How would you response to the "demo"? "I like to drink, but...." I was thinking about: demo... ni? Like "But... what?


Japanese people often end sentences in this way in order to avoid giving a reason for decisions or actions. This is part of the indirect nature of the culture.

Here's an example sentence: 普通{ふつう}は肉{にく}を食{た}べないのですが。。。 "Normally, I don't eat meat, but..."

The real meaning of this sentence is "Normally, I don't eat meat, but this time, I will eat meat. I'm also not going to tell you the reason why I am doing this, because either (A) I expect you can infer it from context, (B) It's not important, or (C) I don't want to tell you."

Japanese very much allows for "soft" sentences like this where large amounts of information are left out and the listener is expected to figure it out from context. That's something you'll have to get used to when interacting with Japanese people. It's a big part of the culture.

That is to say, most Japanese people would simply not press the issue, and the conversation would end here.

For your question specifically, if you are friends with the person or you really want to find out the reasons behind their decisions, the simplest response would be でも・・・何{なに}? Quite literally meaning, "But... what?"

In my experience, however, assuming I am friends with the person and I want to get some more information, the more common response would be to finish the person's sentence for them. でも・・・今回{こんかい}は飲{の}まない?"But this time, you're not drinking?" This keeps the conversation going if you really want to probe for the underlying reason.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.