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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nouns and Verbs

Here's a really common problem. A student in class last week said:
  • I joined this activity as a volunteer work.
There are several problems with this sentence, but the big one is the use of "join" for the main verb. This forces the speaker to use 3 nouns (activity, volunteer, and work). He should have said one of the following:
  • I volunteered to join this activity.
  • I volunteered to do this work.
This has a more complex verb, but fewer nouns. This is typical of good English. English uses more complex verbs and simpler nouns than Japanese.

Japanese needs nouns because you can only attach the 助詞 to nouns.