こそ (koso) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N3]

Author Sandro Maglione for article 'こそ (koso) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N3]'

Sandro Maglione

5 min reading time

こそ (koso) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N3]

The particle こそ (koso) is used to give emphasis to the noun that precedes it, indicating that it is the main element of the sentence.

こそ in many cases replaces the particles が and を when you want to give particular importance to the marked noun, which generally corresponds to the subject of the sentence.

In this post we are going to learn more about the meaning of こそ, how it is formed, and when こそ is used through real example sentences.


How こそ is formed

こそ is an adverbial particle ((ふく)(じょ)()). To use こそ just add it after the noun you want to emphasize (similar to the particles が and を):

Noun+こそ

こそ cannot replace the particle は, since は indicates the subject of the sentence, but without adding emphasis (as opposed to が and こそ).

(こん)()こそ()つ!

This time I win!

How and when to use こそ

こそ has no real translation; こそ is used to give emphasis to the preceding term and to highlight that it is the most important part of the sentence.

これこそ(さが)していたものです。

This is exactly what I was looking for.

In this example we see how これ (this) is followed by the particle こそ. The use of こそ allows to give a particular emphasis to the sentence, indicating that this is just or exactly what I was looking for ((さが)す).

The use of こそ adds much more emphasis than the particle が, which is used simply to indicate the subject:

これが(さが)していたものです。

This is what I was looking for.

Using こそ is similar to marking the word as bold or italics.

今日(きょう)こそ()つ!

Today I will win!

0:00.00

-1:0-1.00

In this other example こそ underlines the word today (今日(きょう)). This allows us to understand that probably whoever pronounces this sentence has lost all the other days, and that today is the day when he will finally win.

こそ to give emphasis and motivate

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からこそ: "just because"

When こそ is preceded by the particle から, the expression からこそ is formed, which translates as precisely because, precisely for this.

Verb+から+こそ
Noun++から+こそ

This expression is meant to emphasize the main reason for something, literally translated as and that's exactly why....

(まい)(にち)()(りょく)をしたからこそ、(いち)(ばん)になれた。

It's exactly because I worked hard every day that I became the best.

In the example we see how からこそ emphasizes the main reason that led the speaker to be the best ((いち)(ばん)).

In fact, the use of からこそ makes it clear that there are probably other reasons as well, but the main and most important one is exactly the one indicated.

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ばこそ: "just because"

Another expression similar to からこそ is ばこそ. This expression uses the hypothetical verb form ば followed by こそ:

Verb[ば]+こそ
Adjective in い[ば]+こそ
Adjective in な+であれば+こそ
Noun+であれば+こそ
Phrase++であれば+こそ+Phrase

ばこそ translates as precisely for this, only for this, and is used to give a subjective opinion on the reason that leads to a certain result.

(かな)しみがあればこそ、(よろこ)びもある。

It is precisely because there is sadness that there is also happiness.

てこそ: "just because"

The particle こそ can also follow a verb in its て form to form the expression てこそ:

Verb[て]+こそ

てこそ indicates that the action indicated by the preceding verb is absolutely necessary for what follows to happen; てこそ can be translated as only if, if not, it is necessary that:

(しゃ)(ちょう)になってこそ、(しゃ)(ちょう)()(ろう)がわかる。

Only by becoming president you do understand the difficulties of taking on this role.


Examples of こそ

いえいえ、(わたし)こそありがとうございます。

No no, it's me who has to thank you.

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