How to use そうですね & そうなんですね properly in conversation?

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In previous article, I introduced the different usage of  そうですか & そうなんですか. However, don’t be too happy about it yet. Because there are more confusing phrases similar to them such as そうですね  &  そうなんですね.

そうですね is a very common 相槌 (あいづち、responses given to person who is speaking) in Japanese language. What about そうなんですね?

It sounds similar, doesn’t it?

But CAREFUL! They are totally different things! Like identical twins, they look the same but inside, they are different people. (I’m twin btw lol)

So this article, I’m going to teach you how to use そうですね & そうなんですね properly. Let’s begin.

How to use そうですね & そうなんですね properly

そうですね & そうなんですね have totally different usage. They are not interchangeable.

Actually, the meaning of そうなんですね is still a debatable issue in Japanese language. Some people feel awkward with it, however, some feel good to hear it. Let me explain to you.

そうですね

1) 相手に同意する際の言い回し

You show your agreement to the person you’re speaking to by using そうですね. It’s like you are saying

“Yes, It is. You are right.”

Examples:

「昨日のバーベキューはよかったですか?」
「そうですね。とてもよかったです」(Yes, It was very fun)

「明日は東京へ出張しますか?」
「そうですね。明日行きます。」(Yes, I will go tomorrow)

2) 次の会話を考える時に”間”を取る時や、次の会話への誘導
Japanese uses そうですね at the beginning of the sentence as a lubricant to what they are going to say. It’s like you are saying

“ええと…” (Well…)

Example:

「次の目標を教えて下さい。」
「そうですね。次はイギリスへ留学したいと思います。」(Well, I want to study abroad to UK.)

「好きな人のタイプは何ですか?」
「そうですね。元気な人がいいです。」(Well, I like energetic person.)

そうなんですね

何か自分の知らない事を伝えられた時に、自分でまだ確認はしていないが、意見に同意する時の表現

そうなんですね cannot replace そうですね in any conversation because it means different meaning. You use it when you heard something you didn’t know and you are a bit surprised with that. (still debatable) It’s like you are saying

「そうですか?」 / 「そうなんですか」
“Really?”

Example:

「図書館へはこっちの道から行ったほうが早いですよ」
「そうなんですね、次からはこちらの道を使ってみます。」

It can sound 2 meanings to Japanese people:
a) そうですか Really? (Majority, heard something for the first time)
b) そうですね Yeah you are right. (Minority, I knew it)

* There are arguments about the usage of そうなんですね。It’s said that そうなんですね is a term developed recently (few years ago). Many people still feel awkward to be replied そうなんですね because it sounds like “You already knew what I just said?”

* However, the majority argues that そうなんですね is a softer version of そうなんですか、showing surprise to what you just heard, and usually used in business world to show politeness. In fact, this way of interpretation has started to become popular in Japan.

Naruhodo!

そうですね & そうなんですね have totally DIFFERENT meanings. They are NOT interchangeable in the conversation.

そうなんですね is still an evolving phrase even among local Japanese people. The majority of Japanese people started using it as a softer version of そうなんですか, especially in business purpose, however, some still feel awkward to be replied by そうなんですね because the “ね” sounds like the person already knew what they just said.

Given そうなんですね is still a confusing term in Japanese language, instead of it, let’s use そうですか or そうなんですか to avoid misunderstanding. 😀

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.

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