Difference between だ and です

There may be a major difference and maybe I am too stupid to see it, but could someone please explain to me the differences between these two.

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です is more polite than だ. だ<>です is the same difference as dictionary form <> ます form.
Also you can’t use だ after い-adjectives, but you can use です.

Isn’t だ something you can use when declaring something?
like these examples

  1. Is person.
  2. 学生
    Is student.
  3. 元気
    Is well.
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だ means “Is”
ほん だ - Is book (It is a book)
えんぴつ だ - is pencil (It is a pencil)

However, だ can sound very rough and it is removed often in some casual/polite speech
げんき。 (I’m good, I’m ok, I’m well, etc.)

I have seen です described in two different ways

  1. Just the polite version of だ
  2. No specific meaning, it just makes words polite. This is because sometimes it is only acceptable to use one of the two
    Whatever one helps you remember it better ^^

ほん です - It is a book
えんぴつ です - It is a pencil
げんき です - I’m good

だ cannot be used with い adjectives (Adjectives like 嬉しい、美しい、楽しい that end in い)
Before conjunction words unconjugated nouns and なadjectives (Adjectives that don’t end in い) must be followed with だ or です
~だと思う can never be ですと思う

Past tense - だった、でした
Future tense - still だ and です
Negative form - ではない for both (This comes from verb grammar so this might not make sense) Can also be じゃない in casual situations, and in more formal situations, ではありません or じゃありません
Past negative - ではなかった. In casual situations: じゃなかった, in formal situations: ではありませんでした/じゃありませんでした

There’s a bit more to the adjectives I talked about but I don’t know whether or not you know about those so I won’t say anymore :slight_smile: Let me know if you have any questions!


Apparently です is not quite the polite form of だ. Rather than me try to explain badly have a look at this grammar guide


Basically です is more polite and だ is more colloquial. There may be more to it, but that’s the gist of it.

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Having reread the grammar guide…they really are completely different. The only common usage - which perhaps give rise to the mistaken belief that です is the polite form of だ is for the simple declarative statement such as 本だ or 本です. Otherwise not the same at all eg you can’t add だ to i adjectives but です is added to all conjugations. More importantly だ is used in many grammatical constructions which would be plain wrong if you replaced with です eg 本だと思う can’t become 本ですと思います。

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