1

There are 2 variants of そう. First variant, adds a "looks like/ feels like/ seems like" flavour whereas the second variant adds a "heard from" flavour or hearsay if you like (伝聞).

The question is, when appending そう to the past tense of a verb, it is always the second variant (hearsay). For example:

足を折ったそう - (I heard he) broke his leg

How then, would I say it looks like he broke his leg (just a gut feeling)?

  • 1
    You may want to re-think this question. You have the two kinds of そう the wrong way round. – user3856370 Mar 7 at 8:48
  • @user3856370 thanks, updated – donburi Mar 7 at 11:19
1

The question is, when appending そう to the past tense of a verb, it is always the first variant (feels like). For example:

足を折ったそう - It looks like he broke his leg (maybe because of his limping)

No, it is never that one. The looks one follows an adjective without the i, and the i form of the verb: 美味しそう = looks delicious, 彼なら作りそう = "someone like him should be able to make it". If it's after the past tense it's the hearsay one. "彼が作ったそうです" = "supposedly he made it".

How then, would I say I heard he broke his leg (伝聞 / hearsay)? Would adding a だ at the end do the trick in turning it into hearsay?

You've already arrived at your destination.

  • Thanks. Sounds like I got it the other way round. How then does one use そう with the past tense of a verb to imply "looks like" rather than hearsay? – donburi Mar 7 at 11:18
  • In that case you put the following verb in the past. – Ben Mar 7 at 11:40
  • What do you mean by putting the following verb in the past? Doesn't that make the hearsay rather than the "looks like"? – donburi Mar 7 at 14:01
  • @Ben Do you mean something like 「足が折れそうだった」? Wouldn't that mean 'It looked like his leg was going to break'? I think OP is looking for something like 「足が折れたようだ」 ... – Aeon Akechi Mar 7 at 16:18
  • @Aeon Akechi - No, I meant to say 足が折れそうだった. "It looked like he was going to break his leg". Whether that is correct Japanese or not is another matter. – Ben Mar 9 at 5:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.