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The はず (筈) Masterpost

はず (筈) Masterpost

~はずです as “should be~, suppose to~, reason to believe~, etc.”

The grammar pattern ~はずです is used to express that the speaker expects something to be or occur a certain way. (The word はず (筈) originally means nock, as in the nock of a bow. Historically, it was used as a metaphor to denote where on a bow the bowstring “should be;” the phrase evolved to have the idiomatic, grammatical purpose it does today.) Common translations of ~はずです include “suppose to be~, should be~, expect to be~, reason to believe~, thought that~, should work out as~, ought to be~, sure that~, must be~, etc.”
This grammar pattern cannot be used to refer to something that the speaker performs themselves unless that something did not turn out as the speaker had expected or intended (and thus was actually “out of their control”).

While not consistently the best choice for the translation for ~はずです、 the wording of “reason to believe~” may serve as a good mnemonic interpretation as it expresses the speaker’s expectations for something to be true in an objective sense and not so much in the sense of anticipating or looking forward to something. This wording also corresponds with the grammar pattern’s restriction of usage when referring to something that the speaker performs themselves, as saying something like “I have reason to believe I will eat out for lunch” comes off as unnatural.

Plain-Form-VERB + はずです
い-ADJECTIVE + はずです
な-ADJECTIVE + (な/である/だった/であった/でなかった) + はずです
NOUN + (な/である/だった/であった/でなかった) + はずです

NOUN Example(s):
Ashita no shuukai wa gogo sanji no hazu desu.
Tommorow’s meeting should be at 3 P.M.
Kare no kotoba wa uso de wa nai hazu desu.
I have every reason to believe that his words are not lies.
Kinou no shuukai wa gogo sanji datta hazu desu.
Yesterday’s meeting should’ve been at 3 P.M.

い-ADJECTIVE Example(s):
Kanojo no tsukutta mono wa oishii hazu desu.
Anything she makes has got to be delicious.
Kanojo no tsukutta mono wa oishikunai hazu desu.
Anything she makes has got to be not delicious.
Kanojo no tsukutta mono wa oishikatta hazu desu.
I’m sure whatever she made was delicious.

な-ADJECTIVE Example(s):
Ame ga futte imashita kara, michi wa kiken na hazu desu.
It was pouring, so the road should be dangerous.
Ano basho wa shizuka de wa nai hazu desu.
That place should be not quiet.
Boku wa inakatta kara, shizuka datta hazu desu.
I wasn’t there so I’m sure it was peaceful.

VERB Example(s):
Sensei wa ima office ni irassharu hazu da.
The teacher should be in her office right now.
Kanojo wa ashita America kara tsuku hazu desu.
She is suppose to be arriving from America tomorrow.
Gakuseitachi wa mainichi hachiji made ni kyoushitsu ni iru hazu na no ni…
The students are suppose to be in the classroom by 8 o’clock everyday, and yet…
Shougakusei wa sonnnani fukuzatsu wadai o rikai dekinai hazu desu.
I don’t expect elementary school students to understand such a complex topic.

*As is the case with many other grammar patterns, ~はず can be used in a clause that modifies a noun. (Ex. いるはず人はどこですか? – “Where is the person who is suppose to be here?”)

The ~はずです grammar pattern is one of the trickiest when it comes to past-tense and negative conjugation because not only can you conjugate the WORD you use with the phrasing はずです to form the grammar pattern but you can also choose to conjugate the phrasing はずです itself. You can even form a double conjugation of sorts for both.

~はずだった as “should have~ (but didn’t), was supposed to~ (but didn’t), etc.” (Past-tense):

Plain-Past-Form-VERB + はずです = “suppose to be/should be that VERBed”
Plain-Present-Form-VERB + はずだった = “suppose to be/should be that VERBed (but did not)”

As shown in the examples above, when the WORD used with the grammar pattern ~はずです is conjugated into the past-tense, it does not affect the grammar pattern’s meaning of “should be~, suppose to~, reason to believe~, etc.” However, when the phrasing はずです itself is conjugated into the past-tense (e.g. はずだった), this form adds on the implication that the speaker’s expectations did not come true and expresses a degree of regret or dissatisfaction.
*This however does not mean that instances of this grammar pattern that conjugate the WORD instead of はずですinto the past-tense express expectations that always come true. Quite the contrary, as phrases such as のに, なんだけど, なんですが are commonly used in conjunction with this grammar pattern to tackle on the meaning of “should’ve been~, but wasn’t…” And of course, another way to tell if the expectation did not come true is if the person who performs the action is the speaker themselves, as that would mean things did not occur as they had expected.


Kesa o motte kita hazu na no ni…
“I thought I brought my umbrella, but… (it turns out I didn’t)”
*Note how the simple inclusion of のに confirms that the expectation was not met and there is now resulting dissatisfaction 

Kanojo wa saki ni itta hazu da
“She must have gone ahead.”
*Conversely, note how in this example, although the VERB word is conjugated into the past-tense, with the absence of のに or some other such phrasing, what the speaker is expecting still very well may actually be true

Watashitachi wa tanoshii toki o sugosu hazu datta
“We were supposed to have a good time (but didn’t)”
*And finally, note how in this example, the presence of  だった affirms that the expectation was not met, grammatically (and quite literally) making said expectation a thing of the past that has now been replaced with dissatisfaction  

“She’s suppose to call by 1 o’clock/I expect she’ll call by 1 o’clock.”
“I expect she called by 1 o’clock.”
“She was supposed to call by 1 o’clock (but she didn’t).”
“It should be that she had called by 1 o’clock, but… (she didn’t)
“She was supposed to have called by 1 o’clock (but she didn’t)“
*Note that the final two essentially have the same meaning, though latter expresses more dissatisfaction due to the inclusion of だった in はずだった

~はずがない as “there’s no way that~, cannot be~, impossible that~, highly unlikely that~, etc.” (Negative):

Negative-Form-VERB + はずです = “suppose to be/should be that does not VERB”
Non-Negative-Form-VERB + はずがない = “there’s no way that does VERB”
*The latter obviously has a stronger emphasis.     

Another approach to using negative form with ~はずです is to change it to ~はずがない, which applies a stronger sense of emphasis as can be perceived in its common translations, including “there’s no way that~, cannot be~, impossible that~, highly unlikely that~, etc.” It can be considered that this in turn makes ~はずがない a grammar pattern in and of itself.

~はずがない is very similar to the other grammar pattern ~わけがない and in most cases is very much interchangeable with it. The slight difference between the two in regard to intentions behind usage is that ~はずがない will at times implies a logical reason for denying something while ~わけがない can be said without one just because.

* ~はずがない can also be observed being used as variants such as ~はずはない and ~はずもない

Sore ga hontou no hazu ga nai
There’s no way that’s true.

Kanojo ga uso o tsuku hazu ga nai
There’s no way that she’s lying.

Kare wa nyuuin shita kara, ashita no shiai ni sanka suru hazu ga nai
He’s been admitted to the hospital, so there’s no way he’ll be able to participate in the match tomorrow.

Majime na gakusei no Tanaka wa gakkou o sabotte iru hazu ga nai
There’s no way Tanaka, the serious student, would be skipping school.

はずではない seems to be another way to invoke a negative form of this grammar pattern albeit much more seldom. Perhaps this is due to the present-tense phrasing of はずではない and はずではありません being easily confused with using the negative form to ask a question. Most predominantly, the construction of the present-tense Dictionary-Form of a VERB with the past-tense phrasing of はずではなかった or はずではありませんでした has the intention of expressing that one “was not supposed to do something” with a feeling of regret or dissatisfaction.

konna hazu jyanakatta no ni
It wasn’t supposed to go this way

Double Negative with ~はずがない Example(s):
Kare wa uso o tsukanai hazu ga nai
There’s no way he won’t lie.

*Instances of this double negative are more commonly used when the WORD is verb, as opposed to adjective and nouns, due to there being a better separation between the action and the expectation.