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"I do not read a lot of books."


June 15, 2017



My Japanese friend says this is a more accurate translation 『私はたくさんの本を読みません』.


Your friend is correct. For the English sentence provided, the above Japanese is the correct translation because "I don't read a lot of books" refers to the amount of books being read ie. Takusan is an adjective and describes the amount of books being read. If however you want to describe the negative frequency of books being read then you would use anmari because it is an adverb and describes/modifies verbs. If the English sentence was "I rarely read books" then "hon wo anmari yomimasen" would be correct.


Where is the n in anmari coming from and shouldn't it be "hon wo amari yomimasu"


This is what one of my native Japanese friend told me "「あまり」is formal expression. 「あんまり」is casual one."


That is curious - my sanseido waei dictionary has あんまり but not あまり. Curious that the casual one is in the dictionary but not the formal one, no?


it could differ from a region to another, also?


Good spotting! It seems they have missed it out. It should be あんまり。And no the verb wouldn't be positive because anmari goes with a negative verb.


Perhaps it's an instance of both being correct, but in the appendix of げんき 1 it's listed as あまり (amari).


In my じしょ it says あんまり and I've only ever learnt it as あんまり. Maybe it is easier for Duolingo to just spell it as あまり rather than try to explain why the ん is pronounced so faintly.


Yeah I learned あんまり as well and I'm pretty sure I've heard it used in Japan but it seems both are correct according to the kun readings of the kanji 余り you can see on the right column at : http://jisho.org/search/%E3%81%82%E3%82%93%E3%81%BE%E3%82%8A


So why this phrase uses "は" instead of "を"?


Yeah i'm still confusing the use of them, what would be the difference of context between:

本をあまり読みません and 本はあまり読みません ?

Thanks in advance for your help and your explanation


Still noone to help us on this question ?

Thanks in advance for your help


@undresabino: Thanks but what about the sentence with を?


Well, I could only come to this: it's the same structure as one from previous lessons, showing up in sentences like "ご飯は食べます"; "お茶は飲みません". So, in this structure, the person who acts is omitted (in the examples given, notice it's not the things being mentioned that perform the actions), that's why "ご飯" and "お茶" are placed as the subject of the sentences (through the particle は). The full sentences would be "ご飯は僕が食べます" (僕 = ぼく; it could be translated as "About rice, I eat it" or simply "I eat rice"; the particle が indicates the person who acts) and "お茶は僕が飲みません" (it could be translated as "About tea, I don't drink it" or simply "I don't drink tea"). I think it's due to kenjougo (humble language - 謙譲語), through which the Japanese speak about themselves but try to avoid doing it directly.


It shouldn't be. O is the proper particle for reading. This is dumb.


They mean the same thing. It just depends on whether you want the topic of the sentence to be you or the book. Which do you want to emphasize? That’s the “topic”. We don’t have the same concept in English. There are no subjects in Japanese. Topics and objects but no subjects.


Yeah, you've already said it ; )


But regarding the subject, are you sure about it? Isn't the sentence structure in Japanese an SOV?


That's confusing, i had the option in the first time i saw this to use takusan which it recommended, but the second time it offered only amari. I guess both are close enough for duolingo to consider them correct?


Yes, it is but we aren't covering attaching adverbal phrases to nouns :3


But is the use of "wa" appropriate in the sentence. Wouldnt "wo" fit better?


wa is always a topic marker. in the comments' example, wa marks watashi as the topic, then uses wo to connect the book to the action being done to it. in the original sentence, the object of the action (the book) is not directly connected to the action of reading. so Wa is used to mark book as the topic, and you can infer that it is an action from the adverb amari. I think wo is used to directly connect the object to the verb, if there is an extra word in between it seems like we shouldnt use wo


I have only ever used amari as an adverb, so I would have used wo as the particle.


Following this


No, because the emphasis is supposed to be on the AMOUNT of books he reads, not the object (books) itself.


Sentence is using a negative so the "wo" that is usually there becomes a "wa"


Why たくさんのほん instead of ほんのたくさん?


because the first shows amount (takusan) of (no) item/s (books) - the latter would be book/s of a lot. In other words, in your first example you have an adjective modifying/describing a noun - this is correct. In your second example you have a noun modifying an adjective - grammatically incorrect/impossible.


Why not たくさん?


amari is negative


あんまり goes with a negative verb, but it is an adverb - a describing word that describes verbs - and hence cannot be negative.


It SHOULD be たくさん because it describes the amount of books being read - not the frequency as the adverb あんまり does.


"I do not read a lot" refers to frequency, but appending "of books" does make it appear to refer to quantity. However, the two seem functionally identical (can you read often without reading a lot?) and I think a casual speaker would plausibly use the phrase to refer to frequency.

Perhaps it should be "I do not read books a lot"? Or "Books: I don't read them a lot."


You can read often but either read long books or read slowly


You can read a lot of fanfiction. Or manga. Or news articles. I once had a year where I read every day, often at least an hour, but read maybe one actual book. That year, I read a lot. I did not read a lot of books, however.


Agreed. Although they might seem functionally identical however adjectives and adverbs are not functionally identical - the former describes only nouns and the latter verbs.


Gave you a lingot in the hopes that Duolingo may read your comments and change their poor translation.


this is weird, the english sentence implies reading many books, but the answer is about rately reading books


Yes, you're right.


Does that means 「本はたくさん読みません」should be accepted?


I am confused, I think the sentence "I do not read a lot of books" should be [私はたくさんの本を読みません]. the sentence "I do not read books a lot" should be [本はあまり読みません] Am I correct or not? Please help!!


So, I think I understand that あまり読みません is not a double negative (like "I don't read books not often") because あまり is only used in negative sentences. Is that right? Is there a way to phrase this that WOULD be translated as a double negative?


I still don't get the difference between は, を and が. In which cases should each one of them be used?


Why is the book wa and not o? This sounds to me like books dont read a lot, not books are not read a lot.


I think: 本をたくさん読みません should be the right answer. It says, I do not read many books, not I do not read books a lot/often.


It says よみ for 読 and the same for 読み... Very confusing


How is it は and not が? I said to myself before answering it surely wouldn't be 本が, because that would mean "Books, I don't read a lot", in a conversation about what you read (internet forums, magazines, books...), instead of being a general statement.




Why is it wa when it's negative and wo when it's positive?


Wo (pronounced "o") is a particle denoting the object, so "I (the subject) like books (the object)" books would be denoted with "o". In the case of saying you don't like something, you generally use "wa", which denotes the topic, to make your sentence clear. It's basically emphasis. "As for books (the topic), I don't like them", but bc Japanese relies heavily on context, you omit both the subject and now the object "As for books, don't like". That's my understanding!



Hm, I'm kinda curious why this doesn't use を instead of は. Does あまり change how that works here..? (Or is は sometimes valid with verbs?)


たくさん本を読みません I wrote this, why is it wrong?


Your word order is incorrect. You could arguably have it in this word order but you would need a の to help たくさん modify 本. However, 本を たくさん 読みません is more common.


I see, thank you! What confused me a bit is that あまり読みません is like sort of like a redundancy, if you were to translate it literally it would actually mean the opposite right? It would mean that "I don't read little" which is a weird expression in english, but it does exist in spanish for example "no leo poco" which means you actually read a lot. Then you can basically say the same thing with either of these? あまり読みません たくさん読みません And what about あまり読みます? All of these would be expressing pretty much the same thing wouldn't they?


You're confused about the different parts of Japanese speech. たくさん and あんまり cannot be used to say the same thing because they are different parts of speech - たくさん is an adjective - it describes the amount of reading. あんまり is an adverb and it is ONLY ever used with a negative verb - it describes the negative frequency of the verb ie. the negative frequency of how often the speaker reads, in this instance.

本を たくさん 読みません I don't read a lot of books (たくさん is describing the amount of books that the speaker reads)

本を あんまり 読みません I don't really read books a lot (ie. I don't .....often - あんまり is describing the (negative) frequency of the speaker's reading)

あんまり 読みます - this would just never happen as あんまり is only ever used with a negative verb.


How would you say this in informal/casual Japanese?


Why is が incorrect?


が is a subject marker. With transitive verbs, it marks who/what is doing the verb. In this case, the books are obviously not reading. They are not the subject, but rather the direct object - the thing the verb is being done to. Direct objects are marked with を (for affirmative verbs) or with either を or は (for negative verbs). The choice between を and は is up to personal preference on what you're trying to say with the sentence. を is basically just a statement of fact with no added nuance, while は is a "contrasting" particle in this usage and is implying that you don't read a lot of books, but maybe you do read other stuff. Duo basically always uses は with negative transitive verbs, but を is grammatically fine, too.


All of Duolingo's lessons use あまり in the negative (with ません). Would it also be used in the positive?


このフレーズを承認していません! 本は愛された必要ですよ!

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