"His older brother is a middle school student."


June 5, 2017



You know a lot of Japanese language! I am surprised. I want to be like you in English. I imagine you want say 'respect word', don't you?

I think you assumed 'by using お兄さん it becomes clear that I am not talking about my own elder brother. Shouldn't we refer to our elder brother as ani (兄)'.

It is right.

But this sentence tell us, 'his' elderly brother. If we take the word 'his', we cannot know the elderly brother is 'his', 'her' or 'their'.

And I think this word is necessary.

My English not good, sorry. (´・_・`)

June 7, 2017


Thank you very much for clearing it out for me, now I understand why the かれの is necessary. You are right I thought about using 兄 because of the formalities. And by the way your english is great :) Keep it up!

June 7, 2017


Really? Thank you!

And I hope you do not confuse...

We use 'おにいさん' to man or young man who are not our family, his family, her family, their family. We use 'おにいさん' to young man. It is convenient.
we can use this word when we do not know his name.

June 7, 2017


Is にいさん used as a formal way to talk about our own brother?

June 13, 2017


If it is clear you are talking about your own elder brother you may refer to him as ani (兄). Even if you talk to the Emperor it is alright to say ani. At least that is how I knew :)

June 13, 2017


To be honest I want to have the equivalent Japanese skill knowledge you have in English! :)

January 15, 2019


Please, make a slow button with the audio. That would help a lot to understand better :)

July 19, 2017


Put it in Google Translate and play the audio back a few times. It alternates between slow and fast playback speeds.

November 6, 2017


You can tell that in the report section, good luck!

December 4, 2017


I must say as a lonely child this section is somewhat depressing :(

June 13, 2017


( T_T)\(^-^ )

I am struggling in English too

June 13, 2017


I don't see how this comment section is depressing.

July 28, 2017


I don't know why the (no) and (ha) keep swapping around

June 21, 2017


の works like kinda " 's ": かれの -> his かのじょの -> her

は indicates the subject we are talking about: かれのおねえさんは -> his elder sister かのじょのおにいさんは -> her elder brother

June 23, 2017


の shows "possession" in relation to something. It's telling us who the mother "belongs" to, in a way. Same would go with dog (いぬ) かれのいぬ. His dog.

July 29, 2017


Pretty sure that 'の' is also used to link nouns and adjectives e.g.

'しろの犬' would be 'White dog'

June 23, 2017


Try this method if it helps u better.

Noun and noun needs の.


Noun の Noun

かれの犬 his dog あにの車 my older brother's car いもうとの猫 my younger sister's cat

as for the white dog, since it is い adjective, nothing is changed by simply appending it's original form to the noun itself.

しろい犬 white dog あかい車 red car くろい猫 black cat

な adjectives a bit tricky though.

July 23, 2017


Or just simply 白の, to avoid repeating 犬

June 23, 2017



August 12, 2017


Why is it just かれの instead of かれらの

July 7, 2017


The latter is "their", while the first is "his".

July 9, 2017


Is the かれの necessary?

June 5, 2017


The かれの is necessary here. Because the meaning of おにいさん is just elder brother, not including 'my', 'his', 'her', 'their'.

If when we hear おにいさんは中学生です, we feel おにいさん is a brother of the speaker. Because we omit 'I', 'my' often.

June 7, 2017


Depends, if you can infer from the context it is 'His' brother, then no. However, since all of these are single sentences it is kind of difficult to give context.

June 5, 2017


But by using お兄さん it becomes clear that I am not talking about my own elder brother. Shouldn't we refer to our elder brother as ani (兄)?

June 6, 2017


But you could be referring to "her" brother.

Also, keep in mind that you're directly translating sentences partly in order to learn and understand possessive phrases.

July 7, 2017


allow me to make a weird sentence in romaji because i have no japanese keyboard. Watashi no imouto wa kawaii janai desu. she is ugly. i actually dont have a sister what am i doing

July 9, 2017


Many Japanese use romaji type than 'hiragana' type. Perhaps you can write by your keyboard.

Allow me, if I read your sentence to mistake.



July 10, 2017


U can install Simeji app to type Japanese from the play store if using android. Dont know about iphone though

July 23, 2017


Since 可愛い kawaii is an い-adjective, the correct negative form is 可愛くないです kawaikunai desu (where the desu is optional for politeness).

Also, 可愛くない simply means "not cute" and, while it can roughly be translated to "ugly" depending on the speaker's tone, there are stronger words in Japanese if you want to say she is significantly below average attractiveness.

August 27, 2017


Why isn't かれのにいさん ok? Isn't it the same as かれのおにいさん just less formal?

August 3, 2017


The people of Duolingo have said that there is the limit of this system. I have read about this several times. They have to prepare many patterns of correct answer. Instead of it, they hope to use the same word if possible.

Though 'にいさん' is correct Japanese word. But I don't know they are able to add the answer.

August 8, 2017


HI! Are you a native Japanese speaker? I am native English, would LOVE to help you help me and vice versa via some messaging app? Please do let me know! Anyone may respond to this, by the way or if you have tips to learn the language better. Thanks guys! Very few native speakers in my area, its hard

August 28, 2017


Yes. I am Japanese speaker. Many people help me here. Thank you! So I'm glad if I also can do something for you. :D

August 28, 2017


nisan, onisan, or anisan?

November 6, 2017


When talking TO your own older brother, お兄さん (おにいさん) or 兄さん (にいさん) can be used.

When talking ABOUT your own older brother, 兄 (あに) generally should be used, but 兄さん (にいさん) is also often used by children or when talking to people you are very close to.

When talking ABOUT other people's older brothers, お兄さん (おにいさん) is the only one you should use (of these three).

When talking TO other people's older brothers, just use their name. They are their own person, before being someone else's relative.

Also, あにさん doesn't exist; if you add さん, the reading of the kanji changes. And be careful with romaji; おにいさん should be oniisan, with two "i"s, to denote the long "i" sound.

November 26, 2017


thanks so much for this! i've only heard a partial explanation previously and was getting confused about which word to use when talking about other people's older brothers. i understand now that both 「あに 」and 「おにいさん」 are used, depending on the situation.

May 13, 2019


Glad I could help :) but just to be clear, this isn't a complete explanation either. There are plenty of niche cases that I haven't talked about, for example, using 兄貴 (あにき) or 兄上 (あにうえ) instead, or using the above phrases as name suffixes or for people you don't know.

May 13, 2019


one thing i was wondering: is it common to use 「兄」 or 「兄ちゃん」 if you're talking ABOUT other people's older brothers AND they are younger or much younger than you are (as in the case of this exercise, a middle schooler at best).

or is 「お兄さん」still used?

May 20, 2019


Yes, you could use either「兄ちゃん」or「お兄さん」even if the person you are talking TO and talking ABOUT are both much younger than you. But you wouldn't use 「兄」because that's reserved for talking ABOUT your own older brother.

Japanese "language politics" (for lack of a better term) is pretty complicated and it's fairly easy to get lost in the weeds when discussing it. Personally, I think it's more useful to just learn the generally polite version, not worry about it too much, get a feel for what native speakers do and use that as a guide.

May 20, 2019


@laszlopanaflex You're welcome, and good luck! In my experience, most native Japanese speakers are very forgiving of foreigners' incorrect/incomplete grasp of "language politics", especially if you're talking with a language exchange buddy, so just go for it!

Actually, I hope they avoid the topic altogether, in such a way that doesn't leave beginners wondering about it. Getting into Japanese is difficult enough, and "language politics" is a rather advanced area which touches on a lot of cultural aspects as well. I think the best approach is to learn the basics and let exposure teach the rest. (After you get to a certain point of fluency, it might be worth going back to study it more rigorously but you probably won't get as much out of it as a beginner.)

May 21, 2019


thanks! that's great advice. i've actually been a bit shy to practice conversing in japanese with others because i'm afraid that i'll either use a too-casual version of some word or phrase and end up insulting them, or speak way too formally and seem awkward.

i hope the forthcoming japanese tree update helps us to understand these "language politics" so that we can use the right verbiage in the right situations!

May 21, 2019


I really love the complexity of Japanese grammer. It keeps me entertained :)

November 16, 2017


Japanese is interesting!

December 21, 2017


What does "o" mean

January 11, 2018


British people have literally no understanding of if middle school counts as "junior school", or "high school", which is making these translations really frustrating and difficult as we have no point of reference for translation. We of them in American films, but not to the extent of it being clear about which is what.

In Britain we have Primary School (ages 4 - 11), Secondary School (ages 11 - 16), and then college, or sixth form (sixth form is the same thing as college, but sixth forms are taught in secondary school buildings), and that is usually ages 16 - 18, but older people may show up there, also, and then we have university; which is ages 18+.

But for us we have no idea what middle school and high school and junior high or what age groups go to them and all of that is and so these questions are very annoying because I can't translate it from an English perspective because I have no concept of these differences.

February 2, 2018


Why is wa used here instead of ga? Doesn't ga get used when mentioning something for the first time? Since there is no other lines in this example, aren't we to assume that this IS the first time?

May 16, 2019


The difference between は and が is not that simple. Here is a pretty good in-depth breakdown.

Long story short: you can't assume one or the other without context or knowledge of the intent of the speaker, so either one is "correct".

May 31, 2019


What exactly is wrong with かれの兄はちゅ学生です? DuoLingo doesn't really tell which part is incorrect, but each part should be according to DuoLingo's help. Anyway, it is not accepted at the moment (August 19).

August 5, 2019


oneesan is also means older brother right? it confuse me. :(

January 31, 2018


No, おねえさん means "older sister". Note that the pronunciation of "ee" in oneesan does not rhyme with "sea" but instead with "meh".

February 14, 2018
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