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そうだ (Hearsay)

そうだ (Hearsay)

そうだ (Hearsay) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Auxiliary Phrase

Essential Meaning: I heard that / People say that / Word on the street is that / Apparently

Construction: 

  • (Verb / い-Adjective) informal + そうだ
    • E.g. はなすそうだ [I heard that X speaks]
    • E.g. たかいそうだ [I heard that X is expensive]
  • (な-Adjective Stem / Noun) + [だ / だった] + そうだ
    • E.g. しずかだそうだ [I heard that X is quiet]
    • E.g. 先生せんせいだそうだ [I heard that X is a teacher]

Notes:

  • そうだ (Hearsay) expresses hearsay. With そうだ (Hearsay), the speaker directly conveys information that he or she has obtained from some outside information source without altering it. This information may have been directly provided by a second party, or it may have been inferred or discovered by the speaker.
    • E.g. 日本にほんにくはとてもたかいそうだ。[I heard that Japanese meat is very expensive.] The implication of this sentence is that the speaker heard that Japan’s meat is expensive from some outside source (e.g. a friend, the news, et cetera).
  • The information source may be explicitly indicated with によると [According to].
    • E.g. 新聞しんぶんによるとフロリダにゆきったそうだ。[According to the newspaper, it seems that it snowed in Florida.]
  • Keep in mind that そうだ (Hearsay) is distinct from そうだ (Conjecture) in terms of both meaning and grammatical construction. The difference in a nutshell is that そうだ (Hearsay) conveys hearsay from an outside source, while そうだ (Conjecture) conveys a judgement based on direct perceptual evidence.
    • Examples of そうだ (Hearsay):
      • E.g. はなすそうだ。 [I heard that X speaks]
      • E.g. たかいそうだ。 [I heard that X is expensive]
      • E.g. しずかだそうだ。 [I heard that X is quiet]
      • E.g. 先生せんせいだそうだ。 [I hear that X is a teacher]
    • Example of そうだ (Conjecture):
      • E.g. はなしそうだ。 [X appears to be speaking]
      • E.g. たかそうだ。 [X is expensive-looking]
      • E.g. しずかそうだ。 [X is quiet-looking]
      • E.g. たかそうなほん [X is an expensive-looking book]

Example Sentences:

山川やまかわさんはフランス勉強べんきょうしているそうだ。[I heard that Yamakawa-san is studying French.]

清水しみずさんはおさけまないそうです。 [I heard that Shimizu-san doesn’t drink liquor.]

利子としこさんは英語えいごがとても上手じょうずだそうです。[I heard that Toshiko-san is very good at English.]

キングさんは英語えいご先生せんせいだそうだ。[I heard that Mr. King is an English teacher.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line from 4:04: 今宵こよい最高さいこう舞台ぶたいそうだ [Apparently tonight will be the greatest stage]
This is a random TripAdvisor page for a tourist attraction in Taiwan The headline of the photo says: このたかぞう目印めじるしよるライトアップされるそうだ [This tall statue is a landmark. I hear that it is lit up at night.]
This is another random review for a restaurant. The headline of the review says: いつからか全粒粉ぜんりゅうぶん自家製じかせいめんわったそうだ [Apparently they switched to whole grain home-made noodles at some point]

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