Wild Nihongo!


~だす Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Auxiliary Verb (Group 1)

Essential Meaning: Begin to / Start to / X out


  • Verb ます-Form +
    • E.g. はな [Begin to speak]
    • E.g. [Begin to eat]


  • ~だす (~す in kanji) has two interpretations depending on the speaker’s intent:
    • (1) ~す can indicate an abrupt, non-volitional beginning of some action. The action is interpreted as spontaneous or abrupt and is not brought about by the subject’s volition.
      • E.g. きゅうあめした。[It suddenly started to rain.]
      • E.g. 一歳いっさいになってはじめてあるした。[When he turned one, he suddenly began to walk.]
    • (2) ~す can also mean “X out“, as in “Jump out” or “Find out“. In this case, the action may be brought about by the speaker’s volition.
      • E.g. 一時間いちじかんぐらいかけてとうとうその本屋ほんやさがした。[After searching for an hour, I finally found out the location of that bookstore.]
      • E.g. そのアイディアはだれかんがしたんですか。[Who thought out that idea?]
  • ~す conjugates as a Group 1 verb (i.e. す、さない、します, et cetera.)
  • The auxiliary verbs ~す and ~はじめる are quite similar. The difference is that ~す emphasizes spontaneity, abruptness, and non-volitionality, while ~はじめる is used more generally to express the start of some action.
    • E.g. バスがうごした。[The bus abruptly began to move.] ~す indicates that the movement of the bus was abrupt and that the speaker did not cause the bus to move.
    • E.g. バスがうごきはじめた。[The bus began to move.] ~はじめる merely indicates that the bus began to move, but does not provide context about who caused the bus to move or in what fashion the bus began to move.
    • E.g. そろそろあるきはじめましょう。[Well then, shall we start walking?] This is a volitional sentence, so ~す would be inappropriate in this case.
    • E.g. わたしたちがあるきはじめたとき山田やまだた。[When we started to walk, Yamada came.] This sentence expresses an abrupt and non-volitional action, so either ~はじめる or ~す would work.

Example Sentences:

くるまうごきした。[The car began to move.]

児童じどうしに注意ちゅうい[Beware of children jumping out (onto the road).]

WILD Examples:

At 1:27, listen for this line: くもおどればかぜがうた[If the clouds dance, the wind will begin to sing.]
At 0:20, this line occurs: おもはる一人ひとりぼっちのよる [I remember those spring days on this lonely evening] The context of 思い出す is that the memories pop into the singer’s mind non-volitionally.
At 0:30, listen for this lyric: 天気てんきがいいだよん, 自転車じてんしゃよん [It’s a fine day, I begin peddling my bike]
Listen to this line at 2:07: ありのままでしてみる [As my true self, I will try jumping out into the world]

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