Showing ~ということだ examples to a native speaker

Hope everyone’s doing well. As the title says, I was asking a native speaker friend some questions about my recently learned Bunpro grammar and we came to ~ということだ。I was trying to ask her when it sounds natural to use it and she was having a hard time explaining it, so I showed her the Bunpro example sentences. She said that the only two that sounded really natural were these two:


Now, she is not really the best at explaining things, so when I asked her more about it she basically said that ~そうだ sounded more natural in all the other ones.

I’m not saying that the other example sentences are “wrong” and I know that ということだ is more formal than そうだ so it might just reflect that difference (i.e. ということだ not really being used in everyday conversation maybe?), but does anyone have any inkling why those two example sentences in particular might stand out to a native speaker as a natural use of this point? I’ve been staring at this page for the better part of a half an hour but my brain can’t really notice a pattern or anything lol.

Thanks for the help to anyone who can chime in!

Edit: there may have been one other example that she pointed out at natural sounding, but now I can’t remember which one it was.


In my experience usually the shorter something is, the more natural it will sound to a native speaker. This applies pretty well to English as well.

We actually have had an additional native speaker going through every sentence in all grammar points recently making sure everything is as natural as possible, within the context of that grammar structure itself. We haven’t had a chance to make some of these changes on the live version of the site yet, but I just checked our document for N3 fixes and there was only one sentence that our native speaker suggested a fix for in regard to this grammar point, which we will make asap!

I would guess that the unnaturalness that your friend feels is probably due to the formality, rather than misuse of the grammar point.

As for what makes your examples sound more natural, it may be something as simple as the full stop causing the first and seconds parts of the sentence to sound like they are being emphasized (for the first example), as would be heard in a speech. The second one sounds especially natural to me due to it sounding like a personal opinion which is then being actioned upon in the second half of the sentence. Reading most of the other sentences, they do seem quite a bit more formal in comparison.


Yeah that’s a good point that I haven’t thought about the shorter something being, the more natural it will sound! That’s great to know about the change as well.

Thanks for the input, I was thinking it was having to do with the formality and maybe the sentence structure rather too than the point being incorrect. I guess we would also do that in English, and say something like “It’s not wrong, but maybe not used in everyday conversation,” type of thing.

And like you said, she specifically said the second example I listed sounded really natural, which adds to your point as well.


I agree with what @Asher said about how to a native, it sounds more natural when something is shorter, but I don’t think that is the case for the other examples in this grammar point.

I think I know why your native speaker friend thought the other sentences were unnatural. I don’t think that formality is the only issue here. I think it is the lack of context that makes them seem unnatural.
そうだ may seem more natural in some of these example sentences because there is no context that comes before the example sentences and seems like the sentences have the nuance of ‘I heard that’, instead of something closer to ‘it means that…’. It is very difficult for me to explain so I will give you an example.

For example, the sentence イルカは動物の中で頭が一番いいということだ。ということだ sounds sounds weird here because there is no statement before this sentence explaining why ‘dolphins are the smartest’. This sentence and some of the other sentences would probably sound more natural if they had a sentence that gave a reason. I think this is similar to how it sounds unnatural to say ‘That is why dolphins are the smartest of all animals’ on its own, but if a reason was given before that sentence, like, ‘Dolphins have larger brains compared to other animals.’, the second sentence would sound more natural.

I hope this helps and doesn’t confuse you.


Thank you! That is a great point, and one that I didn’t think of. With that context in mind it makes so much sense.