sci.lang.japan FAQ / 2. Grammar / 2.2. Verb endings

2.2.1. What are the uses of the sou ending?

The verb ending sou (そう) has more than one meaning. These can be distinguished by the form of the preceeding verb.

Usage 1: Conjecture, appearance

When sou attaches to it means "looks like" or "seems".

For example

  1. ame ga furisou desu
    `it looks like it is going to rain'
  2. ano tabemono wa oishisou da
    `that food looks delicious'
  3. kono shigoto wa kantan sou da
    `this work looks easy'.

When it is negative, it becomes either nasou or nasasou. The above examples would become

  1. ame ga furanasou desu or furanasasou desu
    "It does not look as if it is going to rain"
  2. ano tabemono wa oishikunasasou da
    "That food doesn't look tasty."
  3. kono shigoto wa kantan ja (de wa) nasasou da
    "This work doesn't look easy."

A negative form is also formed by transforming the da which comes after sou into its negative ja nai, or de mo nai or even mo nai. This form is emphatic. For example this might be used when contradicting what someone else said. In this form the above examples become

  1. ame ga furisou mo nai
    "It doesn't look at all like it's going to rain"
  2. ano tabemono wa oishisou de mo nai
    "That food doesn't look good at all".

Usage 2: Reporting what has been heard

When sou comes after it means that whoever uses it is reporting something that they heard or read somewhere else.

For example

  1. ame wa furu sou desu
    `I heard that it is going to rain.'
  2. ano tabemono wa oishii sou da
    `Someone told me that that food is delicious.'
  3. kono shigoto wa kantan da sou da
    `He says that this work is easy.'

Other points


sci.lang.japan FAQ / 2. Grammar / 2.2. Verb endings

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