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How do I express "that"

Bonnie00726

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Hello!
I have a rather weird/vague question. I’m not sure how to describe it. English is no my native language and I study Japanese in English since there are no enough resources in Polish. How do I translate the word “that?” I know there isn’t one answer to that. “that” has various meanings and uses.

  • as a determiner (followed by a noun): Give me that hammer.
In this case, it would be あの、この、その (そのハンマーをよこせ。)

  • as a demonstrative pronoun (without a following noun): Who gave you that?
これ、それ、あれ、(誰にそれをもらったの?)

  • as a conjunction (connecting two clauses): I didn’t know that she was married.

In this case, it’s going to be の or こと (There are collections as well and sometimes こと can be used but not の). Also, の&こと are nominalizers in this case. There's also a number of cases where neither would be used.

結構をしっているのは知らなかったよ。(I’m not sure if は is correct, maybe を would be better?)

  • as a relative pronoun (forming the subject, object, or complement of a relative clause):

It’s a song that my mother taught me.

Since there are no relative pronouns in Japanese, we have to attach the sentence “my mother taught me” to the noun 歌.

母が教えてくれた歌です。

  • as an adverb (before an adjective or adverb): Three years? I can’t wait that long.
こんな、そんな、あんな (そんなに待てません。)

Are there any other ways to express “that?”
 

Bonnie00726

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I think you have covered most of the various usages. Well done, by the way.
Thanks! I'm still quite unsure how to phrase my sentences such as "I'm afraid that; I'm glad that; I'm sorry that"
What did you intend to say in this example?
I didn’t know that she was married.

Yesh, so "that" as a conjunction (connecting two clauses) is my #1 problem.
 

mdchachi

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I didn’t know that she was married.
Ok I thought maybe that was your intention.
結構をしっているのは知らなかったよ → 結婚しているの知らなかったよ。
I think は is also possible to use in this case.
 

nice gaijin

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@Bonnie00726 I think your understanding of the functions of those various grammar points is accurate, but I would warn against trying to marry them to the English "that," which kind of locks you into thinking about Japanese through the filter of English.

This case in particular feels more like using various structures in Japanese to explain how "that" can be used in English, rather than trying to figure out how to accurately translate "that" into Japanese. English is also a little more fluid and slippery than Japanese, which has a generally predictable structure and function. For その/それ/そんな it can map pretty directly, but I could take "I didn't know that she was married" and remove "that" altogether in English without affecting the meaning of the sentence, but In Japanese you still have to nominalize "is married" in order to make it the object of "knowing."

It's ironic that we need some language to talk about the function and nuance of these grammar points, but ultimately those intermediary languages (whether it's your native language or a second language) will become barriers between you and fluency.
 

Bonnie00726

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but In Japanese you still have to nominalize "is married" in order to make it the object of "knowing."
I'm not sure what but something clicked in my head thanks to this sentence! Thanks so much :)

But yeah, I get what you mean "which kind of locks you into thinking about Japanese through the filter of English." I'm just at the beginning of my journey and trying to find 1:1 translations seems inevitable. I started reading manga so maybe consuming more Japanese content will help me improve my syntax and overall understanding of how the language works.
Ok I thought maybe that was your intention.
結構をしっているのは知らなかったよ → 結婚しているの知らなかったよ。
I think は is also possible to use in this case.
Ah, thanks for the correction!
 

Toritoribe

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I totally agree with nice gaijin-san. What you are doing is more likely a way of learning English for Japanese people. For instance, it's more effective to learn the demonstrative あれ/あの with other ones こそあど since "that" could be そ (それ, その, そんな(に), etc.) other than あ, as you already wrote. You need to know the situations where these Japanese demonstratives should be used, and it's not (well, at least "not always") the same when "that" is used in English.

I'm still quite unsure how to phrase my sentences such as "I'm afraid that; I'm glad that; I'm sorry that"
The -te form is a way of saying those structures, but there are many other expressions depending on the context.
e.g.
~て、うれしいです。
~て、ありがとうございます。
~て、すいません。
~と思います。
すいませんが、~
残念ながら、~

It's better to learn these expressions with other functions of the -te form, adversative conjunction, quotation, etc., whether "that" is used or not in English also here.
 

Bonnie00726

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thanks for the contributions! It's really helpful.

I just realized that phrases such as "I'm sure that...; I'm afraid that...; etc." convey assumptions/guesses. So きっと or だろう or のではないか or many other structures are the ones that I was looking for. So yeah, I should rather focus on the concepts each of such phrases conveys rather than looking for 1:1 equivalents.
 
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