Home » Chapter 1 » 2.です, the Copula

100 GRAMMAR POINTS

2. です, the Copula

です is a copula (a word used to link the subject of a sentence with a predicate).

  • It shows that something is or isn’t something else.
  • It is one of the very few irregular forms in Japanese.
  • です can act like the English “to be” (you know; is, am, are…) in the sense that です is used to explain who or what something or someone is.
  • It is also used when equating one thing with another.

Let’s take a look.

ゾウ は 大きい です

Romaji: zou wa ookii desu.
Literal: elephants (topic particle)
big
are
Natural: Elephants are large.

これ は ねこ です

Romaji: kore wa neko desu.
Literal: this (topic particle)
cat
is
Natural: This is a cat.

Most of the time you want to use the “to be” verb you will use です.
Later we will learn other forms to show existence.

Main Points

  • is, are, am
  • always at the end
  • it doesn’t change like its English cousin (is, are, am) in the present tense
  • usually pronounced like “dess

100 GRAMMAR POINTS

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