374 - てみせる

JLPT N2 Grammar: てみせる

Times can be tough, like all of 2016 for example. There are times for being down and complaining about it, and there are times when you need to pick yourself up by your metaphorical bootstraps and keep going. The best way to do this is to give yourself a little encouragement.

A little self appreciation goes a long way to get motivated to do something. And of course, there is a Japanese grammar point to help you do just that.

てみせる can easily be understood if you break it down. The Vて is an action and みせる means “to show.” If you translate it into colloquial 10 year old, it has a connotation of “I’ll show you!”

If you would like a more concrete meaning, the grammar books say てみせる is used to “show strong resolve,” or “to be determined to accomplish.” It is used as a pick me up, to tell others, but especially yourself, about your plans and how you will manage to complete them.

Here is the construction:

Vてみせる

勝ってみせる
かってみせる
I will win


Now let’s look at an example sentence:

海外旅行に憧れる家族のために、飛行機恐怖症を克服してみせる
かいがいりょこう に あこがれる かぞく の ために、 ひこうき きょうふしょう を こくふく してみせる。
My family would like to travel abroad, so for their sake I will conquer my fear of flying.
Literally: “trip overseas + に + longs for + family + の + for / sake + airplane + phobia + を + conquer (and) + show.”

As you can see, the person who is talking has a strong conviction and uses this statement to encourage himself to succeed. It’s kind of like a positive message to yourself. By telling yourself and others that you can do it, it gives you courage.


野生のイノシシくらい、素手でつかまえてみせますよ。
やせい の イノシシ くらい、 すで で つかまえてみせます よ。
You just wait, I'll catch a wild boar with my bare hands.
Literally: “wild + の + boar + that much + bare hands + で + catch (and) + show + よ.”
Note: The くらい in this sentence shows that the speaker is looking down on the boar. The feeling is, since it's just a boar, they can catch it.


去年は失敗したけど、今年こそは7月中に夏休みの宿題を終わらせてみせる
きょねん は しっぱい した けど、 ことし こそ は しちがつちゅう に なつやすみ の しゅくだい を おわらせてみせる。
I messed up last year, but this year I will finish my summer homework in July.
Literally: “last year + は + fail + did + けど + this year + こそ + は + in July (=July + middle) + summer vacation + の + homework + を + finish (and) + show.”


In the last sentence below, the speaker is talking about someone else. てみせる can be used in this case to simply show something through an action.

彼女はクラスメートの前で堂々とトランペットを吹いてみせた
かのじょ は クラスメート の まえ で どうどう と トランペット を ふいてみせた。
She played the trumpet magnificently in front of her classmates.
Literally: “she + は + classmates + の + in front of + で + magnificently + と + trumpet + を + blew (and) + showed."
Note: Thanks to ~てみせた, the nuance is that she successfully displayed her trumpet-playing skills in front of everyone.

Now it’s your turn! I know you can use this grammar point to make a sentence about learning Japanese. :)

But not only that, this is the perfect time of year for this grammar point. Think about a New Year’s resolution you can make, and form it into a sentence with てみせる. The possibilities are endless.

My New Year’s resolution is to get my dog a brother. Does he look lonely to you?


This lesson was written by Cassy L., a guest contributor:


Discussion

0 comments