How to use そうですか & そうなんですか properly?

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「実は、私は女だったんです」(Actually, I’m a girl)

If you were told by your BFF the above fact, how would you react to it, by using そうですか? or そうなんですか?

The answer is……both OK.

Often, we simply respond to people by using そうですか or そうなんですか, without thinking the right timing of using them properly. However, they don’t mean the same shade of meaning. In this article, I’m going to teach you some basics of how to use そうですか & そうなんですか properly.

p/s the そうですか mentioned in this article refers to the そうですか with low tone pronunciation of the か.


How to use そうですか & そうなんですか properly?

First of all, let’s make clear the different usage of the two phrases そうですか & そうなんですか.

1. そうですか 

そうですか is used when what one says is within your expectation, and when you want to show understanding to what he said. It’s like you are saying



そうなんですか is used when you heard something that you didn’t know or expect, it’s beyond your expectation, you can’t believe it. It’s like you are saying



Below examples can be replied by using both そうですか & そうなんですか, but means different shade of meanings.

1. そうですか (Well I did notice it)
2. そうなんですか (Wow I din’t notice it at all)

1. そうですか (Well you are supposed to earn that much)
2. そうなんですか (Really? I can’t believe you earn that much)

1. そうですか (It gives an impression of “I knew it but I don’t care”)
2. そうなんですか (It gives an impression of “Really? I didn’t know it”)


As we know, Japanese language emphasizes on making agreeable responses (相槌を打つ). 1 small different letter can cause a big difference of the meaning of the response.

Now that you already know how to use そうですか & そうなんですか. Don’t just read it. Try to practice using it properly in a conversation with your Japanese friends. 😀

Shen Lim
A Chinese Malaysian, Blogger, Vlogger on YouTube, Tour Guide in Japan. He believes 1 day his videos can bring Japan and Malaysia together. マレーシア華人、ブロガー、YouTubeクリエイター、日本にいるツアーガイドです。いつか自分の動画は日本とマレーシアを繋げる架け橋になると信じています。 Read more ABOUT him.

This Post Has 5 Comments

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    1. Leong Shen Lim

      こんにちは。一休さん。コメントありがとうございました 😀

      そうなんですねの使い方は今でもまだ賛否両論があって答えがないようですが、あまり気にしないほうがいいと思います。また何か質問があれば気軽に聞いて下さいね 😀

  2. Pingback: How to use そうですね & そうなんですね properly in conversation? | Naruhodo! OIC Japan!

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