How Can I Say "I see!" in Japanese? How to Use Naruhodo (なるほど) in Japanese Conversation

If you have been in a Japanese conversation before, you may have heard the word “Naruhodo” (なるほど) being used. Although this word is rarely found in textbooks, it comes up often in Japanese conversation. In this blog we will show you what “Naruhodo” means in Japanese and how you can use it in conversation.

What Does “Naruhodo” Mean?

Simply put, Naruhodo means “I understand” or “I see”. While you may have often heard that “Soudesuka” (そうですか) or “Sokka” (そっか) is how to say ‘I see’, it is slightly different from Naruhodo (なるほど).

While sokka or soudesuka certainly can be used to say ‘I see’, なるほど adds an extra nuance. Soudesuka/sokka is more neutral, while なるほど conveys a sense of agreement and a more nuanced understanding.

You can use なるほど when you learn something new, or get information that you did not previously have.

Soudesuka and Sokka can also come across as kind of cold, whereas なるほど can be used as a more warm response.

How to Use “Naruhodo”

The word naruhodo can be used in many different situations. You can use naruhodo in polite context or informal context. Let’s look at some examples of how to use it.

A! Souiu koto ka! Naruhodo ne!
Oh! That’s what you mean! I see!

The use of なるほど in the above example conveys both a sense of understanding and of friendliness. It also expresses that the speaker has gained knowledge about something that they did not previously know.

Let’s take a look at another example.

A: 壊れちゃったから返品したかったものです。
B: なるほど。
A: Kowarechatta kara henpin shitakatta mono desu
B: Naruhodo
A: I wanted to return (this) because it broke.
B: I see.

In this exchange, person B expresses their understanding in response to person A’s statement with なるほど.

This situation is a more formal one, but なるほど can still be used in the same way. It is still a polite way to say “I see” in Japanese.

Now you can use なるほど in your next interaction! With friends, with co-workers, or your boss at work!

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