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Small, but Powerful Words

A List of Small, but Powerful Words with examples and sound.

This is a list of small but powerful words. Click the for sound files.

やっぱり でしょう にくい / やすい なるほど きのせ
念のため つもり つまり
できるだけ なるべく わざと

LET'S START !

1. やっぱり yappari (or yahari ) -

MEANINGS : As expected, of course!, just as suspected

EXAMPLES:
やっぱりコーラが好き。
yappari ko-ra ga suki.
Of course! I like cola.
USAGE # 1 Maybe you haven't had a cola for a long time and it tastes good. So this means 'remembering' something that you like or dislike after experiencing it again.
やっぱり
yappari
I should have known! (as expected)
USAGE # 2 When you catch someone doing something sneaky

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2. でしょう deshou -

MEANINGS : Isn't that right? You agree don't you?

EXAMPLES:
いいでしょう。
ii deshou.
This is good, isn't it? Isn't this good?
This can be used in a variety of situations. Eating cake, choosing the right clothes...
日本語が難しい、でしょう?
nihongo ga muzukashii, deshou?
Japanese is difficult, right?
In this case it is used as a kind of tag on to make sure people agree with your position.
ちょっと 危ない でしょう。
chotto abunai deshou.
It's a little dangerous, isn't it?
In this case the deshou is used mainly to soften the feel of the sentence. Instead of saying, "That's dangerous!" it has a feel of, "It's a little dangerous, isn't it?"

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3. ね ne - I believe, I suppose, isn't it? Don't you think so?

NOTE: You can see by the many options above that this one-letter word is packed with vitamin enriched POWER! I think the use of ne may be a shibboleth for non-native speakers for correct usage.

EXAMPLES:
暑いですね。
atsui desu ne.
It's hot, isn't it.
This little guy's meaning changes with the intonation of the speaker.

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4. にくい ・ やすい nikui (something is difficult) / yasui - (something is easy)

USAGE : Attach this after - masu form of verbs. (The - masu form means to take the polite masu form and dropping the - masu . That's all... Example: tabe masu -> tabe + nikui = tabenikui [difficult to eat])

EXAMPLES:
このステーキは食べ にく いです。
kono sute-ki wa tabe nikui desu.
This steak is hard to eat.
Take the -masu form of a verb (taberu -> tabemasu), drop the masu (tabe-) and add ' nikui ' or ' yasui ' ( tabenikui = hard to eat; tabeyasui = easy to eat)
このパソコンは使いやすいです。
kono pasokon wa tsukaiyasui desu.
This computer is easy to use.
tsukaimasu ('to use' masu form) --> tsukai- --> tsukai+yasui

pasokon is a mix of Perso nal + Com puter

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5. なるほど naruhodo - I see, I understand, indeed

MEANINGS :

EXAMPLES:
このボタンを押せば、ドリンクが出てきます。
kono botan o oseba, dorinku ga dete kimasu.
If you push this button, the drink will come out.

ああ、なるほど。
aa naruhodo.
Oh, I see.

Whenever something is explained and you see the logic, naruhodo is used. It is also used to show that you agree with the speaker's explanation or thoughts.

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6. きのせい ki no sei - just my imagination

MEANINGS :

EXAMPLES:
今の音は何だろう?
ima no oto wa nan darou?
What was that sound just now?

気のせい、でしょう?
ki no sei, deshou?
It's just your imagination, isn't it?

This useful phrase can be used in a variety of situations where you let your imagination get the best of you.

The ki in kinosei is 気 which has many meanings, but in this case it perhaps means one's heart or feelings.

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7. 念のため nen no tame - just in case, just to make sure

MEANINGS :

EXAMPLES:
たぶん電気を消したけど、念のためにも一度チェックします。
tabun denki o keshita kedo, nen no tame ni mo ichi do chekku shimasu.
I am pretty sure I turned off the lights, but just in case I will check one more time.
Not too difficult just use it when you want to say 'just in case.'
念のために、薬を忘れないでね。
nen no tame ni, kusuri o wasurenaide ne.
Just in case, don't forget the medicine.
Here the ne is added to give a soft touch.

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8. つもり tsumori - plan, intention, going to do (something)

MEANINGS :

EXAMPLES:
ビーチへ行くつもりです。
bi-chi e iku tsumori desu.
I am planning to go to the beach.
plain (dictionary form) verb + tsumori

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9. つ まり tsumari - that is, to put it plainly

MEANINGS :

EXAMPLES:
つまり、犯人はあなたです。
tsumari, han nin wa anata desu.
To put it together, the criminal is you.
You can use tsumari when summing up something that you have already said or bringing a conclusion to what you said.

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10. できるだけ dekiru dake - as much as one can; as much as possible

MEANINGS :

EXAMPLES:
できるだけ たくさん食べてね。
dekiru dake takusan tabete ne.
If you can, please eat a lot.
Here again the ne is used to soften the sentence.

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11. なるべく narubeku - as ~ as one can; if possible

MEANINGS :

EXAMPLES:
なるべく 早く来てください。
naru beku hayaku kite kudasai.
Please come as fast as possible.

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12. わざと wazato - on purpose, purposely

MEANINGS :

EXAMPLES:
わざとでしょう。
wazato deshou.
(I) did it on purpose, you know.
This phrase can be useful when covering up a mistake to make it look like it was intended. I saw a juggler in Yokohama once who after dropping a lit torch belted out, 'wazato deshou!'
あなたはわざと嘘をつきましたか?
anata wa wazato uso o tsukimashita ka?
Did you intentionally lie?

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