660 - だろう (how very!)

Long, long ago, we had a series of lessons on the various uses of だろう and でしょう.

In that series, we had a lesson that covers the exact same grammar point we're looking at now:


JLPT N3: だろう (how very!)

だろう can be used when you want to express a deep or strong emotion.

I like to refer to this usage as "Inward だろう."

For example, you're traveling through Japan, and you see some truly beautiful scenery out in the countryside. You say (to yourself):


ああ、なんときれいな景色だろう
ああ、 なんと きれいな けしき だろう。
Ahh, what beautiful scenery.
Literally: “ahh, + how (very) + pretty / beautiful + scenery + だろう.”


You won't hear people using this だろう in spoken Japanese very often, as the nuance tends to be that the speaker is talking to himself or herself.

When it comes to conversation, the two other uses of だろう/でしょう that we saw in previous JLPT lessons are more useful:
- [NDL #392] - JLPT N5: でしょう (seeking agreement)
- [NDL #490] - JLPT N5: でしょう・だろう (probably)


👷 Construction 👷

The lazy explanation: Put all kinds of words in plain form before だろう.

The more complicated explanation:


i-adjectiveだろう
OR
i-adjectiveだろう

NOUN / na-adjectiveだろう
OR
NOUN / na-adjective なのだろう


Don't be thrown off if the の is changed to ん, by the way. You'll see that in our very last example sentence.


You're petting your friend's cat. Clearly it loves you more than it ever loved your friend, and it wants you to take it home and give it a better life.

But you can worry about the logistics of your secret adoption plans later. Right now, petting your soon-to-be family member, all you're thinking is:


なんてかわいいだろう。
なんて かわいい ねこ だろう。
What a cute cat.
Literally: “how (very) + cute + cat + だろう.”


Did you notice that our first sentence had なんと, while this one had なんて?

These mean something like "how" or "what" in sentences like "How wonderful!" or "What an amazing story."

なんて sounds more casual and conversational than なんと.

In addition to なんて and なんと, you may also come across どんなに and いかに being used with "Inward だろう." The meaning is more or less the same, though いかに is a very stiff-sounding word.


You, a native Okinawan, are looking out at a beautiful ocean view.

You think:


この島に生まれた私はなんと幸運なのだろう
この しま に うまれた わたし は なんと こううん なのだろう。
How lucky I am to have been born on this island.
Literally: “this + island + に + was born + I + は + how (very) + fortunate + なのだろう.”


Minutes later, you are bitten by the deadly Okinawa Habu, killer of mice and dreams.




As you lie on the sandy beach, venom spreading throughout your body, you hear a sanshin being played nearby.

"Ironic," you think (because sanshin are made with snakeskin).

The musician should help you, but doesn't.

"What a jerk," you think. "I'm dying, and he's just playing music."

But then you fall in love with this beautiful Okinawan song of his, thinking:


音楽ってなんて素晴らしいでしょう
おんがく って なんて すばらしい んでしょう。
Music is such an amazing thing.
Literally: “music + って + how (very) + splendid / magnificent + んでしょう.”


Against all odds, you survive. Congratulations.

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