Friday, October 24, 2014

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What is the most useful word ending in Japanese? 'mono'

In my view, one of the most useful words to learn in Japanese is mono.

It is not so useful as a word by itself, which literally means ‘thing’ or as I like to think of it as ‘stuff’. But it comes in really handy in understanding words that end in mono. Almost every time I turn around, I learn or see or hear another verb ending with mono.

The most common ones for early or beginner Japanese learners are tabemono and nomimono, which literally mean eating things and drinking things, or as I sometimes call them food and drinks. And then there is the best known one, which is 'kimono', which literally means a wearable thing, but as I’m sure you will recognise, this is a poor translation of a beautiful traditional Japanese garment.

A few other useful ones are kaimono, bought stuff or shopping, urimono, stuff for sale, tatemono, a built thing or building, or karimono, a borrowed thing.

It sometimes feels like you can add mono to almost any verb (which you can't, but just feels like that).

If you don’t believe me, here are a few others I can think of:

fuyumono, winter things or clothing
norimono, something to ride in
kudamono, a fruit thing
yasamono, vegetable stuff
bakemono, a goblin thing
waremono, broken stuff
wasuremono, forgotten thing
shinamono, goods or product stuff
namamono, raw stuff
yakimono, baked stuff namely pottery
agemono, deep fried stuff
jidaimono, period things, antiques

Pretty useful don't you think? Can you think of any others? If so, leave them in the comments below.


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