Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 4: 18/21

さ (Interjection)

All right, There we go, Now, You see, Well (I don't know, let me see)

Generally, the lengthened “さあ” is used more often than the shorter “さ”


さあ + Phrase

(1) さ、さぁ、さあ、さー


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About さ - Interjection

さ is a 感動詞(かんどうし) (interjection) in Japanese that has three primary uses. These are as follows:
(さそ)い、(うなが)し - To invite, incite, or draw attention to something.
(おどろ)き、当惑(とうわく)し - To express surprise, confusion, or bewilderment.
(はなし)(なが)(おさ)える - To control or keep in check the flow of a conversation.
In this lesson, we will be focusing on the first meaning (to invite or draw attention). In English, this is usually translated as 'there we go', 'ok then', or 'well you see'. さ (or sometimes さあ) will come at the beginning of a sentence, before the point that the speaker would like to highlight is explained.
  • さーさー遠慮(えんりょ)せずにどんどん()てください
    There we go! Please eat a lot without holding back.
  • さあ、そろそろ()きますか。
    Okay then, should we go soon?
This and the used for expressing confusion or bewilderment are often used interchangeably. When drawing attention, it comes across like 'well you see', but when expressing confusion, it is closer to 'well let me see'. The latter has a slight nuance of 'let me think about my answer first'.
  • あの昨日(きのう)(あつ)()けて(たお)れちゃった。
    Well, you see… I lost to the heat yesterday and passed out. (Yesterday, I passed out due to the heat)
  • さあそれはどうでしょう(わたし)()いてもわからないよ。
    Well let me see… I don't know about that. Even if you ask me I wouldn't have a clue.




    'Alright, let's start working!'


    'Alright, let's go!'


    'Who is that person?'
    'Well… '


    '(How is) your leg?'
    'It is ok. Now, quickly (keep moving)…'

    夏休(なつやす)みの(あと):「さぁ学校(がっこう)(もど)るぞ !」

    After summer vacation: 'Well, time to go back to school!'

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さ - Interjection – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (4 in total)

  • nekoyama


    An injury or some other problem (like being tired) is what I’d automatically assume from a question like “足は?” even without the context telling me that the answer is 大丈夫 and not something like 2本ありますよ. To me the dialog without the どう reads like an exchange in an anime where the party is running away from something, and the hero is trying to downplay an injured leg.

  • musera


    Admittedly most my native materials are anime, manga and games. So I know my exposure isn’t great.

    From my skewed experiences, どう is often said even when context allows it to be left out. Was left with the impression that is was natural to say it, maybe I’m way off though and will be laughed at by natives in the future.

  • Daru


    @nekoyama @musera
    Adding どう? definietly emphazises any request for information. It becomes further emphazised with だ・です. For example:

    ケーキは? How’s the cake?
    ケーキはどう? Hows the cake? [Did you like the cake?]
    ケーキはどうだ? How’s the cake? [HEY. I really need to know whether or not you liked the cake.]

    Source: a Japanese friend of mine told me I was being too intense with my request for confirmation on how good something I cooked was

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