Common beginner mistakes may include switching up い形容詞 and な形容詞, but this article will go over a bit more advanced usages and mistakes. Japanese learners may be afraid to combine many sentences together, because in English, this can lead to a run-on sentence. Japanese often combines many sentences, which would literally translate to run-on sentences in English (frequent use of the word “and” to combine sentences). This is completely natural in Japanese, and it is encouraged!
The incorrect example, while technically not incorrect, doesn’t sound natural with its short and choppy sentences, and this would not be the correct way to express it.
For speakers who don’t have much speaking practice, conjugating words in real-time may be difficult, but this isn’t a big deal. Mastery will come with time. The next example contrasts two different ways to combine sentences. See if you can figure out the reason for why the incorrect example is incorrect.
Because this example uses a positive and a negative description, then you must use a 逆接 (が、けれども). おもしろい is positive, while 難しい is negative. However, to someone who likes challenges, the incorrect example could technically be correct (for someone who loves interesting and challenging things!).
Just like in English, adjectives follow a certain order in Japanese.
The easiest way to know which order to put adjectives is to look at the end of the sentence. Opinions always go last. That is why きれい and おいしい are both last. These adjectives only describe how the speaker feels and not an absolute truth about the object (the room or the apple). In English, you may have seen the phrase “the big red dog” (big red apple, in the Japanese example) when learning about the order of adjectives. In Japanese, the opposite is the correct order. Color comes before shape. “The red big apple” should sound strange in English.
Here is a lesser-taught grammar point that is important for developing natural speech. Novice Japanese learners often carelessly use よくて to say something is good and then adding to that. Here are two simple sentences that show common but incorrect uses of よくて.
Although it may seem redundant to repeat the noun that you want to say good after first declaring it as the topic marker は, it is the correct say to speak. Using よくて in this way is incorrect, simply because it is too broad of the use of “good” to be understood. What exactly is good? The entire course could be good. Certain contents of the course could be good. Maybe the way the materials are presented is good. Keep in mind that whatever is good is also interesting, because the topic hasn’t changed. Using いい／よい and then repeating the subject lets the listener know that the course and TV (in general) are good, and more description follows (interesting and cheap). Here are some examples that may help with further understanding:
With these two corrections for the above sentences, while still using よくて, what is good is clearly defined, and whatever follows after will also describe the thing that is good (either the method of teaching or the TV’s image quality). Now, よくて can still be used when contrasting two different things, rather than describing an object:
As for this example, として is often translated as "as," but in this case で(あり) is the appropriate particle. Of course, knowing the actual meaning of として will prevent this kind of direct translation error. In the correct sentence, で can be translated as "as," and it seems more appropriate to do so than "and," even though that is the meaning and function of the particle.