Taking a Look at some Japanese ~tto Words: Motto, Chotto, Kitto, Zutto, Yatto

What do Motto, Chotto, Kitto, Zutto, and Yatto all mean in English?

When we’re first introduced to the Japanese Language, I’m sure most of us had come across some ~tto words that left us perplexed. From words such as like Motto, Chotto, Kitto to even Yatto, they all sound almost the same. Yet, they hold vastly different meanings. Let’s not forget about the widely adored Natto too, of which is just a food sadly which we won’t be covering today.
Nevertheless, let’s get on with going through what Motto, Chotto, Kitto and Yatto really mean!



Now let’s take a look at the first word Motto. Motto is typically used to refer to more, even more, longer or further. Some typical English sentences could go like “Try putting in more effort”, “Be more brave, would you?”.
Some sample Japanese sentences can be found below:
1. もっと頑張れ!
Romaji: Motto Ganbare!
English: Come on! Put in more effort!
2. もっと勇気出して!
Romaji: Motto Yuuki dashite!
English: Just be more brave, wouldn’t you?
3. もっと上の方に置いてください

Romaji: Motto ue no hou ni oite kudasai
English:  Please place it more towards the top.


Next comes the word “Chotto”. I’m sure most of you all would have heard of this ubiquitous Japanese phrase before: “Chotto Matte!”. But ever wondered what’s the meaning behind the word? Well, we’ve covered it in an older blog post before but here’s a quick recap!
Chotto is usually used as an adverb and can take on any of the following meanings:
1. Just a minute/little.
2. Somewhat, Easily, Rather, Kind of
3. Hey!
To put into use, here are some conversational sentences in Japanese that use “Chotto”!
1. ちょっと待ってよ!
Romaji: Chotto matte yo!
English: Can’t you wait for a moment!
2. ちょっと高いなぁ…
Romaji: Chotto takai naa…
English: That’s kind of expensive…
3, ねえ!ちょっと!

Romaji: Nee! Chotto!
English: Hey!


Moving on, let’s now take a look at the word “Kitto”. No, it’s not the “Kitto” from “Kitto-Katto” (Japanese Pronunciation of Kit-Kat). However, it does have its very own meaning in Japanese. “Kitto” is typically used to indicate that you are sure or certain about something.
Here is a sample sentence you can take a look at:
Romaji: Anata no negai wa kitto kanau yo
English: Your wish would surely come true.


As for the word “Zutto”, it’s an adverb that’s typically used to express something that had been going on for a very long time or had occurred way back in the past. For example, let’s take a look at the sample sentence below!
1. あなたのことがずっと好きだった
Romaji: Anata no koto ga zutto suki datta
English: I’ve liked you for a very long time.
2. もうずっと忘れてた

Romaji: Mou, zutto wasureteta.
English: Ah, I’ve already forgotten about since ages ago.


“Yatto”, we have the last word on the list. Able to guess what it means? Well, if you haven’t already, it can be used to indicate that you have finally been able to do or accomplish something or that you’ve made it just in time.
Here are a few sample sentences you can take a look at below:
1. やっと授業が終わった!
Romaji: Yatto jugyou ga owatta!
English: The class is finally over!
2. ふう!やっと着いた!
Romaji: Fuu! Yatto tsuita!
English: Phew, I made it just in time!

In conclusion, although the words may sound or end similarly, they may have vastly different meanings. Nevertheless, if you’re able to decipher the context and thereafter determine which words are being used during Japanese conversation, you’re on the right track! With these in mind, are there any other popular ~tto words you can think of and would like us to explain?  If you don’t, here are 20 convenient Japanese learning apps that you can use to learn Japanese!

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