Português (Portugal)
I have seen in many dialogs and texts the word desu. But i never knew what this meant. So, can anyone tell me what's the use of this word?
  • Mutichou

    Senior Member
    France - French
    It's a verb and it is translated by to be, most of time.
    But I'm not a Japanese speaker, wait for someone who knows it better :p


    Hi, nuno. :)

    ”desu(です)” is the verb ”BE”

    Watashiwa, nihonjin desu.
    I am Japanese.

    Anatawa, porutogarujin desu
    You are Portuguese.

    またね(matane)=See you later.:)


    USA (English)
    You might also want to be familiar with where "desu" comes from, because it takes many hidden shapes. It stems from the expression "de aru". "De" is a partical meaning "at/as", and "aru" is a verb meaning "to be/to exist". So if you wrap your brain around that, you can understand something like "to exist as... / to be in the state of..." In other words: "to be".

    "Aru" is the actual verb, and the forms of "desu" reflect it. "De aru" becomes "de atte" (generally contracted to "datte") and "de atta" (contracted to "datta"). When you begin to study keigo (honorifics and levels of speech), you will learn that another common form of "desu" is "de gozaimasu" ("gozaimasu" = a powered-up form of "aru")

    casual form: da
    Used just like "desu".
    Tomodachi wa taisetsu na no da.
    Friends are important.

    -te form
    deshite (rare, very formal) / datte, de
    Kind of has the words "and", "because", or "therefore" built right in to it.
    Kamawanai de, suki dake itte kure.
    I don't care, [so] say what you like.
    絵がすごく綺麗だって欲しくなった。E ga sugoku kirei datte hoshiku natta.
    The picture was so pretty, I wanted it.

    *note: Don't confuse "datte" with "da tte". While, because there are no spaces in Japanese writing, you will not necessarily see the difference, "datte" is a form of "desu", and "da tte" is sort of a verbal quotation mark.

    -ta form
    deshita / datta
    Used for the past tense.
    Hitotsu shika nakatta kara, daiji datta.
    Because I had only one, it was special.
    Osoku natte wa shitsurei deshita.
    It was rude of me to be late.

    -tari form dattari
    Kind of has the words "like" or "sometimes" or "will" built in to it.
    Sarako wa, utagoe ga saikou dattari saitei dattari suru yo ne.
    Sarako's voice will be awesome one minute, and sucky the next.

    potential form: deshou / darou
    This form in other verbs means "let's" or "shall". It's kind of a supposing future tense, and is very common with "desu". "Deshou" > "desu" (formal), "darou" > "da" (informal).
    Ashita wa, tenki ga hareru deshou.
    Tomorrow the weather will [probably] be sunny.
    Keita wa okoru darou.
    Keita will be mad [won't he?].


    Senior Member
    Castellano, Argentina
    According to the sci.lang.japanese FAQ:

    The general view amongst linguists seems to be that desu is a contraction of de gozaimasu, not de arimasu. However there are many other theories of the origin of desu.

    I'd post the link, but I can't until I have 30 posts -_-
    do a google search for it if you want to read the FAQ (this is all there is on desu in the FAQ though).