It feels good when other people agree with you. Here you are trying to make a point on why your favorite movie is one of the top ten ever made, and then you ask your friend if they agree. They say of course! So today’s we’re going to cover how to say of course in Japanese.
It could be even more important to use this word while you’re in Japan than when you’re not.
That’s because the Japanese culture is centered around harmony and agreeableness. By using today’s phrase, you’re showing the other person that you’re in strong agreement with their thoughts on the topic at hand.
“Of Course” In Japanese
The first way that you can express this feeling to someone when speaking or writing in Japanese is with the word もちろん (mochiron) which means “of course” in Japanese.
If you’re speaking in a more formal situation, you can add on the polite word です (desu) to the end so that you don’t offend anyone by assuming too much familiarity.
Although this word is most often spelled in hiragana as it’s shown above, there is an alternative way to write it using kanji.
If that’s the case, you will see it as 勿論 (mochiron). I have to admit that I don’t often see it written this way, but when I do it is generally with the assistance of furigana.
Another word that is very similar to もちろん and can be used instead is 無論 (muron). It basically means the same thing.
If you take a closer look at the kanji that are used in both of these two words you will notice something interesting. They both share the kanji 論 which means “argument” in Japanese.
If you then take a look at the kanji that are different in each word 勿 and 無 you will see that they both mean “not” in Japanese and are referring to “not existing.”
Once you know that, you can see why these two words both mean “of course” when translated into English. It’s because they are both literally saying “no argument” or that an argument against what the other person has said does not exist.
“Naturally” In Japanese
Another word that can be said in situations where you wholeheartedly agree with what someone has said is “naturally” and there are a couple of ways to say this in Japanese.
The first one is with 当たり前 (atarimae) and the second one is with 当然 (touzen). Usually I see these words in combination with either でしょう (deshou) or だろう (darou) which are used similar to the ending particle ね (ne) when seeking agreement from the listener.
The only thing is that you probably don’t actually want to use the first one unless you’re with really close friends because it comes off as being a little rude.
It’s kind of like saying “obviously” to someone when they make some sort of observation.
Perhaps your friend is hanging out with you and they say something like “I think Stacy and Johnny are dating each other” to which you reply with 当たり前だよ (atarimae da yo) for “Yeah, no duh!” because those two are constantly all over each other when you see them together.
On the other hand, I generally see the word 当然 used for situations where there is a logical, yet easy to predict outcome to a given situation.
For example, if you hear that Stacy and Johnny broke up recently and that it was Stacy who left Johnny, you might say 当然でしょう since everybody found out that he cheated on her with his ex-girlfriend.
Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be like Johnny. That’s all, really.
“It Goes Without Saying” In Japanese
In line with what we’ve been talking about, this next phrase is similar to saying “of course” but it’s used a little bit differently from the versions we’ve covered so far.
The expression is 言うまでもなく (iu made mo naku) and it can be translated into English to mean any of the following:
- as we all know
- needless to say
- of course
- it goes without saying
So when you’re talking to a person and you are about to say something that it pretty obvious from the context of the situation, but you want to let them know that you know it’s something that “goes without saying” then you can use this phrase.
Let’s say that you’re writing a science fiction book that is an original story, yet draws heavily from the Star Wars universe as an inspiration since that was you’re favorite story as a child.
While explaining the story to your friend, you know they’re about to say something like “this sounds a lot like Star Wars” and so you finish your sentence with something along the lines of:
- sutā uōzu wa iu made mo naku eikyou o ataete kimashita.
- Needless to say, Star Wars has been a big influence (for my story).
“Certainly” In Japanese
The final word that we’ll take a look at today is when you want to say “certainly” in Japanese.
This word is spelled 確かに (tashika ni) and will usually come at the beginning or at the end of a sentence.
Let’s say for example that your friend is talking about the possibility of changing careers. Along the list of reasons why it would be a good idea, they say to you that they could find a better paying job.
They then say to you, “It would be nice to make more money” to which you reply:
- tashika ni sou da yo na.
- That’s certainly true.
Another way to say “certain” in a language is to say that something is “without doubt.”
Japanese has two expressions that can be used for things that are doubtless:
- 紛れもない (magire mo nai)
- 間違いない (machigai nai)
The first one uses 紛れ (magire) which means “confusion” and the second one used 間違い (machigai) which means “mistake.”
Since the both end in the word ない (nai) for “not” you can see that the first one is like saying “I’m certain (there’s no confusion about this topic) and the second one is like “I’m certain (there’s no mistaking it).”
What Do You Think?
Now that I’m done covering these various words and expressions that you can use in Japanese, I wanted to flip things over and see what your thoughts were.
Have you heard any of these words before? Which do you think is the most useful one to learn?
Let me know by leaving a comment below! Thanks!
Further Resources for Learning Japanese: