Wild Nihongo!
だろう / でしょう

だろう / でしょう

だろう / でしょう Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Auxiliary Expression

Essential Meaning: Probably / Right? (expressing unfounded conjecture)

Construction: 

  • (Verb / い-Adjective) informal + だろう
    • E.g. はなすだろう [X probably speaks]
    • E.g. たかいだろう [X is probably expensive]
  • な-Adjective stem / Noun + (だった) + だろう
    • E.g. しずかだろう [X is probably quiet]
    • E.g. 先生せんせいだっただろう [X was probably a teacher]

Notes:

  • だろう expresses informal conjecture that is not based on any particular information or evidence. The formal variant of だろう is でしょう.
  • だろう / でしょう sometimes pairs with probability adverbs such as たぶん [Probably] or きっと [Certainly] to express the speaker’s confidence that something will / will not happen or that something is / is not the case.
    • E.g. アンダーソンさんはたぶん日本にほんくだろう。[Mr. Anderson will probably go to Japan.]
    • E.g. アンダーソンさんはきっと日本にほんくだろう。[I’m almost certain that Mr. Anderson will go to Japan.]
  • In interrogative sentences, だろう / でしょう serves to soften questions and make them less direct (and thereby more formal). It generally conveys the idea of “I wonder…
    • E.g. 大丈夫だいじょうぶですか。[Is it all right?]
    • E.g. 大丈夫だいじょうぶでしょうか。[I wonder if it’s alright?]
  • だろう can be articulated with rising inflection to seek agreement from the hearer. This is softer and more polite than the sentence-final particle .
    • E.g. きみくだろう? [You’ll go too, right?]
    • E.g. これ、きれいでしょう? [This is pretty, don’t you think?]

Example Sentences:

あのアパートはたかいでしょう。[That apartment is probably expensive.]

ロジャーはスキーが上手じょうずだろう。[Roger is probably good at skiing.]

あの人は中国人ちゅうごくじんだろう。[That person is probably Chinese.]

WILD Examples:

This song begins with the following line: ぼくうままれた、このしまそらを、ぼくはどれくらいっているんだろう [This island where I was born, I wonder how well I know its sky?] In this example, だろう is used interrogatively to convey the idea of “I wonder…”
Listen to this opening line beginning at 0:27: どれくらいの値打ねうちがあるだろうぼくいまきているこの世界せかい[About how much value is there, in this world where I am living]

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