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  5. "Please read the letter immed…

"Please read the letter immediately."


October 27, 2017



Why can't I use を instead of は here?


If you’re asking me, both are correct. However, there is much more of は than it seems on the first glance. In this example, the sentence literally can be translated as “As for the letter, do read immediately.” This indicates that the speaker wants to talk about the letter.


in this case , both 「を」 and 「は」is correct.


Can anyone say why both are correct here?


読む is a transitive verb, so the normal way to say "please read the letter" is "てがみを読んでください”. But here は particle is used to emphasize topic and literal translation of てがみはすぐに読んでください may look like "Speaking of letter, read it immediately"


In the topic-comment structure, although our attention is being drawn first to the topic, it is the following comment about the topic which is the new, and therefore emphasized information, not the topic.


Not only grammatical subjects, but also direct objects can be made into topics. So you might say that the underlying particle is を, but if the direct object is made into a topic, you will use は instead.




What's the different between 読む, 読み, and 読んだ?


読む is the plain non-past form, that corresponds to the polite form 読みます, built on 読み. 読む is also the basic dictionary, or citation form, for looking the verb up in a dictionary. 読んだ is the plain past form, that corresponds to the polite form 読みました. The verb 'yomu' is a consonant stem (godan) verb, for which the stem is yom-: -u is added for the plain non-past final form (shūshikei), -i for the continuative (ren'yōkei), -a for the negative / 'imperfective' (mizenkei). Joined with a following て or た, the m at end of the stem assimilates (merges), adding voicing, resulting in で だ. Hence, 読んで (the progressive or command form used with ください) and 読んだ (the plain past form). The resulting forms may in many cases be further combined to produce additional forms.

A few examples: From 読み: 読みたい want to read, 読みながら while reading, 読みにくい difficult to read.

From 読ま: 読まないで (negative command form used with ください ...), 読まなければ (if one doesn't read).

There's a neat little graphic in the Wikipedia article on Japanese Verbs (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_verb_conjugation) that you can download too, if I haven't already overwhelmed you with you much info. :-)


Is the に required? My answer was accepted without it, but it seems that everyone else included it.


Does TSUGUNI mean immediately? If so, what was the word we learned for "next"?


すぐに means 'immediately' and つぎに (usually 次に) means 'next'


I answered with 「すぐに手紙は読んでください」and it was accepted. I'm not 100% clear on the rules for すぐ, but i know how I would interpret the sentences differently. In the provided answer, I see it as saying something like, "As for the letter, read its contents in a single instantaneous instant." Which is not exactly possible outside of manga and comicbooks. Whereas my answer i see as saying, "as for the letter, read it. Start doing this immediately." Does that make sense?


Can i use すぐ、てがみをよんでくださう?


I wrote すぐに手紙を読んでください  and it has been accepted...


So, did I but I'm wondering what the rules are for the placement of すぐに.


i agree, since word order isn't as rigid in japanese this should be accepted. also, it should be more flexible in terms of its translations. since すぐ translates to both "soon" and "immediately", other translations of both those words should also be accepted:




早速 (which i would argue translates best to "immediately")

i guess the problem is that all these forms are very contextual


I get that は emphasizes the letter as a topic, but does this imply the letter is part of a conversation or situation where the letter was already referenced? As I understand it, one should use が/を to reference the piece of information that is an answer to a question.

Examples: 窓は誰が開けましたか 窓は私が開けました

あまたは何を開けましたか 私は窓を開けました

昨日は何の映画を見ましたか 昨日はアキラを見ました

映画は何時を見ましたか 映画は昨日を見ました

This is bitterly confusing because I don't know if this can ONLY specifically apply to contrasting entities since there are several topics that do not need to be contrasted (this question included), so I would deeply appreciate some clarification.


I entered "手紙をすぐに読んでください" as my answer and it was accepted. It showed me this "手紙はすぐに読んでください。" as another correct solution. How does the sentence change when changing the particle from "を" to "は" in the sentences above?


を is a pretty neutral statement "please read the letter immediately"
は marks "letters" as the topic of the conversation implying that the letter is something known to both the speaker and the listener and already in the conversation, "As for the letter, please read it immediately". It also adds emphasis and shows contrast "read the letter, not something else"


It marked me wrong for having sugi ni before tegami wa. AIs this not a case where you can seitch those two aspects of this sentence around and its still proper?

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