I'm having issues understanding だろう. I thought it meant "probably" or "maybe ", as in:

Perhaps he didn't wanted to go / he may not wanted to go

but then it may mean "will not"? Like this example..

I will not marry you

And then there's another meaning... would?

In the future work would increase even more

And also would have been....?

He would have liked to have been there.

I found this examples online, but I'm not sure when to tell which is which. Am I missing something?

  • 3
    「あなた結婚しない」→ should be あなた結婚しない (or あなたとは結婚しない)
    – chocolate
    Jun 19, 2017 at 4:43

1 Answer 1


Think of だろう as adding a dimension of speculation to the previous statement. As such you might choose to translate it as "perhaps", "possibly", "may/might", or other similar expressions in English which create a sense of uncertain surmising about things.

彼はたぶん行きたくなかっただろう translates into "Perhaps he didn't want to go". Here both the たぶん and だろう add the sense of speculation.

未来はもっと仕事が増えるだろう could also be translated as "In the future, work will perhaps increase more."

In 私はあなたと結婚しないだろう we have a slightly different situation. But to just say 結婚しない would come across as very rude and possibly mean-spirited. Here it feels to me like だろう softens the blow and throws things back into the realm of speculation, "I'm probably not going to marry you" where you don't means "there's a small chance that I might marry you". This is what great Harlequin novels are made of, right? Someone is being very polite to avoid flat out saying, "no", only for the other to flat out ignore the softened blow and still pine away.


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