Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I almost...~そうになる

The other day, I had a hard time expressing easily the fact that I was almost hit by a car. I kept telling my girlfriend "ぎりぎりで車に引かれたよ." Now whether that makes sense or not, I think she got the nuance, but she repeated back to me, "もうちょっとで車にひかれそうになった?" And it hit me like a ton of bricks --

そう:as if, like, appear + なる: to be
= ~そうになる: almost/nearly ~X

車にひかれそうになった
almost hit by a car.

So, by V-masu sou ni naru, you can say how something nearly happened. Verbs must also be non-volitional (verbs that are beyond your control), which includes passive and potential verbs.

例: 帰る途中で、酔っぱらい運転手にひかれそうになった
Halfway home, I was almost hit by a drunk driver.

例: 地震で、井口さんの家はつぶれそうになった
Mr. Iguchi's house almost collapsed in the earthquake.

例: 今日はすごく暑くて、死にそうになる
I'm dying, it's so hot.

Just a side note, for volitional verbs (verbs that are under your control), you should use volitional form +とする to describe almost/attempting X.

3 comments:

daigoro said...

Hi there nice to see a fellow Japanese study blogger, on 'blogger' too I might add :D.

I believe you can also say:
今日は、車にひかれかかったよ。 for extra dramatic effect, to express that u where in a life and death situation.

Recap: Verb + kakaru = to almost

Also you can use ところ

車にひかれるところだったよ。

Means more you were about to get hit by a car though.

and it just occured to me but why not add 危なかった。to express how close u came to disaster.

That's what I love about Japanese grammar, so much choice.

Anonymous said...

Is sou the abbreviation of sore no you?
Thanks.

Meghann Hlibichuk said...

Why in the first sentence "I was almost hit by a drunk driver" is the particle に used after 運転手 but で is used in the case of "... house almost collapsed by the earthquake"???