sou, rashii, you and mitai

ohisashiburi des. genki des ka? I am sorry that I didn't post for the last three months.
Today I will wirte about a common question, which is "How different are sou, rashii, you and mitai?" I hope many of you are interested in this topic. Here we go.

First of all, I will divide these four words into two groups,: hearing and seeing. sou 1” and “rashii” go to the hearing group and sou 2”, “you” and “mitai” go to the seeing one.

Let’s start with the hearing group, sou 1 and rashii. Use sou” when the information you heard is certain to be true. Use rashii” when it is not certain. This is the difference between these two.

This is a situation in which you tell your friend about the weather forecast after watching it: ashita wa ame ga furu sou da yo. (I heard it would rain tomorrow.)  (This is a common example in textbooks.)
This is a situation in which you tell your friend a rumor: Tanaka san wa kaisha wo yameru rashii yo. (I heard that Tanaka was going to quit his job, but I am not certain of it.)
Please remember to use “rashii” when you tell someone a gossipy type of story. It is not that difficult, then.

Now, I will write about the seeing group, “sou 2, you, and mitai. It is ok to think “you” and “mitai” are the same, so let’s compare “sou” and “you / mitai”.
While you are looking at the sky, the clouds got bigger and the sky got darker: mousugu ame ga furi sou da ne. (It is likely to rain.)
In this sentence, you predict that it will be raining soon. In other words, you form an opinion about a future possibility by seeing a current state. In this next sentence, you also predict the possibility of a store closing down while looking at it.
You are looking at a store that is in business, but never has any customers: kono mise wa tsubure sou da ne. (It is likely that this store will close down.)
On the other hand, use “you / mitai” when you judge something from what you are seeing and describe a current state. A possibility that a store is almost closing is not talked about in the next example. 
You are actually seeing the staff cleaning a shop or tiding up products: kono mise wa tsubureru you da ne. (It seems that this store is closing down.)
Let’s look at another pair of examples.
Here is a situation that you see your friend studying hard every day: kare wa test ni goukaku shi sou da ne. (He is likely to pass an exam.) (predicting future possibility)
Now you see your friend being happy after an examination: kare wa test ni goukaku shita mitai da ne. (It seems that he has passed an exam.) (judging what you are seeing and then making a conclusion)
Finally, I would like to introduce how Japanese actually differentiate these words. I realized that there are a lot of certainties, uncertainties and therefore a judgment based on what you see in history books. So, I will quote several sentences from one book of historical research. (*1) You know a Japanese company called Mitsubishi, don’t you? I am quoting from childhood stories of the founder of Mitsubishi, Yataro Iwasaki.

The house where Yataro was born still exists in Aki city, Kochi prefecture. This house is simple and has a straw-thatched roof. His family was once samurai status, but has since lost this social status. (This is true.)
Iwasaki ke no seikatsu wa kurushikatta you da. (It seems that the Iwasaki family had at tough life.) The author made a judgment about their situation mentioned above.
Yataro wa chuya no betsu naku, hageshiku nakiwameku kan no tsuyoi akanbo de, haha no Miwa mo komarihateta rashii. (It is said that Yataro was such an irritable baby and cried so intensely all day and all night that  his mother Miwa was completely at a loss. But, I am not sure if it is true.) This could be true, but it probably spread by word of mouth. 
The Iwasaki house has a small garden and garden stones were placed in strange positions. (This is true.)

Kore wa nihon retto o katadotta mono da sou da. (I heard that they were made in the shape of Japan.)

Even though the fact that he made the shape of Japan is not 100% certain, it may be okay to think it is true to some extent because the garden stones are still there.

Inagara ni shite nihon zendo o hukan shiyou to, Yataro ga mizukara tsukutta to iu. (It is said that he tried to overlook the whole country from his own room and made them on his own.)
I think “to iu” is considered to be between “sou” and “rashii”. It can be either certain or uncertain. 
We all know that Yataro studied very hard in his poor childhood and accomplished a great achievement later. Therefore, we want to believe that he had dreamed of being successful in this country not only in his hometown since he was young. So, the last sentence is still repeated nowadays even though we don’t know if it is true or not.

*sou 1: any short form + sou, sou 2: masu form + sou
*1) 『岩崎弥太郎と三菱四代』、河合敦、幻冬舎新書、2010

29 件のコメント:

  1. 説明をありがとうございます。

  2. Anna さん、コメントありがとうございます。わかってもらえましたか。

  3. Minako san, great explanations, very helpful..thank you very much.

    1. Varuna san, do itashimashite. Thank you for reading my blog. I will post a new article very soon.

  4. このコメントは投稿者によって削除されました。

  5. Brilliantly explained! Many thanks Okamoto san :)

    1. Veena san, do itashimashite.
      I am glad that you read my post and it helped you. I should keep writing!

  6. Very informative and interesting blog! It is such a plausible effort by the author. I found Japanese Language Courses really helpful for those who are about to start their career. For details you can contact NIHONKAI, a Japanese language institute at www.nihonkaijapan.com

  7. N2に合格した私にも判らなかったこと。
    ところで、"difference mitai you sou rashii"を検索したら、このページが一番上だよ!

    1. りんさん、情報ありがとう。この投稿が役に立ってくれたらうれしいです。

  8. おかもと先生、


    1. この二つの例は「形容詞+そう」ですね。これは2です。

  9. Great info.
    How do you use a noun with rashii/ sou 1?
    "I heard it's a fact,
    " I heard it's a book
    Mike yori

    1. Mike san, thank you for your comment.

      rashii is attached to directly to a noun.
      "I heard it's a fact." kore wa jijitsu rashii.
      "I heard it's a book." kore wa hon rashii.

      A quotation precedes sou(1) and should be a full sentence ending with a casual form.
      kore wa jijitsu desu → kore wa jijitsu da
      "I heard it's a fact." kore wa jijitsu da sou desu.

      wakarimashita ka?

    2. Do these translate as:
      Kore wa jijitsu rashii
      This is book like
      Korewa hon rashii
      This is bookish

      How about:
      hon da rashii
      Jijitsu da rashii


      I think I understand this topic better now. It's confusing. Thanks for your help and very quick reply Minako.

    3. I can say datta rashii but not da rashii.
      So it's always in the past tense?
      Haha, sorry for using up all your wall...

    4. Hello Mike, I'm sorry for my late response this time.

      This is bookish.: "Kore wa hon mitai." I think this translation is better. "Mitai" is in the seeing group.

      "kore wa jijitsu rashii." "Rashii" indicates a speaker's conclusion after he/she has got information about the topic. In this case, the speaker thinks "this is true", but isn't 100% sure. (That is MY interpretation.)

      "Noun + da rashii" is incorrect.

      You can use "datta rashii", but the past tense isn't always required.
      "Tanaka san wa kaisha o yameru rashii." :I heard that Tanaka was going to quit his job.
      "Tanaka san wa kaishao yameta rahii." : I heard that Tanaka had quit his job.

  10. Oh my god, this is the third time I'm writing this T_T

    Minako! I really like your explanation above and it really helped me understand those difference. Could you please tell me where とみえる and にみえる fit into the above categorization?

    For example:
    1) 雲にみえるけど、実は煙だ。
    2) 彼は忙しそうにみえる
    3) このスーツケースは軽くみえる
    4) 水と見えたが、ウォッカでした。

    Thank you! ありがとうございます。よろしくお願いします。ペコリm(_ _)m

    1. いつもブログを読んでくれて、ありがとうございます!
      これは全部 "the seeing group" に入りますね。


      2はredundantですが、日本語では問題ありません。I think he is busy. or He seems busy. になると思います。



  11. 岡本(おかもと)先生


  12. chroMatt san,

  13. How would you put a counterfactual situation into Japanese then? Example: when you use WhatsApp and someone blocks you, you can't see anymore when they were online last, and the message you might send them doesn't get delivered (only one gray check mark). Now, if you make these two observations and jump to the conclusion that person X has blocked you, and you contact that person X through another channel, and ask about why he or she blocked you, and X says that they did _not_ block you, you might apologize and say "It looked as if you had blocked me". How you say that in Japanese? Thanks!

    1. I would say, "X ga watashi o block shita to omotta." (I thought X had blocked me.)

  14. 分かりやすかったで!ありがとうございます。

    1. じよちゃん、ブログを読んでくれて、ありがとう。質問があれば、またどうぞ。

  15. This is the best explanation of this concept that I have come across. Finally, I understand!


    1. Pabloさん、ブログを読んでくれて、ありがとう。むずかしい ぶんぽうですよね!

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