Note: Edits in response to comments have been added in italics

The sentence prompting this question is:


Which I have always "loosely" taken to mean:

I am glad to hear you are doing so well these days.

Based on the explanation of と on page 464 of "A dictionary of intermediate Japanese Grammar", I think there is an ellipsis of 伺いまして, and hence is quotive but I am not entirely sure.

But to return to my question, when is 「だ/である」required between a noun and the quotation particle と?:

There some straight forward cases that are easy to remember such as (1)with names (2) direct quotes and (3)"fixed expressions" such as "とばかり”:

(1) Tim と言います| I am called Tim 

(2)「____」と言います。|normal direct quote 

(3)負けじとばかりゴールを目ざして走った|Determined not to be beaten, he dashed toward the goal.

I also found the advice in the Dictionary of Basic Jpse Grammar that in the sentence:

米国の貿易赤字は しばらくのまま 続く もの と 予想される。 It is predicted that the US trade deficit will remain as it is for a while.

"Mono followed by a quotative と is used in general statements or opinion. This mono could be dropped without a change in meaning. Note that copula だ does not follow と."

But when making my own sentences of indirect quotes (etc?) it is not so straightforward because I am not sure what rule/principle applies.

Could somebody some insight on when the copula (だ)particle と go together?

(If sentence 3 is based on the same principle as sentence 2 then perhaps I have covered all the expceptions?)

  • There's no need to differentiate between (1) and (2). But what are you asking exactly? And what is an "indirect quote"? Directly quoting someone who directly quotes someone else?
    – istrasci
    Sep 28, 2012 at 14:47
  • @istrasci an indirect quotation is one that is not the original speaker's exact words, but instead becomes a dependent clause within the sentence. Sep 28, 2012 at 15:43
  • @phoenixheart6: Example? If it's not someone's direct words, can you even call it a "quote"?
    – istrasci
    Sep 28, 2012 at 15:59
  • 8
    @istrasci "He said, 'I speak Japanese'". That's a direct quotation. "He said that he speaks Japanese." is an indirect quotation. Sep 28, 2012 at 16:30
  • @phoenixheart6:Thats exactly what I mean by an indirect quotation, thanks. [Technically "Tim と言います" may or may not be an indirect quote in Japanese, I am not 100% sure but it does not matter in the context of my question because it is easy to remember. An example of an indirect quote in Japanese would be: 田中さんは行けと皆に言いました。Tanaka-san told everybody to go. A direct quote would be: 田中さんは「皆さん、行きなさい」と言いました。(I have carefully chosen a case not involving a noun.)]
    – Tim
    Sep 28, 2012 at 20:26

2 Answers 2


I think it is simply an issue of whether you are quoting a complete sentence or not.

He is called Tim.

It's being said that he is Tim.

As quoting particle, と is allowed to quote anything. But there are other uses of と, like the conditional と, the AとB(と) construction for "and", and the と of と-adverbs (like 負けじと of the third sentence), which I would say is related to the と of the mimeses like じっと, ちらっと, which are also adverbs.

The question of whether or not a だ・である should come before と is only relevant to と as quoting particle. For example, when an idea is presented with ということ(です), the idea is something that should be presented as a full sentence, which, when ending in a noun, should be followed by だ.

It means that today is a holiday.

Quoting incomplete sentences only makes sense in appropriate contexts, for example when you give your name (where you only "quote" your name).

In English, too, quoting incomplete sentences (i.e. sentences without a verb) makes sense in few cases. The last example without a verb in the quoted sentence would render as

It means that today a holiday.

I think that both in English and Japanese indirect quotes should always be full sentences, i.e. in this case, in Japanese you should always use だ after noun phrases.

Of course, this rule may be broken for more polite Japanese, as in your example sentence:


would be a short & formal version of


(Of course that's not the only usual rule of grammar that polite language breaks: 申し上げる is transitive, but お喜び is not marked by を.)

  • Thanks - I will read again later but one question: In last sentence are you saying that correct gramatical sentence would be ...、お喜びを申し上げる?
    – Tim
    Sep 19, 2013 at 22:02
  • Well, the standard rules for 丁寧語・普通語 would have one denote a direct object by を, but in 敬語 the を is omitted. All I was trying to say is that 敬語 has special rules, which break the rules for 丁寧語・普通語.
    – Earthliŋ
    Sep 20, 2013 at 0:17

I don't know if make sense but the と in 時下ますますご清栄のことと、お喜び申し上げます could be conditional instead of quotive? The person is glad because of the other person wellbeing. I think this make sense because of the presence of こと. The person is glad by the fact of it and not because of the quote of the other. The sentence had to be different in order to be quotive, I think.

Based on the other examples, I think they (2) (3) and (4) are completely different to be compared.

I don't think (3) is a quotive of any kind. (2) and (4), ok but (3) definitely not. Grammar is something very picky and something it doesn't make sense, it is what it is. In this case, I think it's not possible to use だ with と.

So I thought that you might mixing a lot of different things. It's a little bit confused but I tried.

PS: I answered but I was trying to comment but I can't, so I have no idea which are the policies here. Edited

I found a good answer here.. As I told before here. The sentence that you gave is conditional, not quotive. So I think the sentence could be change into this


but not quite sure because I kind of feel it's wrong, because it changes the meaning, if anybody could check that I'd also appreciate.

Rules for using the conditional 「と」

Attach 「と」 to the condition followed by the result that would occur should >the condition be satisfied

= [Condition] + と + [Result]

State-of-being must be made explicit = [State-of-being] + だと + [Result]

  • Thank you for the input. Actually in the sentence given I now suspect there is an ellipsis of 伺いまして, and hence this is quotive. This is based on the explanation of と on page 464 of "A dictionary of intermediate Japanese Grammar". However I am not entirely sure, and this does not entirely answer my question so I was not going to make a post until I had gathered a bit more on this. Please add anymore thoughts you have on this.
    – Tim
    Oct 15, 2012 at 15:20
  • Thanks. I am still not convinced. These expressions often have parallels in different languages. In this case, "I was so pleased to hear how you are doing well [these days]." feels natural. As for the use of the "conditional と", it seems to take two forms, in one case event B happens as a result of event A and is not a result of the speaker's will (which I think is the case here) and in the 2nd, the second B happens as a directl after A and the subject remains unchanged (which is not the case her). I have not room to choose examples here but this is given in "Shinkanzen Master Bunpou N3", p89.
    – Tim
    Oct 19, 2012 at 0:15
  • Parallels are parallels, even if the idea is the same, doesn´t mean it´s the same thing. Anyway, what I mean don´t try to compare the languages it gets too much confusion, all languages are arbitrary, the logic is not fluid. Also, I didn´t quite understand what you say in this comment. Oct 20, 2012 at 21:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .