Kono puran-wa ii-desu-ne. (This plan is good, isn’t it?)

Situation 1: Section Chief Mr. Okubo and Division Head Ms. Yamani are deciding on a plan for their next project.

大久保: このプランはいいですね。

ヤマニ: そうですね。このプランにしましょう。

Okubo: Kono puran-wa ii-desu-ne.

Yamani: Sō-desu-ne. Kono puran-ni shimashō.

Okubo: This plan is good, isn’t it?

Yamani: Yes, I agree. I’ll choose this one.

Today, we will introduce the proper use of ね, an end-of-sentence particle that shows the feeling of a speaker. ね, which attaches to the end of a sentence, is frequently used in spoken Japanese. The basic meaning of ね is to show or to require the speaker’s agreement to the listener. In X[sentence]ね, X is a fact that the speaker and the hearer both know. If the hearer does not know X is a fact, ね cannot be used.

When ね is pronounced with falling intonation its shows agreement, when pronounced with rising intonation it shows a request for agreement. In the above conversation, Mr. Okubo asks Ms. Yamani to agree with his statement by using ね. He assumes that she will agree, and Ms. Yamani shows she does by responding with ね. If they do not use ね, these sentences would sound unnatural.

Example: 「きょうは寒(さむ)いですね。」「ええ、ずいぶん冷(ひ)えますね」 (“It’s cold today, isn’t it?” “Yes, it’s really getting cold.”) 「コンサート、よかったね。」「うん、ダンスもすごかったね。」 (“That concert was fantastic.” “Yeah, the dancing was great, too.”)

ね also shows the speaker’s strong feelings about something when it is pronounced with a long vowel, as in ねえ. Example:すばらしい景色(けしき)ですねえ。 (It’s a wonderful view!)

There is a difference between the way ね is used by males and females in casual speech. Adding ね to the plain form of a noun sentence or na-adjective sentence without だ is mainly used by female speakers as in あしたね (It’s tomorrow) and 便利(べんり)ね (It’s convenient). Male speakers usually use the plain form of the noun and な adjective sentence with だ, as in あしただね (It’s tomorrow) and 便利だね (It’s convenient).

Situation 2: In a department store. Ms. Gray asks a salesclerk where the bag department is.

店員: バッグの売り場はここをまっすぐ行って右に曲がったところにございます。

グレイ: まっすぐ行って右ですね? ありがとうございます。

Ten’in: Baggu-no uriba-wa koko-wo massugu itte migi-ni magatta tokoro-ni gozaimasu.

Gray: Massugu itte migi-desu-ne. Arigatō-gozaimasu.

Salesclerk: Go straight and turn to the right, and you’ll find the bag department.

Gray: Go straight and turn to the right, yes? Thank you.

X[sentence]ね is also used to confirm X to the hearer when the speaker is not sure of what he or she has heard, or sure of his or her own judgment or memory. Ms. Gray confirms the location of a place using ね. In this case, the sentence is pronounced in rising intonation as though it were a question. 会議(かいぎ)は3時(さんじ)からですね。(The meeting begins from 3 o’clock, doesn’t it?)

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. Mita and Mr. Sere are eating ramen in a famous ramen shop.

セレ: このラーメン、ほんとにおいしいねえ!

三田: うん、スープが最高(さいこう)だねえ!

セレ: ほんとだ。めんもいいね。しこしこしている。最近(さいきん)、このラーメン屋は人気(にんき)だね。

三田: うん。また来(き)たいけど、うちから遠(とお)いなあ。

セレ: この店(みせ)の支店(してん)が西新宿(にししんじゅく)のスカイシティにあるよ。味(あじ)は変(か)わらないって。

三田: そう。西新宿のスカイシティだね。こんど行ってみる。でも、ラーメンを食(た)べていると太(ふと)るね。

セレ: そうかな? 運動(うんどう)すれば、すぐに戻(もど)るよ。

三田: そうか。セレくんとぼくは似(に)ているところが多(おお)いけど、そこが大(おお)きく違(ちが)うんだな。

Sere: This ramen is really good!

Mita: Yeah. The soup is fantastic.

Sere: That’s true. The noodles are good, too. They are firm and tasty. Recently, this ramen shop has become popular, hasn’t it?

Mita: Yeah. I want to come here again, but this shop is so far from my house.

Sere: There is a branch of this shop in Sky City in Shinjuku. I heard the taste isn’t so different from this shop.

Mita: I see. Sky City in Shinjuku, right? I’ll try to go there next time. But, we put on weight when we eat ramen, don’t we?

Sere: I wonder. When I exercise I lose weight quickly.

Mita: Really. You and I have lots of similar points, but that is totally different.

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