ね Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Particle
Essential Meaning: Don’t you think? / Is that correct?
- Sentence + ね
- E.g. 食べるね [X eats, don’t you think? / X eats, isn’t that right?]
- E.g. 話すね [X speaks, don’t you think? / X speaks, isn’t that right?]
- E.g. 高いね [X is expensive, don’t you think? / X is expensive, isn’t that right?]
- E.g. 静かだね [X is quiet, don’t you think? / X is quiet, isn’t that right?]
- E.g. 先生だね [X is a teacher, don’t you think? / X is a teacher, isn’t that right?]
- ね is used as a request for agreement or confirmation from an addressee. You can think of the ね of agreement as (“Don’t you agree?” or “Don’t you feel the same?“) and the ね of confirmation as (“Is that correct?” or “Can you confirm?“). ね of agreement is emotive and is paired with rising intonation, while ね of confirmation is emotionally neutral with no rising intonation.
- E.g. ね of agreement: 今日はいい天気ですね。[Today’s weather is great, don’t you agree?]
- E.g. ね of confirmation: あなたは学生ですね。[You’re a student, isn’t that right?]
- ね can follow any type of sentence except the impolite imperative (e.g. 読め [Read!] and 食べろ [Eat!]). ね can follow the relatively weaker imperatives なさい and ください.
- E.g. *食べろね。[???] There is a conflict in meaning between the strong and aggressive command form and the conciliatory ね particle.
- E.g. 読んでくださいね。[You need to read, don’t you agree?] In this case, ね lightens the imperative statement.
- ね is sometimes used in a non-sentence final position in order to draw the hearer’s attention to something or to confirm that the hearer has understood what the speaker has said up to that point. This is analogous to interjecting “Ok?” or “All right?” in English conversations.
- E.g. もしもし。今晩ね。。。銀座で飲んでから帰るからね。。。十一時半ごろになるよ。[Hello. So, tonight, OK?…I’m going to have a drink in Ginza and then come home, OK? I’ll probably be home around 11:30 PM, all right?]
- てね or からね can be used to vaguely and equivocally express the reasoning behind a certain belief or attitude and seek the hearer’s agreement with that belief. You can think of it as meaning “It’s because of X, you know?”.
- E.g. あの先生はとても厳しくてね。[It’s because that teacher is really strict, you know?]
- E.g. あの先生はとても厳しいからね。[It’s because that teacher is really strict, you know?]
- E.g. 飲みすぎてね。[It’s because I drank too much, you know?]
- E.g. 飲みすぎたからね。[It’s because I drank too much, you know?]
- ね can also be used after よ to make a confident assertion and then seek agreement (i.e. “I assert X is the case. Don’t you agree?“).
- E.g. 英語が分かるよね。[You understand English, isn’t that right?]
- E.g. あの先生はいい先生ですよね。[That teacher is a good teacher, don’t you agree?]
- ね can also be used after か to express the opposite of よね (i.e. to make an unconfident assertion rather than a confident one, and seek out the listener’s agreement), as in “I’m not sure about X. Am I right?“. In this case ね is spoken with falling intonation in order to convey doubt.
- E.g. 山下君は京大に入れますかね。[I’m not sure, but I think Yamashita-kun got into Kyoto University. Am I right?]
- E.g. あの先生はいい先生ですかね。[I’m not certain, but I believe that teacher is good. Am I correct?]
坂本さんはタバコを吸わないね。[Sakamoto-san doesn’t smoke, right?]
A: 今日はいい天気ですね。B: 本当にそうですね。[A: Today’s weather is great, don’t you think? B: Yes, you’re completely right about that.]
あなたは学生ですね。[You’re a student, right?]
パーティーにいらっしゃいますね。[You’ll be at the party, right?]
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