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Recently, I wanted to express the sentence "Maybe they'd make good pets." in Japanese. I initially tried to say it as such:

[多分]{たぶん}いいペットでしょうね!

I was then corrected by a native speaker, and he told me that it would sound more natural if I expressed it this way:

[多分]{たぶん}いいペットになるでしょうね!


Now, what exactly does this add to the sentence? I believe that in this case, なる is being used to mean "to become" (It's hard to tell for sure since I don't have a kanji for reference.) Was it added simply to make the expression more idiomatic, or is there a more grammatical reason behind it?

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1 Answer 1

Simply translate them carefully.

多分、いいペットでしょうね.
'Probably, they are good pets'.

多分、いいペットになるでしょうね.
'Probably, they will become good pets'.

Don't you think the second one is closer to the meaning you wanted?

If you want to emphasize it is an assumption, you can say

いいペットになりそうですね.

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The thing is, with your first sentence, you assume they are already pets. And your 多分 is about that they might be good at "being pets". –  oldergod Jun 18 '12 at 1:51
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@Miguel in my question on how to say "make for a..." なる felt like the logical choice, as leaving it out would sound pretty much like the statement in sawa's first translation. I was looking for the word that would add that supposedness, and it seems it is なる. –  Louis Jun 18 '12 at 1:55
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The core issue here seems to me to be that only sentences that can take a "future" interpretation can be hypothetical ("will"->"would"). でしょう can only be interpreted in the present (why? why is "will be" impossible?) and so "would be" doesn't work. Perhaps? –  Hyperworm Jun 18 '12 at 2:13
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@sawa That's true, isn't it... Hm, I thought I was on to something. :( –  Hyperworm Jun 18 '12 at 2:19
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It isn't true of でしょう in general, though -- 明日は雨でしょう is valid, right? I don't know why でしょう has to be present here... (sorry if I've added a bunch of confusion to this comment thread) –  Hyperworm Jun 18 '12 at 2:38

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