Japanese basic grammar topic Hypothesizing and Concluding

Hypothesizing and Concluding

In this section, we're going to learn how to make hypotheses and reach conclusions using: とする and わけ」(訳).

Coming to a conclusion with わけ


1.    わけ - meaning; reason; can be deduced

2.    直子 なお・こ - Naoko (first name)

3.    いくら - how much

4.    英語 えい・ご - English (language)

5.    勉強 べん・きょう - study

6.    する (exception) - to do

7.    うまい (i-adj) - skillful; delicious

8.    なる (u-verb) - to become

9.    つまり - in short

10.  語学 ご・がく - language study

11.  能力 のう・りょく - ability

12.  ある (u-verb) - to exist (inanimate)

13.  言う い・う (u-verb) - to say

14.  失礼 しつ・れい - discourtesy

15.  中国語 ちゅう・ごく・ご - Chinese language

16.  読む よ・む (u-verb) - to read

17.  広子 ひろ・こ - Hiroko (first name)

18.  1) うち; 2) いえ - 1) one's own home; 2) house

19.  行く い・く (u-verb) - to go

20.  こと - event, matter

21.  一郎 いち・ろう - Ichirou (first name)

22.  微積分 び・せき・ぶん - (differential and integral) calculus

23.  分かる わ・かる (u-verb) - to understand

24.  ここ - here

25.  試験 し・けん - exam

26.  合格 ごう・かく - pass (as in an exam)

27.  今度 こん・ど - this time; another time

28.  負ける ま・ける (ru-verb) - to lose

29.  来る く・る (exception) - to come

30.  あきらめる (ru-verb) - to give up

The noun わけ」(訳) is a bit difficult to describe but it's defined as: "meaning; reason; can be deduced". You can see how this word is used in the following mini-dialogue.

Example 1

Naoko: No matter how much I study, I don't become better at English.

Jim: So basically, it 
means that you don't have ability at language.

Naoko: How rude.

As you can see, Jim is concluding from what Naoko said that she must not have any skills at learning languages. This is completely different from the explanatory 「の」, which is used to explain something that may or may not be obvious. わけ is instead used to draw conclusions that anyone might be able to arrive at given certain information.

A very useful application of this grammar is to combine it with ない to indicate that there is no reasonable conclusion. This allows some very useful expression like, "How in the world am I supposed to know that?"

·         中国語が読めるわけがない
There's no way I can read Chinese. (lit: There is no reasoning for [me] to be able to read Chinese.)

Under the normal rules of grammar, we must have a particle for the noun わけ in order to use it with the verb but since this type of expression is used so often, the particle is often dropped to create just 「~わけない.

Example 2

Naoko: Have you ever gone to Hiroko's house?

Ichirou: There's no way I would have ever gone to her house, right?

Example 3

Naoko: Do you understand (differential and integral) calculus?

Ichirou: There's no way I would understand!

There is one thing to be careful of because わけない can also mean that something is very easy (lit: requires no explanation). You can easily tell when this meaning is intended however, because it is used in the same manner as an adjective.

·         ここの試験に合格するのはわけない
It's easy to pass the tests here.

Finally, although not as common, わけ can also be used as a formal expression for saying that something must or must not be done at all costs. This is simply a stronger and more formal version of 「~てはいけない. This grammar is created by simply attaching わけにはいかない. The 「は」 is the topic particle and is pronounced 「わ」. The reason いけない changes to いかない is probably related to intransitive and transitive verbs but I don't want to get too caught up in the logistics of it. Just take note that it's ない in this case and not ない.

1.    今度は負けるわけにはいかない
This time, I must not lose at all costs.

2.    ここまできて、あきらめるわけにはいかない
After coming this far, I must not give up.

Making hypotheses with する


1.    する (exception) - to do

2.    明日 あした - tomorrow

3.    行く い・く (u-verb) - to go

4.    いま - now

5.    ~時 【~じ】 - counter for hours

6.    着く つ・く (u-verb) - to arrive

7.    思う おも・う (u-verb) - to think

8.    観客 かん・きゃく - spectator

9.    参加 さん・か - participation

10.  もらう - to receive

11.  被害者 ひ・がい・しゃ - victim

12.  非常 ひ・じょう - extreme

13.  幸い さいわ・い (na-adj) - fortunate

14.  朝ご飯 あさ・ご・はん - breakfast

15.  食べる た・べる (ru-verb) - to eat

16.  もう - already

17.  ひる - afternoon

18.  お腹 お・なか - stomach

19.  空く す・く (u-verb) - to become empty

While this next grammar doesn't necessarily have anything directly related to the previous grammar, I thought it would fit nicely together. In a previous lesson, we learn how to combine the volitional form with とする to indicate an attempt to perform an action. We will now learn several other ways とする can be used. It may help to keep in mind that とする is really just a combination of the quotation particle 「と」 and the verb する meaning "to do". Let's say you have a sentence: [verb]とする. This means literally that you are doing like "[verb]" (in quotes). As you can see, when used with the volitional, it becomes: "Doing like making motion to do [verb]". In other words, you are acting as if to make a motion to do [verb]. As we have already seen, this translates to "attempt to do [verb]". Let's see what happens when we use it on plain verbs.


·         明日に行くとする
Assume we go tomorrow.

The example above is considering what would happen supposing that they should decide to go tomorrow. You can see that the literal translation "do like we go tomorrow" still makes sense. However, in this situation, we are making a hypothesis unlike the grammar we have gone over before with the volitional form of the verb. Since we are considering a hypothesis, it is reasonable to assume that the conditional will be very handy here and indeed, you will often see sentences like the following:

·         今から行くとしたら、9時に着くと思います。
If we suppose that we go from now, I think we will arrive at 9:00.

As you can see, the verb する has been conjugated to the たら conditional form to consider what would happen if you assume a certain case. You can also change する to the te-form して and use it as a sequence of actions like so:

1.    観客として参加させてもらった
Received favor of allowing to participate as spectator.

2.    被害者としては、非常に幸いだった
As a victim, was extremely fortunate.

3.    朝ご飯を食べたとしても、もう昼だからお腹が空いたでしょう
Even assuming that you ate breakfast, because it's already noon, you're probably hungry, right?

The same idea applies here as well. In example 1, you are doing like a "spectator" and doing like a "victim" in example 2 and finally, doing like you ate breakfast in example 3. So you can see why the same grammar applies for all these types of sentences because they all mean the same thing in Japanese (minus the use of additional particles and various conjugations of する).


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  • 2 :Adjective Practice Exercises
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