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#1 2008-12-26 01:17:22

Bontrey
Member

difference between だ and です

http://www.guidetojapanese.org/polite.html#part5

I'm not sure I buy this..

The first example seems solid enough, but I could see that being due to some grammatical nuance or exception.

I don't get the example with ~だと思う.

While it's true that people never say ~ですと思う, that's like the difference between the plain form of verbs and the -masu form. masu+と is never used either, but that doesn't change the fact that it's the polite form of the plain form verbs that you CAN follow with と.

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#2 2008-12-26 03:20:14

taniwha
Member

Re: difference between だ and です

The example with 〜だと思う "works" because 〜と思う is always an indirect quote, and indirect quotes don't use polite forms (even for commands). Not only that, but they must use だ for nouns and な-adjectives. 「◯ 魚だと思う・きれいだと思う」「× 魚と思う・きれいと思う」.

However, my advice is to not worry about it too much. Instead, just work on understanding and correctly using the related grammars, there's no need to "buy it". Whether です is the polite form of だ or not (it's not, see below), isn't worth putting too much thought into unless you really want to know the nitty-gritty (if you don't, skip the following).

「です」 is a contraction of 「であります」 or 「でございます」 (or both? doesn't matter smile). The 「で」 in these two phrases is a 連用形 of 「だ」 (the 連用形 of most verbs is also known as the ます-stem). This raises the question of what's the difference between 「だ」 and 「である」, but I don't know the answer to that one yet. Apparently, in any language, the copula has the most complicated grammar.

BTW, the 「に」 and 「な」 that come after な-adjectives (and the 「な」 in 「なのだ・なんだ・なのです・なんです」 are forms of 「だ」. I've also seen mention that 「の」 (particle, not pronoun) is also a form of 「だ」, but I haven't been able to find that book again. I think it's called "Ultimate Japanese".


Leave others their otherness. -- Aratak
There is no can't. -- Duun

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#3 2008-12-26 06:45:39

Raichu
Member

Re: difference between だ and です

Samuel Martin's old book, Essential Japanese mentions that の is three quite separate words, from memory:

the particle that links two nouns to make one modify the other

a generic pronoun

the modifying form of the copula (except where a な-adjective requires it to be な)

There's actually sort of a fourth meaning, a combination of the first two, e.g., 私のです=私の(connecting particle)の(pronoun)です.

Incidentally, his book never actually says that です is simply the polite equivalent of だ, even though he refers to both as forms of the "copula". I even asked some Japanese and they said that it's not. They're usages are too different.

Sure, 行く is the plain form of 行きます, and in some limited set of situations, the relationship between だ and です appears equivalent. However, a simple statement like that is insufficient to explain the complete usages of those two words. Perhaps you could say that while だ, です, である, であります, etc. are not perfectly equivalent, there appears to be very similar denotation, just different application and connotation. That is closer to the truth, but even that statement does not cover all usages, such as the use of です to put adjectives in polite form.

Basically I think that no single simple rule is a complete explanation of this set of words. You have to learn each usage individually, just as you would any set of idioms in any language.

The other point I'd like to make is that I think the explanation of this point in Tae Kim's guide is inadequate. For one thing, だ definitely is required in some places, contradicting his explanation that it's unnecessary for a predicate expressing a state of being. Futhermore, it also is used in some questions (e.g., I've come across expressions like どうしたんだ? "what happened?", 何だかわかりません "what it is I don't know"), also contradicting his argument.

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#4 2008-12-26 07:51:03

taniwha
Member

Re: difference between だ and です

Ah, good, it wasn't just my imagination smile. And yes, that 「私のです」 is a funny one.

Yes, his explanation may be inadequate, but then, maybe there currently is no adequate explanation: it just is. As for 「だ」 in questions, note that those questions always have a question word: 「なに・なん・どう・どこ、など」. 「あれは何なんだ?・あれは何だ?(なんだーれは?)」 are valid questions, but 「あれは魚なんだ?・あれは魚だ?」 are not (「あれは魚なのか・あれは魚か」).


Leave others their otherness. -- Aratak
There is no can't. -- Duun

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#5 2008-12-26 12:11:26

Pettersson
Member

Re: difference between だ and です

I don't think you should even think of these two words as "similar" in the first place, because they are in fact completely different things.
It's tempting to think of them as being closely related (I did that myself once), but that's like comparing the words "well" and "nice":
sometimes they appear equivalent, but in fact they can't be replaced left and right, because they have many "private" meanings.
This is very obvious in the slightly comical examples "well, I don't know" >>> "nice, I don't know".

I like to think of it this way:
だ claims that something is a fact, whereas です serves as a polite ending.

Last edited by Pettersson (2008-12-26 12:16:18)


Jag undrar om jag är den enda svensken härinne...?

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#6 2008-12-26 17:45:07

bubblebath
Member

Re: difference between だ and です

When we read "-da" and "-desu" without context, we interpret the former is the speaker's inner monolog or telling for others. On the contrary the latter is regarded as telling for them only. That's because the use of polite form needs listners, the objects of respect. Concerning this, you can understand why you cannot say "-desu to omou". In modern Japanese you don't use honorific for yourself.


Please correct my English.

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#7 2008-12-27 00:58:31

Raichu
Member

Re: difference between だ and です

Slightly off topic, but when can you use a polite form (です、〜ます、…) not at the end of a sentence? I'm aware of:
1. In a direct quotation, 「そうです」と答えました。
2. When joining two sentences with が or けれども.
Are there any other cases?
(The latter is a bit unusual IMO because if you join sentences with anything else like から or し, you use the plain form for the first sentence.)

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#8 2008-12-27 01:06:04

運転者
Member

Re: difference between だ and です

Polite forms are only used at the end of sentences. だって
For the purposes of translation "sentence" might better be read as "clause."

です completes the first clause が or けど begins the second clause.

I'm fairly sure that I've heard a ~ますけど once or thrice, too: same deal.

Last edited by 運転者 (2008-12-27 01:09:55)


ーーーーーーーーーー

「デェ、この微分[color=gray]びぶん[/color]・積分[color=gray]せきぶん[/color]とかゆうのは、足し算[color=gray]たしざん[/color]・引き算[color=gray]ひきざん[/color]とはどう違[color=gray]ちが[/color]うのだ?」 白雪

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#9 2008-12-27 01:14:26

pink~hime
Member

Re: difference between だ and です

Raichu wrote:

Slightly off topic, but when can you use a polite form (です、〜ます、…) not at the end of a sentence? I'm aware of:
1. In a direct quotation, 「そうです」と答えました。
2. When joining two sentences with が or けれども.
Are there any other cases?
(The latter is a bit unusual IMO because if you join sentences with anything else like から or し, you use the plain form for the first sentence.)

ですし・から /ますし・から are all very common.


うまい書くことは、思いつけない。まぁ、変なことはいっぱいあるけど・・

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#10 2008-12-27 01:57:56

taniwha
Member

Re: difference between だ and です

「御来店を頂きまして、誠にありがとうございます」(or is it 「ございました」? though I hear it often enough...)


Leave others their otherness. -- Aratak
There is no can't. -- Duun

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