Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 3: 2/22

こそ

For sure, For certain, Even more so, Underlined or bolded text

こそ replaces particles を and が.

Structure

Noun + こそ

Details

  • Register

    Standard

  • 使用域

    一般

About こそ

こそ is an adverbial particle in Japanese that primarily replaces either or が. Its main role is to highlight the preceding noun (or noun phrase) as being the the most important piece of information in relation to the rest of the sentence. In English, this is an effect that is primarily achieved through things like bold text, underlining, or emphasizing a particular word in speech. If we were to make a direct comparison to an English statement, then things like 'precisely because it's (A)', or 'rather it is due to (A)', are quite similar to こそ's function.
こそ can be used directly after any noun that would usually take the , or が particles, so long as that particular piece of information needs to be emphasized.
  • この(きょく)こそ(おれ)ずーっと(さが)ていた(きょく)!やっとタイトル()かった。
    This song is exactly the song I have been searching for! I finally figured out the title.
  • 今度(こんど)こそ()つぞ!
    I will win for sure next time!
Caution
The reason that こそ is able to replace が, but not は, is due to the fact that が primarily highlights specific pieces of information, while は nominates general topics. This means that they have completely opposite functions. To make things easier, the three particles can be thought of in the following way:
は- Weakly highlights specific information.
が- Strongly highlights specific information.
こそ- Very strongly highlights specific information.
Fun Fact
こそ is often used after names or pronouns, as a way to reply to thanks/apologies. In these situations, it expresses that the speaker feels equally (or more) obliged to say what was just said to them by someone else.
  • いえいえ、(わたし)こそありがとうございます
    No no no no, I am the one that should be thankful.

Examples

--:--

  • あなたこそできる。

    You can do it!

    • いえいえ、(あやま)らないでください!(わたし)こそ(わる)ことをしてしまいました。

      No, no! Please do not apologize. It was (more) me (than you) that was in the wrong.

      • 一人(ひとり)手助(てだす)けをすることができたら、それこそ最高(さいこう)気持(きも)になる。

        Even if we can only help one person, that (even more so) is the best feeling.

        • 今度(こんど)こそ達成(たっせい)してみせる!

          I will achieve (it) this time!

          • (つら)(とき)こそ大切(たいせつ)なことを(まな)べるチャンスだ。

            Difficult times are chances to learn something important.

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            こそ – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (11 in total)

            • casual

              casual

              Please don’t quote me on this, but it seems that の in こその友達 is more for emphasis, and makes it sound more dramatic. There are 2 similar examples in the linked Maggie sensei post, also without a specific explanation for の.

              Since こそ is a particle, not a noun, I don’t think it can modify the following noun using の the same way as a noun would.

            • nekoyama

              nekoyama

              I’m not sure where you got the idea that particles can’t be used before の. There’s even a grammar point for particles + の on bunpro. Although I think こそ isn’t listed.

              I don’t think the の is for emphasis as such. It describes the kind of friends that they are.

            • casual

              casual

              I didn’t say “particles cannot be used before の”, clearly a particle is used before の right here.

              So what you are suggesting is that the sentence is about a specific friend (or group) qualified as “that friend that is for troubled times”, not an observation about friends in general? Like what Seanblue above said.

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