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I'm not sure when should I use particle の in front of だろう/でしょう? Is のだろう used when speaker wonders about something to himself?

For example what would be translation of those sentences:

日本は、これからますます高齢化が進むだろう。 - It seems that lately the aging in Japan is increasing.

最近、デパートの売り上げが伸びている。景気が回復しているのだろう。 - Store's sales increased. I wonder if the business is recovering?

何をするのだろうか。 - What could I do?

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When you want to turn a verb into a noun. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Dec 31 '13 at 22:11
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@IgnacioVazquez-Abrams I don't think that's relevant. –  Darius Jahandarie Dec 31 '13 at 23:40

1 Answer 1

When a verb is directly marked by だろう/でしょう, there are three meanings:

行くだろう
"It will (probably) go." (downwards tone throughout)
"It's going, isn't it?" (upwards during 行く, then downstep)
"I wonder if it will go." (neutral tone throughout)

While if it's marked by (ん/の)+(だろう/でしょう), it's like before, but the first option is strengthened a little:

行くのだろう
"I'm sure it will go." (downwards tone throughout)
"It's going, isn't it?" (upwards during 行くの, then downstep)
"I wonder if it it will go." (neutral tone throughout)

In writing, when there isn't a の, the 3rd option (rhetorical question) isn't quite as likely, but in speech they are all disambiguated quite well. I'm not sure if that's a personal quirk of my Japanese or not.

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