That Looks Great!: Expressing How Something “Looks” by Adding そう to い-Adjectives :Let’s start off the new decade on the right foot! In today’s lesson, we’re going to learn to express how something “looks” or “appears to be” by adding そう (sou) to the end of an adjective. This lesson will focus only on i-adjectives. Here we go!
Expressing How Something “Looks” by Adding そう(sou) to い-Adjectives
When added to the end of a verb or adjective, そう (Sou) expresses the speaker’s conjecture about a current state or condition, or about the future, based on sensory evidence, a general feeling, etc. In English, sou roughly translates to “It looks…” or “It seems…”
Before we begin, let’s review some common i-adjectives.
Now, let’s make a few simple sentences using the words above.
Dizuniirando wa tanoshii!
Disneyland is fun!
Tenjikai wa omoshirokatta kedo, kippu wa takakatta.
The exhibition was interesting, but the tickets were expensive.
Adding そう to I-Adjectives
When using adjectives in their dictionary form, you are expressing what something or someone is according to your perception or opinion. By adding そう (sou) to the end of an adjective, you are expressing what something or someone “looks to be” based on limited information. In order to add sou to the end of an i-adjective, you simply remove the final hiragana character い (i) and replace it with sou!
|楽し||tanoshi||fun ➝ looks fun|
|美味し||oishi||delicious ➝ looks delicious|
|難し||muzukashi||difficult ➝ looks difficult|
|面白||omoshiro||interesting ➝ looks interesting|
|高||taka||expensive ➝ looks expensive|
Now that we know how to add sou to the end of i-adjectives, let’s create a few simple sentences to express what something “looks to be.”
Toukyou Dizuniirando wa tanoshisou!
Tokyo Disneyland looks fun!
Shiken wa muzukashisou!
The exam looks difficult!
Ano eiga wa mita koto nai kedo, omoshirosou!
I’ve never seen that movie before, but it looks interesting!
Ano kawa no jaketto wa takasou!
That leather jacket looks expensive!
[NOTE: The adjective いい (ii, good) is a special case. You have to change it back to its dictionary form 良い (yoi) first. After that, you remove the い (i) and replace it with さそう (sasou). Therefore, the correct way to say that something “looks good” is NOT
良そう, it’s 良さそう (yosasou).]
The Negative Form of I-Adjective + そう
Just like you can say that something “looks to be” a certain way, you can also say that something “does NOT look to be” a certain way.
The first step in creating the negative form of this expression is by conjugating the adjective into its negative form. This is done by replacing the い (i) at the end of the word with くない (kunai).
|楽し||tanoshi||fun ➝ not fun|
|美味し||oishi||delicious ➝ not delicious|
|難し||muzukashi||difficult ➝ not difficult|
|面白||omoshiro||interesting ➝ not interesting|
|高||taka||expensive ➝ not expensive|
Now that you have changed the adjective into its negative form, replace the final い (i) with さそう (sasou).
|楽しくな||tanoshikuna||not fun ➝ doesn’t look fun|
|美味しくな||oishikuna||not delicious ➝ doesn’t look delicious|
|難しくな||muzukashikuna||not difficult ➝ doesn’t look difficult|
|面白くな||omoshirokuna||not interesting ➝ doesn’t look interesting|
|高くな||takakuna||not expensive ➝ doesn’t look expensive|
Now that we know how to create the negative expression “does NOT look to be…,” let’s create a few example sentences.
Ano benkyoukai wa tanoshikunasasou.
That study group doesn’t look fun.
Nattou wa oishikunasasou.
Japanese fermented soybeans don’t look delicious.
Mario Kaato wa muzukashikunasasou.
Mario Cart doesn’t look difficult.
Ano kuriimu koon dokyumentarii wa omoshirokunasasou.
That creamed corn documentary doesn’t look interesting.
Ano Kashio risuto uocchi wa takakunasasou.
That Casio wristwatch doesn’t look expensive.
[NOTE: Just like with positive expressions, the adjective いい (ii, good) is a special case. You have to change it back to its dictionary form 良い (yoi) first. After that, you conjugate it into its negative form 良くない (yokunai). And finally, just like with the other i-adjectives, you replace the final い (i) with なさそう (nasasou). Therefore, the correct way to say that something “does NOT look good” is 良くなさそう (yokunasasou).]
In summary, adding そう (sou) to the end of adjectives creates the expression of how something or someone “looks to be” based off of limited information.
With i-adjectives, the expression is created by removing the character い (i) at the end of the word and replacing it with そう (sou). The negative form of the phrase is created by conjugating the adjective into the negative form, removing the い (i) at the end, and replacing it with なさそう (nasasou). The exception to this rule is いい (ii, good), which becomes 良さそう (yosasou) in positive expressions, and 良くなさそう (yokunasasou) in negative expressions.