What's new

Help Usage of verb in dictionary form with こと

Hubert Hung

後輩
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
31
Reaction score
0
Recently, I just learned this sentence structure: verb (dictionary form) + ことができます
However, I'm confused with the difference between the structure of verb (masuform).

For instance, what is the difference between these sentences:
どこでカメラを買いますか。
どこでカメラを買うことができますか。

私の趣味は写真を撮ります。
私の趣味は写真を撮ることです。

Please tell me the difference, and when exactly should I use this dictionary form?
Thank you!
 

Julie.chan

後輩
Joined
Jun 21, 2017
Messages
703
Reaction score
94
Where did you learn this from? It sounds like a crummy reference if it didn't actually tell you what it means.
 

Takichan

Kouhai
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
13
Reaction score
4
the way I learned is that こと means something like "the thing of" meaning it turns it into a noun. So to express being able to do something basically you do masu form ことができる。
There are other forms you will learn that require masu+こと+a different verb ending but seeing as those were the examples I figured I will just use that. BUT it just turns the verb before こと into a noun essentially.


so

私の趣味は写真を撮ることです。= my hobby is the thing of taking pictures = my hobby is taking pictures.

私の趣味は写真を撮ります。= my hobby takes pictures.

どこでカメラを買いますか?= where will (you, he, she, I) buy a camera?

どこでカメラを買うことができますか?= where can I do the thing of buying a camera = where can I buy a camera?

A DICTIONARY OF BASIC JAPANESE GRAMMAR by SEICHI MAKINO
and MICHIO TSUTSUI is the best beginners grammar book I have found and is very extensive. After that they have intermediate and advanced too. Best books.
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 6, 2003
Messages
2,608
Reaction score
476
For instance, what is the difference between these sentences:
どこでカメラを買いますか。
どこでカメラを買うことができますか。
First one says "(Will you) buy a camera here?"
Second one says "(Can I) buy a camera here?"
Note the second one is equivalent to
どこでカメラを買ますか
Both forms are fine for this kind of example.

私の趣味は写真を撮ります。
私の趣味は写真を撮ることです。
First one says, "As for my hobby, (I) take pictures"
Second one says "As for my hobby, it's the taking of pictures."
Or something like that. In other words, they mean the same thing.
The second one seems more natural to me but I'm not a native speaker.
The main use of this form is to take a whole phrase and turn it into a noun-phrase.
In English we would use a prepositional phrase for this.

Your whole question is off target. It's not a question of dictionary form or not. You can use the dictionary form on top of any noun. For example,
撮る写真 means "photos that (I) take." There are a number of things going on here.
dictionary form, dictionary form + noun, dictionary form + koto, dictionary form + koto + dekimasu.

As JuliMaruchan says you really need to find a good reference or textbook or something.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Reaction score
2,233
私の趣味は写真を撮ります。
私の趣味は写真を撮ることです。
First one says, "As for my hobby, (I) take pictures"
Second one says "As for my hobby, it's the taking of pictures."
Or something like that. In other words, they mean the same thing.
The second one seems more natural to me but I'm not a native speaker.
The first one says, "My hobby takes pictures" and is just nonsensical.
The second one says, "My hobby is taking pictures".

They don't mean the same thing.
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
15,574
Reaction score
2,337
To supplement, こと is used to nominalize the verb, just like the gerund "taking pictures" in English. One's hobby must be a noun, that's why the nominalizer こと is put after 撮る. If こと isn't there like in your second example sentence, 私の趣味 is interpreted as the subject of 撮ります, as translated above.
 

Hubert Hung

後輩
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
31
Reaction score
0
Did not expect so many replies. Thank you all so much. I learned a lot from your replies! Appreciate it!
どうもありがとうございました
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 6, 2003
Messages
2,608
Reaction score
476
The first one says, "My hobby takes pictures" and is just nonsensical.
The second one says, "My hobby is taking pictures".

They don't mean the same thing.
The first one says, "My hobby takes pictures" and is just nonsensical.
The second one says, "My hobby is taking pictures".

They don't mean the same thing.
Would these work?
私の趣味には写真を撮ります
私の趣味について写真を撮ります
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
15,574
Reaction score
2,337
Both mean "I (will) take pictures of my hobby." The first one has the contrastive nuance "I don't take pictures of other things than my hobby, but...", though. Anyway, 撮ります is interpreted as the main verb of the sentence "to take (pictures)" without the nominalizer こと.
 
Top