Thursday, February 28, 2019

いいこと, ii-koto - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, ii koto いいこと means literally a "good thing," but it's also used, in female speech, as an interjection to call somebody's attention before telling them something.

It's also spelled ii koto いい事, 良いこと, 良い事, 好いこと, or 好い事. A variant is yoi koto よいこと, よい事.

いいこと?戦うためには力が要るのよ でもドール単体では器にすぎない quote from manga Rozen Maiden (chapter 9)
Manga: Rozen Maiden (chapter 9)

Normal Usage

The phrase ii-koto いいこと is the i-adjective ii いい, "good," plus the nominalizer koto こと, also spelled koto 事, "thing." It normally means, as you'd expect, "good thing."
  • kore wa ii koto da
    これはいいことだ
    This is a good thing.

It can be used, for example, to talk about good things happening (or not):
  • nanka ii koto nai kana?
    なんかいいことないかな?
    Like, is there nothing good?
    • Why nothing good happens?
  • ii koto ippai
    いいこといっぱい
    Lots of good things.
  • ii koto ga okoru
    いいことが起こる
    Good things happen.
  • nanika ii koto demo atta no ka?
    なにかいいことでもあったのか?
    Has something good happened [or something]?
    • Is that why you're so happy?

のどかな お正月だなあ 今年はいいことがありそうだ。 quote from manga Doraemon ドラえもん (Chapter 1)
Manga: Doraemon ドラえもん (Chapter 1)
  • nodoka na
    oshougatsu da naa

    のどかなお正月だなあ
    [It's such a] peaceful New Year, [isn't it?]
  • kotoshi wa
    ii koto ga
    arisou da.

    今年はいいことがありそうだ。
    This year it seems good things will happen.
    • Narrator: this year good things wouldn't, in fact, happen.

It can also be used when you do something good:
  • ii koto wo shita いいことをした
    [I] did a good thing.
    [I] did something good.

Or when you say or hear something good. In the latter case, generally something you wanted to hear, something interesting.
  • ii koto iu ne いいこと言うね
    [You] say a good thing.
    [You] say something good.
    • Well said!
  • tama niwa ii koto iu-n-da
    たまにはいいこと言うんだ
    Occasionally, [you] say something good.
    • Once in a while you say something good. (implying usually they say nonsense.)
  • ii koto kiita いいこと聞いた
    [I] heard a good thing.
    [I] heard something good.
    [I] heard something [interesting].
    • I see, I see, very interesting. Very interesting, I say!

一ついいことおせえてやるよ。こんなもんはな、撃てて当たりゃいいんだよ。 quote from manga Black Lagoon (Chapter 8)
Manga: Black Lagoon (Chapter 8)
  • Context: Two-Hands succinctly elaborates her argument against the notion of which the appearance and/or background history pertaining to a firearm is of any importance.
  • hitotsu ii koto oseete yaru yo.
    一ついいことおせえてやるよ。
    [I'll] teach one good thing.
    • Let me teach you something good.
    • oseete is a distortion of oshiete.
    • hitotsu ii koto oshiete yaru yo,
      一ついいこと教えてやるよ。
    • yaru やる
      An auxiliary verb meaning "to do for you" here. Similar to ageru.
  • konna mon wa na,
    こんなもんはな、
    This sorta thing, [you see],
  • utete atarya ii-n-da yo.
    撃てて当たりゃいいんだよ。
    [If you] shoot and [it] hits, [it's] good.
    • That's enough.
    • utete atareba ii 撃てて当てればいい
      Good if shoot and hit.

Usage in Female Speech

Sometimes, ii koto いいこと appears at the start of sentences and is used to call somebody's attention before saying something, similar to how ano ne あのね would be used.

This usage is female speech, or "female language," joseigo 女性語, so it's likely you'll only ever see female characters using ii koto like this.

いいこと?戦うためには力が要るのよ でもドール単体では器にすぎない quote from manga Rozen Maiden (chapter 9)
Manga: Rozen Maiden (chapter 9)
  • Context: Shinku explains how proxy battle-based anime plots work to a main character who just got himself into a proxy battle-based anime plot via magic contract.
  • ii koto?
    いいこと?
    (interjection.)
    • Just pretend it means "let me tell you something good," or "do you want to hear something good?" or "do you know what's good?" Or something like that, except it's not used before telling someone something good, it's just used to call their attention.
  • tatakau tame niwa
    chikara ga iru no yo

    戦うためには力が要るのよ
    In order to fight, power is necessary.
    • To fight, I need power. (no. wai.)
  • demo
    dooru tantai dewa
    utsuwa ni suginai

    でもドール単体では器にすぎない
    But a doll alone doesn't exceed a vessel.
    • However, a doll is but a vessel.
    • I'm nothing more than a vessel.
  • (insert some half-baked anime logic required to shoehorn a middle school kid protagonist into a violent poltergeistic killer doll battle royale here.)

Warui Koto 悪いこと

The phrase warui koto 悪いこと means "bad thing," it's the antonym of ii koto, having warui 悪い, "bad," as the adjective instead.
  • kore wa warui koto da これは悪いことだ
    This is a bad thing.
  • warui koto wo shita 悪いことをした
    [I] did a bad thing.
    [I] did something bad.
  • warui koto wo shite wa ikenai
    悪いことをしてはいけない
    warui koto shicha ikenai
    悪いことしちゃいけない
    Doing bad things is no go. (literally.)
    Doing bad things is bad.
    [You] shouldn't do bad things.

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