Recently, I wanted to express the sentence "Maybe they'd make good pets." in Japanese. I initially tried to say it as such:


I was then corrected by a native speaker, and he told me that it would sound more natural if I expressed it this way:


Now, what exactly does this add to the sentence? I believe that in this case, なる is being used to mean "to become" (It's hard to tell for sure since I don't have a kanji for reference.) Was it added simply to make the expression more idiomatic, or is there a more grammatical reason behind it?

1 Answer 1


Simply translate them carefully.

'Probably, they are good pets'.

'Probably, they will become good pets'.

Don't you think the second one is closer to the meaning you wanted?

If you want to emphasize it is an assumption, you can say


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    The thing is, with your first sentence, you assume they are already pets. And your 多分 is about that they might be good at "being pets".
    – oldergod
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 1:51
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    @Miguel in my question on how to say "make for a..." なる felt like the logical choice, as leaving it out would sound pretty much like the statement in sawa's first translation. I was looking for the word that would add that supposedness, and it seems it is なる. Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 1:55
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    The core issue here seems to me to be that only sentences that can take a "future" interpretation can be hypothetical ("will"->"would"). でしょう can only be interpreted in the present (why? why is "will be" impossible?) and so "would be" doesn't work. Perhaps?
    – Hyperworm
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 2:13
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    @sawa That's true, isn't it... Hm, I thought I was on to something. :(
    – Hyperworm
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 2:19
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    It isn't true of でしょう in general, though -- 明日は雨でしょう is valid, right? I don't know why でしょう has to be present here... (sorry if I've added a bunch of confusion to this comment thread)
    – Hyperworm
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 2:38

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