Translation:I cut down the tree in the yard last week.
This is true, but we should be doing a combo of reading and listening. I'm sure the previous post was correct: any native speaker would have instantly known what was being said which means it shouldn't matter whether we see the kanji or not. We have to learn how to recognize sentence structure and sound. In this case it might sound odd to have に come right after 先週 especially if it immediately has わ followed by の followed by 木. Reading に as a particle doesn't make sense because it begs the question "what does that make わ or わの?" If it's わ, what word is that? If it's わの, again, what word is that and why is it immediately followed by 木? Even with my limited knowledge I can tell straight off the bat that に isn't a particle and I do know a word にわ.
This is very true, and I agree 100% that even if it might look a bit strange, a native speaker or anyone with a good foundation in Japanese will know right away that it isn't a particle.
I also agree that having a に after 先週 is normally a bit odd. Usually a pause (先週、庭…) would be inserted after it rather than に anyway. Especially in casual conversation. That said, it's not necessarily incorrect to have one. A に when used with expressions of time is just a way of directly indicating that particular time. It's usually omitted on words that have no exact time, e.g. "last week" or "yesterday." "Last week" could have been 2 days ago, 5 days ago, etc. But it doesn't matter, hence the lack of に. There are times where it is required, and this in general is a bit of an oversimplification, but that's beyond the scope of this post.
The trouble I had with this sentence was that I thought 「わ」was the counter for birds and a 「木」was some strange type of bird (which doesn't make much sense, but it's still reasonable enough). With that assumption, "Last week, I cut two Ki's (which I know to be birds)" is technically grammatically correct. Now obviously that's not a very likely meaning, but it is possible and hence the lack of Kanji tripped me up.
This got me the first time a saw it. Hope they eventually switch to Kanji for words that normally use them.
先週[last week]庭の木[garden's tree]を[direct object particle]切りました[did cut]。
Kanji and spaces. They do the Kanji now if only we could convince them about the use of spaces :)
The japanese language ot not written with spaces to distinguish words, kanji and punctuation assist with context when reading japanese. It makes more sense to NOT have spaces because it helps attain fluency in japanese. What I wish they would add is to use more kanji with furigana in the first few uses of a new kanji.
The もく pronunciation also means "tree" or "wood" but it's used in different situations, usually but not always in combination with other kanji, such as 木材 (もくざい = "lumber", "timber") or 木造 (もくぞう = "wooden", "made of wood").
木 (pronounced もく) is also used as an abbreviation of 木曜日 (もくようび) which means "Thursday".
I can easily understand that, due to having the modifier "にわの木" the preferred translation might be "THE tree." But with Japanese having neither articles nor usually plurals (except pronoun plurals or a collective prefix), neither "A tree" nor "Trees" should be marked wrong, though "a tree," just was.
I wrote "I cut the trees in the garden last week" (trimmed them).
Although my answer was accepted anyway, I'm wondering if you can actually "cut down" a tree with merely "きりました" ?
I would have thought you'd instead use 切り倒す (きりたおす) ?
Or is this "きりました" meant to be as in 伐る rather than 切る ?
This is an interesting question. My dictionary does indeed give 木を伐る as a set expression meaning "to fell a tree", but also 切る as "to cut (usu. to cut through), to sever", so either way, I believe the implication is that the tree trunk is being cut, rather than its foliage.
As for what verb to use instead if you wanted to say "trim", I'm not entirely sure if this is more common/normal, but you could use 刈る (かる). Having a quick browse through my dictionary though, it seems that "to trim/prune a tree" uses 枝 (えだ = "branch", "bough") as the object, rather than 木, which may be the more natural way to say it in Japanese.
Ki is usually stand-alone. Literally tree. Moku is usually in combination with other kanji to make a more complex word. It’s like Latin based components in English. For example, the word “out” literally means out, but the prefix “ex” means out or PERTAINS to outward things and is used in combination with other words. Like: exclude, exit, extra, etc. 木材 = もくざい = lumber; 木造 = もくぞう = made of wood; 木曜日 = もくようび = Thursday (wood day). 木 = き = tree. This is how many kanji work.
It was used in earlier lessons to help separate words but its not generally used. Either way would be fine.