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  5. "今、何時ですか?"


Translation:What time is it now?

June 4, 2017



A question no one else has brought up yet, I know that usually when writing in Japanese words don't have spaces in between unless it's forming a new sentence after the punctuation of the last.

Is the space here for demonstration or do you always add a space after commas?


I believe it's actually an anachronism from when Japanese began writing more Western-like, i.e. horizontally and left-to-right. Before, when Japanese wrote vertically, each character, hiragana or kanji or otherwise, took up the same height and width, each filling a square on pre-lined manuscripts. Likewise, periods and commas took up their own square, usually being placed in the top right hand corner.

Nowadays, on Japanese typing software, there is the option of writing in full-spaced or half-spaced katakana or romaji. For reference, all the English letters everyone has used in these comments is half-spaced, and all the katakana is full-spaced.

(Full-spaced romaji looks like this: JAPANESE, and half-spaced katakana looks like this: ニホンゴ)

However, by default, people type everything in Japanese full-spaced, so periods and commas also retain their full-spaced versions, taking up the same width as other characters.


I did not know anything about this. I would like to say I see you a lot in the comment sections and you are always dropping tons of knowledge. You are a great contribution to the community, thank you so much!

[deactivated user]

    I was thinking the same thing; "This guy's everywhere-and he's fantastic."


    Appropriately enough, he is sharing the LORE!! ;)


    Well, that was right helpful, my friend! ありがとうございます!


    So it's just formatting. Monospaced font to be precise. The same one that's used on older machines are for programming. Nice to know the trivia behind this ツ


    Actually there's no space after the comma. In Japanese, each character use the same spacing. Even a little symbol like a comma take a full square. You can check it by trying to copy and past the comma without the space, you can't. Hope it helps


    Would ima wa nanji desuka also convey the same thing?


    Yes, the comma is there to show a pause where the particle は would have been. Including the particle is slightly more formal, but for time clauses, the difference is almost negligible I think.


    I have to disagree with you for once, JoshuaLore9. My Japanese teacher (native) told us there is never a "wa" after "ima" in this case, because the sentence "ima nanji desu ka" is actually a shortened version. The full version (which is never used, according to her) used to be "jikan wa ima nanji desu ka".


    Interesting, I didn't know that, but it makes sense. I haven't had much formal Japanese education, so I was simply applying the same logic I've seen for other time clauses.

    That said, I would still argue that my answer is correct - yes, 今は何時ですか would convey the same thing. It might not technically be a correct sentence, but the meaning would still get across ;)


    That sentence would be like saying "what time is now" in english. So yes, meaning would still get across, although you are missing the 'it'


    This makes sense, considering that the time is the object marked by は and not the now.

    Even though it would carry the same meaning if you marked 今, it would make less sense since you are asking someone about what time it is.


    Is there a functional difference between 'ima nanji desuka' and just 'nanji desuka'?


    Yes, I believe so. In 「今、何時ですか」 the comma is there to show a pause where the particle は would usually go. So in this case, the subject is specified as "now".

    However, in 「何時ですか」 the subject is omitted, and thus it's applicable in a wider range of contexts. For example:

    A: 会議(かいぎ)は明日(あした)に行(おこな)います = "We will hold the meeting tomorrow"

    B: 何時ですか = "What time will it be/start?"


    I just commented on one of your comments about your ability to help out so much in the community. Then, within a 2 minute time frame, you answer my other question!! Great job as always!


    Thank you for the kind words; I'm glad I could help.

    But also, thank you for taking the time to read through the comments.


    So, "ima, nanji desuka?" would be like "What time is it?", whereas just "nanji desuka" would be like "What time?" (not used to figure out the current time and pretty vague as "it" is missing, let alone undefined).


    Ah, not quite. 今、何時ですか is specifically asking "what time is it now?" whereas when you use just 何時ですか, the time that you are asking about depends on the context. It's missing from the sentence, but it's still identifiably defined by the context - generally, that's whatever you happened to be talking about when you asked 何時ですか, which could also be the current time.

    It sometimes works similarly in English. For example, if you wake up, peeled your face off your keyboard, looked around blinking at the bright lights of your office, you might suddenly turn to you colleague and say, mortified, "omg I just nodded off for one second, what time is it?" It's pretty clear from the situation that you mean what is the time right now, even if you didn't say "now".

    In Japanese, you might use 今、何時ですか instead of 何時ですか if:

    • the context of the conversation is about something else, e.g. you're talking about a meeting that is planned to happen later in the day, but you want to know what time it is now, so you know how much time you have left to prepare for the meeting,
    • it isn't super obvious from the context, or there might be conflicting topics, e.g. you walk into a restaurant and a waiter comes up to you and says "sorry, it's almost closing time". (In Japanese, it's slightly ambigious if you just said 何時ですか, because you might be asking what closing time is, or what the time is now),
    • you want to emphasize "now" as the topic of your sentence, e.g. you might already be talking about something that is happening/will happen very shortly, but you want to express your surprise/exasperation/disbelief that it's happening "now".


    While I understand that there are multiple ways to say it, I feel that the course should prepare us for more common encounters.


    WhatTimeIsItRightNow dot com, producers of such fine content as Philbert seasons 1 and 2.


    I've opened the comments section only to find a Bojack reference


    Can "時" mean "hour"?


    Yes, unless you're talking about a period of time.

    三時 = 3 o'clock

    三時間 (san jikan) = 3 hours


    Is it correct to say 今 は、何時ですか ?


    Yes, it is, though you'd have to ask a native speaker what the difference is (and even then, they'll probably tell you that there isn't any).

    If Duo marked you incorrect, you should report it (using the flag, not here in the comments which the course developers don't necessarily read).


    I followed the convention we've been using in other time questions and translated 今 as 'right now', but it says it just wanted plain 'now'. Is this a subtlety of language, or a mistake by the program?


    I would say it's a subtlety of the language... "right now" conveys the feeling of "exactly this very moment" which is probably better captured by 「ちょうど今」as opposed to, just "now" which feels more like "the general vicinity of this moment" and 「今」


    "Now what time is it?" is not really good English. It should be either "What time is it (now)?" or "How late is it?" imho


    it accepted "what time is it now?" for me


    Could someone explain me why is it a comma instead of 「は」? What I have known is that if we are talking about "now", shouldn't it be the topic of the sentence and a は next to it?


    In this case the comma is just an audible pause. In normal Japanese conversations you might sometimes leave off this は because it's implied. If I remember correctly both answers are accepted:

    今、何時ですか? 今は何時ですか?


    何, What I hear in the sentence is Nan, but when I hear the word alone, it is Nani, anyone can help me to understand why the change of pronunciation?


    All kanji have two pronunciations. Onyomi and Kunyomi. This is the reason why its pronunciation was changed.


    Tysm! I was just about that ask that question.


    I said "What time is it at the moment?" and was marked wrong. Now I'm curious if Duolingo is wrong or if this somehow sounds unnatural? Could any native English speaker maybe answer?


    English (AUS) native speaker here. There's nothing unnatural about your suggestion, and colloquially it means the same thing as "What time is it now?" so it should be accepted. I think you should flag it for the course developers to fix.


    No it's not wrong "grammatically" but "now" is more commonly used.

    In addition, especially with all the emphasis on politeness in Japan, non-native English speakers should be aware that "what is the time now?" can sound rude/abrupt, even amongst family and friends, so we always add "please" at the end. If you stop a stranger in the street to ask the time, you should ask "what is the time please?".


    I ,nor anyone I know, would ever take "what is the time now?" as rude unless it was said in an aggressive tone

    [deactivated user]

      Strange to ask (in any language) What time is in now? Why 'now'? Do we ever say 'What time will it be later?


      "I want to have a meeting later today." "Ok, what time is it {the meeting}?"

      There are plenty of examples like that, and in Japanese, without explicitly saying 今, that's the interpretation you would get.

      Additionally, Duo is trying to teach you that 今 = "now", which is very useful in many many other situations, not just for telling the time.


      This is a valid question. We may say 'What time is it now" to be clear for foreign learners but its

      not natural in English


      It was fine with my "Right now, what time is it?" and I know I've answered "What time is it now?" before.

      今は何時ですか? vs  今、何時ですか?

      Is it personal preference, or are both identical?

      [deactivated user]

        Can someone explain the 、after 今 please? why not は ?


        The comma (、) is there to show a pause where the particle は would have been. Including the particle is slightly more formal, but for time clauses, the difference is almost negligible I think. In speech especially, it's very common to drop the particle は.


        Would it be acceptable to say "What hour is it now?"


        Arguably, "what hour is it" would be recognized by most native English speakers as an old-timey way to say "what time is it", so I would almost say it could be acceptable (though one could also argue that it's only appropriate if the Japanese sentence had that old-timey feel too, like 何時でござるじゃろう?)

        However, if you meant "what hour" of a particular event (e.g. "the third hour of someone's boring speech"), you would have to say 何時間目【なんじかんめ】instead, because that's how Japanese ordinal numbers work.


        I put "Now, what time is it?" and it accepted. In this case, every word is in the same order both in English and Japanese.


        Yup, that's right. That's why I try to avoid explaining Japanese sentence structure as "English but backwards" because it oftentimes isn't the case.


        I learned this as 今何時 from the song Doki Doki Morning by BABYMETAL.


        In a different context could 今 basically mean "the present" or "present-time" ? Just wondering, because duolingo gives an alternative translation of "these days" so it got me curious of what other ways it could be used.


        for what we use 今


        今 means "now". It means you're asking the current time.


        I put 今は何時ですか for the one before this and it marked it right, but here they drop the honorific of は Is there a reason for this, or do you not need the は?


        It is a little irritating that there is a question mark at the end of the sentence, because か is equivalent to ?.


        My Native Japanese teacher told me that they didn't use question marks originally, but they started using them due to the Western influence. Nowadays more and more people use question marks like we do, even though there's already a か in the end of a sentence.




        Is 今 the equivalent of saying 'at this moment, what time is it?'


        Yes-ish. 今 just means "at this moment" - the "what time is it" part comes from the rest of the sentence. (I'm sure that's what you meant, but just to be clear)


        Thanks for the reply. Yeab sorry I didn't just mean the at this moment.

        So is there a kanji equivalent for past and future tense? Like if you were asking what time some had started or what time something will start?


        Sort of? "Now" is a very concrete and narrow thing, but there is a big range you could be referring to in the past or the future.

        Like English, tense is typically conveyed through the verb and its conjugation, but you would also need to use temporally appropriate/ambivalent subjects as well.

        For example, "simple future" tense in Japanese uses the same verb conjugation as "simple present" tense, so it's a pretty easy comparsion:

        • 今、何時ですか?(Present)
        • ミーティング、何時ですか?(Implied future - you're asking about the meeting, using a present/future tense verb, and you're not already at the meeting, so you must be asking about the future)
        • 来週のミーティング、何時ですか?(Future - 来週のミーティング = "next week's meeting")

        To ask when something will start, you can use the particle から which means "from", e.g. ミーティング、何時からですか?= "What time does/will the meeting start?" (lit. "Meeting, what time from is?")

        Using から also makes it easy to switch to the past tense version of "What time did the meeting start?" ミーティング、何時からでしたか?(lit. "Meeting, what time from was?") where でした is the "simple past" tense conjugation of です.

        There are a lot of other ways you can construct the sentence, depending on what verb you want to use, what register you want to speak in, what is already implied by context, etc.

        PS: To answer literally, there is a kanji equivalent for past and future tense, 過去形【かこけい】and 未来形【みらいけい】, respectively, but these are literally the grammatical terms "past tense" and "future tense" and would not be used in a sentence like 今 ;)


        This is great! Thanks for all this. I think it's too complex from where I'm at just now but I'm definitely saving this reply ! :)


        My pleasure :) I think the tl;dr for beginners would be "verb conjugation = tense"

        Good luck with your studies! 頑張って!


        Usually, 今 is omitted. In English, now is also omitted. So at the scene when you want to ask the time, you just ask someone that "何時ですか?". And then the respondent will answer "◯時○○分です" or "今"、 ◯時○○分です。 今 is just adjective of the time in Japanese.


        is "now, what time is it?" accepted? it would seem so considering there's a comma


        Why is "Now, what hour is it?" not acceptable?


        Because of the comma I thought it's: "Now, what time is it?" but I was marked wrong.. So what is the comma for?


        I believe that the sentence is actually "今は何時ですか?", however in casual conversations particles, especially は, are sometimes omitted. If omitted however you "pause" your speaking for one syllable, so instead of just skipping the は entirely you simply don't say anything when you'd say it, resulting in a short break in the audio. If I understood it correctly, the comma is just to represent that short break.


        I typed this one correctly but it didn't get accepted...


        Would this translate to "Currently, what time is it" alternatively? The comma threw me off so i wanted a natural way of saying it in english.


        Literally "now, what time is it?"


        Is たった今 right now or just now i dont know


        In english "what time is it now" and "what time it is now" is the same thing.


        No, they're not.
        "What time is it" is a question.
        "What time it is" is a dependent clause, for example "I don't know what time it is"

        In an English question, the verb has to come before the subject.


        But is nan doki ok? Sounds way cooler


        Stick with なんじ just because. いつ is another way of reading it, but usually, ふりがな is used to show when it should be read that way. I've not heard a Japanese person say なんどき before. Use is more limited than nanji or itsu. Most commonly found in the set phrase いつなんどき (itsu nandoki), comparable to English phrase “when and at what time”, but only used when expressing ignorance, never used in questions.


        I did and did not quite understood what you're saying, I kinda got lost with ur apparently well versed explanation that haven't explained much after all


        The Kanji after Nan can be read as Toki too


        Yes but when your talking about time it has to be jikan


        It can but do the people read it as so


        何どき= What when No. Sounds messed up... amd not clear


        Why is there no topic marker for "ima?" When stating what time it is now, ima gets a topic marker. Also, why is there a comma/pause?


        The comma is there to show a pause where the particle は would have been. Including the particle is slightly more formal, but for time clauses, the difference is almost negligible I think.

        I don't know why Duo decided to include は for some sentences and not others, but both versions (regardless of whether it's a question or a statement) are very common and acceptable in Japanese.


        I'm confused. Is the 、after いま after correct. I was expecting the answer to be いまはなんじですか? Is this incorrect?


        Please read the other comments before posting; there's usually a lot of good information here if you're confused. I've already answered your question several times.

        Yes, the comma is correct, and it's there to show a pause where the particle は would have been. Including the particle is also correct and it's slightly more formal, but for time clauses, the difference is almost negligible I think.


        "What time is now?" is correct phrase


        No, it isn't correct. Neither is ""What time is now?" is correct phrase".

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