Request Lesson How/When to use 一応= ichiou
= Doushite tabenai no?
= How come you’re not eating?
= Ichiou daietto shiteirukara…
= I am sort of on a diet…
Hi everyone! Today’s lesson is for my Twitter follower, Jen.
And the focus word is
一応 (= ichiou)
Originally we write 一往
Jen asked me the meaning of this word a while ago. I was going to answer her on Twitter but it was too tough to explain in 140 characters so here we go.
You might have heard this word once or twice somewhere. It just might be one of the most frequently used words in conversation. However the dictionary definition may not quite seem to make sense all the time because there are various meanings/usages. Sometimes we can’t even translate the word. So in this lesson, I will give you lots of example sentences so that you can get the idea how it’s used.
I would like to also teach many useful phrases.
★not perfectly, completely but to some extent, sort of
I have mentioned in my ちょっと&曖昧(= chotto & aimai) ambiguous expression lesson that Japanese people prefer to use ambiguous expressions. You should also remember to try to make yourself sound modest when you talk about yourself. (See my 謙遜=kenson lesson )
Let’s say that you think your Japanese is pretty good. How would you answer if someone asked you how good your Japanese was?
Even if you are confident, it’s better to avoid saying,
= perapera desu.
= I am fluent.
=Nihongo ga jouzu desu.
= I am good at Japanese.
Many of you have already learned how to make yourselves sound more humble saying,
= madamada desu.
= So-so (It is still a long way to go.)
This phrase is very useful but if you are actually confident and want to tell people that you do speak Japanese in a little humble way, you can say
= Ichiou chotto dekimasu.
= I can sort of speak it.
It means “not fully” but “to some extent“.
So, you can make yourself sound “modest” without giving the listener the impression that you are overly confident by using 一応( =ichiou)
A : 「英語が話せますか？」
= Eigo ga hanasemasu ka?
= Do you speak English?
B : 「はい、一応、話せます。」
= Hai, ichiou hanasemasu.
= Yes, I can speak (English) (Not perfect — but to some extent.)
★ When you brag about something :
I just said 一応 (=ichiou) makes you sound humble.
The tricky part is, you can also brag “subtly” using this word.
A : 「マギー、日本語が話せるの？」
= Maggie, nihongo ga hanaseru no?
= Maggie, can you speak Japanese?
Maggie : 「一応ね！」
= Ichiou ne.
= Sort of. (Somewhat. To some extent.) * being confident
Note 1) This ね(=ne) suffix is casual. Usually ね(=ne) suffix is for women but men can use this one.)
Let’s compare these two sentences.
= Watashi wa daigaku wo dete iru.
= I graduated from a university.
Ex. 2) 私は一応大学を出ている。
= Watashi wa ichiou daigaku wo dete iru.
= I graduated from a university.
Note : Ex.2) may sound more humble because 一応 (=ichiou) has a connotations of “somehow” but a lot of the time, you are actually emphasizing the fact that you are a college graduate. This way the listener will think you are proud of being a college graduate.
So 一応(=ichiou) was originally used to make yourself sound humble or subtle, but since it focuses the fact more, it actually gives people around you the impression that you are bragging.
= Koredemo ichiou kekkon shiteiru node…
= (I may not look I am married but ) I am married.
= Ichiou tsukiatte iru hito ga iru.
= I am sort of seeing someone.
How can we tell if the speaker is bragging or being humble? By the way how speaker delivers the line or also what comes next to 一応(=ichiou). If the speaker is talking about something that is obviously considered to be good, it is bragging.
I will give you an interesting example.
There is a book titled,
= Toudaisei wa naze “Ichiou Toudai desu” to iu noka.
=Why do Tokyo University students say “I go to “that” Tokyo University”
Now I haven’t read this book yet but this title is very interesting.
Tokyo University is considered to be one of the top notch universities in Japan.
You don’t say 一応 (=ichiou) if you go to a 二流(= niryuu) = second class or 三流 (= sanryuu ) = third class university.
A : 「マギー頭いいね。」
= Maggie atama iine.
= You are smart, Maggie.
Maggie : 「一応ドッグスフォード大学出てるからね。」
= Ichiou Doggusufoodo Daigaku deteru karane.
=It’s because I graduated from “that” Dogsford University, you know.
I am obviously bragging using 一応(= ichiou)
If Dogsford University were a third class University like “Catsford University”, you wouldn’t say 一応 (=ichiou).
A : 「どこに住んでるの？」
= Doko ni sunderuno?
= Where do you live?
B : 「一応、軽井沢。」
= Ichiou Karuizawa.
= In Karuizawa (implying “As you know, it’s a fancy place to live.“)
Note : The listener can tell you are proud of living in Karuizawa.
= Nan no kuruma ni notte iru no?
= What kind of car do you drive?
B : 「一応ベンツ」
= Ichiou bentsu
= Mercedes Benz. (Implying that the Benz, as everyone knows, is a nice car.)
You can use it negatively.
★just formality, on surface :
= Are demo ichiou isha nan datte.
= (He may not look like a doctor but ) He is a doctor of a sort.
= Maggie wa ichiou sensei to yobarete iru kedo jitsu wa inu nan datte.
= Maggie is called as a teacher but as a matter of fact she is a dog
★When you avoid telling people how much exactly you actually did/will do.
一応 (=ichiou) could be a very useful word for many people when they say what they did/will do is not perfect but they did (will do) it anyway.
(Some complain that young people overuse 一応(=ichiou) to cover up the poor quality of their work.)
= Ichiou kono keiyakusho ni me wo tooshimashita.
= I scanned this contract once.
(I didn’t read it fully, but I looked it over.)
= Rei no shigoto wa mou dekita?
= Did you finish that work already?
= Hai, ichiou dekimashita.
= Yes, I sort of finished it.
So when you say,
= Ichiou yarimashita.
= I sort of did it. or I’ve done it. (But I it may need some more work.)
It implies the result is not perfect but you can emphasize the fact that it has been completed.
So when someone asks you to do something and you can’t promise but you want to tell them at least you are going to try you say,
= Ichiou yatte mimasu.
= I will give it a try.
= Ichiou kangaete mimasu.
= I will think about it once.
= Ichiou ganbatte mimasu.
= I will give it a try. (to some extent)
You can also ask someone for a favor using 一応(= ichiou) without giving lots of pressure.
= Ichiou yareru tokoro made yatte mite kudasai.
= Please give it a try and do as much as you can.
= Ichiou ashista made ni henji wo kureru?
= Can you give me your answer by tomorrow?
★somehow, anyhow : なんとか(=nantoka)
= Tsuki hachiman en areba ichiou seikatsu wa dekiru.
= You could survive (to some extent) somehow if you have 80,000 yen a month.
= Ichiou shiken ni ukarimashita.
= I somehow managed to pass the exam.
= Ichiou ninzuu wa atsumatta.
= We managed to get enough people somehow.
A : 「免許取れた？」（casual)
= Menkyo toreta?
= Did you get a driver’s license?
B : 「一応取れた！」(casual)
= Ichiou toreta!
= I got it somehow.
★tentatively, for the moment, for the time being, roughly
= Ichiou nisenen watashite okune.
= I will give you 2,000 yen for now.
A : 「試験勉強した？」
= Shiken benkyou shita?
= Did you study for the exam?
B : 「一応ね。」
= Ichiou ne.
= Sort of.
B : 「一応、４０ページまでは読んできた。」
= Ichiou yonjuppeiji made wa yonde kita.
= I have read up to page 40. (roughly)
= Ichiou koko ni namae wo kaite moraemasuka?
= Can you write your name here for now?
A : 「マギー、マックスのことが好きなんでしょ！」
= Maggie, Max no koto ga sukinandeshou!
= Maggie, you like Max, don’t you?
M : 「そんなことないよ。」
= Sonna koto nai yo.
= That’s not true.
A : 「じゃあ、一応そういういことにしておきましょう。」
= Ja ichiou souiu koto ni shiteokimashou.
= OK, let’s just say that you don’t for now.
★anyway, just in case, to do something for formality
= Ichiou shirabete okimasu.
= I will check it anyway.
= Ichiou renrakusaki wo oshiete kureru?
= Can you give me your contact information just in case?
= Kono kusuri wo nonde iika douka oishasan ni ichiou soudan shite mite kudasai.
= Just in case, please consult a doctor and see if you can take this medicine or not.
= Ichiou kare ni denwa wo shiteokimasu.
= I will call him just in case.
= Kono hon wo karite iika ichiou Maggie ni kiite miru.
= I will ask Maggie if it’ OK if I borrow this book or not. (just in case)
= Ichiou komatta toki no tame ni denwa bangou wo oshiete okune.
= I will give you my phone number just in case you get in trouble.
= Raishuu no suiyoubi wa teikyuubi to narimasu. Ichiou oshirase made.
= Next Wednesday is our scheduled holiday. I’m just letting you know.
= Ichiou itte okune. Ashita kara ryokou dakara!
= I’m letting you know just in case. I will leave on a trip tomorrow, OK?
Ex. あの子、彼氏 (or カレシ）いるかどうか一応聞いておいてくれる？
= Anoko kareshi iru ka douka ichiou kite oite kureru?
= Can you ask her if she has a boy friend or not, just in case.
= Haa… ichiou nantoka konkai mo ressun ga dekimashita!
= I somehow managed to make a lesson again this time.
= Minna ichiou no tsukaikata wakatat?
= Now does everyone understand how to use “ichiou”?
= Eh!? “Ichiou ne” tte douiukoto?
= What do you mean, “Sort of!”!!