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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Hiroko here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of *your* most common Japanese questions.
The question for this lesson is…
What does DESU mean?
Desu is called a copula, and it’s the same as ‘am’, ‘are’ and ‘is’ in English. For example, ‘これはほんです’ means ‘this is a book’ and ‘この本はおもしろいです’ means ‘this book is interesting.’
Let’s break down the sentence, この本はおもしろいです。この本 means “this book”, and は is a topic marking particle, おもしろい means “interesting” and です is a copula. So, it’s literally “as for this book, interesting is.” But, its natural translation is ‘this book is interesting’. です is the same as “is” in this case, but it’s placed at the end. In Japanese, verbs come at the end of a sentence. Therefore, です which works as a linking verb, is always placed at the end of a sentence.
So, a very basic English sentence, “A is B” would be “A は Bです.” in Japanese.
It really is that simple, so try not to overthink it!.
Lastly, have you ever had your Japanese friend say, “これはおみやげです。” giving you a souvenir? Your friend meant “this is a souvenir for you.” Then you might have a question, “does this です include the meaning of ‘for you’?” No, です is just the same as “is”. It just implies “for you” from the context, without any specific word saying it.
Again, です is just same as as ‘am’, ‘are’ and ‘is’ in English.
I hope this makes sense to you.
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them!


Please to leave a comment.
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JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 17th, 2016 at 06:30 PM
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What Japanese learning question do you have?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
July 19th, 2020 at 11:42 AM
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Thazin Ayeさん、こんにちは。







Hope you enjoy learning Japanese with us!



Team JapanesePod101.com

Thazin Aye
July 11th, 2020 at 03:38 PM
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「は」と 「が」

「に」と 「で」使い方を教えていただけませんか。



JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 13th, 2017 at 11:22 AM
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Rafael san,


When you talk to your close people, you can omit ‘desu.’

However, ‘omae’ is hardly used to even close friends…

Sharubon san,


Those are close to Mr, Mrs, Ms and Miss.


Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

January 27th, 2017 at 07:51 PM
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What does it mean when adding -San -Chan -Kun etc. at the end of the name?

November 26th, 2016 at 09:35 AM
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Hi, Konnichiwa!

As Japanese people usually drop some sentences because it's implicit, can you drop "desu"?

saying kore wa omiyage, kore wa omae no omiyage, etc.


JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 28th, 2016 at 11:59 AM
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Hello Hana,

Thank you for your kind words and cute emoticons! We are glad that you enjoyed our videos!

Let us know if you have any question.



Team JapanesePod101.com

Hana Hana
October 27th, 2016 at 08:05 AM
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Thank you very much for these informative videos. ?? God bless this site. ??

JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 3rd, 2016 at 04:03 PM
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Qi san,


Thank you for your post.

On behalf of Hiroko sensei, douitashimashite.

You are welcome.

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

September 26th, 2016 at 10:17 AM
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Thank you so much Hiroko-san!!

Your explanations are always very clear and helpful!! :D

JapanesePod101.com Verified
July 25th, 2016 at 01:09 PM
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Patrick Lu san,


Aren’t they ‘hai sou sesho’ and ‘hai sou deshoune’?

Sho indicates uncertainness.

Desu indicates more certain.

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com