そうだ (Conjecture) Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Auxiliary Adjective
Essential Meaning: X looks / X appears / X seems
- Verb ます-Form + そうだ
- E.g. 話しそうだ [X appears to be speaking]
- E.g. 食べそうだ [X appears to be eating]
- (い-Adjective / な-Adjective) stem + そうだ
- E.g. 高そうだ [X appears to be expensive]
- E.g. 静かそうだ [X appears to be quiet]
- This construction expresses the speaker’s conjecture based on direct visual information (i.e. it can only be used when the speaker directly observes something). The speaker’s conjecture concerns the present state of someone / something or concerns an event that may take place in the future.
- E.g. あの車は高そうだ。[That car appears to be expensive.]
- E.g. 雨が降りそうだ。[It looks like it will rain.]
- Before そうだ (Conjecture), いい becomes よさ and ない becomes なさ.
- E.g. このアパートはよさそうだ。[This apartment looks good.]
- E.g. 問題はなさそうだ。[There seems to be no problem.]
- E.g. 村山さんの家はあまり新しくなさそうだ。[Murayama-san’s house doesn’t appear to very new.]
- A noun can not directly precede そうだ (Conjecture), because this intended meaning is instead expresses by らしい. Noun + copula also can not precede そうだ (Conjecture) because this grammatical construction conveys hearsay. However, in the negative non-past tense, a noun can precede そうだ (Conjecture).
- E.g. *加藤さんは学生そうだ。[Kato-san appears to be a student.] A noun cannot directly precede そうだ (Conjecture). The appropriate construction would be 学生らしい.
- E.g. *加藤さんは学生だそうだ。[I heard that Kato-san is a student.] When a Noun + Copula precedes そうだ, it indicates そうだ (Hearsay), not そうだ (Conjecture).
- E.g. 加藤さんは学生じゃないそうだ。[Sato-san doesn’t appear to be a student.] A negative non-past noun can precede そうだ (Conjecture).
- Typically, the negative form of verbs do not precede そうだ (Conjecture). Instead, Verb ます-Form + そうにない / もない are used.
- E.g. クリスは車を売りそうにない。[Chris doesn’t doesn’t seems like she will sell her car.]
- E.g. クリスは車を売りそうもない。 [Chris doesn’t doesn’t seems like she will sell her car.]
- E.g. この問題は学生にはできそうにない。[As for this problem, it doesn’t seem that students can solve it.]
- E.g. この問題は学生にはできそうもない。[As for this problem, it doesn’t seem that students can solve it.]
- そうだ (Conjecture) is also used to express the speaker’s conjecture concerning his or her future future non-volitional actions based on feelings.
- E.g. 僕はこのケーキを残しそうだ。[It seems that I won’t be able to finish this cake.]
- E.g. 私はとても疲れていて倒れそうだ。[I’m very tired; it seems that I may collapse.]
- そうだ (Conjecture) conjugates as a な-Adjective, so pre-nominally it becomes そうな.
- E.g. 高そうな車 [An expensive-looking car]
- E.g. 雨が降りそうな空 [A sky that looks like it may rain]
雨が降りそうだ。[It looks like it may rain.]
あの車は高そうだ。[That car looks expensive.]
この家は強い風が吹いたらたおれそうだ。[This house looks like it may collapse from a strong gust of wind.]
あのステーキはおいしそうだった。[That steak looked delicious.]
このあたりは静かそうだ。[This area appears to be quiet.]
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