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Adverbs 03 – Doubtlessly Helpful Words

Posted by Darkslime Z on 2011/05/28

Today we’re going to look over some ways to express the feeling of “definitely” doing something or “certainly” being a certain way, and look into some of the more subtle nuances of the words and the different structures they can have.


First off we have かならず, to mean “definitely”, such as in the sentence:

No matter what happens, I’m definitely going.

As an adverb, all you have to do is plop it before a verb and you’ve got yourself a perfect sentence! However, important to note is the fact that you can only use かならず with positive verbs – in other words, you can’t use the word to say you’re definitely not going to do something. That role is left to…


As with かならず, all you do is stick 絶対に in front of a verb to mean “definitely”:

That person is definitely not going.

As you can see, 絶対に can be used with a negative verb as well as normally with a positive verb, such as in the phrase 絶対に勝つ(I’ll definitely win).

Both 必ず and 絶対 are similar to the word きっと, but きっと carries slightly less certainty with it. 必ず is also used in the grammatical expression 必ずしも, but that’s another story.


You may have heard the word まったく muttered under the breath of a character you’ve seen on TV, and they usually mean it in the “geez…” sense. However, it does work as a legitimate adverb to mean “completely” or “totally”:

My thoughts exactly. / I precisely and completely think and feel the same way as you do.

It can be used either with positive or negative verbs:

I don’t really understand at all. / I am in a complete state of not understanding so and so.

Basically, you’re emphasizing that not only is something “very” X, but it is “completely” X.


This word means “of course”, of course! It’s slightly different than the above in that it also implies a certain level of obviousness, or something that is basic and generally known to all in the conversation.

I’m obviously all for it. / I am in great agreement with this thing [someone] has stated, of course.

If you have trouble remembering where to put it in the sentence, just keep in mind that this is an adverb, like all the other words so far: just place it before the verb or predicate, and you’re good.


確かに is a bit of an oddball in terms of usage. It generally means “definitely” or “without a doubt”, but in English it translates better to “of course [X]… (but…)” If that confuses you, let’s look at some examples.

A lot of people are certainly fascinated by that city.

The normal usage is a bit hard to “get” out of context. Whoever is saying this is essentially agreeing with something else said – such as “this city has been on the news more often lately”, which leads this person to say “yeah, a lot of people seem fascinated by it”. A good English equivalent, in this case, would be “indeed”.

Indeed, dreams themselves often combine bits of both reality and imagination.

Again, this isn’t something you would just say right off the bat – the speaker has been obviously been talking about dreams and how they relate to the real world, and then follows up with this kind of sentence.

The most important thing to remember about 確かに is that it’s a kind of “follow-up” word, and using it to start your first sentence in a conversation wouldn’t make any sense. It’s almost like an agreement, but not really, and it can get a bit confusing.

This “certainly” expression is indeed difficult to explain.

There’s one more use of the adverb, but it’s not as important:

I have certainly received it. / Without a doubt, I have received it.

This last sentence seems more like a grammar form than anything else: it’s just a weird way to use たしかに. When you want to confirm that something has been done – and it’s usually you having gotten something, or come into possession of it – you can use a sentence like this. This is very polite, though, and really doesn’t make sense in casual conversation.

Closing Notes

For those of you who know a bit more of the language, you may have noticed that a few other seemingly-obvious additions are missing, such as 全然 and おそらく. These words don’t technically fall under this category, but will be covered at a later date(probably). Until then, remember how to use these five words!

My examples all came from goo辞書 and スペースアルク. The initial idea for getting adverbs of one type together and explaining them as a group came from a document called よく使う副詞の機能別一覧, a document floating around on the Web.


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Adverbs 02 – How Not To Eat In Japan

Posted by Darkslime Z on 2011/05/21

Today we’ll look at a whole bunch of giseigo! Specifically, these all have to do with how one goes about eating food: and most of them are probably not polite! 56k users beware – images galore in the post below.


ガツガツ can be loosely translated to the act of “scarfing down” or “wolfing down” one’s food, in a greedy manner. Much like the way animals eat!

However, it can be generalized just a tad to mean being greedy in general.

The term itself probably comes from the word ガツ, which refers to the kind of “stomach” one would eat as food, such as pork stomach.

Common Phrase: ガツガツ食べる – to eat one’s head off, gobble down, etc.
Common Phrase: 金にガツガツする – to be greedy for money

He is stuffing a huge cheeseburger into his face.


ゴクゴク demonstrates the sound and action of gulping something down repeatedly, such as is depicted in this 牛乳に相談だ advertisement by the Japan Dairy Council, shown at right.

It can also be used to refer to animals lapping up water, milk or what have you.

Common Phrase: ゴクゴク飲む – to gulp something down

The marathon runner quickly gulped down some water.

This word can actually be used interchangably with ゴクリ – both mean the same thing!


This word essentially describes someone that eats, putting a lot of heart into it – much in the same way children eagerly dig into their food. That’s really all there is to say about this word, and there’s only one way to use it!

Common Phrase: もりもり食べる

Richard eats like a horse, but never gains any weight at all.

It can also be used to indicate performing some other action heartily, as in the phrase もりもり勉強する(to study energetically).

The word can have と after it, completely interchangeably. As a matter of fact, so can the words I’ve already listed.


When you’re eating like this, you’re “munching” on something – chewing without opening your mouth very much.

Common Phrase: モグモグ食べる (again)
Common Phrase: モグモグ言う (to mutter or hum something)

The cow is munching on the grass.

The word can mean to mutter, which is again not opening your mouth wide enough.

The picture to the right uses はむはむ as well; this isn’t hard to figure out, just sound out the word to realize what kind of action that’s demonstrating. ぐすぐす is used when something hurts, I think.


This giseigo expresses a person eating or drinking slowly, just a little at a time. Not much more to say on that.

You can say it means “sipping” a drink, and it is usually used for drinking.

Common Phrase: ちびちび(と)飲む

Kate isn’t that much of a drinker – usually, she just sips at a single glass of wine.


ぺろぺろ is when you’re licking or slurping something – generally with your tongue, of course. It can be applied to animals drinking water/milk, as well.

Common Phrase: ぺろぺろ(と)なめる (なめる = to lick)

Nancy happily watched her cat slurp up the milk.

Closing Notes

Originally there were going to be a few more words, but these are the most common words used when referring to the way someone eats. For example, ぱくぱく can refer to opening and closing your mouth repeatedly, like a duck; ぱっくり and ぱくり mean something similar, as well, but I couldn’t find much in the way of examples of these.

Most of my example sentences and phrases came from goo dictionary, alc, and a certain Giseigo dictionary website.

So, hopefully now you can more accurately describe people/animals eating/drinking. I hope you enjoyed it!

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Adverbs 01 – Right Away, Sir!

Posted by Darkslime Z on 2011/05/14

In the vast depths of what we know as the Japanese language, many adverbs that express a time very nearly following the current instant of time(see: “soon”) exist. Today we’ll go through a whole bunch of them! Almost all of these would also make great “sentence starters”, as well.

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Adverbs 101

Posted by Darkslime Z on 2011/05/07

I thought I’d use the first installment of the Adverbs posts to explain what adverbs are in Japanese and how to use them, so read on!

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