Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 7: 20/21


Very unlikely to, Does not seem that, Does not appear that

Less likely than そうにない


Verb[ます+ そうない


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About そうもない

そうもない is an expression used with verbs in Japanese, to indicate that some particular action is very unlikely. It is a combination of the auxiliary verb そう, the adverbial particle も, and the い-Adjective ない.
To recap, one of the primary uses of そう is to highlight appearance. Therefore, そうもない literally means 'to not even appear like (A)'. This structure will be used after verbs in their conjunctive form.
  • (うで)まだ(なお)っていないから、あと一週間(いっしゅうかん)ぐらい運動(うんどう)出来(でき)そうもない
    My arm hasn't healed yet, so it is very unlikely that I will exercise for another week.
  • 今日(きょう)(かみなり)(ひど)から()()そうもない
    Since the thunder is very bad today, it does not even appear like I can go fishing.
そうもない is very similar to そうにない. The primary difference being that そうもない is stronger. This is due to も expressing something that is surprising (or for emphasis), while simply marks a location (or state) within which something does or does not exist. The difference can be understood as follows:
(A) そうもない - To not even look like (A), where 'even' emphasizes (A).
(A) そうにない - To not be looking like (A), where 'be' marks where (A) is 'not' existing.
そうもない is an expression that is very commonly used with potential verbs, in order to convey that the 'possibility' of something cannot be observed. While this translates as 'to not appear as if (A) can be done', realistically it comes across quite strongly, similar to 'to not stand a chance of doing (A)'.
  • こんな(りょう)()べられそうもない
    This amount, it doesn't even seem like I can eat it! (There is way too much to even seem possible to eat)
  • 今日(きょう)は11()まで(かえ)って()ないかもしれないから、いつも()ているテレビ番組(ばんぐみ)()られそうもない
    Today, I might not be coming home until 11, so I might not be able to watch the show I always watch.


  • あんまり(ゆき)()っていないから、スキーができそうもない

    It's very unlikely that we'll be able to ski since it didn't snow very much.

    • ごめんね、(こん)週末(しゅうまつ)(いそが)しくて(あそ)そうもない

      Sorry, it's very unlikely that I'll be able to hang out this weekend because I'm so busy.

      • このテーブル(おも)たいから、一人(ひとり)(はこ)そうもない

        Since this table is so heavy, it's very unlikely that I'll be able to carry it by myself.

        • あの(ひと)(ぼく)意見(いけん)()いてくれそうもない

          It is very unlikely that that person will listen to my opinion.

          • そんなすごい(わざ)(ぼく)にはできそうもない

            It's very unlikely that I will be able to perform such a cool trick.

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            そうもない – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (2 in total)

            • megatron0000


              Would I be correct to think that


              Would mean “(It is obvious) I cannot eat all that take !”



              Would mean that it is not a case of “being obvious from the start”, but that something is happening from which it seems I will not be able to eat all the cake (maybe I am showing signs of it even before finishing half of the cake)

            • Daru


              はず is more of a prediction/estimate, like you’re contrasting your cake-eating experiences to the now hypothetical cake in front of you.

              そうもない is just stating impossibility, and has a nuance of ‘giving up’ to it, like it’s so much of X that you can’t handle it.

              So yeah, what you’re describing sounds right to me!

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