How to Say “I think” in Japanese – Giving Your Opinion

Posted by on July 3, 2020 – Japanese Study, Life in Japan
how to say i think in japanese

How do you share your opinion in Japanese? What are the do’s and don’ts?

In this blog we will teach you a simple way to share your opinion in Japanese.

But before we teach you what you can say – we want to share some advice for how to use this vocabulary.

Don’ts:

  • In a business setting – Sharing negative opinions to your superiors or your coworkers openly
  • Sharing negative feedback / opinions about people to casual friends / acquaintances / in social settings where you do not know the person very well.

In Japan – the harmony of the group is very important. Negative feedback that is directly shared – or opinions about people that cast others in a negative light are seen as disrupting harmony and frowned upon.

Especially in a professional setting, you want to avoid being rude as much as possible.

Dos:

  • Share positive feedback about people.
  • Share positive opinions with friends.
  • Use this vocabulary to talk about things that are your personal opinion or things you are unsure of – but you assume to be true.

Saying “I think” in Japanese Using と思う/思います

The way to express “I think” in Japanese is by inserting と思う/思います (to omou / omoimasu) after stating your opinion.

思う is used for casual speech and 思います is used for polite speech. You can read about ます verb forms here.

The rules for using と思う/思います in sentences sharing your opinion are:

  • Verb (dictionary from)/い Adjective + と思う/思います
  • Noun/ Adjective + だ + と思う/思います

Keep in mind that な Adjectives drop the な in this sentence form. Let’s look at some examples of how to use them to express your opinions in Japanese!

Example 1: い Adjective + と思う

この曲、めっちゃかっこいいと思うよ。
Kono kyoku、meccha kakkoii to omou yo
I think this song is really cool!

The above example is a straightforward example of someone using a plain form verb to express their opinions about a song. Based on the statement above, we can assume that this is a conversation between friends as informal speech is being used.

Example 2: Verb +と思います

Let’s look at a more formal situation:

高木さんはあと少し来ると思いますよ。
Takagi san wa ato sukoshi kuru to omoimasu
I think Takagi-san will arrive here shortly.

In the sentence above the speaker is voicing that he/she thinks Takagi-san is arriving soon, but isn’t 100% sure. This is both generous to Takagi-san, who may very well be running late, and protects the speaker from falsely asserting the situation.

You can try this with any Japanese verbs you want! Maybe start with some easy Japanese ru-verbs.

Example 2: なAdj/Noun + だと思う

大切だと思うよ。
Taisetsu da to omou yo
I think it’s important.

Pretty straightforward, but this time notice that when used with a な adjective, you need to insert だ + と思う/と思います。

This rule also applies to nouns in the same way:

彼はいい人だと思います。
Kare wa ii hito da to omoimasu
I think he is a great guy!

Easy right? Now you can try it out next time you want to give your opinion in Japanese!

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