533 - そうだ (seems that)
I warned you in the last lesson that we are going to be looking at a lot of uses of そう.
I intend to deliver on that promise...
JLPT N4: そうだ (seems that)
While the そうだ discussed in the last lesson was for describing what things "look like," this そうだ is for expressing guesses, predictions, judgments and so on.
That is, the previous そうだ was for visual conjecture. This one is for cognitive conjecture.
らいねん は もっと いそがしく なりそう です。
It seems that next year will be (even) busier.
Literally: “next year + は + more + busy + looks like it will become + です.”
The first thing that you may notice distinguishing this そうだ from the "visual そうだ" is that it can be used with verbs!
Specifically, we can attach this そうだ to the ます-stem of verbs:
ます ＋ そう（だ）
なる（なる // to become）
なります（なります // become）
なりそう（なりそう // seems that [it] will become）
作る（つくる // to make）
作れる（つくれる // to be able to make）
作れます（つくれます // [is] able to make）
作れそう（つくれそう // seems that [one] will be able to make）
この レシピ なら、 わたし に も つくれそう です。
It looks like even I could cook this recipe.
Literally: “this + recipe + if (it’s the case that), + I + にも + seems that (I) can make + です.”
Note that it is still possible to use (i- and na-) adjectives with this そうだ, too.
Here are two examples (using the irregular conjugations explained in the previous lesson):
わたし は けんこう に よさそうな もの は かたっぱしから ためします。
I try anything and everything that seems like it might be healthy.
Literally: “I + は + health + に + seems to be good + thing + は + everything from A to Z + try out.”
Note: This is not only talking about trying foods that seem healthy. The speaker likely also tries things like new exercises and activities that seem like they might be healthy.
えいご は いみ が なさそう だ から、 ちゅうごくご を べんきょう しています。
It doesn’t seem like there’s any point in learning English, so I’m studying Chinese.
Literally: “English (language) + は + meaning + が + it seems there isn’t + だ + から (=because), + Chinese (language) + を + studying + am doing.”
When using そうだ with a verb in a negative sense, it will typically become ～そうもない.
この じゅうたい で は、 まにあいそうもない。
With this traffic, it seems that I won't make it there in time.
Literally: “this + traffic + では, + seems that I won't make it in time.”
間に合う（まにあう // to be in time for; to make it in time）
間に合います（まにあいます // is in time for; makes it in time）
間に合いそう（まにあいそう // seems that [one] will be in time for）
間に合いそうもない（まにあいそうもない // seems that [one] will not be in time for）
This grammar point is very useful for making conjectures about things.
Maybe give it a shot next time you're testing your sentence-building skills?
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