Copula - です - to be (copula)

です is the Japanese version of 'to be' or 'is'. With this you can say something is something.
For example: 黄色です (the car is yellow).

です (pronounced as "des") is the most well-known of the Japanese copula. It may be used after nouns, i-adjectives and verbs in their plain form. In many cases, です serves no grammatical purpose, but is used only to make the statement more polite.

です is a contracted form of the polite Japanese copula ございま, and has its own peculiar forms of inflection, noted below.


Present negativeではありません or
Past negativeではありませんでした or
Probableでしょうだろう (rude)
Probable negativeではないでしょうじゃないだろう (rude)

* The は in the negative forms are pronounced as "wa" and can be left out.

Additional notes

In spoken Japanese, です is the moderately polite form of the copula. In written Japanese, です is rather informal, owing to the fact that statements using です appear similar to spoken Japanese.

Sample sentences

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