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"Please look up difficult kanji in your dictionary."


June 19, 2017



"Hiku" is a Japanese word that happens to have a lot of idiomatic uses. It basically means something like the English verb "pull" or "draw" but it often seems simply to fill the role of verb in expressions such as "jisho wo hiku" or "piano wo hiku" where the action has, at least to the English speaking mind, litte to do with pulling. In such cases the idiom just has to be remembered and the appropriate translation has to be what describes the action required with the object of "hiku" as in "consult a dictionary" or "play a piano." This is more of a vocabulary problem than a grammar problem. It is similar to the problem of learning all the uses of "to fix" in English.


Still, there must be some reason for this word/kanji being used so


I studied shuuji/shodou for ten years, and that’s what my teacher used to say: You just have to know….


Why is "difficult kanji" not considered a direct object here? It would be the DO in English right? "In a dictionary" would be a prepositional phrase modifying the verb? Any help appreciated :)


When I looked up the verb 引く(ひく), it doesn't really mean "look up (something)." It may be more helpful to think of it as "to use (something)". If you think of it this way, the sentence means, Please use the dictionary for difficult kanji. And that means "the dictionary" is the direct object.

What confuses me, is why some of the sentences use the を participle and others use で for the dictionary.


In this case, the meaning of "ひく" is seaches for the meaning of the difficult kanji OR make sure the difficult kanji with dictionaries.

The "で" has been used for making sure it with something in this case. For example, "じしょ"で"ひく", this means to check about something it and then make sure it, and then "じしょ"を"ひく", this means to use dictionaries. BUT for example if you listen, "くるま"で"いく", this means to go somewhere by car. The meaning of "で" is changed like this.

Even though I am an native Japanese, it is difficult to understand it.


I wonder the same thing.


It's more like, "As for difficult kanji, please consult the dictionary", the way that it's written.


The particle "wa" marks the topic rather than the subject of the sentence. It says that the predication (the verbal structure to follow) applies to what it marks. Often the topic is the "subject" of the verb but it does not have to be. Here it is not. ("(What I'm talking about is) difficult kanji (and what I'm saying is) look them up in the dictionary.)


Since "jisho" is marked by "wo" I wonder what the structure would be if the sentence were "The students look difficult kanji up in the dictionary."


難しい (difficult) 漢字 (kanji) は辞書 (dictionary) を引いて (look up)ください


Could you use で instead of を after じしょ?


じしょをひく is a set phrase meaning "consult the dictionary." (ひく also means "pull" or "play an instrument," so maybe you're pulling the dictionary off the shelf?) If you're going to break up the phrase, I suppose you could use で to indicate the means by which you're doing something.


is word order flexible here in natural speech? i put じしょを first (but then muzukashii kanji wa etc. etc.) and was marked wrong


It is flexible but the direct object phrase almost always appears to the direct left of the verb. And the verb will almost always be at the end of a phrase. You can explore alternative word orders if you wish but native speakers are going to think you odd and foreign speakers might not understand what you're trying to say.


Your information is always helpful. Thanks!


The word order is very flexible in Japanese, but I guess Duo sticks to the most common one.


why not "muzukashii kanji wo jisho de hiite kudasai"?


Why it isnt "あなたの辞書で難しい漢字を引いてください"?


Japanese language usually drops prepositions (he, she, you etc.) due to its contextual nature, you can specify like you did but without adding あなた the same sentence can be used to address an entire class instead of one person.


"Pronouns" vice "prepositions"


辞書で難しい漢字を引いてください was my answer but was marked wrong. Is it justified? In the English sentence here, apparently difficult kanji is the direct object to the verb look up. However, in the model answer, dictionary becomes the direct object.


This answer was accepted as of 19th Sep, 2020. It makes more sense in my mind as well that the "difficult kanji" is the object that you're looking up and "dictionary" is the "by means of" part. I would also like an explanation of why Duo's answer is what it is.


If 辞書 is the direct object, and 言葉 is the topic with 引く, what particles would you use for "He looked up the word in a dictionary." 「彼_言葉_辞書_引きました」?


Possibly 彼 は 言葉 を 辞書 で 引きました。Here the で means "by means of." I've seen both で and を used with 辞書_引いてください in duolingo lessons, but I'm not 100% sure when each is appropriate or if they are interchangeable in this context.


I write it like this and got accepted 難しいかんじをじしょで引いてください How about it, sounds good and natural or something else?


引くtakes on the meaning of 'refer to' here


Is it just me or does the particle "を"sometimes go before "辞書"? As in sometimes: "この ことば を じしょ で ひきました " and other times "この ことば は じしょをひきました ".


No audio for female voice for 引い


No audio for any of the kanji for me in male voice. I reported it, but I wonder if these reports of non-working audio actually make a difference.


What is the different between consult and look up


Generally you consult a dictionary, but look up a word. Unless, maybe, you're looking up a dictionary so you can then consult it.

[deactivated user]

    Your dictionary should be translated to あなた の 辞書, right?


    From what I understand, あなた is used only when you don't actually know the person's name. It's super formal and actually kind of rude in some situations. Generally, you'd either leave it out and let context do the work, or you'd actually say the person's name. The exception would be a wife talking to her husband, in which case あなた is kind of a pet name.


    I think 「調べてください(しらべてください)」is better than 「引いてください(ひいてください).

    in your dictionary: 「あなたの辞書で」in a dictionary:「辞書で」

    Please look up difficult kanji in your dictionary. 「難しい漢字はあなたの辞書で調べてください」


    can 調べる (フリガナ:しらべる) not be used to mean "look up" in the same sense as 引く is used here?  例:難しい漢字を辞書で調べてください 

    Also, what is the difference between 辞典、辞書、and 辞林? Are they all essentially interchangeable?


    At least teach me this BEFORE you test me on it, Duo.


    私は辞書を引きます。という例文では、look upを使うと間違いになりました。consultでした。 統一性がないです。


    Posted by N. Mai

    "学生達は辞書を引いて難しい漢字を調べます" May I ask why it's 引いて? How do the 2 clauses of this sentence connect?

    I can't reply directly to this since we've hit maximum comment depth, so I'm posting this as a new comment instead.

    引いて is simply the て-form of the verb 引く, and it is this form that is connecting the sentences. The て-form works by connecting different parts of a sentence: this can be used for a lot of different things, but they all have that in common.

    E.g. in Duolingo's default translation for this sentence 「難しい漢字は辞書を引いてください。」, 引いて is being used to connect the sentence to ください and by so doing, making it into a polite request.

    As for the specific usage of the て-form that you were asking about, allow me to answer that by reference to A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar:

    (A₁: the action or state expressed by the first predicate; A₂: the action or state expressed by the second predicate)


    A₁ is the means by which someone does A₂ or the manner in which someone does A₂. Examples:

    (1) 僕は歩いて帰った。
    Boku wa aruite kaetta.
    (Lit. I walked and went home. (=I went home on foot.))

    (2) 健二は急いでご飯を食べた。
    Kenji wa isoide gohan o tabeta.
    (Lit. Kenji hurried and ate his meal. (=Kenji ate his meal in a hurry.))

    When we look back at our sentence, it can be easily broken down into two main parts: 「学生達は辞書を引きます。」(The students consult a dictionary) and 「難しい漢字を調べます」([They] look up difficult kanji). So if we break down the sentence as above:

    The students consult a dictionary and look up difficult kanji. (=The students look up difficult kanji in a dictionary.)


    Should be "as for difficult kanji, please consult a dictionary". I translated it to "辞書で難しい漢字を引いてください" instead because of that English translation


    難しい漢字を辞書で引いてください (Muzukashii kanji wo jisho de hiite kudasai) was also accepted

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