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Using the Particle こそ to Add Emphasis

Using the Particle こそ to Add Emphasis

The particle こそ is used to add emphasis to the word, clause, or even phrase, immediately preceding it. As the usage of こそ is highly contextual and there is no English equivalent, it can be difficult to translate. Common translations include: “for sure,” “very,” “precisely,” “in particular,” “exactly,” “only,” “definitely,” etc.

The particles は, が and を are dropped when こそ appears in their place. Other particles such as で and に however do not drop when こそ is employed and they instead appear preceding it (e.g. それでこそ)

こそ perhaps most commonly follows after NOUN words, in which common types of such NOUN words are time-related words (今こそ, 今日こそ, 明日こそ, 今年こそ, 今度こそ, etc.) and demonstrative pronouns (これこそ, それこそ, こちらこそ, etc.).

Example(s):

今度は運転免許を取得する!
Kondo wa untenmenkyo o shutoku suru!
“I will obtain my driver’s license next time!”
今度こそ運転免許を取得する!
Kondo koso untenmenkyo o shutoku suru!
“I will obtain my driver’s license next time for sure!”

こそ行動の時だ。
Ima koso koudou no toki da.
“Now is the time for action.”

こそがすべてだ。
Ai koso ga subete da.
Love especially is everything.

はじめまして。ジョージワシントンです。よろしくおねがいします。
Hajimemashite. George Washington desu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
”How do you do? George Washington. Pleasure to make your acquaintance.“
こちらこそよろしくおねがいします。
Kochira koso yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
“The pleasure is all mine.”

この間はありがとうございました。
Kono aida wa arigatou gozaimashita.
“Thank you very much for what you’ve done.”
こちらこそ、ありがとうございました。
Kochira koso, arigatou gozaimashita.
“I’m the one who should be thanking you. Thank you very much.”

Another very common way in which こそ is used is in which it appears after the conjunction から (“because”) to emphasize the reason behind something, translating to something along the lines of “precisely because,” “exactly why,” etc.

Example(s):

毎日練習したからこそ、強くなった。
Mainichi renshuu shita kara koso, tsuyoku natta.
“It’s precisely because you practiced every day that you’ve become strong.”

冒険だからこそ面白い!
Bouken dakara koso omoshiroi!
“It’s an adventure, that’s exactly why it’s so fun!”

心配するからこそ、叱るよ。
Shinpai suru kara koso, shikaru yo.
“The only reason why I scold you is because I care about you.”

こそ can also appear after VERB words without the addition of the conjunction から. When doing so, the VERB words are usually conjugated into their て-Form to emphasize a certain condition and this translates to something along the lines of “only by doing VERB, X.” However, a less common usage of VERB words in their Conditional ば with こそ also exists, in which the meaning is the same as からこそ.

Example(s):

毎日努力してこそ、目に見える結果が現れる。
Mainichi doryoku shite koso, me ni mieru kekka ga arawareru.
Only when you put in effort every single day will you be able to see the results appear before you.”

自分でやってみてこそ、価値が分かる。
Jibun be yatte mite koso, kachi ga wakaru.
Only when you try it for yourself will you be able to realize the value in it.”

証拠があればこそ犯人を見つけた。
Shouko ga areba koso hannin o mitsuketa.
“We were able to determine the culprit only because we had the evidence.”