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Thread: -n desu

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    Default -n desu

    Anyone have some tips on when to use -n desu? Or is this really just one of those things you've got to learn from trial and error?

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    You can use it for a million things; in general, think of it as a way to explain yourself (especially if you're explaining why you're doing something that is contrary, confusing, unexpected, bothersome or somehow negative). I don't know what your vocabulary is like, but since you used romaji, I will try to give you a few examples in romaji.

    J-girl:Nan-ji desu ka?
    You: Tokei nai n desu.

    You: Tyotto, okiki-shitai n desu kedo...
    J-stranger: Hai. Nan desu ka?

    You: Hachi-ji ni uchi o deta n desu kedo, jiko de densya ga okureta n desu...
    Boss: Ja, taihen datta desyoo.
    You: Ee. Sumimasen.

    You: Yuutan-shite.
    Cabbie: Yuutan desu ka?
    You: Ee.
    Cabbie: Dekimasu ka nee. Abunai n desu kedo nee.

    You: Huransu-ryoojikan wa kotchi no hoo desyoo ka?
    J-guy: Hai?
    You: Anoo... Huransu-ryoojikan e ikitai n desu kedo...
    J-guy: Jaa, kore o massugu itte, tsugi no koosaten de hidari e magagtte, sugu desu yo.

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    Thanks for the extra examples! I've heard several explanations, and I think each one helps a little bit to round out my understanding of this grammar. The contextual examples are particularly useful.

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    Member kasugai's Avatar
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    It's also frequently used to ask for more information. Questions that start with "dou" often use it:

    doushita n desu ka?
    doushite kawanakatta n desu ka?

    There are plenty of questions that use 'n' and don't start with 'dou' of course, though. One example I can think of is: you are sitting at a restaurant with a friend and she notices you've barely touched your plate and asks "suki ja nai no?"
    While technically she's asking "You don't like it?" what she really wants to know is "Why aren't you eating?" and the 'no' indicates that she wants you to explain yourself.

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    Cool Cutie Fighter! Hyakuman's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure it's the abbreviated form of の which is used to denote a reason. However, I asked my host mom about this a while back and she said that it's used more for adding an emotion to your sentence. Obviously that's true to a certain extent, but asking a natural Japanese speaker the intricasies of their language is a fools move. It's definitely easier to grasp as a form of reason.

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    Senior Member SarahJ27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katyaj
    You can use it for a million things; in general, think of it as a way to explain yourself (especially if you're explaining why you're doing something that is contrary, confusing, unexpected, bothersome or somehow negative). I don't know what your vocabulary is like, but since you used romaji, I will try to give you a few examples in romaji.

    J-girl:Nan-ji desu ka?
    You: Tokei nai n desu.

    You: Tyotto, okiki-shitai n desu kedo...
    J-stranger: Hai. Nan desu ka?

    You: Hachi-ji ni uchi o deta n desu kedo, jiko de densya ga okureta n desu...
    Boss: Ja, taihen datta desyoo.
    You: Ee. Sumimasen.

    You: Yuutan-shite.
    Cabbie: Yuutan desu ka?
    You: Ee.
    Cabbie: Dekimasu ka nee. Abunai n desu kedo nee.

    You: Huransu-ryoojikan wa kotchi no hoo desyoo ka?
    J-guy: Hai?
    You: Anoo... Huransu-ryoojikan e ikitai n desu kedo...
    J-guy: Jaa, kore o massugu itte, tsugi no koosaten de hidari e magagtte, sugu desu yo.
    Hmm, are these JSL examples?

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    VIP UPGRAYEDD's Avatar
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    Default Re: -n desu

    Quote Originally Posted by Wakatta
    Anyone have some tips on when to use -n desu? Or is this really just one of those things you've got to learn from trial and error?
    I'll quote from my grammar book.

    No da - a sentence ending which indicates that the speaker is explaining or asking for an explanation about some information shared with the hearer, or is talking about something emotively, as if it were of common interest to the speaker and the hearer.

    No da/desu often becomes n da/desu. In informal speech, male speakers use n da and female speakers use no.

    Basically, blah blah no da is used when the speaker is explaining or asking for an explanation about information shared with the hearer. The information is often what the speaker and the hearer have observed or heard.

    Q- どおうしてお酒お飲まないんですか
    A- 私はまだ17なんです

    Q uses n desu because he observes that the other person isn't drinking sake and wants an explanation for that. The answer is in n desu because he is explaining about what the other observed.

    When information is not shared the speaker uses n desu (A) to involve the hearer in the affairs he is talking about and (B) to impose his idea upon the hearer or, at least, to emphasize his idea emotively.

    http://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Bas...0723902&sr=8-1[/url]
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
    (郷に入っては郷に従え.)

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    Senior Member karumu's Avatar
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    'tis a great grammar book, and get the intermediate one as well and you are set!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SarahJ27
    Hmm, are these JSL examples?
    Except for the late-to-work one, they're off the top of my head, but all the Japanese coursework I've done used JSL.

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    Senior Member SarahJ27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katyaj
    Quote Originally Posted by SarahJ27
    Hmm, are these JSL examples?
    Except for the late-to-work one, they're off the top of my head, but all the Japanese coursework I've done used JSL.
    The ones off the top of your head are really close to the CC's too, lol.

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    Of course they are! That's how I learned it! :-D It might be different if the class had met more than three times a week... we might have had time for more drilling and utilization, and I could probably get a lot more creative and wide-ranging with the things I can say off the top of my head... I feel like my knowledge is seriously limited, but at least I could remember enough to give an answer.

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    Senior Member SarahJ27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katyaj
    Of course they are! That's how I learned it! :-D It might be different if the class had met more than three times a week... we might have had time for more drilling and utilization, and I could probably get a lot more creative and wide-ranging with the things I can say off the top of my head... I feel like my knowledge is seriously limited, but at least I could remember enough to give an answer.
    There's nothing more satisfying than finding yourself in a situation that you can use a CC almost verbatim though, lol. I still practice the JSL stuff now. Without any Japanese people around me, it's probably the best way to keep up on my speaking until I get to Japan.

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    Hah! It's that or make an ass of yourself at the nearest sushi bar trying to chat up someone behind the counter. I'm sure I'll still forget plenty of what little I know before I get to Japan.

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