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4.1: Dialogue 1

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    Michael is on the project team headed by Ms. Tanaka. He has been given an assignment.

    Honda: Taihen desu ne. That’s a lot of work, isn’t it.

    大変 たいへん ですね。

    Tetsudaimashou ka Shall I help you?

    手伝 てつだ いましょうか。

    Michael: Ie, daijoubu desu. No, I’m fine.

    いえ、大丈夫 だいじょうぶ です。

    Ekuseru o tsukaimasu kara. I’ll use Excel, so...

    エクセルを使 つか いますから。

    Honda: Sou desu ka? Ja, ganbattekudasai. Are you sure? Well, then, good luck.


    Michael: Hai, ganbarimasu. Thanks (I’ll try hard.)



    Michael: Zenbu dekimashita! All Done!

    全部 ぜんぶ 、できました。

    Tanaka : Hayai desu nee! So fast!

    速い はやい ですねえ。


    taihen(na) たいへん(な) 大変 difficult, challenging

    tetsudaimasu てつだいます 手伝います help

    tetsudaimashou ka てつだいましょうか手伝いましょうか shall I help?

    ekuseru えくせる エクセル (Microsoft) Excel

    o を Object marking particle

    kara から because, so

    ganbatte kudasai がんばってください Good luck!

    banbarimasu がんばります I’ll do my best

    zennbu ぜんぶ 全部 all, the whole thing

    hayai はやい 早い fast, early

    +osoi おそい 遅い slow, late

    +dou shite どうして why

    +naze なぜ why (formal)

    +nan de なんで why (casual)

    +waado わあど ワード (Microsoft) Word

    +apuri あぷり アプリ app, application

    +intaanetto いんたあねっと インターネット internet

    +netto ねっと ネット internet

    +pawaapointo ぱわあぽいんと パワーポイント PowerPoint

    +fairu ふぁいる ファイル file

    +waifai わいふぁい Wi-Fi Wi-Fi

    Grammar Notes

    ~mashou, Suggesting or Offering to Do Something

    The –mashou form is made by changing -masu to -mashou. A verb in the - mashou form means ‘let’s do X’ or ‘why don’t I do X’. It is used to make a suggestion or offer to do something.

    Kaerimashou. Let’s go home.

    Tetsudaimashou ka? Shall I help you?

    While the speaker is always included as a doer of the action, the addressee might not be included depending on the context.

    Ekuseru o tsukai mashou. Let’s use Excel. Or, Why don’t I use Excel.

    Now, how do you respond to a suggestion or an offer made to you?

    • When suggested to do something:

    To accept -Sou shimashou. Let’s do that.

    To disagree politely -Iya, chotto…. No, just….

    • When someone has offered to do something for you:

    To accept it -Hai, onegai-shimasu. Yes, please.

    To turn it down -Ie, daijoubu desu. No thank you (I’m fine.)

    Note that the question form -mashou ka typically has a falling intonation. It is more polite than -mashou alone because the addressee can say no to the question.

    Verbs such as arimasu, dekimasu, and wakarimasu do not occur in the -mashou form because they all indicate something beyond one’s control.

    Particle O Marking the Object

    Every Japanese sentence has a subject, although it is not always explicitly stated. On the other hand, the occurrence of an object is more limited. This only occurs with certain verbs (transitive verbs, explained later) and usually does not occur in an adjective 3 or noun sentence. In Lesson 1, it was explained that the object of the verb is placed before the verb with or without the particles wa (contrast) or mo (addition). In this lesson, the particle o is added. Consider the following.

    Kore tabemasu. I’ll eat this.

    Kore wa tabemasu. This, I’ll eat (while I won’t eat that).

    Kore mo tabemasu. I’ll eat this, too.

    Kore o tabemasu. It’s this that I’ll eat.

    In all these sentences, kore is the object of the verb tabemasu. When the object is marked by the particle o, the focus is on this item and this item only as the one that you eat. So the last sentence above is typically the answer to the question of ‘what will you eat.’

    Depending on the context, what is focused on may be 1) the o-marked object alone or 2) the entire sentence, which presents new information that has not yet been mentioned in the conversation. A very common situation for 1) is in combination with question words (what, who, which, etc.) Question words are inherently focused and thus followed by the particle o (not wa or mo.) Similarly in a yes-no question, the object, when focused, is marked by the particle o.

    1) The object noun is focused. Dore o tabemasu ka. Which one will you eat?

    -Kore desu. It’s this.

    -Kore o tabemasu. I’ll eat this. (This is the one I’ll eat.)

    Now let’s see how yes-no questions are answered when the wrong object is presented. The following are two typical answers.

    Pasokon o tsukaimasu ka. Is it a laptop that you use?

    -Iya, pasokon ja nai desu. Sumaho desu.

    No, it’s not a laptop. It’s a smartphone (that I use.)

    -Iya, pasokon wa tsukaimasen. Sumaho o tsukaimasu.

    No, I don’t use a laptop. I use a smartphone.

    Note that in the second answer pasokon takes the particle wa, while sumaho takes the particle o. This is because sumaho is the focused item being newly presented. On the other hand, pasokon has been already mentioned and the particle wa here indicates that pasokon is in contrast to sumaho.

    2) The entire sentence presents new information.

    For example, in the dialogue above, the fact that Michael will use Excel is new information and explains why he does not need help. Here are more examples of this type.

    Dekakemasen ka? Won’t you go out?

    -Iya, nihongo o benkyou-shimasu. No, I’ll study Japanese.

    Purezen desu yo. It’s a presentation.

    -Ja, pawaapointo o tsukurimashou. Well then, let’s make PPT.

    Reason + Kara

    The clause particle kara connects two sentences together to make one. In the sequence of /Sentence A kara, Sentence B/, Sentence A represents the cause and Sentence B the effect.

    Takai desu kara, kaimasen. Because it’s expensive, I’ll not buy it.

    Wakarimasen kara kikimasu. Because I don’t understand it, I’ll ask.

    Sentence B can be left unsaid when it is understood from the context.

    Ikimasen ka. You are not going?

    -Ee, ame desu kara. Right, because it’s raining.

    The clause particles kara and kedo are opposites of each other. Compare the following.

    Takai desu kara, kaimasen. It’s expensive, so I’ll not buy it.

    Takai desu kedo, kaimasu. It’s expensive, but I’ll buy it.

    There are three Japanese words for ‘why.’ Dou shite is most common, naze more formal, and nan de is casual. Desu ka can directly follow them if the rest of the sentence is understood from the context.

    Dou shite kaimasen ka? Why don’t you buy it?

    Dou shite desu ka? Why is it (that you don’t buy it)?

    This page titled 4.1: Dialogue 1 is shared under a CC BY-NC license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Emiko Konomi (Portland State University Library) .

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