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Japanese Lesson 44: Prepositions part 3

^_^ So let's move right on ahead into Prepositions part 3. Thankfully for the most part these act like their English counterparts. So there's really not a whole lot going on grammatically, which is a nice break from those pesky conjunctions.

Let's continue:


After: Ato: あと: 後

Out: Soto: そと: 外

Under: No Shita ni: の した に: の下に

Off: (they mean "take off" eg: a coat) Nugu: ぬぐ: 脱ぐ

During: Aida: あいだ: 間
During: Naka ni: なか に: 中に

Among: No aida ni: の あいだ に: の間に
Among: No naka ni: の なか に: の中に

Behind: No ushiro ni: の うしろ に: の後ろに

LOOKOUT: "after" (ato) and "behind" (ushiro) share a kanji!! 後!! This may seem daunting to many of you. A shared Kanji with different pronunciations may seem intimidating but you'll eventually get the hang of them. We have these in English too! Like read (present tense) and read (past tense) or lead (eg: a group) vs lead (the metal)... or wind (eg: a toy) and wind (moving air). :) You'll learn to tell what a kanji should sound like by context I promise.


I am behind you
Watashi wa anata no ushiro ni imasu.
わたし は あなた の うしろ に います。

The woman goes out.
Onna wa soto demasu.
おんな は そと でます。

*NOTE: ↑ Ah that was probably a little unexpected wasn't it. We haven't really covered "Deru" (出る) have we? Deru means "leave". You'll often hear it in anime more as a command 「出て行け!」"Deteike!" (GET OUT OF HERE!!!)

When talking about leaving somewhere (eg: home) we don't use "go" (iku) 「行く」like you would think. In these cases we use "deru" instead.

You'll also see 出る marking exits!! ^_^ (and 入れる marking entrances but we're getting off subject...)*

Take off your coat
Anata no ko-to o nuginasai.
あなた の コート を ぬぎなさい

*NOTE: Have we covered "nasai"? Well even if we have here's a brush up. "-nasai" is a conjugation that's a lot like the "te" form. It's a command and it's ..... less harsh? .... or more harsh? .... it's an odd denomination of harsh. Here's the best way I've heard it explained: "-nasai" is like when your mom's probably asked you to do something more than once and she's starting to get just a liiiiittle annoyed. She'd tack "-nasai" at the end of whatever she's asking you to do.

Like you've slept in until NOON and so your mom's come to get you she'd tell you "Okinasaaaaiiii" in that "I cannot BELIEVE you're still asleep" tone. You know the one.

To conjugate for this conjugate the base of your verb like you would for a "masu" ending, and then just tack on that "nasai" instead. BAM! Instant Mom command.*

They drink coffee after lunch.
Karera wa chuushokugo de ko-hi- o nomimasu.
かれら は ちゅうしょくご あと で こーひー を のみます。

EDIT: As it turns outsticking "ato" at the end of a kanji compound actually changes the sound in these cases. In this case "ato" changes it's sound to "go" So the correct pronunciation would be "chuushokugo"

*NOTE: well I did say that the grammar was MOSTLY the same. You'll notice this sentence switches around the words a little bit. The verb HAS to go at the end, and it's best to keep the noun that the verb is happening to close at hand... so "coffee" and "drink" go at the end of our sentence while "after" and "lunch" hang back.

Contrary to what I keep thinking should happen, we don't need the possessive particle "の" to tell us that that "after" belongs to "lunch". We just slap "ato" 後 to the end of whatever thing we're talking about. "After lunch" ? "Lunch後". "After school"? "School後" Just slap that on there. No particles for us. NO SIR!

That brings us to the particle "de" で Which is completely optional in this case. -shrugs- it's just more natural to me, so I use it. The particle "de" is kind of an alternate form of "ni" it can indicate a place, or a time period, ... or even what something is made of! (which "ni" cannot do by the way)... it's also used to indicate what mode of transportation you came by (which "ni" also can't do) but we'll cover those uses at a later date. In this case "de" is just acting as a little emphasis time indicator... if that makes sense. ... You'll come across quite a few of these as you go. Optional particles that you'll use just because it comes off as more natural to you.... but yeah. In this sentence "de" is totally optional.*

The mouse is among the cats.
Nezumi wa neko no aida ni imasu.
ねずみ は ねこ の あいだ に います。

they gave me the option to use "no naka ni" which means "in the middle of" ... but really that comes off as the mouse is inside the cats... well to me anyway.

His book is under the newspaper.
Kare no hon wa shinbun no shita ni arimasu.
かれ の ほん は しんぶん の した に あります。

I read during the meal.
Watashi wa shokuji no aida yomimasu.
わたし は しょくじ の あいだ よみます。

I read during the meal.
Watashi wa shokujichuu ni yomimasu.
わたし は しょくじちゅう に よみます。

EDIT: 中 also changes it's sound when put into a compound. It changes it's sound to "chuu" so in this case "in the middle of a meal" would be "shokujichuu"

NOTE: I bet you're starting to see a pattern here. Quite a few of these words (de, aida, naka) 「で、間、中」 can refer to either time, or the physical placement of something. Which actually isn't too far from English either. Have you ever said "I'm right in the middle of something." ? You don't generally mean you're PHYSICALLY in the center of something, though it CAN mean that too. Same thing. I don't know if these words sharing a temporal and physical meaning makes this easier or harder. 間 and 中 can pretty much be literally translated as "in the middle of"... if that helps the translation process. So you can be "in the middle of a bunch of cats" 猫達の間に... Or you can be "reading in the middle of a meal" 食事の間読みます。 ....... I hope I haven't over-complicated this....

If I have managed to make this even more confusing please let me know and I will try to make a better explanation. Whether I need to add more detail or simplify it some more.

Thanks for continuing to support my lessons. I hope to provide you more as I have the time. :) Please comment, point out typos, ask questions, expand on stuff etc. as always. I do come by during the week to read comments and things even when I'm not posting.

Happy learning!

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May 18, 2016



As much as I think this is a nice initiative, I couldn't help but notice that you've made some mistakes. First of all I wouldn't say "あなたのコート", it's not something Japanese people would say. "コート" in itself would be enough if you're using formal language. "昼食後で" isn't chuushoku ato de but rather chuushokugo de, because of the way kanji compounds work. Similarly, "食事中" should be read as "shokujichuu". I don't mean to be rude or disencourage you but you might be teaching people incorrect information.


Thank you for pointing out mistakes I have made. You'll notice that corrections have been made to 昼食後 and 食事中.

I know that in Japanese pronouns should be avoided at all costs. However Duolingo sometimes doesn't accept the omission of pronouns. The point of these lessons is to be used in tandem with the English for Japanese tree so I find translating straight across yields the best results. That being said I've received many of these sorts of comments so I think I'll just be putting that note in every lesson from here on.

It is my policy to make corrections to my lessons as soon as I receive them because it is not my intention to spread misinformation. So I thank you again for your contribution. Also not to be rude but "Disencourage" is not a word. You're looking for "discourage"


The woman goes out. Onna wa soto demasu. おんな は そと でます。 ↑これでも意味は分かりますが(日本語は語順がゆるいので)”へ”か”に”をいれないと単語をただ繋げただけになってしまいます。





I go to (the) hospital.のnuanceと似ているかもしれません。





They drink coffee after lunch. 1Karera wa chuushokugo ni ko-hi- o nomimasu.

かれら は ちゅうしょくご に こーひー を のみます。


2Karera wa chuushoku no ato de ko-hi- o nomimasu.

かれら は ちゅうしょく の あと で こーひ- を のみます。


3Karera wa chuushoku no ato ni ko-hi- o nomimasu.

かれら は ちゅうしょく の あと に こーひー を のみます。


昼食後=昼食+後 なので 「昼食後、後で」はまだギリギリ使えるかもしれませんが「昼食後あとで」は同じ意味が重なっています(重複)ので間違いです。

↑2の 「あと ”で” 」は昼食のあと↓の時間にコーヒーを飲む。すぐとは限らない。


↑3の 「あと ”に” 」は昼食に続いてコーヒーを飲む。 食べる→飲む の順番になっています。

昼食を食べ始める→食べ終える→コーヒーを飲む 現在の時点や習慣

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