This is an extension of the question: Using なるほど (naruhodo) and やっぱり (yappari) in the same situation

From what I understood from the answers to the question above, なるほど and やっぱり imply the speaker's suspicion that he/she somehow and to some extent knows about the situation before getting the affirmation from the other party.

However, what would the speaker say if it is revealed that the situation is opposite to what he/she was suspecting? I know he/she can say "なに?" (with a surprised face etc) but that is too strong an interjection, unlike the softer なるほど or やっぱり. I guess in English it might be something like "oh dear me". "なに?" sounds more like "OMG!" to me.


I'd say なるほど can be used in this situation, even if it contradicted your expectations, since it basically expresses a neutral "I see". Depending on the situation this may be the best to choose, since you're not usually supposed to show that you are thinking along completely different lines than your interlocutor. You may later turn the conversation around to introduce your point of view carefully, otherwise you keep it to yourself.

To show open surprise though, you might say あらま or あら、本当ですか、ええぇ〜、そうだったんだ、違ったんだ and possibly many other things. (Note that these are colloquial versions, change to そうでしたか etc. to be more formal.) Combinations work fine too: えっ、本当ですか?なるほど。 You may want to show a little bit of surprise here and there—whether it's true or not—to acknowledge that you have just received valuable information which you would've missed otherwise (a backhanded Thank You).

  • I guess そうでしたか is the expression I'm looking for since I have a feeling that the past tense でした works similarly to "I didn't know", in which there is tiny hint that the speaker did not expect it to be that way. – Lukman Jun 3 '11 at 7:47

I would use something like

  • でも、こうした方がいいじゃない。

  • 逆に、こんな感じはどう?

  • I think what you suggest are for when the speaker has something to say. I'm looking for expressions for when the speaker just wants to accept the news as briefly as possible (rather than a silent nod etc) – Lukman Jun 3 '11 at 7:44
  • @Lukman, Yes, above phrases need to have speaker has something to say. – YOU Jun 3 '11 at 7:50

ありえない! - Impossible

まさか - "No way!" (certain) or "No way?" (surprised)

信じられない! - I don't believe it!

  • I appreciate your efforts to post this answer but I already mentioned in the question that I'm not looking for strong interjections (I gave 「なに!」 as an example) – Lukman Jun 3 '11 at 15:40
  • 1) Admittedly, I just read the topic title and skimmed through the other posts. Sorry. 2) The first two are not necessarily "strong" even though I wrote them with exclamation marks. You could say ありえない in a disappointing way, and まさか literally means like "completely backwards", so it doesn't necessarily imply stregth; just opposite of what you expected. Anyway, take is as you will. – istrasci Jun 3 '11 at 18:22

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