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

2.2.1. What are the uses of the ending?

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

Usage 1: Conjecture, appearance

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

For example

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

When it is negative, it becomes either nasō or nasasō. The above examples would become

  1. ame ga furanasō desu or furanasasō desu
    "It does not look as if it is going to rain"
  2. ano tabemono wa oishikunasasō da
    "That food doesn't look tasty."
  3. kono shigoto wa kantan ja (de wa) nasasō 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 furisō mo nai.
    "It doesn't look at all like it's going to rain."
  2. Ano tabemono wa oishisō de mo nai.
    "That food doesn't look good at all".

Usage 2: Reporting what has been heard

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

For example

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

Other points


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