Japanese Grammar Lesson – ending of a sentence | 文末

In this Japanese grammar lesson, let us take a look at some patterns in which sentences end. We will learn about three special types sentence ending patterns: ~と思う, ~(の)ではない(だろう)か and~そうです. Although not all Japanese sentences end in the above mentioned patterns, these are some cases that need to be studied in order to understand Japanese grammar better.

All three patterns are used verbally as well as in writing. However, ~と思う and ~(の)ではない(だろう)か imply speaker’s opinion and are more formal. That is why they are mostly used while giving a speech, writing a thesis or report.

To learn more about Japanese sentence patterns go through my previous lesson on Japanese grammar and sentence pattern




~と思う is used in a sentence when the first person wants to put forward their opinion. This sentence pattern can be used in the following 4 forms,


~と思う – shows speaker’s assertiveness. と思う stresses on subjectivity.

Example: 私は社長の方針は間違っていると思う


~と思っている – is used in the following cases:

To show first person’s change in opinion. Example : 以前はワープロが役に立たないと思っていたが、今は必要だと思っている

stressing on a steady opinion. Example : 日本に来てから、漫画がたくさん買いたいとずっと思っている

showing everyone else’s opinion (not the speaker’s opinion). Example : みんなは伊藤さんが悪いだと思っている


~と思われる – states a logical opinion.

Example : 故障の原因は機械の取り扱いミスにあると思われる


~思える – the first person’s personal opinion.

Example : 今のアパートは狭いだけど、駅から近いので、前のアパートより便利だと思える




When translated into English ~(の)ではないか・ないだろうか literary means ‘isn’t it‘. The first person discretely emphasizes their opinion, judgement or conclusion. The idea is to carefully place one’s thought in front of the listener or reader. (の)ではないか is slightly more assertive than(の)ではないだろうか.

Example: 佐藤先生の講義はわかりにくいのではないだろうか




It implies a feeling one has immediately after seeing or observing something. そうです can be literally translated as ‘looks like‘ or ‘seems like‘. It is preceded by い and な adjectives and verbs. そうです cannot be used with a noun, but it can be replaced by ようです to form the same meaning. Its negative form is なさそうですand past tense is そうでした.


雨が降りそうです。(verbますform+そうです )


この本は面白そうです。(adjective+そうです )

理恵さんは元気そうです。(adjective+そうです )


そうですis also used when one wants to convey an information, fact or news. It can be literally translated as ‘I have heard that‘. そうです is preceded by い and な adjectives and verbs in their dictionary forms. Its past tense form is : the past tense of い and な adjectives and verbs+ そうです. The negative form is ないそうです.

雨が降るそうです。(verb dictionary form+そうです )


あの映画は面白いそうです。( いadjective dictionary form+そうです)

理恵さんは元気だそうです。(なadjective dictionary form+そうです)


Comparing the two そうです

(looks like/seems so)
(heard that)
Past tense面白そうでした面白かったそうです



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