1

I have seen a sentence below.

No matter how hard I try, I suck at Japanese. I mean, how am I EVER gonna get better at this?

My first question - In this sentence, what is an actual meaning of "how"?

  1. Is that "how" about "-for what reason : WHY from Collins dictionary & merriam-webster"?

e.g.)

How would I know if it's going to rain or not?

How can you talk such nonsense?

or

  1. Is this "how" about "-You use how in expressions such as 'How can you...' and 'How could you...' to indicate that you disapprove of what someone has done or that you find it hard to believe. from Collins dictionary"?

e.g.)

[disapproval]

How can you tell him such awful lies?

How could such a writer be taken seriously?

How could he be so indiscreet?

.

My second question - Is this sentence rhetorical question?

1
  • 1
    Please note that, while it is normal to say "gonna" it is not normal to write it. – JavaLatte Jan 4 at 1:08
2

How is often used to ask "what method"

So the literal meaning here is "What method should I use to get better at Japanese?"

A rhetorical question is one that the speaker doesn't expect to be answered. If the speaker was speaking to their Japanese teacher it could be a real question: "What is the method that I should use to improve my Japanese?" If they were talking to their friend, it is probably rhetorical. With the meaning "I don't know the method to get better at Japanese." and expecting sympathy, not an answer. THe context suggests it is rhetorical (you don't normally talk to teachers like this)

2
  • Hi, Thank you. Hmm moving on my first question, what is difference between example sentences in 1. how and ones in 2. how? – Tae-Bbong-E Jan 3 at 15:47
  • 1
    There is no structural difference. The only difference is the meaning. In 2, the context suggests that you are not actally asking the method that you use to tell awful lies. But there is no way of telling that from the structure, only the context. Although "How can you talk such nonsene" belongs in the second group. The first one about the weather is probably rhetorical too. – James K Jan 3 at 15:54

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