-sou desu

mdbvma

Senior Member
Canada, English
I have just started to learn the Japanese language this month and this is my first post on the forum. I was steadily reading through an online Japanese verb guide and I saw that in Lesson 47 (http://www.timwerx.net/language/jpverbs/lesson47.htm) it contrasts the verb suffix “sou desu,” which attaches to the dictionary “Base 3” form of a verb, with “sou,” which attaches to the “Base 2” form of a verb. However in the textbook that I’m using I saw the sentence, “Ame ga furisou desu,” in which it appears to me that “sou desu” is attached to the “Base 2” form of the verb. I hope one of the experts here will please inform me which one is correct. Does “sou desu” attach to the “Base 2” or the “Base 3” form of the verb?
 
  • akimura

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Hi mdbvma,

    I hope one of the experts here will please inform me which one is correct.
    Both cases with sou desu or its informal form souda are actually correct, while they have different meanings.

    With base 2, it means, "look, look like, seem, appear."

    [Base 2] Ame ga furisou desu. (雨が降りそうです。)
    This means, "It seems that it is going to rain."

    With Base 3, it means, "I hear(d) [that-clause], They say [that-clause]."

    [Base 3] Ame ga furu sou desu. (雨が降るそうです。)
    This means, "I hear that it will rain."


    I hope this helps.:)
     

    Morrow

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    it contrasts the verb suffix “sou desu,” which attaches to the dictionary “Base 3” form of a verb, with “sou,” which attaches to the “Base 2” form of a verb. However in the textbook ... it appears to me that “sou desu” is attached to the “Base 2” form of the verb.
    I think you've answered your question.

    "Base 2" form (usually ending in /i/) is not only followed by "sou" but also by "sou-desu." On the other hand, "Base 3" form (the same form as the lexical entry, ending in /u/) comes before "sou-desu" but not before "sou."

    (1) Kono yuka suberi [sou/sou-desu]. (This floor seems slippery.)
    this / floor / seem to slip
    (2) Kono yuka suberu [*sou/sou-desu] (This floor is said to be slippery.)
    this / floor / be said to slip

    You can use the verb "suberu (slip)" here, instead of the adjective "suberi+yasui (slippery) [slip+likely to cause something to happen]." This might be confusing to you. I think it would be a good way to focus on example sentences in which the subject is animate, until you progress to an intermediate level.

    (3) Burapi ga nihon ni ki [sou /sou-desu]. (Brad Pitt is likely to come to Japan.)
    Brad Pitt / Japan / to / be likely to come
    (4) Burapi ga nihon ni kuru sou-desu. (People say Brad Pitt will come to Japan.)
    Brad Pitt / Japan / to / be said to come

    Since "sou /sou-desu" and "sou-desu" are different from each other in function, they both can appear in a single sentence, although the former can only have the form of "sou." (This kind of test may sound familiar if you are/were a linguistic major.)

    (5) Burapi ga nihon ni ki sou nan-da sou-desu. (People say Brad Pitt is likely to come to Japan.)
    Brad Pitt / Japan / to / be said to be likely to come

    Instead of "nan-da sou-desu," you can use an informal "datte" as in (6).

    (6) Burapi ga nihon ni ki sou datte.

    Morrow
     
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