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In a few songs I've heard recently I've noticed that nan desu (without the か) has been used in what seems to be maybe a declarative or emphatic sense (not really sure), is this possible?

I'm not overly familiar with usage of nan desu outside of it being used in the question sense (i.e. nan desu ka). If someone could clarify uses of nan desu I would be super appreciative.

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There is なのです (often contracted to なんです), which fits the bill. Just like you suspect, it is declarative/emphatic.

This なんです is unrelated to 何{なん}です, but rather a combination of な (the inflection of the copula だ, if you like), the nominalizer の plus the "politifier" です.

It also exists in non-polite form: なのだ・なんだ.

It really appears everywhere, e.g. as a conjunction なので or question marker ~なんですか. (Again, unrelated to 何.)

  • 1
    Very informative, thanks for the clarification! – mattb Feb 22 '14 at 16:34

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