hazu (はず) | Meaning and Examples [JLPT N4]

hazu (はず) | Meaning and Examples [JLPT N4]

The word はず (hazu) comes from the kanji (はず) which means should. Its more literal meaning is actually I expect it to be ....

はず is used to indicate something we expect to happen. はず is usually added at the end of a sentence and followed by the copula だ (in its basic form).


In this post we are going to see the various forms that はず can take, how they are used, and how they translate, through examples of real sentences.


It should be easy!

Various verb forms with はず

The meaning of the expression can vary according to the tense of the verb preceding はず and the copula following はず:

  • [Base form] はずだ: should be
  • [Negative plane form] はずだ: shouldn't be
  • [Base form] はずがない: is unlikely to be
  • [Negative plane form] はずがない: is unlikely not to be
  • [Base form] はずだった: should have been
  • [Base form] はずではなかった: shouldn't have been
  • [Past tense ~ た] はずだ: should have been
Remember that you can also find the kanji form of はず which is (はず)

Examples of how to use はず

Now let's see some example sentences to understand how はず works within real sentences, and how we can interpret and translate it.


Anyone would pass the exam if they studied that hard.

As mentioned earlier, はず is placed at the end of the sentence.

In this example we have the form はずだ. はず in this sentence gives emphasis on the fact that passing the exam is something obvious, or in any case something that is likely to be expected, given the fact that we have studied so much.

The translation is not always expressed with the verb should or I expect that. Nonetheless, the presence of はず makes us understand how the speaker expects the indicated result to be something that will most likely be achieved.


That dress must be expensive.

In this sentence はずだ follows an adjective in な. When はず follows an adjective in な it must be preceded by .

A literal translation can be I expect that dress to be expensive., where はず is expressed by the expression I expect that ... .


Tomorrow's exam should be easy.

In some sentences you can translate the verb should associated with the word はず, as in the example given above.


Exam should be tomorrow.

In this further example we see how はず follows a noun this time. When はず follows a noun it must be preceded by .

はずがない - It shouldn't be

As mentioned, there are other forms of はず, with a different meaning based on the tenses that precede and follow はず.

One such expression is はずがない, which means shouldn't be. This expression is composed by the particle が (or sometimes also は) and the term ない (does not exist).

The literal translation thus becomes I don't expect it to be. Let's see a simple example to better understand this form:

うまくいく はずがない。

This would never work.

The use of はずがない indicates that I do not expect a job done in that manner to be successful. In a sense, this form is the opposite of はずだ, as it indicates something that we expect is not a certain way.

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~たはず - It should have been

If the verb preceding はず is conjugated in the past tense in its ta form (た), then the meaning becomes should be.

~たはず is used when you are sure (or expect) that something has actually happened in the past.

Let's also see an example here:


Should have arrived yesterday.

In this sentence the speaker wants to emphasize the fact that he expects an event in the past (to have arrived) to have actually happened.

This form indicates that the speaker expects that something has happened, regardless of whether the fact has actually happened in reality (I expect it to be ...)

はずだった - Should have been

Another possible form of はず is はずだった. In this form the copula だ following はず is conjugated to the past tense だった.

はずだった is used to express that things did not turn out as we expected.

The speaker wants to indicate a sense of regret or dissatisfaction. Literally it means I expected it would happen, but it didn't ....

Let's also see an example sentence here:


I should have met him yesterday.

In this sentence, the form はずだった indicates that the speaker expected to meet he (かれ) yesterday, but in the end this was either not possible or it did not happen.


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