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Learn Japanese with Anime - Words Are Like Knives

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Learn Japanese with Anime - Words Are Like Knives

In this video we’re going to analyse Conan’s quote from Detective Conan (Meitantei Conan/Case Closed).

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Analysis

言葉は刃物なんだ

言葉 means “words”.

は is the particle that indicates the topic of the sentence.

刃物 means “bladed objects”, “cutting tools” or “knives”.

ん is the broken version of the particle の, and when it’s used with the auxiliary verb だ, it expresses the speaker’s strong declaration based on a certain reason or background. It’s often used when explaining something to convince the listener.

It can be attached to a verb or i-adjective such as;

  • 僕は行く (Verb) んだ! meaning “I’m going!”
  • ここのラーメンはおいしい (I-adjective) んだ meaning “the ramen here is delicious”

But when it’s attached to a noun or na-adjective you need to add な before んだ such as;

  • 犯人は俺 (noun) なんだ meaning “the culprit is me”.
  • この仕事は大変 (na-adjective) なんだ meaning “this job is hard”.

刃物 is a noun so な is added before んだ.

So 言葉は刃物なんだ directly means “words are knives” in an convincing way, but since it’s a metaphor we translate it as “words are like knives”.

使い方を間違えると厄介な凶器になる

There are two clauses in this sentence. 使い方を間違えると is the subordinate clause and 厄介な凶器になる is the main clause.

The stem of a verb masu-form followed by 方 means “how to do something” or “the way of doing something”. 使い is the stem of the verb 使います meaning “to use” so 使い方 means “how to use” or “the way of using”.

“Something を間違える” means “to get something wrong”.

And “The conjunction particle と following a verb dictionary form” means “if one does something”.

So the subordinate clause 使い方を間違えると directly means “if you get the way of using wrong” so it can be translated as “if you use them the wrong way”.

厄介な is a na-adjective meaning “troublesome” which is used for something causing a lot of problems. And it modifies the following word 凶器 meaning “murder weapons”. So 厄介な凶器 can be translated as “dangerous weapons”.

And “something になる” means “to become or turn into something”.

So the main clause 厄介な凶器になる means “they will turn into dangerous weapons”.

Sentences

Conan’s Quote

Words are like knives. If you use them the wrong way, they can turn into dangerous weapons.

Noun A は Noun B なんだ (“A is B”)

This dog is sick. Please give him good care.
This stone is a power stone. If you have it, something good will happen.

〜を間違える (to get something wrong)

I took the wrong way and I got lost.
It’s rude to get someone’s name wrong.

Verb Dictionary-Form +と (if)

This flower will die if you give it too much water.
If I tell you now, you might get confused so I’ll tell you later.

NOTE: Difference Between と, ば, たら and なら (if one does/doesn’t do something)

Verb Dictionary-Form/Nai-Form + と

  • expresses general truths/constant results (if “A” happens, “B” will unavoidably happen) such as natural phenomenons, habitual actions, programmed actions, etc.
  • can also express one’s discovery following a certain action in the past
  • cannot express one’s volition, invitations, requests, commands, etc.
If you heat up ice, it melts.
If I don’t drink hot milk, I can’t sleep.
If you press this button, the door will open.
I went to the supermarket to find it was closed.

Verb Conditional-Form + ば

  • expresses general truths/constant result (can be substituted for と)
  • can also express hypothetical conditions (if “A” happens (hypothesis), “B” will happen)
  • basically cannot express one’s volition, invitations, requests, commands, etc.
If the typhoon comes, the school will be closed.

*EXCEPTION: if the subject of each clause was different, or if the condition “A” is the state of being, it can express one’s volition, invitations, requests, commands, etc.

If you don’t disturb me (subject: you), I will study with you (subject: I).
If you are hot (= state of being), you can turn on the air conditioner.

Verb Ta-Form + ら

  • expresses hypothetical conditions and actual conditions (when “A” happens “B” will happen)
  • can also express one’s discovery following a certain action in the past (can be substituted for と but たら is more casual)
  • can express one’s volition, invitations, requests, commands, etc.
  • can be widely used to express “if”
If you had a million yen, what would you use it for?
When the next lesson finishes, let’s go buy coffee.
I went to the supermarket to find it was closed.

Verb Plain-Form + なら

  • used to make someone’s statement provided before into a condition
Your sister: I’m going to the library. You: If you’re going to the library, can you return this book for me?

Vocabulary

Romaji Hide|Display Default|Add to ▼
ageru
ichidan verb, transitive verb
  1. (after the -te form of a verb) to do for (the sake of someone else)
atatameru
ichidan verb, transitive verb
  1. to warm; to heat
atsui
i adjective
  1. hot (weather, etc.)
atode
adverb
  1. afterwards
iku
godan verb (iku/yuku), intransitive verb
  1. to go
isshoni
adverb
  1. together (with)
ittekuru
kuru verb
  1. to go (and then come back)
inu
noun
  1. dog (Canis (lupus) familiaris)
ima
adverbial noun, noun
  1. now
imouto
noun
  1. younger sister
osu
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to push
owaru
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to finish
kaesu
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to return (something)
gakkou
noun
  1. school
kamoshirenai
expression
  1. perhaps
kareru
ichidan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to wither (of a plant)
kyouki
noun
  1. dangerous weapon

Kanji

Display Default|Add to ▼
Stroke Count
1 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. one, one radical (no.1)
Readings
Kun'yomi: ひと、ひと.つ、はじめ、てん、かづ、かつ、いる、まこと、かず、おさむ、か、かた、くに、さね、すすむ、たか、ただ、ち、のぶ、はじむ、ひ、ひじ、ひで、ひとし、まさし、もと、もろ、ひと-。
On'yomi: イチ、イツ。
Stroke Count
2 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. person
Readings
Kun'yomi: ひと、-と、-り。
On'yomi: ニン、ジン。
Stroke Count
3 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. ten thousand, 10,000
Readings
Kun'yomi: よろず。
On'yomi: マン、モン、バン。
Stroke Count
4 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. now
Readings
Kun'yomi: いま。
On'yomi: コン、キン。
Stroke Count
4 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. circle, yen, round
Readings
Kun'yomi: まど、まる、まど.か、まる.い、まろ.やか。
On'yomi: エン。
Stroke Count
4 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. water
Readings
Kun'yomi: みず、みづ、み、みず-。
On'yomi: スイ。
Stroke Count
5 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. book, present, main, origin, true, real, counter for long cylindrical things
Readings
Kun'yomi: もと。
On'yomi: ホン。
Stroke Count
6 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. rest, day off, retire, sleep
Readings
Kun'yomi: やす.む、やす.まる、やす.める。
On'yomi: キュウ。
Stroke Count
6 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. name, noted, distinguished, reputation
Readings
Kun'yomi: な、-な。
On'yomi: ミョウ、メイ。
Stroke Count
6 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. spirit, mind, air, atmosphere, mood
Readings
Kun'yomi: いき。
On'yomi: ケ、キ。
Stroke Count
6 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. going, journey
Readings
Kun'yomi: い.く、ゆ.く、おこな.う、おこな.い、C、-い.き、-ゆ.き、-いき、-ゆき、おこ.なう。
On'yomi: C、A、ゴウ、コウ、アン、ヒン、A、ギョウ。
Stroke Count
7 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. what
Readings
Kun'yomi: なに、なん、あが、なに.の、なん.の、なん.ぞ、いず.れ、なに-、なん-。
On'yomi: ガ、カ。
Stroke Count
7 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. come, due, next, cause, become
Readings
Kun'yomi: く.る、き、こ、き.たす、き.たる、きた.す、きた.る。
On'yomi: ライ、タイ。
Stroke Count
8 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. study, learning, science
Readings
Kun'yomi: まな.ぶ、まな、まなぶ。
On'yomi: ガク。
Stroke Count
9 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. in front, before
Readings
Kun'yomi: まえ、さき、-まえ。
On'yomi: ゼン、セン。
Stroke Count
9 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. behind, back, later
Readings
Kun'yomi: うし.ろ、おく.れる、のち、あと、うしろ。
On'yomi: グ、コウ、ゴ。
Stroke Count
10 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. write
Readings
Kun'yomi: か.く、-が.き、-がき。
On'yomi: ショ。
Stroke Count
10 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. exam, school, printing, proof, correction
Readings
Kun'yomi: かせ。
On'yomi: ギョウ、キョウ、コウ。
Stroke Count
12 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. interval, space
Readings
Kun'yomi: あいだ、ま、あい。
On'yomi: ケン、カン。
Stroke Count
13 Strokes
English Meaning
  1. tale, talk
Readings
Kun'yomi: はな.す、はなし。
On'yomi: ワ、エ、カ。

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