Lesson#2 – desu

I was planning to explain all the japanese verbs who can be translated as “to be” in a single lesson, but it would be way too long 😀
So in this lesson I will talk only about “desu”.

desu – da
Japanese verbs always have 2 forms: a formal one and an informal one used with friends and family only.
“desu” is the polite form of “da” and it’s often considered the japanese version of “To be” but it’s actually not. Usually desu just works as auxiliary verb to express courtesy. Anyway, it’s not easy to explain cause there is nothing similar in english.
We will focus, for the moment, on the only way “desu” is used as “to be” verb.

Predicate Nominal with Nouns
yeah! This is the only situation where desu works as “to be” verb: as copula in a predicate nominal with a noun. Note: only with a noun!

A wa B da ——> A is B
A wa B desu ——>A is B

watashi wa gakusei desu
I’m a student (学生–>gakusei–>student)

kono tatemono wa byouin da
This building is an hospital (この–>kono–>this 建物–>tatemono–>building 病院–>byouin–>hospital)

Quite simple, isn’t it? In this structure Desu and Da are used in the same way, only the politeness of the sentence changes.

How to make those sentences negative??

A wa B dewanai——–>A is not B
A wa B dewa arimasen——>A is not B

dewanai is the negative form of da and dewa arimasen is its polite form.

watashi wa gakusei dewa arimasen
Im not a student

kono tatemono wa byouin dewanai
This building is not an hospital

Yeah! Easy! But note that “wa” in “dewa” is written with the hiragana “ha”–> は like the particle.

What about the past form??
A wa B datta——–>A was B
A wa B deshita——>A was B (polite)
A wa B dewa nakatta——–>A was not B
A wa B dewa arimasen deshita——>A was not B(polite)

watashi wa gakusei deshita
i was a student

kono tatemono wa byouin dewa nakatta
This building was not an hospital

There is still one form i want to talk about today: darou/deshou
darou and its polite form deshou are used to express uncertainty.

A wa B darou/deshou

it may be translated in different ways using “probably” “perhaps” “maybe ” “must be”

kare wa gakusei deshou
He probably is a student

Darou/deshou are usually used with adverbs like “tabun” or “osoraku” (both mean perhaps) but they express uncertainty even without those adverbs.

The lesson is almost over! Let me just introduce you a new particle :)
The particle “ka” is used to “transform” a sentence in a question (just to make things easy :D )

A wa B ka—–>Is A B?
A wa B desuka——>Is A B?

kare wa gakusei desu ka
Is he a student?

hai, gakusei desu —-> yes, he is a student
iie, gakusei dewa arimasen—>- No, he is not a student

The answer can be streamlined using “sou”
hai, sou desu —-> yes, he is
iie, sou dewa arimasen —–> no, he isn’t

Ok, it’s over. This is really easy, just memorize all the different form of desu! ·


Posted on 26 November 2015, in Japanese, Learning Japanese, Lesson and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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