普通 (futsuu), a perfectly “normal” Japanese word

By | March 12, 2014
  • 普通 (ふつう)、which is generally translated as “normal”, is an convenient word with several uses. I’ll go over a few of the more common ones in this post.

One of the simplest ways to use this word is by treating it as an adjective, by adding a の on the back end of it.

  • 普通の人は夜遅くまで日本語の勉強をしないでしょう!
  • A normal person would not study Japanese until late at night!

You can also use this word unmodified to mean “normally”. In the below example the は is optional.

  • 普通(は)、お菓子ばっかり食べないと思うけど。
  • I think that normally, people don’t eat nothing by candy.

If you want to say “normally” in an adverbial sense (meaning it modifies an action), it’s best to add a に to ふつう。

  • このパソコン、どうやってつけたの?
  • How did you turn this computer on?
  • 普通にスイッチを押しただけだよ。
  • I just pushed the switch normally.

A final way I have heard this word is to mean ”typical” or “nothing special”.

  • 映画どうだった?
  • How was the movie?
  • 普通.
  • It was OK.

You can use 普通に for a similar meaning when you want to modify another adjective or other word.

  • 夕食はどうだった?
  • How was dinner?
  • 普通においしかった。
  • It was alright, I guess.  (lit: “It was normally tasty”)

Another word with a similar meaning is 普段(ふだん), which means “usually” or “ordinarily”.

  • 普段は朝の8時ごろに通勤するんだけど、その日は寝過ごしちゃって10時ごろに家を出た。
  • Usually I commute around 8am but that day I overslept so I left the house around 10.

One final thing to be careful of – if you say “普通の人はそんなことをしない”, you are probably implying someone is “abnormal”. If you want a safer expression, you can say ”一般の人は…” which means more like “an average person” or “the general public”.

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3 thoughts on “普通 (futsuu), a perfectly “normal” Japanese word

    1. locksleyu Post author

      That word has nothing to do with “普通” (futsuu), see the below link:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isonokami_Shrine

      The main enshrined dedication is to Futsu-no-mitama (布都御魂), the kami of a legendary sword (futsu-no-mitama-no-tsurugi) that was given to by Takemikazuchi in Kumano and used by Emperor Jimmu, the first Emperor of Japan.[7]

      Reply
  1. Mike Mathers

    Can you translate futsunomitama? I’m trying to see if it has a parallel with Norse mystical weapons such as Gungnir or Mjolnir.

    Reply

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