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Why is this unatural?

Asougi

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Hello!

I wrote this "a little unatural" sentence earlier:

チェックイン時間は15時ですが、ホテルに着く時間は10時頃です。
アーリーチェックインする可能性はありますか?
もしこれが無理なら、 チェックイン時間まで、荷物を預かってもらえますか?

But I used HiNative and asked a native to make it sound natural.

They corrected it to:


チェックイン予定は15時ですが、ホテルに着くのは10時頃になりそうです。
早めにチェックインすることはできますか?
もしそれが無理なら、 チェックイン時間まで、荷物を預かってもらえますか?

Could anyone explain in a bit more detail my mistakes? for example, why could I not use 時間 in the first sentence, and why I have to use なりそうです (seems like it will be) and not just です. アーリーチェックイン must not be common. 可能性 sounds weird here or is wrong?

Regarding それが・これが , it makes sense, but in English if I heard "if this is not possible" or "if that is not possible" in this situation I would hardly think them different. That's just me, but is there more to it than that in Japanese?

Thanks!





 

Majestic

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1. Your sentences were OK and understandable as is. They weren't 100% natural, but they were written very clearly and coherently. They were fine as far as communicating your ideas, but they weren't "native". They weren't using the natural expressions that a Japanese person would use. So I wouldn't say you made mistakes, or that you have to use one expression over another, but if you want the most native-sounding phrases you will have to memorize the Japanese idioms and speech patterns.

2. 時間 Think of this as "time-span", at least in this sentence. Check-in by itself is understandable. You don't need to say Check-in Time-span.

3. なりそう explains your expectation of arriving at a certain time, but you do not know for sure what the time will be. なりそう expresses this sense of expectation, without being definitive. You could have also used 予定 to express something similar, but since 予定 was already used in the first sentence it sounds better to avoid repetition.

4. アーリーチェックイン is indeed probably well-known in the hotel business. I don't think it would be unusual to use this expression. But your native speaker's phrase avoids having to make this assumption. 可能性 in this sentence is also understandable. So I wouldn't say it is weird. But 早めにチェックインすることはできますか expresses your desire to know the possibility of checking in early, without using the slightly technical word 可能性. Actually, the word 可能 is also commonly used. So you could also say アーリーチェックインは可能ですか?

5. これ/それ yes there is slightly more to this in Japanese. As with all your sentences, every Japanese speaker will understand what you mean regardless of whether you use kore or sore in this sentence. For some reason, sore better expresses your distance from what you just proposed. It better frames your proposal as "that thing I just proposed" whereas これ would slightly sound like you have another, more proximate proposal floating around - but only very slightly, and again it is clear from the context what you are talking about.

Toritoribe-san may explain some of this better than I can.
 

Fufu

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Hello, Asougi :)

I'd like to make a bit different comments. I hope this also helps you.

チェックイン時間は15時ですが、ホテルに着く時間は10時頃です。
チェックイン予定は15時ですが、ホテルに着くのは10時頃になりそうです。
This is just a possibility. I guess that the person who made the correction misunderstpood the situation. I think an usual situation is as follows:
- The check-in time set by the hotel is after fifteen.
- But you will arrive at ten, so you want to check in earlier or leave your baggage.

If this is the case, "チェックイン時間は15時以降" works. This is just the fact, so both the hotel staff and the user can use it. "チェックイン予定は15時" sounds like the hotel user's plan.

"になりそうです" means 10時 is expected at the moment. I think this is optional because it is clear from 頃 or the situation of hotel booking.

する可能性はありますか?

可能性 is a chance that something may happen. For the usage of asking whether something is allowed or not, we should use 可能 as follows:
アーリーチェックインすることは可能ですか?
I often use 可能ですか whlie at work.

もしこれが無理なら、
もしそれが無理なら、

Early check-in is one possibility, a hypothetical case which has not happened. We use それ as a reference term in this case. I guess the reason is that both the speaker and the listener are in the present, and a hypothetical case is in conceptually equal distance from them but not so far from them as it is possible.
 

Majestic

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Ah yes, Fufu got it right Let me change the bit about check-in.

チェックインは15時からどと思いますが、ホテルに着くのが10時頃になりそうです。早めのチェックイン(アーリーチェックイン)は可能ですか?

I understand check-in is from 15:00, but I expect to arrive at the hotel around 10:00. May I check-in early?
 

Toritoribe

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可能性 sounds weird here or is wrong?
~する可能性があります means "There is possibility that~", so the question form 早めにチェックインする可能性はありますか means "Is there possibility that you will check in early?". As you can see, this is a question from the hotel's side, not the guest's side. In fact, I initially thought that you were a hotel clark or something, and trying to talk to a Japanese guest before reading the last line.

You actually wanted to say "Is it possible that~", right? That's ~は可能ですか, as already wrote, or another variation ~はできますか, as you got in HiNative.

Regarding それが・これが , it makes sense, but in English if I heard "if this is not possible" or "if that is not possible" in this situation I would hardly think them different. That's just me, but is there more to it than that in Japanese?
I once explained about Japanese demonstratives.

My interpretation why それ is used there is that the plan is already explained, and is on the addressee's(= hotel's) side now.
Think about a situation where you submit a business proposal to your boss. Before handing it to him, you'll say これが駄目なら、作り直します since the plan is still on your side. On the other hand, after you handed it to him, it's それが駄目なら、作り直します since the plan is on his side, and if the proposal is already submitted to your boss's superior, it's あれが駄目なら、作り直します.

Similarly, if you haven't mentioned your idea yet, これ is used instead of それ.
e.g.
これが無理なら別の方法を考えますが、早めにチェックインすることはできますか。

これ refers to the idea "checking in early". それ cannot be replaced with これ in this case, even if it refers to the same plan as それ(= "checking in early") in your example.
 

Asougi

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Thank you for all the replies! They were very informative and useful.

1. Your sentences were OK and understandable as is. They weren't 100% natural, but they were written very clearly and coherently. They were fine as far as communicating your ideas, but they weren't "native". They weren't using the natural expressions that a Japanese person would use. So I wouldn't say you made mistakes, or that you have to use one expression over another, but if you want the most native-sounding phrases you will have to memorize the Japanese idioms and speech patterns.

I see, that's at least better than what I thought I did. I will try to memorise more native patterns then. Thanks!

Hello, Asougi :)

I'd like to make a bit different comments. I hope this also helps you.


This is just a possibility. I guess that the person who made the correction misunderstpood the situation. I think an usual situation is as follows:
- The check-in time set by the hotel is after fifteen.
- But you will arrive at ten, so you want to check in earlier or leave your baggage.

If this is the case, "チェックイン時間は15時以降" works. This is just the fact, so both the hotel staff and the user can use it. "チェックイン予定は15時" sounds like the hotel user's plan.

"になりそうです" means 10時 is expected at the moment. I think this is optional because it is clear from 頃 or the situation of hotel booking.



可能性 is a chance that something may happen. For the usage of asking whether something is allowed or not, we should use 可能 as follows:
アーリーチェックインすることは可能ですか?
I often use 可能ですか whlie at work.



Early check-in is one possibility, a hypothetical case which has not happened. We use それ as a reference term in this case. I guess the reason is that both the speaker and the listener are in the present, and a hypothetical case is in conceptually equal distance from them but not so far from them as it is possible.

Thanks! That is also very helpful, especially 可能 usage.

~する可能性があります means "There is possibility that~", so the question form 早めにチェックインする可能性はありますか means "Is there possibility that you will check in early?". As you can see, this is a question from the hotel's side, not the guest's side. In fact, I initially thought that you were a hotel clark or something, and trying to talk to a Japanese guest before reading the last line.

You actually wanted to say "Is it possible that~", right? That's ~は可能ですか, as already wrote, or another variation ~はできますか, as you got in HiNative.


I once explained about Japanese demonstratives.

My interpretation why それ is used there is that the plan is already explained, and is on the addressee's(= hotel's) side now.
Think about a situation where you submit a business proposal to your boss. Before handing it to him, you'll say これが駄目なら、作り直します since the plan is still on your side. On the other hand, after you handed it to him, it's それが駄目なら、作り直します since the plan is on his side, and if the proposal is already submitted to your boss's superior, it's あれが駄目なら、作り直します.

Similarly, if you haven't mentioned your idea yet, これ is used instead of それ.
e.g.
これが無理なら別の方法を考えますが、早めにチェックインすることはできますか。

これ refers to the idea "checking in early". それ cannot be replaced with これ in this case, even if it refers to the same plan as それ(= "checking in early") in your example.

Yes, I did want to say "is it possible that". Those are patterns that I will remember, thanks.

I tried looking at so many online Japanese phrases to pick between は and が but still ended up with the wrong one haha. Can I ask about those usages?

~する可能性はありますか
Why is "you" assumed here? And why not with が? Sorry if this should be obvious, but some insight might be helpful.

Thanks!
 

Toritoribe

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Why is "you" assumed here?
チェックインする is a volitional action. A guest can control if they will check in early or not. Also, the hotel cannot know it, so it's nonsense to ask the hotel about the possibility that they will check in early. That's why the speaker cannot be the subject of チェックインする, and "you" is interpreted as the subject in that question (the subject also can be third person "he/she/they" in an appropriate context, of course).

If the verb is non-volitional, the speaker cannot control the action, so the speaker can be the subject of the verb.
e.g.
試験に受かる可能性はありますか。
Is there a possibility that I will pass the exam?

Whether you will pass an exam or not is out of your control, so you can ask your possibility of passing the exam to your teacher. Similarly, if it's 早めにチェックインできる可能性はありますか, the speaker can be the subject since all potential forms/verbs are non-volitional. (Actually, this sentence sounds a bit stiff and awkward, though.) It's logical to ask if a guest can check in early or not to a hotel (and this is exactly what you want to ask), right?

And why not with が?
The focus is put before が and after は in a sentence. The point of the question is whether there is possibility or not, so は is used there.

As for は vs. が, see the following threads.

As I wrote somewhere in the threads linked above, は vs. が issue is one of the hardest things to grasp for non-native learners. You'll get it gradually.
 

Asougi

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チェックインする is a volitional action. A guest can control if they will check in early or not. Also, the hotel cannot know it, so it's nonsense to ask the hotel about the possibility that they will check in early. That's why the speaker cannot be the subject of チェックインする, and "you" is interpreted as the subject in that question (the subject also can be third person "he/she/they" in an appropriate context, of course).


If the verb is non-volitional, the speaker cannot control the action, so the speaker can be the subject of the verb.
e.g.
試験に受かる可能性はありますか。
Is there a possibility that I will pass the exam?

Whether you will pass an exam or not is out of your control, so you can ask your possibility of passing the exam to your teacher. Similarly, if it's 早めにチェックインできる可能性はありますか, the speaker can be the subject since all potential forms/verbs are non-volitional. (Actually, this sentence sounds a bit stiff and awkward, though.) It's logical to ask if a guest can check in early or not to a hotel (and this is exactly what you want to ask), right?

Oh, I totally see, that makes perfect sense. Reading what I wrote, I suppose if I were the subject it would read "Is there a possibility that I will check in early?" Which of course as you said is a bit of a weird question haha. I'll pay more attention to this, thanks.

The focus is put before が and after は in a sentence. The point of the question is whether there is possibility or not, so は is used there.

As for は vs. が, see the following threads.

As I wrote somewhere in the threads linked above, は vs. が issue is one of the hardest things to grasp for non-native learners. You'll get it gradually.

Oh, I see, so I think I did get the right one I just misinterpreted what you said slightly. This is all very useful information, also those links, thanks Toritoribe :)
 

Toritoribe

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Reading what I wrote, I suppose if I were the subject it would read "Is there a possibility that I will check in early?" Which of course as you said is a bit of a weird question
Yes, therefore it's reasonable to interpret that the subject of チェックインする is "you" in that Japanese question, where the subject is usually not mentioned. "Is there a possibility that you will check in early?" is logical, right?;)
 
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