what are the usage of deshou?
  • I've been using deshou so many times, but I used it as something that ask for an approval of an action like synonymous to 'isn't it'. but I've heard native speakers use this in statements as well like it was interchangeable with desu.. So my question is what are the usage and true meaning of deshou? Thanks!
  • You're right that the meaning is close to "isn't it", or ", right?". It can't really be used like desu in any normal statement, but there are exceptions. For example, it's very commonly used in weather forecasts, such as "ashita ha ame ga furun deshou", which doesn't mean "It will rain tomorrow, right?" but more along the lines of just "It will (probably) rain tomorrow".
  • Current usage:



    It can also be used to soften expression, where it comes close to a plain です, such as in the formal expression ~頂けないでしょうか。, or 間に合わないのではないでしょうか?, or perhaps even the above weather forecast.

    True meaning:

    As for the origin of this form, it all starts with the old verb む. Originally, it might not have signified much more than non-certainty or probability (compare with つ 「我が恋は慰めかねつmy desire cannot be appeased」 and ぬ「名乗らさねdo tell me your name」「身は灰と共に埋もりぬれど」, which signified certainty). Kind of like the difference between "may go" and "does go".

    It was added, as one might expect, to the 連用形.

    At any rate, a broad range of nuances developed from this original significance:

    - conjecture (present) 主(ぬし)こそ…妻持たせらむ thou no doubt hast a wife
    - conjecture (past) 木(こ)の間(ま)より我(あ)が振る袖を妹(いも)見つらむか I wonder, did my sweetheart see between the trees my sleeve waved (in farewell)
    - intention/desire
      迎え彼(か)行(ゆ)かむ?待ちに彼(か)待たむ? shall I go to meet him, shall I wait and wait?
      入りて我(あ)が寝む。この戸開(ひら)かせ I will enter and sleep. Do thou open this door
    - future-tense-like 作れる家に千代(ちよ)までに居(いま)さむ君(きみ)と我(あれ)も通わむ。In the house thou hast built where thou wilt dwell for a thousand years, I shall meet with thee.

    Next, this future part was lost, and its current usage remained. Additionally, a sound change occured, as follows:
    飲む --> のまむ --> のまう --> のもう
    食べる ---> たべむ ---> たべう --> たべよう

    Also, it was also contracted to ん(eg 飲まん) sometimes, a form which is still used for poetic or stylistic reasons from time to time. Eg スピリアに光が有らんことを。(May there be light with your Spiria.)
  • Thank you so much! I've just got confused because of that movie.. I thought it was some kind of a question, but the tone of the voice really pertain that it was a statement.. either way my question had been answered.. Thanks!
  • Yes, and to add to Tobberoth's reply, the meaning will be different depending on the intonation that you used.
    A rising intonation would mean "isn't it?" and a neutral/descending intonation would be an expression of uncertainty. あしたは雨が降るでしょう。
  • I'm certain that what I've heard from that movie weren't a weather forecast, but at the very list I guess I've got the idea from that weather forecast... :)

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