fbpx

Or, I should say “It’s probably going to rain sharks.”  In Japanese that would be:

鮫雨が降るでしょう。
Same-ame ga furu deshou.

Now, before you go yelling at me, I’ll just go ahead and clarify that a lot of people seem to think that shark-rain (鮫雨) doesn’t exist.  But you never know… it could happen.  But, since I’m talking about darou and deshou, maybe it’s not the best example for studying purposes.

The reason is that deshou/darou is a grammar function that is typically used to express that something will probably happen.  This is why you hear deshou being used so much in weather forecasts:

あしたは雨が降るでしょう。
Ashita wa ame ga furu deshou.
(It will probably rain tomorrow.)

In weather forecasts, they don’t say:

あしたは雨が降ります。
Ashita wa ame ga furimasu.
(It will rain tomorrow.)

Because it’s entirely possible that it won’t rain tomorrow!  Instead, deshou is used as a conjecture.  And a 天気予報 (tenki yohou / “weather forecast”) is just that: a conjecture.  See how many deshou’s you can catch in this video clip:

What’s the difference between deshou and darou?

This seems to be a question that pops up quite often.  The simple answer is: Deshou and darou have the same meaning, only deshou is formal and darou is informal.

You really don’t need to get into any more depth than that.  Don’t ever worry about which one (deshou or darou) fits the meaning of what you’re trying to say.  Instead, just worry about which one fits the formality of what you’re trying to say.  That girl on the weather channel is just being polite to you.

Grammar Breakdown

Darou / deshou comes after the plain forms of verbs, adjectives, and nouns.  Here’s a breakdown of the grammar:

verbs
{ 食べる / 食べた }  だろう
{ taberu / tabeta } darou
(someone will probably eat / probably ate)

i-adjectives
{ 高い / 高かった }  だろう
{ takai / takakatta } darou
(something is / was probably expensive)

na-adjectives
{ 静か / 静かだった }  だろう
{ shizuka / shizuka datta } darou
(something is / was probably quiet)

nouns
{ 学生 / 学生だった }  だろう
{ gakusei / gakusei datta } darou
(someone is / was probably a student)

The Depth of Darou

If you want to sound more sure of something probably happening when you use darou, then just add some of your favorite probability adverbs, such as tabun, osoraku, or kitto.

トムは彼女にきっとふられるだろう。
Tomu wa kanojo ni kitto furareru darou.
(I’m almost certain that Tom’s girlfriend will break up with him.)

Furareru

furareru = “to be dumped”

The main confusion that tends to arise with darou / deshou is in how the meaning does (or does not!) change when it is used in a question.

When used with the question particle, ka, darou / deshou is used to soften a question.

So, instead of…

彼女は病気ですか。
Kanojo wa byouki desu ka.
(Is she sick?)

You could say…

彼女は病気でしょうか。
Kanojo wa byouki deshou ka.
(I wonder if she’s sick.)

This way of phrasing the question makes it much less direct / softer.  And if you’ve done much studying of Japanese, you’ll know that Japanese people love to soften the tone of what they’re saying whenever possible, often by making it as indirect as possible.

This is slightly different than when darou / deshou is used with rising intonation (i.e. “?”) instead of using ka.  In these cases, it carries more of the sense that you’re looking for the listener’s agreement.

君もパーティに行くだろう?
Kimi mo paati ni iku darou?
(You’ll go to the party too, (am I) right?

Note that this carries a slightly softer tone than just using ne at the end of your sentence.  As in:

君もパーティに行くね。
Kimi mo paati ni iku ne.
(You’ll go to the party too, won’t you?)

It’s not only softer to use darou / deshou in this case, but it also sounds less feminine.  I’ve pretty much never seen it in a textbook, but you probably want to lay off throwing ne into every other sentence if you’re a guy.  You might also want to accept the fact that until you’re super jouzu, a lot of the time you’re just going to end up sounding like a girl.  It’s a bummer, but it’s pretty common!

Visual Kei

Visual Kei (Look it up!)

Please be sure to enter any questions or comments you have below (or any mistakes I’ve made!).

Good luck with your studies, everyone.

Keep swimming!

Niko

p.s. Here’s my free course, bundled with awesomeness (and love):

Niko

Yo! I'm Niko, the founder of NihongoShark. I'm also a Japanese translator, writer, and all-around language nerd.

I created this site to help as many people master Japanese (any language, really) as possible.

Uh, what else? Well... I live in Tokyo, Bangkok, Sapporo, Saigon, San Diego, Tokyo, Chiang Mai, Portland, Oregon! So if anyone wants to meet up for a refreshing nama beer, I'm probably down for that. Or a coffee. Learning Japanese is tricky-tikki-tavi. But we're in this together. ファイト!

Good luck with your studies!

Niko

p.s. If you like my articles, you may very well love my daily lessons.