Question about Tae Kim's Guide


I hope this isn’t a repeated topic. I looked around a bit but could not find this specific question.

So, in the first chapter, Tae Kim puts a lot of emphasis on the だ particle, where I feel like any other source I’ve seen would be using です

On top of that, I was watching one of the videos from Japanese Ammo with Misa, and she went into some detail regarding だ vs です and basically explained that most people do not use だ very often in real life.

Lastly, I read quite a bit of Tofugu’s explanation about them, and it seems that だ is most often used when expressing one’s thoughts out loud, or perhaps making an announcement directed at no one in particular.

It seems like everything other than Tae Kim’s Guide state that だ is impolite, yet he still teaches it in the first chapter? It’s so confusing to me.

Anyway, I suppose my question is this; Is it okay to go through Tae Kim’s Guide learning だ and just pretend I would be using です in these situations? Should I just not worry about it, and go about my studies and allow it to work itself out?

Thank you for reading my ramble, and any advice is appreciated!

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Not always, no. One of the things emphasized in the guide is that だ and です serve different grammatical purposes, so they are often not interchangeable.


Is that Tae Kim’s Guide you’re referencing?

Overuse of だ is indeed a characteristic of beginners starting to dabble in casual Japanese (or people who watch too much anime), but I wouldn’t say that it’s inherently a bad idea to teach it early. It is sometimes grammatically necessary, meaning it’s required and です is not even possible to use. Such as in a sentence that includes something like ~だと思います.

So it’s necessary to know だ even if you aren’t using casual Japanese, but the important thing is to just be aware of how to use (and when to not use) it.


Yeah. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but I think it’s made pretty clear in there.


Perhaps I need to get further in the guide to see that statement. I’m only a few sections in and got a little worried that I’d be learning something that could hurt my learning down the road.

Yeah, just keep in mind that a “textbook sentence” isn’t necessarily a “recommended for use in the real world sentence.” Dictionaries and other resources also sometimes include だ in places where real people probably wouldn’t since it makes “completely grammatical sentences.”

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Just to clarify, this is similar to saying “I think,” correct? That would fit what I learned from Tofugu’s explanations.

It’s a relief to hear that it’s still important to learn. I will be sure to continue studying the differences between the two so I can attempt to avoid making those mistakes :sweat_smile:

Thank you for the help!

Section 4.1.5 covers it.

4.1.5 「です」 is NOT the same as 「だ」

It’s not really that far in, but you can skip to that section if you want. The guide doesn’t have to be done entirely sequentially.


Yes, for instance, in a sentence like あの人は学生だと思います (I think that person is a student), omitting だ sounds a bit odd and using です would just be completely wrong.


That’s a relief, thank you for finding that for me!

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Makes perfect sense!

I’ve only just reached the sections in Genki where they teach ‘short/casual’ forms, and it’s for this very purpose, and I wish they had started with it earlier.

First of all, I now understand Cure Dolly’s complaint about the ways verb endingss change (from -u to -a to -i columns and so on…).

…And secondly… and perhaps more importantly, my family is the main reason I’m learning Japanese… and they speak super casual language. So, I have to ask my wife how だと思います should be changed to casual, as I did last night.

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