Seem: ~そうだ

第163課: Seem: ~そうだ

~そうだ acts like a 形容動詞 and is only used with adjectives or verbs. It just can’t be used with plain nouns.Its usages have significant differences in grammar. There are two grammatical ways it can be used. In this lesson, we will focus on how it is used when it attaches to the 連用形.

Attaching to the 連用形: Conjecture 

From the outward appearance, ~そうだ expresses the speaker’s intuitive subjective guess on the nature, quality, or properties of something or someone. The statement isn’t proven. So, if obvious, it’s not applicable. This is like “seem to be (doing)”. ~そうだ attaches to the 連用形 for verbs but the stems of adjectives for conjecture. 

動詞 降る+そうだ→降りそうだ形容詞面白い+そうだ→面白そうだ形容動詞 簡単+そうだ→簡単そうだ

The negative can be ~なさそうだ or ~そうじゃない. One may be more preferable depending on the situation and or the opinion of the speaker. With adjectives in the negative and よい, さ should be inserted. So, ~なそうだ and よそうだ. 

1. 新しいマネージャーはこわそうなかたですね。
   The new manager is a scary-looking guy, isn’t he?

2. このビデオゲームは面白くなさそうだ。
    This video game doesn’t seem interesting.

3. 今日調子ちょうしがよさそうだね。
    You look good today.

4. マレーシアは、今日天気がよさそうです。
    The weather seems nice today in Malaysia. 

5. 雨らなさそうです。
  It doesn’t look like it’s going to rain.

6. もうしばらく続きそうです。
  It seems like it will continue for a little longer. 

7. このステーキは美味おいしそうです!
  This steak looks delicious.

8. 金髪きんぱつきそうだな。(Masculine; casual)
  I bet you like blond women!

9. まだ使えそうだ。
  It looks like you can still use it.

10. 難しそうなだ。
   It’s a difficult looking book.

11. なんだかずいぶんよさそうじゃないか? (Casual)
   Somehow it doesn’t really seem amazing does it?

12. 彼しくなさそうだ。
   He doesn’t seem to be feeling painful.

13. 建物かそうです。
   The building seems quiet.

14. 彼そうだ。
   It seems that he’s going to come.

15. 彼しそうではなかった。
   He didn’t look happy.

16. この可哀相かわいそう
   This poor dog.

Meaning Note: Notice how the meaning of かわいい changes to “poor” with ~そうだ.  

漢字 Note: 可哀相 is 当て字. 可哀想 is also possible. 

17. 一見したところではそのはやさしそうだ。 
   At first sight, the book seems easy.

18. 忙しそうです。      VS 忙しいようです。
   Seems to be busy.    Looks busy.

Nuance Note: As this shows, ~そうだ shows something from an intuitive judgment based on observation.You get the sense that the person is busy. Maybe he’s constantly looking at his clock. ~ようだ indicates that the judgment is based on actual knowledge of the person’s situation. You may have heard that he was busy, or you know information concerning his work schedule. 

19. 仕方しかたなく一成は受話器じゅわきを置いた。初老しょろう守衛しゅえい怪訝けげんそうにしているので、すぐにその場を立ち去ることにした。 
Kazunari reluctantly put the phone receiver down. The middle-aged security guard was giving a questioning look, so Kazunari immediately deciding to leave the area. 
From 白夜行 by 東野圭吾.  

Grammar Note: Remember that this structure is adjectival. So, you can get forms like ~そうな and ~そうに. 

Word Note: 初老 originally meant someone in one’s forties. As people now live longer, some consider it to mean mid-fifties to even early sixties. 

Inserting –

      Again, with よい and ない, さ is inserted. This gives よさそう and なさそう. As for the auxiliaries ~たい and ~ない, ~そうだ attaches to the stem. However, さ is being attached more and more. Even for adjectives that end in ない like ぎこちない (awkward), ~さ is being attached. The negative is ~そうではない, but you can also use ~な(さ)そうだ. However, something like “知らなそうだ” is correct. You still get examples like 20, though.

20. 成瀬はつまらなさそうに言った。
Naruse said in a disappointed tone. 
From 顔に降りかかる雨 by 桐野夏生. 

2. Shows a judgment based on circumstances or experience. The negative is そう[に・も]ない.

21. このままだと、帰れそうにもない。
   It would seem that at this rate, there is no way that [I/we] will be able to go home.

22. 今ならまだいそうです。
   If now, we can still be there on time.

23. 景気は依然として好転しそうにない。(ちょっと硬い文章語)
   The economy still appears that it won’t improve.   

3. Shows that something looks like it’s going to or has…just as before. There is a basis with some experience. After all, how can you know if it’s going to rain if you’ve never seen rain? This is an affirmative application of 1 seen with verbs. This can be seen with the past tense, and time phrases are often used to specify when something is thought to occur. 

24. 赤ちゃんはしそうなをしていた。
   The baby had a face as if he was going to burst out crying.

25. 当分とうぶんの間、今回こんかい熱波ねっぱ居据いすわりそうだ。
   For the time being, this heat wave will probably settle.

26. バランスがくずれて、一瞬倒いっしゅんたおれそうだったさ。 
   I lost my balance, and for a moment it seemed I would fall.

27. 彼は100まできられそうだ。
   He is likely to live to 100.

28. このカメラはれていそうだ。
   This camera looks broken.

29. 電気えそうだ。
     The lights appear to be dying.

30. 元気になれそうです。
   It looks like it will be able to become better. 

31. 今にも雨がりそうだ。
   It looks like it’s going to rain any moment.

32. もうすぐさくらきそうだよ。
   The cherry blossom trees are about to bloom.

33. 試験合格できそうだ。
   I feel that I can pass the exam.

   It appears that war or something dangerous is going to occur in the Korean peninsula.