Common Japanese Phrases (決まり文句の辞典)

At 140 pages this is a wonderful collection of set phrases for all manner of situations. Set phrases? Shouldn’t I just say things in my own words? Well, a lot of the time, no. The blurb on the back explains:

“Words don’t exist in isolation, to be placed willy-nilly in grammatical slots by a speaker exercising absolute freedom of choice. Rather, words come in neatly bound packages – in phrases or entire sentences – ready to communicate an idea that cannot be expressed economically in any other way”

Sage advice. Once you realise that there is no need to reinvent the wheel and create sentences anew in a vast number of situations your learning becomes much simplified:

1. Find out what situations have set phrases.
2. Learn the appropriate phrase for each situation.
3. In all other situations wing it.

Don’t waste time trying to cobble together your own sentences when those expressions already exist – you will sound more natural by following protocal and the person you are talking to will understand immediately because they are expecting a set expression. [courtesy of]

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