anibee's Guide to Nifty Japanese Words 101! (Vol. 4)

Fun with Phrase Suffixes!

On this edition of our on-going feature, we're going to discuss phrase suffixes, or words that we use at the end of our sentences.

While possessing no real meaning on their own, suffixes, much like titles, can tell you a lot about a person; one's position, social standing, tone, and even gender or race! There are possibly countless different kinds of suffixes in the Japanese language, but here's a few that we know:

―です(desu) – easily the most commonly used one. ですis used very often when one intends to be polite or neutral in tone.

Example

A: 本当ですか?

Hontou desu ka?
Is that true?

B: ええ、そうです。

Ee, sou desu.
Yes, that is correct.

―だ (da) – also rather common, is used when the speaker is particularly confident about a topic. It often sounds rather forceful, and can be implied as rudeness if not used properly, so be mindful!

Example

A: 一番強いのヒーローは誰と思う?

Ichiban tsuyoi no hiiroo wa dare to omou?
Who do you think the strongest hero is?

B:ハルクだ

Haruku da!
It's the Hulk!

But as mentioned earlier, suffixes can be used for all sorts of situations to imply all kinds of meanings.

Femininity:

―わ (wa)

A: それは素敵だわ!

Sore wa suteki da wa!
That's wonderful!

Authority:

―なさい (nasai)

A: 静かにしなさい。

Shizuka ni shi nasai.
Please be quiet.

Some suffixes are sometimes used for purely comical effect and are otherwise, non-sensical (such as Naruto's consistent だってばよ!(date bayo!))!

Pay close attention to the next anime you watch - who knows what new suffix you'll pick up?

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