Japanese Dayo in English – Meaning & How to Use


Japanese Dayo in English - What It Means & How to Use, Nanda yo, Dame dayo, Da yo ne, meaning

Nandayo! Dame dayo! Da yo ne~. When watching anime or talking with your Japanese friends you can often hear them say dayo. It’s a very natural and common way to end a Japanese sentence.

But what does the Japanese “dayo” mean?

In short, dayo or da yo is used in spoken Japanese and informal situations to put more emphasis on what you are saying or to make you sound more casual and friendly. It’s kinda similar to the English “…, you know!“. Other than that it doesn’t really have a meaning.

And how do you use “dayo” in Japanese?

Dayo is added to the end of a Japanese sentence. It usually replaces “da”, “desu”, “desu yo”, etc.

Read on if you want a more detailed explanation with more examples of how to use “dayo” in Japanese sentences!

Dayo – だよ

What Does “Dayo” Mean?

Dayo (だよ) is often considered Japanese slang, but it’s commonly used in informal situations. So I would rather say it’s a natural expression.

It consists of da (だ), which is used to declare a state-of-being aka “(something) is ….”. And it’s usually seen as the casual form of the polite copula desu (です) – the word for “be, is”.

And yo (よ) is a sentence ending particle that is used for emphasis or when telling something new. I usually translate this as an exclamation mark.

I think the problem with dayo (だよ) is that it can be translated into English, but not as one specific word or expression. Because most of the time dayo just puts an emphasis on what you’re saying or changes the nuance of your sentence to make you sound more casual and friendly.

For example, when your friend is looking for something you can say:
左。
Hidari.
On your left.

But he keeps looking in the wrong direction, so now with more emphasis, you say:
左、左だよ
Hidari, hidari dayo!
Left, on your left!

Sometimes it can be well translated into English using “…, you know“.

Let’s assume your friend asked you why you moved to Japan and you answer:
まあ、日本が好きだよ
Maa, nihon ga suki dayo.
Well, I like Japan, you know.

My Tip: Don’t try to translate it. Just understand that it’s a natural expression used when talking casually.

How to Use “Dayo”?

Dayo (だよ) is always used at the end of a Japanese sentence.

After nouns and na-adjectives just add dayo as it is:

noun + だよ
na-adjective + だよ

Word だよ
元気 (genki) 元気だよ
朝 (asa) だよ
きれい (kirei) きれいだよ
好き (suki) 好きだよ

You can also use dayo after i-adjectives, however you need to add んだよ

i-adjectives + + だよ

Word だよ
寒い (samui) 寒いんだよ
暑い (atsui) 暑いんだよ
大きい (ookii) 大きいんだよ
長い (nagai) 長いんだよ

Usually the i and n are pronunced together and dayo follows after a short pause:
samuin (pause) dayo, atsuin (pause) dayo, ookiin dayo, and so on.

If the sentence ends in da, desu, yo ne, etc., they need to be replace with dayo.

Word だよ
元気です (genki desu) 元気だよ
きれいですよ (kirei desu yo) きれいだよ
好きだ (suki da) 好きだよ
長いよね (nagai yo ne) 長いんだよ

When to use “Dayo”?

So now let’s look at some more specific situations when you can use dayo.

1. You want to tell your friend your opinion

However, you don’t want to sound too strong or direct.

めっちゃ寒いよ、いやだよ
Meccha samui yo,  iya dayo.
It’s so cold, I hate it…

きれいだよ
Kirei dayo.
This is beautiful~

 

2. You want to emphasize what you’re saying.

大丈夫だよ
Daijoubu dayo.
It’s okay, really! or I’m okay, don’t worry!

私もだよ
Watshi mo dayo.
Oh, me too!!!

 

3. You want to point something out.

Either something new or some kind of special information.

見て!みさちゃんだよ
Mite! Misa-chan dayo!
Oh look! It’s Misa!

もう10時だよ
Mou juuji dayo.
It’s already 10, you know.

Dayo vs. Desu

Now that we know the meaning of dayo and also know how we can use it in Japanese, let’s have a look at what’s the difference between “dayo” and “desu”.

Desu (です) is added to the end of a sentence to make it more formal and polite. You can add it after nouns and adjectives like this:

9時です
Ku ji desu.
It’s nine o’clock.

日本が好きです
Nihon ga suki desu.
I like Japan.

You can’t tell from the translations, but the sentences are very polite and formal.

This is how you want to talk to your teacher, a client, or someone you don’t know well. But it sounds stiff and it’s not how you want to come across when chatting with a friend.

So in casual situations, you want to use dayo (だよ) instead. The same sentences will sound more friendly and also more natural. Kinda like this:

9時だよ
Ku ji dayo.
It’s nine.

日本が好きだよ
Nihon ga suki dayo.
I like Japan, you know.

Dayo vs. Da

Instead of dayo (だよ) you can also just add da (だ) at the end of a sentence. However, this will make your statement pretty strong and might even sound a little bit rude. Because it kinda stops the conversation.

Let’s take the previous examples, 9時だよ and 日本が好きだよ.

When you say 9時 (Ku ji da) it means “It’s nine” or just “Nine”. But depending on how the person says it, it could also be interpreted as “It’s nine. I already told you a second ago! So don’t ask me again!”. Or “At nine. I’ve already decided, so the time can’t be changed!”.

日本が好き (Nihon ga suki da) sounds very enthusiastic “I **love** Japan!!!”. And it could be interpreted as “Because I love Japan, of course! Why do you even ask?”.

Don’t get me wrong, though! You can definitely use da (だ). Usually, everyone smiles when I say 日本が好き (Nihon ga suki da).

Just be aware that for Japanese it is a strong expression. Because of that da (だ) is also more often used by men than by women.

Dayo in Japanese Sentences

When I studied Japanese, example sentences always helped me a lot to completely understand a phrase.

So to give you an even better idea of how to use”dayo” in Japanese I have put together more examples.

First some common and basic phrases, and then some more advanced sentences for the intermediates.

Note: Most of the sentences can be translated in more than one way. So instead of focusing on the exact translation, try to understand how and when “dayo” is used.

Common Japanese Phrases With “Dayo”

Genki Dayo

元気だよ (Genki dayo) means “I’m fine” or “I can’t complain”.

元気だよ、君は?
Genki dayo, kimi wa?
I’m fine, and you?

いかがですか。
Ikaga desu ka。
How’s it going?
元気だよ。
Genki dayo.
I can’t complain.

元気だよ!風邪なんてへっちゃらさ。
Genki dayo! Kaze nante hecchara sa.
No really, I’m fine! It’s just a cold.

Baka Dayo

ばかだよ or 馬鹿だよ (Baka dayo) can be translated as “You’re such a fool” or “You are silly”.

まったくばかだよ。
Mattaku baka dayo.
You’re a fool for sure.

そんなことを言うなんて君はばかだよ。
Sonna koto o iu nante kimi wa baka dayo.
Saying such a fool for saying things.

寒いよ。コートを忘れてしまうなんて君は馬鹿だよ。
Samui yo. Kooto o wasurete shimau nante kimi wa baka dayo.
It’s cold. You are such a silly girl forgetting your coat.

Daisuki Dayo

大好きだよ (Daisuki dayo) means “I love you” or “I love it”.

ずっと大好きだよ。
Zutto daisuki dayo.
I’ll always love you.

私もこれ大好きだよ。
Watashi mo kore daisuki dayo.
I love this, too.

まず好きじゃなかったんだけど、今は大好きだよ。
Mazu suki ja nakatta n dakedo, ima wa daisuki dayo.
I didn’t like it in the beginning, but now I’m loving it.

Nan Dayo

なんだよ (Nan dayo) can be translated as “What do you want?”, “What is it?” or just “What?”. If used by itself this phrase can be a bit rude, so be careful.

おまえ、なんだよ。
Omae, nan dayo.
What do you want?

一体なんだよ?
Ittai nan dayo?
What the hell ?

忘れたって、なんだよ?
Wasureta tte, nan dayo?
You forgot what?

Dayo Ne

だよね (dayo ne) is a little bit different from the previous phrases. You use it to agree with someone. “Yeah” or “You’re right~”.

そうだよね.
Sou da yo ne.
That’s right.

可愛いだよね。
Kawaii da yo ne.
Yeah, it’s cute.

大変だよね。
Taihen da yo ne.
You’re right, it’s tough.

Hontou Dayo

本当だよ (Hontou dayo) can either mean “It’s true!” but also “Believe me!” or in the sense of “It’s true, I swear!”.

知らなかったんだ,本当だよ。
Shiranakattan da, hontou dayo.
I had no idea, I swear.

きのう彼女に会ったよ.
Kinou kanojo ni atta yo.
I met her yesterday.
まさか!
Masaka!
That can’t be true!
いや, 本当だよ.
Iya, hontou dayo.
No, really!

わあ,この映画は怖かったなあ
Waa, kono eiga wa kowakatta naa
Wow, this was such a scary movie!
本当だよ
Hontou dayo.
That’s true!

Joudan Dayo

冗談だよ (Joudan dayo) is “Just joking” or “I’m kidding” or “It’s a joke!”

冗談だよ
Joudan dayo.
Just kidding.

ほんの冗談だよ。
Hon no joudan dayo.
It’s just a joke.

Nani O Itten Dayo

何を言ってんだよ (Nani o itten dayo) means “What are you saying?” or “What?”

彼は何を言ってんだよ。
Kare wa nani o itten dayo.
What is he talking about?

何言ってるんだよ!
Nani itterun dayo!
What are you talking about?

Japanese Sentences With “Dayo”

当然だよ。
Naturally.

絶対だよ!
I’m absolutely sure!

一体何言ってんだよ
What the heck are you talking about?

もう〜、なにやってんだよ
Jeez, what’re you doing?

本気で言ってるんだよ。
I really mean it.

夜遅くまで起きていては駄目だよ。
It’s no good to stay up until late at night.

人間は70%水なんだよ。
A human body is 70% water.

手短いに言うと、君が悪いんだよ。
To put it briefly it’s your fault.

弁当屋さんを始めたってむだだよ。
There’s no point in starting a shop that sells boxed lunches.

Conclusion – Japanese Dayo in English

Dayo (だよ) might be a bit hard to grasp if you try to translate it into one specific English expression. However, if you just focus on its function – to make you sound more friendly and casual – it’s actually pretty easy to use.

Good luck with your Japanese studies!
またね (⌒‐⌒)ノ

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Alex (RockinJapan)

Hey. I'm Alex. I've been living in Japan since 2015. Before moving to Tokyo, I traveled through Japan for 7 months to visit all 47 prefectures. Traveling and staying in Japan has been so much fun and such an incredible experience that I decided to write about it. I noticed there isn't a lot of information about hot springs and onsen towns in Japan, so I'm focusing on this topic. Hopefully, my articles will help you to get the most out of your trip and to fully enjoy your time in Japan! Alex

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