JLPT 4 – uses of phrase

October 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

In every sentence pattern there might be little variation in the forms of nouns, verbs or adjectives but this small variation makes a big difference in the meaning of the complete sentence. Students should be very careful about these small differences in the forms of various elements of grammar. “Sou desu” in English means ‘I learnt/ heard that’. The main aim of this lesson is to understand how in Japanese language we can share a piece of information with another person without changing any fact about it.

We will be learning approximately 6 new sentence patterns in this lesson. Let us start learning them one by one.

1) In this sentence pattern we will learn how we can tell news to someone which we have heard from someone else, by using the phrase “sou desu”. One very important thing to remember while using this sentence pattern is that while telling this news to someone else we are not allowed to change anything about it. The news should be said exactly in the same way as it was told to you. As we are going to tell the news which we have heard from somewhere else there are two other phrases which can be used along with “sou desu” in a sentence. The first one is “…ni yoru to” which means “according to, on the basis of) The second phrase is “…no hanashi dewa” which means “as per her/ his talk). The noun, adjectives and verbs which come before “sou desu” are always in their plain forms. Following are the examples of this sentence pattern:

'sou desu' Japanese sentences – According to the weather report, I heard that there will be no rain tomorrow.)

Japanese 'sou desu' sentences – (According to the conversation with Hayashi sir, I learned that Mr. Ali is busy with his studies.)

Japanese sentences – (I heard that last week’s party was lively.)

Always remember that in this sentence pattern when we use i-adjective the “i” at the end remains as it is. In case of na-adjective they are used in the plain forms. On the other hand in the sentence pattern of the previous sentence where we used “sou desu” for assumption “i” which was at the end of i-adjectives was always removed and “sou desu” was added to it. In the same way “na” which was at the end of na-adjectives was always removed and then “sou desu” was added to it.

2) In the second sentence pattern of this lesson we will learn another new use of the phrase “sou desu”. We have already seen the use of this “sou desu” in the previous lesson but only with i-adjectives and na-adjectives. Here we will learn its use with verbs. In this sentence pattern “sou desu” is used when we are looking at some event and upon that we assume or predict that this event will lead to or result in this particular condition. In short we assume the result of some event to occur in a certain way. It is very important to remember the difference between the forms which we used in the first form and this form. In the first form we have used the plain forms of the verb whereas in this form we will be using the “masu base” or “stem” form of verbs. This little change in the form of the verbs makes a big difference to the meaning of the sentence. The negative form of this phrase is “soumonai” or “sou dewa nai”. Following are two conversations provided as examples to you:

Example: 1

Japanese version:

'soumonai' japanese phrase

English version:

A: The sky has become cloudy and dark, isn’t it?

B: It seems that it will rain any moment.

Example: 2

Japanese version:

 Japanese 'soumonai' phrase

English version:

A: Has Mr. John already come?

B: No, it seems that he will not come.

Following is a table which gives you the difference between the use and meaning of both the sentence patterns where we have used the phrase “sou desu”.

difference between use and meaning of japanese sentences

3) In Japanese language we make use of two different prefixes when we are talking about someone else. In other words when we are talking about someone else and to give respect to that person we make use of “go” or “o” prefixes. Both these mean “your”. Always remember that “go” and “o” are never used when I am talking about myself or something that I posses. A small rule which differentiates the use of these two prefixes is that “go” is used with words which have Chinese pronunciation or words from the “kango” group. “o” is used for words from the “wago” group or words which have Japanese pronunciation. Kago words always should have at least two kanjis having the Chinese reading. Following are the examples of these two prefixes:

Japanese 'kango' phrease – (Congratulations on your marriage!)

'kango' japanese phrases – (Sir, your car is this.)

4. Until now we have learnt many different uses of the particle “de”. In this sentence pattern we will learn another use of this particle in Japanese grammar. Here the meaning of “de” particle is “because of”. It basically is used to show a reason of doing something. In the same way the “kute” form of i-adjectives, “de” form of na-adjectives and “te” form of verbs are also used to give reason of doing something or for some event to occur. Below are the examples for this sentence pattern:

Japanese form of i-adjectives – (This building collapsed because of earthquake.)

Japanese form of na-adjectives – (South India is famous because of old temples.)

5) When you want to tell your thoughts, decisions or feelings confidently to some one at that time “no desu” phrase is used. This phrase is also used to ask questions to another person. The verbs or adjectives which come before “no desu” are always used in their respective plain forms. In a conversation when you use “no desu” it is pronounced as “n desu”. This is a rule which the students have to always remember. Following are few examples:

Japanese grammer with 'n desu' – (What are you going to do after going to Japan?)

Japanese grammer with 'no desu' – (Why don’t you buy that book?)

Japanese grammer – (It is a little expensive.)

6) `In the previous sentence patterns we saw the use of “sou desu” in sentences like “furisou desu” which means “it is about to rain” and “oishisou desu” where we assumed some things. Now in the same phrase we will remove “desu” and add “na” in place of “desu”. So respectively “furisou desu” will become “furisou na” and “oishisou desu” will become “oishisou na”. This is how we have changed these words into “na” adjectives. This method can be used to change other words also into na-adjectives. These newly formed na-adjectives follow all the rules of a normal nekeiyoushi word. E.g.:

 'furisou desu' japanese – (There is a sparkle of happiness in his/ her eyes.)

Japanese 'furisou desu' – (The face of injured boy shows that he is about to cry.)


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