784 - というものだ

JLPT N2: というものだ

というものだ is one of the many, many ways that we add emphasis to a sentence in Japanese.

The word "emphasis" is misleading, though. More specifically, というものだ is used when you are stating something that is the natural, obvious conclusion considering a given situation.

In other words, というものだ is used when making conclusive statements about how something is.

Consider the following:

竹内さんは下の子ばかりを可愛がっている。あれでは上の子が気の毒というものだ
たけうち さん は した の こ ばかり を かわいがっている。 あれ では うえ の こ が きのどく というものだ。
Takeuchi-san only shows affection toward his younger child. One can't help but feel bad for his older kid.
Literally: “Takeuchi-san + は + younger child (=below + の + child) + only + を + is being affectionate toward / is showing favor for. + that + では + older child (=above + の + child) + が + pitiful / unfortunate (=spirit + の + poison) + というものだ.”


Saying...

上の子が気の毒
うえ の こ が きのどく だ。
I feel sorry for his older kid.
Literally: “older child (=above + の + child) + が + pitiful / unfortunate (=spirit + の + poison) + だ.”


...is different than saying...

上の子が気の毒というものだ
うえ の こ が きのどく というものだ。
One can't help but feel bad for his older kid.
Literally: “older child (=above + の + child) + が + pitiful / unfortunate (=spirit + の + poison) + というものだ.”


I mentioned that というものだ is used when stating that something is a natural, obvious conclusion in a given situation. Well, here we're seeing a natural, obvious reaction to a given situation.

The situation is that Takeuchi-san's older kid is getting neglected, and the natural reaction is feeling sorry for that kid.

Speaking of "feeling sorry for" people, let's talk about how difficult it is to put 気の毒 (きのどく) into natural English.

I don't remember the first time I read this phrase, but I do remember the first time I heard it being used. I was watching a Japanese dub of Star Trek (the 2009 one). Spock's girlfriend says it to him after his mom falls to her death.



Spock, my 気 is poisoned.

Saying "to feel sorry for (someone)" doesn't seem to capture the nuance of 気の毒.

The dictionary entries don't do a great job, either, to be honest: "pitiful; unfortunate; poor; miserable; wretched."

Based on a Japanese dictionary entry, I suppose I'd define it as "being pained by the misfortune of another." It's similar to 可哀想 (かわいそう), but not nearly as common in everyday spoken language. (We say 可哀想 when we feel sorry for someone or commenting on their pitiable state or situation, by the way.)


...I'm getting sidetracked.

My original point was that putting というものだ at the end of our phrase just makes it so that the sentence is saying that the older child is, objectively speaking, 気の毒:

上の子が気の毒というものだ
うえ の こ が きのどく というものだ。
One can't help but feel bad for his older kid.
Literally: “older child (=above + の + child) + が + pitiful / unfortunate (=spirit + の + poison) + というものだ.”


Hopefully I didn't make that too confusing. *_*

 

Let's try another example:

彼みたいな素人がマイケル・ジャクソンのダンスを批判するなんて、おこがましいというものだ
かれ みたいな しろうと が マイケル・ジャクソン の ダンス を ひはん する なんて、 おこがましい というものだ。
It's downright ridiculous for an amateur like him to be criticizing Michael Jackson’s dancing.
Literally: “he + like + amateur + が + Michael Jackson + の + dance + を + criticism / judgment + do + なんて, + impertinent / ridiculous + というものだ.”


Let's zoom in on that last bit:

おこがましいというものだ
おこがましい というものだ。
It's downright ridiculous.
Literally: “impertinent / ridiculous + というものだ.”


おこがましい. Another word that is hard to translate into English. Someone who is おこがましい doesn't know their place. They are being impertinent, saying or doing something that, when considering the situation, is idiotic or ridiculous.

It shares similarities with another word that I always have a hard time translating: 生意気 (なまいき). Dictionaries have a bunch of translations for this word: "impertinent; saucy; cheeky; conceit; audacious; brazen; feisty."


Anyway, I tried to express the nuance of というものだ by including the word "downright:"

おこがましいというものだ
おこがましい というものだ。
It's downright ridiculous.
Literally: “impertinent / ridiculous + というものだ.”


After all, というものだ is used when making a conclusive or decisive evaluation of something, yeah?

 

👷 Construction 👷

We can pretty much skip this part.

Put a word in plain form before というものだ.

Even if it's a noun or na-adjective, you don't need to worry about including な or の. Just put the word, then というものだ, and you'll be good to go.

 

There is no past tense or negative form of というものだ.

One variation that you might come across, however, is というものだろう, which would be used when making a (conclusive or decisive) conjecture:

能力のある人や努力した人が豊かになることが本当の平等というものだろう
のうりょく の ある ひと や どりょく した ひと が ゆたか に なる こと が ほんとう の びょうどう というものだろう。
True equality is when anyone who is skilled or works hard can become wealthy.
Literally: “ability + の + have / there is + person + や + effort / hard work + did + person + が + abundant / wealthy + に + become + こと + が + true + の + equality + というものだろう.”
Note: This sounds like the speaker is countering the statement or belief that equality is when everyone has the same amount of wealth.

 

Last example:

こんなに喜んでくれるなら、連れて来た甲斐があったというものだ
こんなに よろこんで くれる なら、 つれて きた かい が あった というものだ。
Considering how much she's enjoying herself, I think it’s fair to say that it was worth bringing her here.
Literally: “this much + be pleased (and) + give (me) + if (it’s the case that), + brought (her) (=take [her] [and] + came) + worth + が + there was + というものだ.”
Note: The speaker in this sentence is not saying this aloud. He is thinking it to himself. For example, maybe he has brought his daughter to Disneyland, and he is looking at how happy she is.

 

Sorry for my many tangents in this lesson.

I tend to get lost in my thoughts when it comes to Japanese. \(*_*)/
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