Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 5: 4/18


Wonder if ~ (really)?, Wonder how ~ (actually)?, Sure enough, As expected

果たして + Phrase → Mostly found in literature


はたして + (Question) Phrase
はたして + Phrase


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About はたして

()たして, being the て-form of the う-Verb ()たす 'to fulfill', or 'to come to fruition', is an expression that is used adverbially to strengthen phrases of speculation. It may be translated as 'I wonder if (A)', 'how actually (A)', or 'how really (A)'.
()たして will often be seen paired with other structures that indicate speculation, such as だろうか, でしょうか, かな, or かしら; and can be thought of as just emphasizing them further.
As this grammar point will be used adverbially, it will primarily appear at the beginning of sentences.
  • ()たして(かれ)()っていることは本当(ほんとう)なのだろうか。
    I wonder if what he is saying is the truth.
  • ()たして、あのやり(かた)本当(ほんとう)成功(せいこう)するのでしょうか。
    I wonder if that approach will really work.
In sentences that do not include other speculative grammar patterns such as だろうか, ()たして will regularly be translated as 'sure enough', or 'as expected'.
  • (かれ)取引先(とりひきさき)信頼(しんらい)(うしな)(こと)をしてしまった。()たして(かれ)はクビになった。
    He did something to lose the trust of his clients. As expected he was fired.
  • 彼女(かのじょ)自分(じぶん)意見(いけん)(かれ)()()けようとしたが、()たして(かれ)自分(じぶん)意見(いけん)()えなかった。
    She tried to push her opinions onto him, but as expected he did not change his.
Fun-fact - Coming from the base meaning of ()たす 'to come to fruition', ()たして can be thought of as similar to 'in the end' in almost all cases, as it merely expresses the speakers thought process about 'what will' or 'what has' happened 'in the end'.
  • 大学院(だいがくいん)進学(しんがく)するのは()たして(わたし)にメリットがあるのでしょうか?
    I wonder if going on to graduate school will actually benefit me in the end.
  • (かれ)以外(いがい)(だれ)仕事(しごと)()なかったため、()たして(かれ)全員(ぜんいん)仕事(しごと)をすることになった。
    Since no one came to work except him, he ended up having to do everyone's job in the end as expected.
If using this translation to memorize ()たして, it should also be noted that the nuance of what happens 'in the end' is almost always something that the speaker either expected, or assumed would happen in the first place.




    Lost child: 'I wonder how will I actually get back home?'


    Lately, I often hear the slogan 'Sport is equal to health'. I wonder if that is really the case?


    A certain person tried to prove that the Earth was flat, however, just as expected that person failed to do so.


    A: 'I want to try bungee jumping.'
    B: 'I wonder if you can actually do it?'


    I wonder if dropping out of university is really a wise thing to do?

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はたして – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (2 in total)

  • FredKore


    Can someone explain the nuance here?

    ゆきさんとともこさんは長い間、付き合っていた。 はたして 、彼らは結婚した。

    The English translation uses “sure enough”, which sounds like high certainty, but the grammar explanation says this expresses assumption or skepticism, which sounds like low certainty?

  • Fuga


    Hey @FredKore !

    This expression is used to express skepticism when used with words like, だろうか、でしょうか、であろうか. If the phrase that comes after はたして is not expressing skepticism, it is used as ‘sure enough’ with the nuance of high certainty.

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