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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheophaniaJ

Japanese sentence structure: "There are 3 cats"

I have some background in the Japanese language, and I was taught that the correct way to say "there are (a number) of x" was for example, 三匹の猫がいます。However, the new Japanese Duolingo course uses the following structure: 猫が三つあります。I have never encountered this structure before. Are they both correct? Which one is more commonly used?

May 19, 2017

12 Comments

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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Horako224

います is correct. I'm pretty sure あります is used for inanimate things/objects and vice versa, this is strange. Although i'm pretty sure there is a reason behind it. Although the sentence could be talking about cats as a statues or whatever, but it doesn't tell us that. Just try reporting it.

May 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheophaniaJ

I'm pretty sure you're right about います and あります。That part may have been a mistake on my part in typing this question. Mostly I was wondering about the beginning of the sentences (三匹の猫が vs 猫が三つ) I have never seen the latter version, so I was wondering which if they're both correct and which is used more often.

May 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Horako224

三匹の猫がいます - I have three cats.

猫が三つあります - There are three cats.

That's pretty much it., my brain just turned on now lol. Stupid me. Sentences like these can sometimes be tricky.

May 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HappyEvilSlosh

三匹の猫がいます - I have three cats.

猫が三つあります - There are three cats.

I'm pretty sure 「猫が三つあります」 isn't grammatical. I'm also a bit suspicious because those are the exact answers that Google Translate gives and Google Translate isn't always reliable.

May 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheophaniaJ

Thanks for you help Haelvateinn!

May 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Horako224

You're welcome.

May 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HappyEvilSlosh

My understanding is that 「三匹の猫がいる」means something like "there is a specific group of three cats" and 「猫が三匹いる」 means more "there are three cats" (not necessarily implying any grouping).

May 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HappyEvilSlosh

From this site

Kurosawa made the film "七人の侍” (the Seven Samurai) which by virtue of this construction we can recognise as a specific group. Rubin explains that if someone killed all seven members of the group, as opposed to killing any seven samurai then he would say:

七人の侍を殺した。

as opposed to:

侍を七人殺した。

when the 七人 operates as an adverb indicating the extent of the killing.

May 19, 2017
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