I've been learning Japanese for a few years now but I still haven't fully grasped the ways そうです is used in conversation.

What I'm concerned with are the following expressions:

  1. そうです/そうなんです
  2. そうですか/そうなんですか
  3. そうですね/そうなんですね
  4. そうかな

I haven't found a thread that fully addresses what each of these mean/how they are different to each other etc.

If anyone could give me a hand I'd appreciate it so much!

  • It is difficult to explain these phrases because the meanings and nuance change depending on the intonation used.
    – user4032
    Jun 8 '16 at 15:33

なん is, of course, a short for なの, and in the above examples does no more than strengthen the assertion of the speaker. (http://jisho.org/word/%E3%81%AA%E3%81%AE)

  1. Both mean "that's right" or "that's correct".

  2. Both mean "is that right?" or "is that correct?". But I'd say that depending on the tone in which they are spoken, they could both include either relief or disbelief (or even acceptance of what the speaker knew was going to happen, but that's a bit melodramatic) in whatever triggered their being spoken in the first place. Note that my only source for this is anime and games, and the way the characters in them decide to express themselves.

  3. Both mean "that's right, isn't it?" ("isn't it?" being rhetoric of course). Depending on how they are said, they could mean "I guess so(.../!)" with a trace of, again, relief or disbelief.

  4. "I wonder if that's correct/true..." http://jisho.org/word/%E3%81%8B%E3%81%AA

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.