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Trying to Make Sense Out Of Adjective/Verb Conjugations

ShadowSpirit

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Hello and thanks in advance to anybody who can help enlighten me to the concept of this topic. Hopefully someone can kindly answer these for me. oshiete kudasai.

To make the material easier for my amateur mind to comprehend, I'd appreciate it if the answers/responses are written in roumaji. Thanks.


....I'm going to borrow an example from the Pimsleur series so that I at least have confidence of knowing that such a phrase does exist. Without me trying to make up my own and thus probably end up confusing my potential helpers....

1) I am told that to say the English equivilent of "speaking too fast." One can say. "hayaku hanashi sugimasu." Which I understand as conjugating hayai (early/fast) into hayaku (quickly) for use with the verb hanasu (speak.) This makes sense to me. It's this next part is where I am confused. A later example is said that the English equivilent of. "too quickly." is haya sugimasu. From which the 'i' of the adjective is replaced with sugimasu. Why wouldn't it be hayaku sugimasu? Or can it be both haya sugimasu and hayaku sugimasu? Is there a way of anticipating when I should be using the 'ku' conjugation or just replacing the 'i' with the verb?

2) I've also wondered about the subtle differences of verb conjugations. Saying things like tabete miru (eat and see, with taberu in its te form) tobi koeru (jumping off, with tobu now in it's pre-masu form) or hohoemu kodomo (child that smiles, with the verb in its plain form.) It seems on the surface that the concept to these conjugations should be simple. Yet I just can't seem to figure out when to use which. Especially when combining verbs together using the pre-masu form or the te form. Why wouldn't a person just say tonde koeru instead of tobi koeru?

I hope these questions don't come off as too silly. I can only imagine how far off these questions might seem to veteran speakers of nihongo. Though I guess we all have to start somewhere right?

Thanks to everybody for reading this post and any assistance you can provide.
 

Glenn

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1) I am told that to say the English equivilent of "speaking too fast." One can say. "hayaku hanashi sugimasu." Which I understand as conjugating hayai (early/fast) into hayaku (quickly) for use with the verb hanasu (speak.) This makes sense to me. It's this next part is where I am confused. A later example is said that the English equivilent of. "too quickly." is haya sugimasu. From which the 'i' of the adjective is replaced with sugimasu. Why wouldn't it be hayaku sugimasu? Or can it be both haya sugimasu and hayaku sugimasu? Is there a way of anticipating when I should be using the 'ku' conjugation or just replacing the 'i' with the verb?

Hayaku sugimasu = "pass quickly," as in time.
Hayasugimasu = "too fast/early"

Adding sugimasu (sugiru) to the ren'youkei of a verb or adjective (pre-masu for verbs and root for adjectives (i.e., without the -i)) gives it the meaning of "too ..." So, ookisugimasu is "too big," chiisasugimasu is "too small," tabesugimasu is "eat too much," etc.

You've come across something that I didn't know about for a while, which is how to say "do X too Y." I find the construction a bit interesting, because it's a bit unexpected, but basically all you do is treat the phrase as the unit being modified, i.e., hayaku hanashisugimasu, hayaku okisugimasu, osoku hashirisugimasu, ("get up too early" and "run too slowly," respectively) etc. I thought it would have been hayasugite hanashimasu, but that just ain't how it works. Anyway, that's the rundown on the auxiliary sugiru.

2) I've also wondered about the subtle differences of verb conjugations. Saying things like tabete miru (eat and see, with taberu in its te form) tobi koeru (jumping off, with tobu now in it's pre-masu form) or hohoemu kodomo (child that smiles, with the verb in its plain form.) It seems on the surface that the concept to these conjugations should be simple. Yet I just can't seem to figure out when to use which. Especially when combining verbs together using the pre-masu form or the te form. Why wouldn't a person just say tonde koeru instead of tobi koeru?

These you pretty much have to learn as you go along. -te miru is set, just as -te iru, -te aru, -te oku, -te miseru, -te shimau, etc. Tobikoeru is actually in the dictionary, and is a word on its own. Tonde koeru is a concatenation of two verbs, and means to go over by jumping (or flying). The two are similar in that sense, but tobikoeru also has a meaning of advancing in a manner that doesn't follow the order, so in this sense is similar to "skip" (like a grade of school).

Hohoemu kodomo is a phrase, not a verb or verb form. It's made up of hohoemu (smile) and kodomo (child). It's the same construction as shinbun o yondeiru hito (the person reading the newspaper), and is considered a relative clause.

I hope these questions don't come off as too silly. I can only imagine how far off these questions might seem to veteran speakers of nihongo. Though I guess we all have to start somewhere right?

Thanks to everybody for reading this post and any assistance you can provide.

No problem. If there's still anything you didn't understand don't be afraid to ask. It is a bit late here....
 
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ShadowSpirit

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Glenn! domou arigatou gozaimashita

Your brilliance is unprecedented and much appreciated. My questions were answered perfectly. Thank you for helping me to put this topic into perspective.

I do wish to tax your time a bit further if you don't mind?

In regards to dropping the 'i' for i-adjectives when adding sugimasu. Is there a na-adjective equivilent for doing this? Such as kirei ni sugimasu? Does that mean "too beautiful/clean" or nowhere near that?

Also. What is the story behind the use of koto? I know it can be used in examples such as koto ga atta/arimashita (have done something before) or koto ga dekiru/dekimasu (can do something.) Yet I have also noticed koto by itself at the end of sentences. I don't remember what the sentence said. I was wondering what koto really means when nothing is added to it? Additionally, I've always wondering why can't someone say taberu no dekimasu instead of taberu koto ga dekimasu? Shouldn't they both mean "can eat?" Why wouldn't it mean that? If I can say taberu no suki desu (eating is something I like) why wouldn't it be taberu no dekimasu (eating is something I can do?)

Thanks again for your wealth of knowledge. I hope others read this post too and benefit from it.
 

Glenn

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While I appreciate the kind words, my brilliance has most certainly been preceded. 😅

I couldn't think of a good example earlier, so I left out na-adjectives, but their ren'youkei is just the root as well: kireisugimasu would be "too pretty/clean." Kirei ni sugimasu would be something like "pass prettily," but I'm not sure that actually makes any sense.

There's a lot involved with koto, but I'll try to answer your questions succinctly. Koto ga aru and koto ga dekiru are set phrases; you can't change them. By the way, shita koto ga aru means "(I) have done...," shita koto ga atta means "(I) had done... before," suru koto ga aru means "(I) occasionally do...," and suru koto ga atta means "(I) used to occasionally do..." Koto can mean an intangible, abstract thing (kare no itta koto -- "things (what) he said") or it can just nominalize a verb (hashiru koto -- "running").

Koto by itself at the end of sentences has a few uses. It depends on the sentence, but probably the most common one (I believe) is to make formal commands, like asa hachiji ni shukkin suru koto (be at work for 8:00 AM). This is usually in written form. I'm pretty sure that's the one you saw, and will see the most. I can't really say for sure if it's the one you did see without seeing the sentence, though. If you find it post it so we can look at it and see. HTH! :):)
 
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ShadowSpirit

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Ah. You're right, koto does go into a deeper scope than I had originally realized.

You mentioned that it nominalizes a verb. Which was to my other question. Since 'no' nominalizes a verb. Can't a person just say taberu no dekimasu instead of saying taberu koto ga dekimasu? Wouldn't they mean the same thing?
 

Glenn

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No, you can't say that because koto ga dekimasu is a set phrase and can't be replaced with anything (unless you want to count the potential form of the verb as replacing it....).
 

Toritoribe

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I thought it would have been hayasugite hanashimasu, but that just ain't how it works. Anyway, that's the rundown on the auxiliary sugiru.
It might be more likely "hayaku hanasu no ga sugiru/hanahadashii," though "hanasu no ga hayasugiru" is more common expression.
And yes, as Glenn-san pointed out, "sugiru" would be modifying the phrase "hayaku hanasu" not the verb "hanasu" in that construction. In fuct, for instance, "okisugimasu" alone without "hayaku/osoku" does not make much sense. (wake up too many times?)

kireisugimasu would be "too pretty/clean." Kirei ni sugimasu would be something like "pass prettily," but I'm not sure that actually makes any sense.
"Kirei ni sugiru" can mean "kirei sugiru" as a bit oldish/literary expression. It's probably the same usage of the particle "ni" as in, i.e., "遅きに失した[osoki ni shisshita.]" However, especially for biginners, it's better to learn common usage rules, "kireisugiru/chiisasugiru."

You mentioned that it nominalizes a verb. Which was to my other question. Since 'no' nominalizes a verb. Can't a person just say taberu no dekimasu instead of saying taberu koto ga dekimasu? Wouldn't they mean the same thing?
It depends on the type of the verb in the main clause which nominalizer ("no," "koto," or ocasionally "tokoro") can be used. In some cases they("no," "koto," "tokoro") are interchangeable, and some cases are not. "Taberu no (ga) dekimasu" can't be used, as Glenn-san wrote above.
 

ShadowSpirit

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Awesome. Thanks for the info contribution. The only use of tokoro that I've learned thus far is to imply when something is just about to happen. i.e., just about to run, just about to stand, etc..

I take it from the repeated suggestions. That I just have to learn the patterns for when koto, no, and tokoro are used? I just hope there aren't too many instances when these words are interchangeable.
 

Kirakira1232

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Hmm its difficult i think to pinpoint exactly when you should use koto, no and tokoro. "koto ga dekiru" however is set..."no dekiru" sounds weird to me because I've always felt that anything to do with the potential form (ie dekiru, -rareru, -eru) utilizes ga. Of course I could be wrong lol.

Tokoro can mean a "specific point in time" and this is reflected when you use it to describe the states of verbs.

taberu tokoro desu - I'm about to start eating

Tabeteiru tokoro desu - I'm in the middle of eating (right now)

Tabeta tokoro desu - I just finished eating.
 

ShadowSpirit

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kirakira:

Thanks for the info. I'm wondering though, is there really any difference in saying tabete iru, or saying tabete iru tokoro? It just seems like it wouldn't make any difference if tokoro is used or not in that phrase as tabete iru already means that the person is in the middle of eating. Little things like this is what confuses me about the language because I can't tell if there really is a difference involved. Which if there is a difference, then it is completely lost on me cause I don't see it.
 

undrentide

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While "~teiru tokoro" specifically used to indicate in the middle of doing something, "~teiru" could mean another thing - habit.

Ima pan wo tabete iru tokoro desu. (I'm eating bread now)
Ima pan wo tabete imasu. (I'm eating bread now)
Maiasa pan wo tabete imasu (I eat bread every morning)
 

Glenn

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Does using tokoro da also have the indication of putting emphasis on you being in the state of doing something right now as well? For instance, if we were to take the two sentences that undrentide gave us above, would it be accurate to say that pan o tabete iru tokoro desu has more of a meaning of "I'm eating bread right now" or "I'm in the middle of eating bread," whereas pan o tabete imasu is more just stating what you're doing, like "I'm eating bread?"

To try to put these in context, if someone says to you "hey, come here and try out this new punching bag," it seems like responding with pan o tabete iru tokoro desu (yo) would be more like "I'm eating bread right now (so I can't)," and pan o tabete imasu (yo) would be more like "uh, I'm eating bread." Is that a fair assessment?
 

Kirakira1232

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kirakira:
Thanks for the info. I'm wondering though, is there really any difference in saying tabete iru, or saying tabete iru tokoro? It just seems like it wouldn't make any difference if tokoro is used or not in that phrase as tabete iru already means that the person is in the middle of eating. Little things like this is what confuses me about the language because I can't tell if there really is a difference involved. Which if there is a difference, then it is completely lost on me cause I don't see it.

te iru on its own is just a statement, it can imply that whatever you are doing you do on an ongoing basis, like undrentide said: habit. Whereas adding tokoro da more describes the thing that you are doing at that very moment. More emphasis on the "right now" like Glenn-san said.

Friend: Tabe ni ikkou!
Let's go and eat!

Me: ima wa chotto...nihongo wo benkyoushiteru tokoro da yo.
I can't right now...I'm in the middle of Japanese study.
 

ShadowSpirit

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Habit eh? Though I thought just using the verb in its plain form (e.g. taberu, hanasu, etc..) already expresses habit? So is plain form and te iru form both share the role of expressing habit?
 

Glenn

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They both can express habit. I'm not sure that there's a difference in meaning at all when they do, though.
 

ShadowSpirit

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mata, doumo arigatou gozaimashita. This is very helpful information and my gratitude is sincere. I was having a difficult time with the topics that have been discussed in this thread. Though all of you who contributed helped to put it into a focused perspective.

I didn't even know that tokoro da could be used for habit. That's a new bit of info in itself. Though, knowing that it used to express an immediate action is very helpful info for me. Everybody just made nihongo that more accessible to me for using.

:)
 

Toritoribe

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"~te iru/ita" form emphasizes that habit is/was ongoing.

朝は何を食べていますか?[Asa wa nani o tabete imasu ka?]
今はパンを食べています。[Ima wa pan o tabete imasu.]
でも、前はご飯を食べていました。[Demo, mae wa gohan o tabete imashita.]

In the examples above, using "~te iru" form is more natural than plain/simple past form "tabemasu," "tabemashita," probably because plain form can be used to express the speaker's intention or future tense.

朝は何を食べますか?[Asa wa nani o tabemasu ka?]
パンを食べます。[Pan o tabemasu.]

The conversation above can mean that they are talking about breakfast in tomorrow morning.
 

ShadowSpirit

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Toritoribe: Thanks again. It would be nice if explanations such as yours and company were given in the books I've been reading.

So lets see if I have an understanding of the examples you're giving...

You said. "demo, mae wa gohan o tabete imashita." Now, in comparison to a similar phrase such as. "demo, mae wa gohan o tabemashita." Would the first phrase mean something like. "but I ate rice just before [the bread.]" With the second phrase being. "but I ate rice some time ago [and eventually had bread.]?" Do I have this figured out correctly?

In a similar pattern. I'm hoping you can make sense of this next phrase. "onaka ga suita." The context of this was used in present tense. This is confusing to me, because I can't imagine having an empty stomach being expressed in the past tense when you are still hungry. Perhaps it was written wrong, or I was just misunderstanding. Though I guess the question is 1) can a phrase like "onaka ga suita" be used in present tense? If no, then you've already solved my problem. 2) If the answer is yes. Then why would someone use "onaka ga suita" and not "onaka ga suite iru" instead?

Oh, another question for you please. How come some sentences are written like. "mizu o nonde niku o tabete iru." Yet I'll see things like. "mizu o nonde ite niku o tabete iru." How does adding "iru" in the middle of the sentence like that change the meaning or layout of what is being said?

Thanks in advance for your time on this and to anybody else who has answers or advice to contribute.
 

Kirakira1232

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Toritoribe: Thanks again. It would be nice if explanations such as yours and company were given in the books I've been reading.
So lets see if I have an understanding of the examples you're giving...
You said. "demo, mae wa gohan o tabete imashita." Now, in comparison to a similar phrase such as. "demo, mae wa gohan o tabemashita." Would the first phrase mean something like. "but I ate rice just before [the bread.]" With the second phrase being. "but I ate rice some time ago [and eventually had bread.]?" Do I have this figured out correctly?
In a similar pattern. I'm hoping you can make sense of this next phrase. "onaka ga suita." The context of this was used in present tense. This is confusing to me, because I can't imagine having an empty stomach being expressed in the past tense when you are still hungry. Perhaps it was written wrong, or I was just misunderstanding. Though I guess the question is 1) can a phrase like "onaka ga suita" be used in present tense? If no, then you've already solved my problem. 2) If the answer is yes. Then why would someone use "onaka ga suita" and not "onaka ga suite iru" instead?
Oh, another question for you please. How come some sentences are written like. "mizu o nonde niku o tabete iru." Yet I'll see things like. "mizu o nonde ite niku o tabete iru." How does adding "iru" in the middle of the sentence like that change the meaning or layout of what is being said?
Thanks in advance for your time on this and to anybody else who has answers or advice to contribute.

"O naka" is the noun for stomach and "suita" means "to be emptied" so a more direct translation is "My stomach has been emptied" or more comfortably "I'm hungry" lol. "O naka ga suite iru" would sound so weird to me because I'm just envisioning someones stomach emptying out (either by vomiting or being cut open and emptying the contents out LOL).


"Mizu wo nonde ite, niku wo tabete iru"
"Mizu wo nonde, niku wo tabete iru"

There isnt really much difference between these two sentences as far as I can see. Both mean "Drinking water and eating meat".
 

Glenn

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I can't recall having heard onaka ga suiteimasu or any of it's variants, but it seems perfectly fine with me. It should be the same thing as tsukareteimasu, in that the verb means to go through the change in state ("become empty" or "become tired"), and the past form or -teiru form would show completion of the state change ("be empty" and "be tired"). -Teiru doesn't always mean present progressive (e.g., shitteiru). In fact, お腹が空いている gets 109,000 hits on Google.

You said. "demo, mae wa gohan o tabete imashita." Now, in comparison to a similar phrase such as. "demo, mae wa gohan o tabemashita." Would the first phrase mean something like. "but I ate rice just before [the bread.]" With the second phrase being. "but I ate rice some time ago [and eventually had bread.]?" Do I have this figured out correctly?

In the context of the sentences that he gave, it's "I'm eating bread now, but I was eating rice before." Mae wa gohan o tabemashita would be like "I ate rice before." -Ta focuses more on an occurence; -teiru focuses more on a state or continuing action.

In a similar pattern. I'm hoping you can make sense of this next phrase. "onaka ga suita." The context of this was used in present tense. This is confusing to me, because I can't imagine having an empty stomach being expressed in the past tense when you are still hungry. Perhaps it was written wrong, or I was just misunderstanding. Though I guess the question is 1) can a phrase like "onaka ga suita" be used in present tense? If no, then you've already solved my problem. 2) If the answer is yes. Then why would someone use "onaka ga suita" and not "onaka ga suite iru" instead?

You can say onaka ga sukimasu, and it means "I'm going to be hungry."

Oh, another question for you please. How come some sentences are written like. "mizu o nonde niku o tabete iru." Yet I'll see things like. "mizu o nonde ite niku o tabete iru." How does adding "iru" in the middle of the sentence like that change the meaning or layout of what is being said?

These are both actual sentences as spoken/written by a native Japanese speaker? Mizu o nonde niku o tabeteiru feels strange to me, because it seems like the actions should be parallel, like in mizu o nondeite niku o tabeteiru, BIANANS.

On a wholly unrelated note, please let us know when we can stop using rômaji. It's a bit of a PITA.
 

ShadowSpirit

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Thank you gentleman. As usual, you are a lot of help.

About my last question. I'll just rephrase it. When someone wants to use a sentence that has multiple verbs in it, what is the difference between using te, or te ite?

As for not wanting to use roumaji. If it makes it easier, I am able to read hiragana/katakana. I just have an extremely limited grasp of kanji (less than 150 characters.) So if you could keep the kanji down to a minimum and use just kana, I'd be able to understand your explanations just fine.

Thanks a lot for all the help you've been giving.
 

-ShiroUsagi-

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I know its out of "this topic" but I started learning some kanji.. I was just wondering, in anyones opinion, when is a good time to start learning kanji? lol Because I really think I should of started sooner but oh well, I suppose at least Im doing it now :( lol I feel that my grammar has slight improved by reading these posts lol thanks! :p
 

Glenn

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About my last question. I'll just rephrase it. When someone wants to use a sentence that has multiple verbs in it, what is the difference between using te, or te ite?

It depends. ていて is just the continuative form of ている, so if you would say のんでいる you just change it to のんでいて in the sentence in question. For example, あんな ことを いって、わたしは まったく うかつ だった means "it was so careless of me to have said that," where "said" is past simple. On the other hand, にっきで ひとりごとを いっていて なにが たのし いのか is "what's so fun about talking to yourself in a diary?" (独り言を言う means "talk to yourself" -- literally "say alone-words"). So here it's an ongoing action, and that's why it gets ていて. Make sense?

As for not wanting to use roumaji. If it makes it easier, I am able to read hiragana/katakana. I just have an extremely limited grasp of kanji (less than 150 characters.) So if you could keep the kanji down to a minimum and use just kana, I'd be able to understand your explanations just fine.

Alright, I'll try to not get too carried away. 😅:p

Thanks a lot for all the help you've been giving.

My pleasure! :)
 

ShadowSpirit

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ShiroUsagi: I felt like I started a bit late on kanji as well. Though it is probably never too early to begin. Nor too late for that matter. I did find it helpful to have learned some vocabularly and sentence structure a bit before trying my hand at kanji.
Glenn: Okay. I found an actual sentence, taken straight from Rosetta Stone. Onnanohito wa shiroi shatsu o kite aoi jiinzu o haite imasu.... What I don't understand is, why didn't they say shiroi shatsu o kite ite aoi jiinzu o haite imasu? I mean, in the picture she is already wearing a white shirt. So why use kite instead of kite ite?
Also, one of the examples you gave, you wrote tanoshi no ka. What is the meaning of using "no ka" at the end of an adjective like that?
At this rate. I'm going to have to call you glenn-sensei.
 

Glenn

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Glenn: Okay. I found an actual sentence, taken straight from Rosetta Stone. Onnanohito wa shiroi shatsu o kite aoi jiinzu o haite imasu.... What I don't understand is, why didn't they say shiroi shatsu o kite ite aoi jiinzu o haite imasu? I mean, in the picture she is already wearing a white shirt. So why use kite instead of kite ite?

This is what I think, but you may want to consult a NSoJ on this one: きる (着る) is like すく (空く) and つかれる (疲れる) in that it's a change-of-state verb, whereas のむ is an action verb. So, it seems more acceptable to have it in non-ていて-form to me. I'm sort of going out on a limb with this one, though; I'm not really sure, especially since 着る seems to be used mostly in ている・ていた form when it isn't modifying a noun.

Also, one of the examples you gave, you wrote tanoshi no ka. What is the meaning of using "no ka" at the end of an adjective like that?

It's the のだ ending, and it's a bit of a handful. In this case, it's seeking explanation of some observed action (ostensible enjoyment of talking to oneself in a diary). In other words, in question form it carries a sense of presumption, as is the case above, as well as seeking explanation. You could translate it like this: にっきで ひとりごとを いっていて なにが たのしいのか -- "what is it that has people having so much fun talking to themselves in diaries?" People having fun is an observed phenomenon, and the speaker wants clarification on it.

Now that I've said that three different ways, I hope it became clearer, and not more confusing. Just pick the explanation you like best if it's confusing. 😌

At this rate. I'm going to have to call you glenn-sensei.

I think Glenn-senpai (先輩) might be more appropriate. I don't think I've quite made it to 先生 level yet.
 
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