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Since the start of this year I have been thinking to myself in Japanese several times throughout each day. I am not sure if it's ever appropriate to use んだ in such self-directed speech. One scenario where I consider using this is when I suddenly realize something, e.g.

じゃ、家に帰ろう。あ、まずメールを送るんだ。

Does this make any sense? If not, when would you use んだ in your thoughts (if at all)? I understand that this construction is used for conveying new information, but philosophically speaking you already have all the information when you're thinking to yourself.

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Does your sentence mean that you were about to leave your office and suddenly recalled you had to send an email? Then...

  • Your usage of のだ/んだ is spot-on, but you also need a discovery-た for smoother flow.
  • まず means "first (of all)", which is not suitable because sending a mail is the last thing you do at office.

あ、その前にメールを送るんだった
Oh, (I've recalled) I need to send the email before leaving.

Related:

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Well, up in the Tōhoku region, local dialect uses んだ as your basic agreement interjection, a bit like そうだ or how folks in English will say yeah, yeah.

More seriously, in standard Japanese, んだ is generally the "explanatory" の + copular だ. Adding んだ thus basically means "it is that [whatever came before]".

This can be terribly clunky in English, but there are colloquial ways of saying this that people do actually use, like "it's 'cause I'm doing XYZ", or "you've got to XYZ", etc. depending on context.

So when I'm going about my day, and my [独り言]【ひとりごと】 internal monologue happens to be in Japanese at the moment, I might walk into the kitchen and realize I've momentarily forgotten what the heck I'm doing. 「一体【いったい】なんでこっちに来【き】たんだっけ… あら、犬【いぬ】に餌【えさ】をやる[ん]{●}[だ]{●}な。」 ("why the heck did I come over here... oh, ya, it's that I'm feeding the dogs.") Por ejemplo. 😄

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    I can't imagine anyone saying あら in that situation.
    – aguijonazo
    Mar 8 at 5:39
  • @aguijonazo, my sense for such interjections may be miscalibrated. Would あっ work better in general usage? Mar 8 at 20:15
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    Yes, あっ works better. You say あら when you have discovered something unexpected. Women use it more than men.
    – aguijonazo
    Mar 9 at 3:33
  • I guess something like (あ、)そうだ、犬に餌をやるんだった。 can also work "(Ah,) that's right, I was going to feed the dog(s)".
    – Earthliŋ
    Mar 9 at 16:30

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