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Showing signs of something
In this lesson, we'll learn various expressions involving how to describe people who are expressing themselves without words.
For example, we'll learn how to say expressions in Japanese such as "They acted as if they were saying goodbye," "He acted disgusted," and
"She acts like she wants to go."
Showing outward signs of an emotion using 「~がる」
The 「~がる」 grammar is used when you want to make an observation about how someone is feeling. This is simply an observation based on some type of
sign(s). Therefore, you would not use it for your own emotions since guessing about your own emotions is not necessary. This grammar can only be used with
adjectives so you can use this grammar to say, "He is acting scared," but you cannot say "He acted surprised," because "to be surprised" is a verb in Japanese
and not an adjective.
This grammar is also commonly used with a certain set of adjectives related to emotions such as: 「嫌」、「怖い」、「嬉しい」、or 「恥ずかしい」.
Using 「~がる」 for observing the emotions or feelings of others
For i-adjectives: First remove the trailing 「い」 from the i-adjective and then attach 「がる」
例） 怖い → 怖がる
For na-adjectives: Just attach 「がる」 to the end of the na-adjective
例） 重宝 → 重宝がる
All adjectives that are conjugated with 「~がる」 become an u-verb
not act scared
didn't act scared
- Hurry up and come here. What are you acting all embarrassed for?
- My girlfriend is the type to show dislike towards getting woken up early in the morning.
- Our child acts afraid about entering a pool without any reason.
This grammar is also used to observe very frankly on what you think someone other than yourself wants.
which is essentially a verb conjugated to an i-adjective. This type of grammar is more suited for things like narration in a story
and is rarely used in this fashion for normal conversations because of its impersonal style of observation. For casual conversations, it is more common to
「カレーを食べたいですか。」 or 「カレーを食べたいですよね。」
- [He] soon acts like wanting to use computer as soon as [he] gets home.
- Everybody is acting like they want to go to Italy but it's suspicious whether I can go or not going by my budget.
- My wife was showing signs of wanting a Louis Vuitton bag but there's no way I can buy something like that!
「~がる」 is also used with 「屋」 to indicate a type of person that often feels a certain way such as 「恥ずかしがり屋」 (one who easily feels or acts embarrassed)、
「寒がり屋」 (one who easily feels cold)、or 「暑がり屋」 (one who easily feels hot).
- I'm the type who easily gets cold and so living in Minnesota was painful.
Using 「ばかり」 to act as if one might do something
We just learned how to observe the emotions and feelings of other by using 「~がる」 with adjectives. But what about verbs? Indeed, there is a separate grammar
used to express the fact that someone else looks like they are about to do something but actually does not. Similar to the 「~がる」 grammar, this is usually not
used in normal everyday conversations. I have seen it several times in books and novels but have yet to hear this grammar in a conversation.
For the regular non-past, non-negative verb, you must first conjugate the verb to the negative ending with 「ん」,
necessary except to just add 「ばかり」 to the verb. The most common verb used with this grammar is 「言う」 . It is also usually used with the 「に」
target particle attached to the end of 「ばかり」.
Using 「ばかり」 to indicate that one seems to want to do something
例） 言う → 言わない → 言わん → 言わんばかり
For all other tenses: Simply attach 「ばかり」 to the end of the verb
例） 言わなかった → 言わなかったばかり
Summary of basic conjugations
as if to say
as if [she] doesn't say
as if [she] said
as if [she] didn't say
- The ball was expanding as if it was going to explode.
- She ignored him as if to say, "You have nothing to do with this."
- Has a calm face as if [he] didn't say anything during the fight yesterday.
Using 「めく」 to indicate an atmosphere of a state
By now, you're probably thinking, "Ok, we've done adjectives and verbs. What about nouns?" As a matter of fact, there is a similar grammar that is used
usually for nouns and na-adjectives. It is used to indicate that something is showing the signs of a certain state. Unlike the 「~がる」 grammar, there is
no action that indicates anything; merely the atmosphere gives off the impression of the state.
Just like the previous grammar we learned in this section, this grammar has a list of commonly used nouns such as 「謎」、「秘密」、or 「皮肉」.
This grammar is used by simply attaching 「めく」 to the noun or na-adjective. The result then becomes a regular u-verb.
Using 「めく」 to indicate that one seems to want to do something
Simply attach 「めく」 to the noun or na-adjective. The result then becomes a regular u-verb.
例） 謎 → 謎めく
Summary of basic conjugations
not puzzling atmosphere
not puzzled atmosphere
* I suppose the negative tenses are theoretically possible but probably not practically.
The most common tense is by the far the past tense.
- With the leaves starting to change color, the air came to become quite autumn like.
- Even having that kind of puzzled look done to me, I can't explain it very well, you know.
- You'll make everyone dislike you if you keep speaking with that ironic tone, you know.
For a whole slew of additional real world examples, check out the jeKai entry.
It states that the grammar can be used for adverbs and other parts of speech but none of the numerous examples show this and even assuming it's possible, it's
probably not practiced in reality.
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