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I'm playing a video game in Japanese, and one of the characters said


I understand that (verb stem)そう means "it seems" or "it appears", but I've never seen (verb stem)そう used with the に particle.

My guess is that the sentence means something like:

I don't seem to know either.

Am I translating it correctly? What is the meaning of this construction?

marked as duplicate by istrasci, Earthliŋ, Dono, Szymon, ssb Jul 14 '14 at 12:52

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  • As for your second sentence, are you sure you've never seen V + しか ない (e.g. 諦めるしかない)? – Earthliŋ Jul 12 '14 at 20:44
  • @Earthliŋ No, I've only seen しかない used with nouns (e.g. コンピュータが一台しかない), but I now realize that my confusion with this sentence isn't related to そう, so I'll edit it out of the question. – Ataraxia Jul 12 '14 at 20:59
  • As you can see here そうにない is a phrase and it means "doesn't seems like; extremely unlikely to". So I think that your translation is correct. – renchan Jul 13 '14 at 10:02
  • 1
    You may be interested in the difference between 知る and 分かる. 「分かりそうにない」 is "unlikely that I can understand (the difficult textbook, concept, etc.)" as opposed to just knowing something as a fact. – naruto Jul 14 '14 at 0:12
  • @naruto Yes, I know the difference between the two. – Ataraxia Jul 14 '14 at 17:32

Your translation is correct.
「そう」is for positive sentence, 「そうに」is for negative sentence.
「そう」/「そうに」also have some meaning of "in the future".

I also understand.


I understand... maybe.


I don't understand.


I don't understand, ether.


It's hard to understand. Ask someone else.
「そうもない」is much harder to achieve the goal than 「そうにない」.


I don't understand ether.
Nearly same as 「わからない」 but 「わかりそうにない」is a little bit soft.


"(I'll try but..) it seems too dificult for me to understand"
「わからなそうです」is more softer expression


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