I had some questions about the verb 'to be'. I know you have the copula 「だ」 and 「いる」and「ある」. However, the copula does not have all the conjugations, so how would you express something like 'can be' or 'make be'(like in: 'I made him happy'). And use expressions like 「なければならない」would you form something like 「じゃなければならない」? Or the expression 「~たい」(Like in: 'I want to be happy'). I don't really know. I suggest maybe using 「である」. But I know that's really like literary language. Also how would you say all this with i-adjectives?

Well, Thank you, in advance.

1 Answer 1


Your question seems a little too broad to answer to, but some examples:

  • I want to be happy. -- [私]{わたし}は[幸]{しあわ}せになりたい。 [ 〜に-なる ]
  • I can be happy. -- 私は幸せになれる。 [ なれる (potential form of なる) ]
  • I made him happy. -- 私は[彼]{かれ}を幸せにした。 [ ~に-する ]
  • He has to be happy. -- 彼は幸せでなければならない。[ ~なければならない ]
  • He should be happy. -- 彼は幸せであるべきだ。[ ~べき-だ ]
  • He must be happy. (assuming) -- 彼は幸せにちがいない。[ ~に-ちがいない ]
  • He may be happy. (possibility) -- 彼は幸せかもしれない。[ ~かもしれない ]

of course there can be other translations though.

I picked a key expression (verb or auxiliary phrase) from each sentence into bracket. Recommend you should look them up in textbooks / dictionaries. Could this be of any help?

  • Yorokobaseta sounds more like "I made him happy" to me. Shiawase ni shita is like "set him to happy mode" which is probably good. Adding some examples for the ending ~saseru might be good for this question.
    – sova
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 5:33

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