The curriculum lineup has been updated!

第316課: The Auxiliary ~たる: たるや、たるもの、たりとも

This pesky classical copular auxiliary is still occasionally used in Modern Japanese, and as you would expect, the title really does say all. First, we will discuss the so-called タル形容動詞 that are made with it, see how the true copular role it has manages to get used, and then focus on grammar topics relevant for high level Japanese proficiency tests such as the JLPT N1. 


This defunct class of adjectival verbs have the limited bases と-連用形 and the たる-連体形. However, with more antiquated grammar, you can see the other bases. So, for completeness, the full base set is given below.

 未然形 連用形 終止形 連体形 已然形 命令形
 たら- たり-・と たり たる たれ- たれ

Like 形容動詞, the と-連用形 is used adverbially. The exact number of タル形容動詞 still used today is uncertain, but they are in decline. Their attributive base is also typically replaced with とした. However, in more formal writing, these adjectives pop up everywhere. Depending on the adjective, they may have acquired other legitimate attributive forms. For instance, you can use 主な and 主たる (principal/main).


1a. 主たる理由はこれです。(古風)
1b. 主な理由はこれです。(もっと自然)
      The main reason is this. 

2. 全然たる狂人
    An absolute maniac 

3. 然したる相違もない。
    There isn't a special/particular difference. 

4. {名立たる・有名な}観光地
    A famous tourist spot

5. 面前めんぜんでの嘲笑ちょうしょう侮辱ぶじょくさいたるものだ。
    Scorn in one's presence is the extremity of insult.

6a. 最たる例 (古風)
6b. 最も顕著けんちょな例  (もっと自然)
      Prime example

7. 堂々どうどう{たる・とした}姿すがた
A magnificent figure 

8. 断固だんこ{たる・とした}決意
    Resolute determination

9. 淡々たんたん{たる・とした}口調くちょうで話す。
    To speak in a cool tone. 

10. 漠然ばくぜん{たる・とした}不安
      Vague anxiety

11. びょうたる小会社
      Insignificant firm

      Pure and simple bank

13. げんたる事実
      Harsh fact 

14. 悠々ゆうゆうたる大空おおぞら
Endless sky

15. 鬱勃うつぼつたる野心やしん
Irresistible ambition 

Base Note: Though they have no modern 終止形, when the need arises, the old たり-終止形 is replaced with the たる-連体形 followed by だ, giving たるだ.

16. 行政改革は号令のみで旧態依然たるだ。
      The administrative reform is merely an order, and the (system) is still as the old state.  

Archaism Note: There are still instances where the auxiliary copula verb たり is still used in Modern Japanese. As it is more emphatic, it often serves a role in formal yet serious situations. One instance is 日本よ国家たれ! (Japan, be a nation!) and its derivations.


  This is a usage of above that is rarely seen but is used to emphatically emphasis a topic, and it is derived from the auxiliary たる and the adverbial/bound particle や. 

17. その技術たるや、ものすごい。
      The technique is terrific! 


This pattern follows nouns, as you would expect, to show that a certain thing is suitable in situations such as having a certain responsibility or when one is outstanding for a certain role. Remember that what follows should show what form, role, or status something should be in to be what X or what たるもの follows. 

18. 社会人たるもの、挨拶や時間を守ることなどができて当然でしょう。
      It's only natural for a person of society to maintain salutations and time.

19. 紳士たるもの、強くなければならない。
      A gentleman must be strong.

20. 政治家たるものは、失言があってはならない。
      Politicians must not make gaffes.

21. 教師たるものは、言動に気をつけなければならない。
      Teachers must pay attention to their behavior.

22. 大統領たるものは、鋭利えいりな頭脳を持たなければならない。
      A president must hold a sharp mind. 


              The conjunctive particle たりとも is equivalent to "not even" and is interchangeable with と言えども and ではあっても. It is really on the combination of the auxiliary たる + the conjunctive particle とも, which is why it's mentioned here. This pattern should follow a counter phrase that a small or indeterminate number. However, even if the number is one, if the counter phrase implies something big like a year or a ton, then this is not applicable. 

23. 一字たりとも許さぬぞ。
      I won't allow even a single letter (being wrong). 

24. 1日たりとも忘れたことはありません。
       I haven't forgotten even a single day. 

25. 一年たりとも X

26. 一瞬いっしゅんたりとも気をいてはいけないよ。
      You mustn't lose focus for even a moment. 

27. これからは1日たりとも日本語の練習をなまけてはいけない!
      You mustn't slack off your Japanese practice for even a day from now on!

28. 1円たりとも無駄にしてほしくありません。
       I don't wish for even a single yen to be wasted. 

29. 1分たりとも遅れないようにしてください。
      Please make it toward you are not late for even one minute. 

30. 何人たりとも
     Not one at all 

Reading Note: 何人 in the last expression can be read as なにびと, なんびと, or なんぴと.

I'm Moving!

I will moving the think tank, which is myself, to a new location this weekend and will be low on funds for a while. New lessons are still being made, but any donations at this time would greatly be appreciated.
Aside from the Donation tab, there are also two GoFundMe campaigns to help out.