Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

今年も良い年でありますように! I hope you have another good year!

What is going on exactly where the ように means hope? Does the よう derive from a verb? I would also like to know how to describe this word in the relevant grammatical terms, both in english and japanese. From what I understand from the answers it is a noun that turns into an adverb?

share|improve this question
up vote 14 down vote accepted

What it means

ように at the end of a sentence is a set expression for the volitional subjunctive. In layman terms, it means the preceding sentence is a wish!

Why it means that

様{よう} is "a word that expresses the state of things". is a target particle. Therefore, if it helps you understand, ように means "towards a certain state". So when I say something like

明日{あした}は晴{は}れるように — May it be sunny tomorrow

I'm saying "towards the state of things where it's sunny". As happens frequently in Japanese, I am omitting the verb of this sentence because it is obvious in context.

明日{あした}は晴{は}れるように祈{いの}ります — I pray it may be sunny tomorrow

It expresses a yearning for a particular 様{よう}.

share|improve this answer
thank you. then would this make sense? 今年も良い年でありますように望む – yadokari Jan 3 '12 at 5:32
@yadokari: 今年も良い年でありますように望む is strange for two reasons: (1) the polite form of a verb (such as あります) is rarely used when it modifies a noun (よう in this case), and (2) …でありますように is so fixed that adding something to it makes it sound odd. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 3 '12 at 12:03
@TsuyoshiIto. I am slightly confused. Your (1) seems to contradict (2). Unless the fixed version of でありますように is an exception case to (1)? – Flaw Jan 3 '12 at 13:51
@Flaw: I agree, they contradict, sorry for the careless comment. I speculate (without a supporting evidence) that the polite form was used in wider contexts in older time, when the expression …でありますように was established. In the current Japanese, it is strange to use the polite form of a verb to modify a noun, but the set phrase …でありますように has remained. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 3 '12 at 14:22
@yadokari Please ask a new question. This site needs all the traffic and rep opportunities it can get! This sort of "interactive dialogue" we're having is, while useful, not very Stack Exchange kosher – Jjed Jan 3 '12 at 14:46

I believe it comes from an abbreviation of 「〜ように願います」, where ように here means "so as to" or "so that". In that case it would be the same ように which appears in e.g. 「〜ようにご注意ください」 "Please be careful so as to ..." or 「〜ようにする」 "make it so that ...".

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.