I recently got an automated email from Twitter with the following subject (except with real user names):

username さん、username さん、username さんをご存じですか?

My question is about paired with ご存じですか. As I understand it, normally marks the direct object of a verb. Therefore, I expect it to be followed by a transitive verb; if there is no verb, I expect one to be implied. However, this sentence ends with a noun and copula instead, so I can't make grammatical sense of it.

I assume this phrase is grammatical, as I got it in an email that was likely to be proofread, and I can find plenty of uses online on websites that I think are likely to contain standard Japanese.

So how does it work grammatically? The only explanation I can come up with is that ご存じです is functioning as a transitive verb, like a polite/honorific form of 存じる. Is there a better explanation?

  • 1
    – user1016
    Commented May 9, 2013 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


ご存じです is an irregular honorific form of the verb 知る. It functions exactly the same with respect to subjects, objects and so on.

More than that, there is a regular honorific form of verbs お+Vi+です (Vi is a -ます stem). For example, お聞きです from the verb 聞く. It also has an internal form noun+copula, but functions as a verb.

It seems like any predicate, be it verb, adjective, or noun+copula, can function like a verb, if there are some logical slots for subjects, objects or modifiers in its meaning,

  • Thanks, I was trying to find an eloquent way to answer this topic, but couldn't form anything coherent. This is what I was going for.
    – istrasci
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 17:34

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