775 - ~よう (I think I'll...)

JLPT N4: ~よう (I think I'll...)

Some grammar points are worth spending multiple lessons on.

This is one of them: Using ~よう to say "I think I"ll..."

For most people, the first time they encounter the ~よう conjugation pattern is in sentences saying "let's VERB."

That is, we usually first encounter ~よう as the more casual form of ~ましょう.

We had an N5 lesson on this: [NDL #469] - JLPT N5: ~ましょう.

A couple of examples from that lesson:

そろそろ かえりましょう。
Let’s go home soon.
Literally: “soon / before long + let’s return home”

てんき が いい から、 あるいて いこう。
The weather is nice, so let’s walk there.
Literally: “weather + が + good + because, + walk (and) + let’s go.”

In that lesson, we also saw this brief explanation on conjugating ~よう

If it's an ichidan verb (e.g. 食べる [たべる]), drop る and add よう (e.g. 食べよう [たべよう // let's eat]).

If it's a godan verb (e.g. 飲む [のむ; nomu]), change the final u sound to ou (e.g. 飲もう [のもう; nomou // let's drink).

Have you forgotten what ichidan and godan verbs are?

We have a lesson on that, too: [NDL #482] - Basics: Verb Types.

Back to the focus of this lesson: Using ~よう to say "I think I'll..."

This conjugation pattern can be used when you are talking to yourself.

You might be thinking the phrase aloud — that is, other people might be able to hear what you're saying — but technically you are both the speaker and the listener when using "volitional ~よう," as it is called.

For example, earlier we saw:

てんき が いい から、 あるいて いこう。
The weather is nice, so let’s walk there.
Literally: “weather + が + good + because, + walk (and) + let’s go.”

Since this is translated as "let's walk," we can infer that the listener is a different person than the speaker.

However, if the speaker were talking to himself or herself, our translation would change:

てんき が いい から、 あるいて いこう。
The weather is nice, so I think I'll walk there.
Literally: “weather + が + good + because, + walk (and) + let’s go.”

Another example of "volitional ~よう":

きょう は あつい から、 スカート を はこう。
It’s hot today, so I think I’ll wear a skirt.
Literally: “today + は + hot + because, + skirt + を + let’s wear (lower-body clothing).”

A couple of our earliest NDLs covered this grammar point, too, by the way:
- [NDL #54] - I think I'll... go to sleep.
- [NDL #55] - Yo, hey. I think I'll... tell you my plans...

By reviewing those two lessons, along with this one, you should find that you have a pretty strong understanding of this highly common grammar pattern.

Three more sentences, and you'll be done:

あした から は、 まいにち ごじ に おきよう。
Starting tomorrow, (I think) I’ll start waking up at five o’clock every day.
Literally: “tomorrow + from + は, + every day + five o’clock + に + let’s wake up / let’s get up.”

しごと を する まえ に、 ちょっと ゲーム を しよう。
I think I’ll play my game a bit before I start working.
Literally: “job / work + を + do + before + に, + a little bit + game + を + let’s do.”

もう じゅうにじはん か。 そろそろ ランチ を たべよう。
Oh, it’s already twelve thirty. I think I’ll have lunch pretty soon.
Literally: “already + twelve thirty + か. + soon + lunch + を + let’s eat.”

All finished, fellow student.

However, we have a few more N4 lessons coming up that use the ~ようconjugation pattern, so I recommend reading this lesson, as well as the lessons mentioned above, more than once, if you have time.

Understanding how to put verbs into ~よう form will make life a lot easier in our next few lessons.

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