I was reading 吾輩は猫である and this sentence came to me:


Can someone explain it to me please?

  • So...how do you understand べき and はず?
    – naruto
    Sep 24, 2022 at 17:53
  • 1
    This sentence might be easier to understand once you know that 第一 is an adverbial. In modern text, there would probably be a 、 between 第一 and 毛をもって装飾されべきはず etc.
    – jogloran
    Sep 24, 2022 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


べき indicates what "should be", e.g. "病人の田中さんは寝るべきです (Tanaka-san, who's sick, should sleep)"

はず indicates what is expected, e.g. "病人の田中さんは寝てるはずです (Tanaka-san, who's sick, should be asleep [I expect him to be asleep])"

Combining both, you're saying you "expect [one] should be doing something".

e.g. "病人の田中さんは寝るべきはずだったが、奇跡的にスーパーマンのように空を飛んでた (Sick Tanaka-san, whom one would expect should've been sleeping, was miraculously flying through the sky like superman)".

In the case of your sentence, I'm assuming the cat is saying that the head "should be covered in fur (as is to be expected)". べき gives the "should" part, and はず gives the "expectation" part.

  • 1
    Is there a difference between 装飾されべきはず and 装飾されべきはず?
    – Kaskade
    Sep 25, 2022 at 16:09

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