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Question 難しいそうな本を読めた

Zizka

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I don’t understand why a な is required here. そう isn’t a な adjective is it? The dictionary says it’s an adverb.
 

Buntaro

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Hi Zizka,

In contrast to what your dictionary says, I do not think we can automatically say そう is not an adjective. Consider the sentence 中国語は難しいそうです (Chinese looks difficult). In this sentence, そう acts like an adjective.
 

Zizka

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Doesn’t it act as an adjective modifying another adjective therefore an adverb? Seems modifying difficult which in turn modifies the book? I honestly don’t know.
 

bentenmusume

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For one thing, it's 難しそう, not 難しそう. This is important. The latter is ungrammatical.*

(*At least for this grammatical pattern. There is a separate ~そう for hearsay that comes after the full predicate, e.g. 鈴木先生はなかなか厳しいそうです。"I hear that Prof. Suzuki is pretty strict." Note that the hearsay ~そう is not used adjectivally.)

And the "seems/appears" そう does, indeed, function grammatically as a な adjective.
優しそうな目をしている

When な adjectives are used adverbially, they take に. Same for ~そう.
丁寧に案内してくれた
楽しそうに遊んでいる

etc. etc.
 

Toritoribe

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The dictionary says it’s an adverb.
Simply you just didn't look up the correct そう in the dictionary, as same as you did before for 初めて.

そう
Na-adjective, Suffix
2. appearing that; seeming that; looking like; having the appearance of
after masu stem or adj-stem

 

Zizka

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And the "seems/appears" そう does, indeed, function grammatically as a な adjective.

I think I understand. It’s not that そう is an adverb modifying the adjective 難しい. It’s that そう is a suffixe which attaches itself to an adjective to indicate adjective “seems” something. In other words, they’re not two separate entities which modify the same noun but a single adjective which is itself modified by a suffix. I get it now.
 
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