Japanese/Lessons/Introduction/Konnichiwa/Noun predicates

In this unit, you will learn how to make sentences using noun predicates.


Links to the interesting stuff go here ... once they have been compiled and the pages checked.

Try It


Duration: 2 minutes

Say the following sentences in Japanese by simply adding desu です to each word in parentheses. Then do the same in informal Japanese by adding da だ to each word.

  1. I am Japanese. (日本人(にほんじん) nihon-jin)
  2. That is a box. ((はこ) hako)
  3. This is a book. ((ほん) hon)
  4. You are a genius. (天才(てんさい) tensai)
  5. He is a friend. (友達(ともだち) tomodachi)
  6. We are students. (学生(がくせい) gakusei)
  7. They are doctors. (医者(いしゃ) isha)
  8. Those are donuts. (ドーナツ doonatsu)
  9. These are chestnuts. ((くり) kuri)
  10. She is a police officer. (警察官(けいさつかん) keisatsukan)
  11. It is Monday. (月曜日(げつようび) getsuyoubi)
  12. I'll have coffee. (コーヒー koohii)
  13. There's a car. ((くるま) kuruma)

Note: Using da だ to end your sentences can convey a somewhat masculine tone. Often women will drop the da だ entirely in informal speech, so that the noun itself becomes the predicate.

Watch and Listen


Duration: 2 minutes

Listen to the following conversation while reading along and see how much you understand.

Japanese with Furigana

  • 幸一(こういち): はじめまして。松井(まつい)幸一(こういち)です。
  • 智子(ともこ): 野口(のぐち)智子(ともこ)です。よろしくお(ねが)いします。
  • 幸一(こういち): よろしくお(ねが)いします。学生(がくせい)さんですか?
  • 智子(ともこ): はい、そうです。()年生(ねんせい)です。幸一(こういち)さんは?
  • 幸一(こういち): (さん)年生(ねんせい)です。

English Translation

  • Kouichi: Pleased to meet you. I'm Kouichi Matsui.
  • Tomoko: I'm Tomoko Noguchi. I hope everything goes well.
  • Kouichi: I hope everything goes well. Are you a student?
  • Tomoko: Yes, I am. I'm Grade 4. And you, Kouichi?
  • Kouichi: I'm Grade 3.



Duration: 5 minutes



English Predicates


In English, we learn that a sentence consists of a subject and a predicate. The predicate of a sentence indicates what the subject is, what the subject does, or what happens to the subject. For example, in the English sentence:

John is a baseball player.

The subject is "John", and the predicate is "is a baseball player". The sentence is about John, but it states that John is something, namely he "is a baseball player." In English, the predicate of a simple sentence starts with the verb and continues to the end of the sentence.

Japanese Predicates


In Japanese, a complete sentence must have a predicate, but the subject can be implied rather than stated, which is exactly the case more often than not. The Japanese equivalent of the above sentence would be (informal/formal ending):

Jon wa yakyuu senshu da / desu.

However, if you were already talking about John, his name would not be mentioned again and the sentence would be shortened to:

Yakyuu senshu da / desu.

In Japanese, when you want to form a predicate with a noun, the structure to use is:

Noun Predicate Formation
Type of speech Japanese Roomaji
Formal NOUN です NOUN desu
Informal NOUN だ NOUN da



The following lists contain nouns which may be useful in your study.


  1. Practice: Using formal speech, do the following exercises. Follow the links provided or ask the teacher for any necessary vocabulary.
    1. State your name.
    2. State your vocation.
    3. State your nationality by adding (じん) -jin to the name of your country.
    4. Point at three different objects, and state what they are.
    1. スーです。
      Suu desu.
      I am Sue.
    2. 大学生(だいがくせい)です。
      Daigakusei desu.
      I am a university student.
    3. イギリス(じん)です。
      Igirisu-jin desu.
      I'm from the U.K. (lit. I'm a British)
    4. いすです。 えんぴつです。 テレビです。
      Isu desu. Enpitsu desu. Terebi desu.
      That is a chair. That is a pencil. That is a TV.
  2. Practice: Repeat the previous exercise, this time using informal speech.
    1. トムだ。
      Tomu da.
      I am Tom.
    2. 弁護士(べんごし)だ。
      Bengoshi da.
      I am a lawyer.
    3. アメリカ(じん)だ。
      Amerikajin da.
      I'm an American.
    4. (まど)だ。 (つくえ)だ。 ()だ。
      Mado da. Tsukue da. Ki da.
      That is a window. That is a desk. That is a tree.
  3. Conversation: Have a conversation similar to the one in the Watch and Listen section with a neighbor, only substitute your own words in.



Duration: 2 minutes

Please post any questions you may have here, and a contributor will answer them.