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Declaring something is so and so using 「だ」Edit
One of the trickiest part of Japanese is that there is no verb for the state-of-being like the verb "to be" in English. What Japanese has instead, is a way to declare that something is the way it is by attaching the Hiragana character 「だ」 to a noun or na-adjective only. You'll see what this means when we learn about nouns and adjectives. Declaring that something is so using 「だ」*Attach 「だ」 to the noun or na-adjective
- （１） 魚。 - Fish.
- （２） 魚だ。 - Is fish.
Seems easy enough. Here's the real kicker though. A state-of-being can be implied without using 「だ」!As it stands, （１） is simply the word "fish" and doesn't mean anything beyond that. However, we'll see in the next section that with the topic particle, we can infer that something is a fish from the context without declaring anything. So the question that should be floating around in your head is, "If you can say something is [X] without using 「だ」, then what's the point of even having it around?" Well, the main difference is that a declarative statement makes the sentence sound more emphatic and forceful in order to make it more... well declarative. Therefore, it is more common to hear men use 「だ」 at the end of sentences. This is also why you cannot use 「だ」 when asking a question because then it sounds like you're making a statement and asking a question at the same time. (Unless you're declaring a question word such as 「どこだ」.)
The declarative 「だ」 is also needed in various grammatical structures where a state-of-being must be explicitly declared. There is also the case where you must not attach it. It's all quite a pain in the butt really but you don't have to worry about it yet.
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