In this sentence:

どうやら今日の天気は曇るようだ。× It seems that today's weather is cloudy.

This uses the weather verb 曇る

But when asking native speakers, this does not sound natural and I don't understand why.

Here are some other variations that are apparently correct:

1) どうやら今日の天気は曇りのようだ。○

Instead of using 曇る like above, this uses the noun form 曇り with よう/みたい

This means that the speaker is judging the weather to be cloudy based on his sensations and other evidence. The most certain out of the three.

2) どうやら今日の天気は曇りそうだ。○

~そう form is used, so that means the speaker looks at the sky and judging from appearance only, it looks cloudy.

3) どうやら今日の天気は曇りらしい。○

~らしい is used here, meaning the speaker is judging it is cloudy based on second hand information and hearsay.

According to native speakers, 3) sounds the most natural. But I don't know why.

I presume this would be the same with 晴れる

Can someone please explain:

Why I can't use 曇るようだ and yet the other given sentences are correct.

I also want to confirm that my interpretations of the grammar of each sentence is correct.

Possibly related:

What is the difference between all the weather words: 気象きしょう, 天気てんき and 天候てんこう?

  • 1
    Bear in mind that these verbs (like many in Japanese) describe an event rather than a state. The ensuing state is obtained with the te form + iru. Apr 7, 2019 at 11:09

1 Answer 1


Why I can't use 曇るようだ

Pretty simply, there is a subject-predicate mismatch. 天気は曇りだ is fine, but 天気が曇る/天気は曇る is not natural (it would sound to me like "[*] there will be clouds in the weather"). For the same reason, 今日の天気は曇りそうだ is understandable, but sounds unnatural to me.

To make them sound natural, simply remove 天気 and say 今日は instead of 今日の天気は:

  • どうやら今日は曇るようだ。: OK
  • どうやら今日は曇りそうだ。: OK

The same goes for 晴れ and 晴れる.

For the basic difference between のようだ, そうだ and らしい, see this or any textbook you use.

  • If I say 天気は曇っている it would be natural correct? That is the state of being cloudy (achieved by 曇り). In that case what does 曇る literally mean? I don't see how it sounds like "there will be clouds in the weather". Does 曇る have to denote clouds being inside something? All I can think of is "to get cloudy".
    – shade549
    Apr 7, 2019 at 13:20
  • 4
    @shade549 It's acceptable in conversations, but should be avoided in formal sentences. The verb 曇る essentially means something like "to be covered with clouds/etc", and 天気は曇っている means "the weather has been covered with clouds", which is odd. As a verb, the subject of 曇る should be things like 空, ガラス or 心. 曇り and 晴れ are established descriptive nouns (no-adjectives).
    – naruto
    Apr 7, 2019 at 13:25

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