Japanese Language and Culture

Presumptive

Production Rules:

Rule Meaning
Plain Affirmative [う-stem] & だろう
[u-stem] & darou
X probably [does], X probably will [do]
Polite Affirmative [う-stem] & でしょう
[u-stem] & deshou
Plain Negative [あ-stem] + ない & だろう
[a-stem] + nai & darou
X probably doesn't [do], X probably won't [do]
Polite Negative [あ-stem] + ない & でしょう
[a-stem] + nai & deshou

Note that the presumptive is formed by simply adding だろう (darou) for the plain case or でしょう (deshou) for the polite case to the plain forms of the nonpast indicative.

Inflection Examples:

Plain Affirmative Polite Affirmative Plain Negative Polite Negative
食べる
taberu
(to eat)
食べるだろう
taberu darou
食べるでしょう
taberu deshou
食べないだろう
tabenai darou
食べないでしょう
tabenai deshou
話す
hanasu
(to speak)
話すだろう
hanasu darou
話すでしょう
hanasu deshou
話さないだろう
hanasanai darou
話さないでしょう
hanasanai deshou
歩く
aruku
(to walk)
歩くだろう
aruku darou
歩くでしょう
aruku deshou
歩かないだろう
arukanai darou
歩かないでしょう
arukanai deshou
泳ぐ
oyogu
(to swim)
泳ぐだろう
oyogu darou
泳ぐでしょう
oyogu deshou
泳がないだろう
oyoganai darou
泳がないでしょう
oyoganai deshou
呼ぶ
yobu
(to call)
呼ぶだろう
yobu darou
呼ぶでしょう
yobu deshou
呼ばないだろう
yobanai darou
呼ばないでしょう
yobanai deshou
飲む
nomu
(to drink)
飲むだろう
nomu darou
飲むでしょう
nomu deshou
飲まないだろう
nomanai darou
飲まないでしょう
nomanai deshou
死ぬ
shinu
(to die)
死ぬだろう
shinu darou
死ぬでしょう
shinu deshou
死なないだろう
shinanai darou
死なないでしょう
shinanai deshou
作る
tsukuru
(to make)
作るだろう
tsukuru darou
作るでしょう
tsukuru deshou
作らないだろう
tsukuranai darou
作らないでしょう
tsukuranai deshou
待つ
matsu
(to wait)
待つだろう
matsu darou
待つでしょう
matsu deshou
待たないだろう
matanai darou
待たないでしょう
matanai deshou
洗う
arau
(to wash)
洗うだろう
arau darou
洗うでしょう
arau deshou
洗わないだろう
arawanai darou
洗わないでしょう
arawanai deshou

Irregulars:

Plain Affirmative Polite Affirmative Plain Negative Polite Negative
する
suru
(to do)
するだろう
suru darou
するでしょう
suru deshou
しないだろう
shinai darou
っしないでしょう
shinai deshou
来る
kuru
(to come)
くるだろう
kuru darou
くるでしょう
kuru deshou
こないだろう
konai darou
こないでしょう
konai deshou

Usage Notes & Examples:

  1. This form is used to express some doubt or conjecture on the part of the speaker, similar to interjecting "probably" in English. Without combining it with another form like the progressive, the meaning is similar to the nonpast indicative, expressing a conjecture about a state, or habitual or future action. In Japanese one doesn't speak of someone else's presumptive actions (desires, etc.) with any certainty, so among other ways, this form can be used to add the necessary uncertainty.
    • 経済状況はすぐによくなるだろう
      keizai joukyou ha sugu ni yoku naru darou.
      Economic conditions will probably get better soon.
    • 田中さんは随分忙しいそうで、今夜 来ないだろう
      tanaka-san wa zuibun isogashii sou de, kon'ya konai darou.
      I heard that Mr. Tanaka is extremely busy, so he probably won't come tonight.
    • ここから東京まで飛行機で13時間ぐらい かかるでしょう
      koko kara toukyou made hikouki de juusan jikan gurai kakaru deshou.
      From here to Tokyo by plane probably takes about 13 hours.
  2. This form can also be used to solicit agreement or soften the tone of a statement.
  3. The plain forms using だろう (darou) can sound somewhat abrupt or assertive, even when talking to equals. You may want to use the polite forms even in friendly contexts. It is acceptable to use the plain forms when talking to yourself, or to people you would otherwise be on informal terms with about impersonal third-party subjects. Of course, this is all a matter of degree. An all-male group of friends, or a superior speaking to an inferior would not be likely to use the polite forms.

Expressions

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