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Lesson 41: The discourse particles ね and よ

Japanese people like agreeing with each other. They often use the discourse particle at the end of a sentence to ask for confirmation, and also use this particle to show that they agree with each other.

English Japanese
It's expensive, isn't it? たかいですね。
takai desu ne.
(She)'s pretty, isn't she?
- That's so, isn't it.
kirei desu ne. sou desu ne.

You will see the expression そう です ね very often, since Japanese speakers use this often to show their agreement.

Another common discourse particle is . It is used to make assertions, statements that you are certain about and that you expect to be new information for the listener. It is also used when reminding someone of something he or she might have forgotten.

English Japanese
The food is delicious (I inform you).
- Is that so?
tabemono ha oisii desu yo. sou desu ka.
Meat is expensive.
- I see.
niku ha takai desu. sou desu ka.

そう です か is another commonly used expression. Even though it ends with the question particle, it is often not meant to be a question, but as an indication that you understood the other person and that the information was new for you. If the information was not new to you and if you agreed, you would say そう です ね instead.

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