929 - わけだ

JLPT N3: わけだ

If I'm being completely honest, I wasn't exactly looking forward to writing this lesson on わけだ.

The reason for this is that わけだ is one of those grammar points that took me a very long time to really understand. After multiple years of studying Japanese, it just didn't click.

I'm much less intimidated about understanding and using わけだ in my Japanese interactions nowadays, but getting here was a gradual process.

With all that in mind, I'll try to give you a better introduction to this grammatical element than I ever received.

わけだ comes after statements that contain natural conclusions that were reached based on some reasoning, observation, etc.

Although we won't always translate it that way, it's a bit like saying "it's no surprise that." In our examples below, we're using a variety of translations of わけだ

- so
- it makes sense that
- that means
- because

Now, what do I mean by a "natural conclusion," then?

Consider the following sentence, for example:

3営業日以内ということは、遅くとも来週の火曜日には届くわけだ
さん えいぎょうび いない ということは、 おそくとも らいしゅう の かようび に は とどく わけだ。
It says it takes up to three business days, so it’ll get here by next Tuesday at the latest.
Literally: “three + working days + within + ということは, + at the latest + next week + の + Tuesday + に + は + arrive + わけだ.”


The first half of the sentence contains the reason or condition (="it says it takes up to 3 business days") that leads to a natural conclusion (="it will arrive no later than Tuesday of next week").

The speaker snaps わけだ onto the end of this natural conclusion:

...遅くとも来週の火曜日には届くわけだ
...おそくとも らいしゅう の かようび に は とどく わけだ。
...so it’ll get here by next Tuesday at the latest.
Literally: “...at the latest + next week + の + Tuesday + に + は + arrive + わけだ.”


↑ Even if that makes sense, I think you'll find that figuring out when to use this in your own Japanese is pretty tricky. If you're having trouble, though, don't get discouraged. In my case, it just gradually got easier to use over time, and I'm sure the same will be true for you, too.

 

Another example:

そういう歴史があって、タイには仏教徒が多いわけです
そういう れきし が あって、 タイ に は ぶっきょうと が おおい わけです。
Looking at their history, it makes sense that a lot of Thai people are Buddhist.
Literally: “that kind of + history + が + there is (and), + Thailand + に + は + Buddhists + が + many + わけです.”
Note: The nuance is that the speaker has just finished introducing something related to Thai history.


The history of Thailand is heavily influenced by Buddhism. Accordingly, it's only natural that there would be a lot of Thai people who are Buddhist. Since the speaker thinks this is a natural turn of events, he is using the phrase わけだ (in this case, わけです). We went with the translation of "it makes sense that" here.

 

👷 Construction 👷

A plain-form word will come right before わけだ.

We saw this already with both an i-adjective (多いわけです) and a VERB (届くわけだ).

If it's a na-adjective, we'll need to include (or である) after it, which we'll see in our final example.

If it's a NOUN, we'll need to include (or である) after it, as we can see here:

14時間のフライトということは、向こうに着くのは24日の夕方わけだね。
じゅうよ じかん の フライト ということは、 むこう に つく の は にじゅうよっ か の ゆうがた の わけだ ね。
If the flight is 14 hours long, that means we’ll land on the evening of the 24th, right?
Literally: “14 + hours + の + flight + ということは, + over there + に + arrive + の + は + 24 + day + の + evening + の + わけだ + ね.”


↑ That's the rule, at least. In actual speech, however, people tend to put a after a NOUN instead of

14時間のフライトということは、向こうに着くのは24日の夕方わけだね。
じゅうよ じかん の フライト ということは、 むこう に つく の は にじゅうよっ か の ゆうがた な わけだ ね。
If the flight is 14 hours long, that means we’ll land on the evening of the 24th, right?
Literally: “14 + hours + の + flight + ということは, + over there + に + arrive + の + は + 24 + day + の + evening + な + わけだ + ね.”

 

An interesting aspect of わけだ is the way in which we'll translate it when it is in a negative form like わけではない or わけではありません.

Since this is a strategy for stating that something is not a natural conclusion, we'll often translate it as "it's not (necessarily) the case that."

In our example below, we're simply translating it as "not because:"

彼は無駄遣いばかりするからいつも貧乏なわけで、決して給料が安いわけではありません
かれ は むだづかい ばかり する から いつも びんぼうな わけで、 けっして きゅうりょう が やすい わけではありません。
He’s broke because he’s always wasting money, not because he doesn’t get paid very much.
Literally: “he + は + wasting / squandering + only + does + because (=から) + always + poor + わけで, + never / by no means + salary + が + cheap + doesn’t mean that.”


Still feeling uncertain about わけではない/わけではありません? If so, you'll be comforted to know that we're going to be looking at it in our very next lesson.

You may also want to go back and review these other grammar points covering uses of わけ:

[NDL #681] - JLPT N3: わけにはいかない
[NDL #723] - JLPT N3: ~ないわけにはいかない
[NDL #890] - JLPT N3: わけがない