanks again!! It's fixed now!!


Hi Demon-Kiyomi. I came to say thanks for all your hard work in writing lessons, and when I saw you'd done 45 I assumed you'd be way ahead of me in the Japanese reverse tree! Because I basically zipped through it right until I got to the compound sentences, and it's been months, and they're still tripping me up on a daily basis. Well done for tackling it and trying to make sense of it all.


:) Thank you! It's okay. Compound sentences still trip me up too. It wasn't until writing this lesson that it sort of clicked for me. XD these sentences have been a pain in my side for years now. TBH I'm not many lessons ahead of where we are now either. I've tripped up at careers (why are job names so haaaard?!) and I'm currently trudging through adjectives... Don't worry. These sort of language walls come up all the time. Just chip at them whenever you come across them, and otherwise move on to other things in the language (vocabulary, other grammar) and eventually (and suddenly O_O) one day that wall will crumble and it'll be like "..... REALLY!? WHY DIDN'T I GET THAT BEFORE?! a;klgh;aeth;"

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.