1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "ごはんは食べません。"


Translation:I do not eat rice.

June 6, 2017



You're going to have fun in Japan if that's the case…


My daughter has a friend who is partly Chinese. She lived there growing up. Is severely allergic to rice! Rice!? Poor thing. Honestly how do you eat in China and or Japan if you're allergic to rice?! Thought I'd share that interesting tidbit. :D


That's like being Italian and having Celiacs


I'm Italian. That would be hell on earth for me.


My friend was marked as special on her birth certificate and adoption papers due to this. She's Chinese-American quite literally.


emmm,in the North of China, We mostly eat 馒头(steamed bread)and 面条


To my understanding bread is consumed in Japan almost as much as rice.


Here's the difference 「ごはんは食べません。」is "I don't eat rice (because I don't like rice at all)" 「ごはんを食べません」is "I won't eat rice (but I still like rice)"


Can someone please explain this a bit more in depth?


When you use は you talk about rice. It's a rice property that you don't eat it. It usually means that you don't eat rice in general, maybe because you don't like it at all. For my opinion, you could think that it's some kind of adjective: "rice isn't eatable for me"

When you use を rice isn't the topic. Assuming that topic is yourself, the meaning is "I won't eat rice". Maybe because you don't want it now, or you're not hungry.

Sorry for my bad english, maybe it's hard to understand me because of it. But I think I'm right, please correct me if I'm not. To understand this topic concept correctly is important for me.


Bad English? What are you talking about? You're flawless!


Ha! It's like that quote, "My English is ... how do you say it ... inelegant." (The Simpsons)



Do you mean this character: 食? This is a type of Japanese character called kanji, which all generally have multiple possible pronunciations (also called "readings") depending on how they're used in a sentence, i.e. in combination with other kanji or on its own or with hiragana/katakana. I believe Duo's TTS program is not very good at recognizing this context, so a lot of pronunciation becomes rather confusing for beginners.

On the other hand, hiragana and katakana both have fairly straightforward pronunciations; they are both syllabries meaning each character represents a single syllable (technically, a single mora). The small hiragana characters are used to modify the mora they are attached to. Only 9 kana do this (that I can think of): あいうえお, やゆよ, and つ. With the first group, they change the vowel sound of the previous kana, e.g. ふ (fu) -> ふぁ (fa), which is typically done with katakana in order to access sounds produced by other languages that don't naturally exist in Japanese (ファースト = faasuto = "first"/"fast"). The second group changes the vowel of the previous kana too, but they become diphthongs, e.g. き (ki) -> きょ (kyo). The small つ is a little different because it doesn't affect vowels and actually denotes a glottal stop; it's usually romanized by doubling the the consonant of the after it, e.g. しゅっしん (shusshin), but it can also be used at the end of words, for the dramatic effect of harshly cutting the word short, e.g. はっ? = (゜ロ゜)?


You seem to know your stuff. Would you mind explaining the fifth character to me? On its own it's pronounced differently that in the sentence as a whole. I've come across this sort of thing a few times in previous lessons (like the Tsu when it's written smaller) but I was able to get an explanation. There doesn't seem to be one here.


Thank you, that's really helpfull and I don't see anything wrong with your English!


That was an excellent explanation! I struggled with the difference between "wa" and "wo" for the longest time here.


To be more precise: は marks the topic, yes, so 「ごはんはたべます。」 means "As for rice, I eat it."/"I eat rice (in general)."

On the other hand, を marks the target of the verb, so 「ごはんをたべます。」 is more along the lines of "The rice is being eaten."/"I eat (this specific) rice."

EDIT Your English might actually be better than mine, though, what are you even going on about?


Hi! Is it like saying: は: Its the rice I wont eat vs を: Its me who wont eat the rice ??


は (topic): as for rice in general, I don't eat it, vs. を (direct object): I am specifically not eating THE rice


I have seen quite a few of saying は is general and を is specific, but actually it does not have this implication.

Look at these examples

  1. Suppose there are a plate of rice and a plate of pasta on the table. One may say - ご飯は食べませんが、パスタは食べます。 This translate to - I don't eat the rice but I eat the pasta. Therefore は is used with something specific in this case.

  2. Suppose you are busy and don't have time for lunch. 今日はご飯を食べません。明日は食べます。 I don't eat rice today. I will eat tomorrow. This is general and not specific to a particular dish.

When I look for whether to use は, I ask these questions.

  1. Do I have something to compare with the clause or noun before the は?
  2. Do I need to stress the negative clause that follows?
  3. Do I want to explain the properties of the subject?

If any of these is yes, the I will use は.


Easier to understand

part 1 パン を たべます, part2 ごはん は 食べません

If only part2 is spoken = speaker implies he / she does not eat rice but prefers / rather / will eat something else instead


Your English was great :) Plus, you helped me a lot. Thanx.


Put simply, ご飯をたません can become clear if you say it with a subject for example: 私はご飯を食べません。 Like, I do not eat rice. It becomes clear to me when I put it that way, just thought it might help some people.


This is an oversimplification. F or English speakers, yes, it feels clearer to have a subject, but this is not necessary in natural Japanese. You can include it, but it isn't any more or less correct than without it.


I don't think correctness is nkwk88's point, only understandability for the learner. In that regard I can see how it could help.


What is the point of learning a language in a simplified way if you're never going to use it with native speakers of the language? My point is this: Learn the language as it is really used. If it is used one way, it's great to learn it an alternative way, but get comfortable using it the way it is naturally used.


How do i pronounce this different? Wouldn't ha and wa sound the same in this sentence?


Gohan wa tabemasen


If I remember correctly you pronounce を (wo) like "o" (お) when is used like that.


Don't they sound the same, though?


は is always pronounced as ha unless used as a particle. So in ごはん you say Gohan (rice) but as a particle its wa. ごはんは = Gohan wa


So, I eat almost anything, is it correct to always use を? because simply I don't want to to at that moment and if at some point I'm become allergic to something, then use は. I'm still having difficult to understand this.


This is the comment I was looking for. Helped me a lot and was beautifully written. I would give you a lingot but I'm on mobile. Thanks again :D


This answer is over simplified and there are caveats. Make sure to see my comments above also.


ごはん means rice, but is also used to refer to any meal


And a super sayan


but for meal you add the time of the day asagohan(brekfast) hirugohan(meal) bangohan(dinner) it dosn't appear alone (i'm not certainly sure)


How to know who is the subject? Who does not eat rice? Me, i?


The subject (i, he, she) is usually implied in context. If it's confusing ( like if my mom and I don't eat rice but im just talking about myself) you will include the subject: Watashi/Boku, anata, the person's name, etc. For duolingo, I use myself as the subject unless otherwise noted.


You look for the particle "wa" written as hiragana "ha" (I haven't a clue how to type it, I apologize) The subject of the sentence is followed by that "ha." I.e. Watashi wa Maria desu = I am Maria. Anata wa Maria desu = They are Maria.


I think, you're wrong. は is a topic marker. For example look at the sentence you are commenting to. Here は folowed the object of the sentence -- "rice". Rice is the topic of the sentence. We are talking about rice, and i do not eat it.

Please correct me, if i'm wrong


は is the correct way of writing it down. It's pronounced /wa/ if used as a particle.


That is 'ha' but when it is used as a particle it's pronounced 'wa'.


Unless it's clear from earlier in the conversation, if they don't say who the subject is, you can assume the speaker is the subject. Also, a side note, if they were talking about someone else they wouldn't be so direct. It would be "I think she doesn't eat rice" or "It appears that she doesn't eat rice." More polite and so more Japanese that way.


は sounds like ha or wa?


は is pronounced both way depending on if it's being used as a topic marker or not. Topic marker - は = wa. In a word it is normally は = ha. Eg. 1st one わたしはRemです. Eg. 2nd one にほんご. Hope that helps.


In a word, it is pronounced "Ha", but when it is used as a particle it's pronounced "Wa"

Example: The word 「はなせます」 is pronounced HAnasemasu And the phrase 「わたしは」 is pronounced WatashiWA


In ancient Japanese, "ha" was used as the topic marker. Over time, the pronunciation of the topic marker changed to "wa" but they still used the same character (は still sounds like "ha" everywhere else, though)


What's the easiest way to tell if they do or don't do something, I'm struggling on differentiating the two.


You can tell by the form of the verb at the end of the sentence. In casual speech, it's a bit more complicated but Duo is teaching polite speech so it's easier.

Positive form ("do") is -ます.

Negative form ("don't") is -ません.


Thank you very much, i was really struggling with this i hope i remember that


Am i the only one bothered by clicking the kanji, tabe (my phones giving me issues trying to type the hiragana or kanji) and getting a different pronunciation than what is used in the sentence or what we have been taught. Rawr.


Is for the onyomi and kunyomi matter, as I understood all kanjis have at least two pronunciations the japanese one and the chinese one


I learned rice as kome, is there a difference or are kome and gohan interchangeable?


米(こめ)is uncooked rice and ご飯(ごはん)is cooked rice


I say "do not eat rice" and was wrong. How can i reconize that the sentence use "i" in that and how to order/request someone?


"Do not eat rice" is called an imperative sentence, and there are actually a lot of different ways to construct the request depending on how polite you want to be, the safest being て-form + ください

So: ごはんを食べてください means "please eat (your) rice"

The negative sentence can be made by using simple negative tense + で + ください

So: ごはんを食べないでください means "please do not eat (your) rice"

Notice that I put "your" in brackets. That's because the ownership of the rice is implied by context. ごはん just means "rice" in general, but it seems foolish to say don't eat rice in general if I only meant don't eat my rice. Alternatively, what other rice would you eat besides yours if I asked you to eat rice in general?

Relating it back to this exercise, unless there was an obvious contextual reason otherwise, if "I" am speaking, you can assume what I'm saying is related to me. Unfortunately Duo doesn't give us obvious contextual reasons, so most of the time, assuming "I" is the subject will work well.


If we explicitly add "I" into this, so, "私はごはんは食べません" -- how does that work with two "は" particles?


Yes, you can use two wa in a sentence. The first wa introduces 私 to the description after "ご飯は食べません" and the second wa for the usual negative stressing.


In this situation it's fine to use "ga" before "watashi". It's also worth noting that using "watashi" too much when you're talking to someone is not considered polite. Context usually allows you to drop pronouns


Why when it reads in the sentence 食 is ta but when you tap it individually its something waaaay different. I noticed this on some other kanji also, is this just one of those things where it has various ways to say it with each its own meaning ? .. i cant think of an english example where this happens to help further explain what i mean i guess closest thing would be to too two but instead of all being said as 2 they are all drawn as 2 ??? Does that make sense to what im asking???????????


You have the right idea. Kanji have 2 readings and sometimes multiple meanings. Look into onyomi and kunyomi readings


My favorite example is the "hou" sound in house and hour. Also one more example: "read" reads differently when it is in present tense and when in past tense.


My favorite example is "ough" in "English is difficult; it can be understood through tough thorough thought though."


English is basically a logography at this point.


I am struggling to understand the difference between "I can not eat" and "I do not eat".

For example: Hana-shi-masen: does not speak Hana-se-masen: can not speak

How do I elaborate these with the verb "eat": tabe?


TL/DR: 食べる ー 食べません(do not eat), 食べられません(cannot eat).

Long story below:

Before I can explain why this is different from 話すー話しませんー話せません, we need to understand the different type of verbs. There are three types of verbs in modern Japanese - they are called V5, V1 and irregular.

V5 - dictionary form ends in the う column, there are 9 possible endings: う/く/ぐ/す/つ/ぬ/ぶ/む/る. e.g. 洗(あら)う, 遊(あそ)ぶ, 話(はな)す, 読(よ)む. For る-ending verbs, the majority of V5 verbs have the る following a sound in あ/う/お column. e.g. 始(はじ)まる, 降(ふ)る, 起(お)こる. The exceptions to this needs to be memorized - 帰(かえ)る, 走(はし)る, 切(き)る. (Not a full list, just some examples)

V1 - dictionary form ends with る and majority of them have the る following a sound in い/え column. e.g. 見(み)る, 食(た)べる. 変(か)える, 着(き)る. Note for the last two, each has a V5 verb with the same pronunciation but a different meaning.

Irregular - two verbs くる and する (and the compound action nouns + する e.g. 散歩(さんぽ)する)

For V5 verbs the polite form ます is formed by the ending sound moving to the い column of the same row + ます e.g. 話す→話します (hanasu -> hanashi + masu). For V1, it is to delete the る and plus the ます e.g. 食べる→食べます. For irregulars する→します, くる→きます.

Now for the potential form, V5 moves the う column ending to the え column and adds a る. e.g. 話す→話せる (hanasu -> hanase + ru), 帰る→帰れる. For V1, it is to replace the る to られる (or れる in oral form) e.g. 食べる→食べられる (or 食べれる), 着る→着られる (or 着れる). For irregulars, する→できる, くる→こられる or これる (oral).

The potential form itself is a V1 verb, so applying the polite form to make e.g. 話せる→話せます and 食べる→食べられます. Finally replace the ます with ません for negatives.


Fantastic explanation!! I just wanted to add: 行く (いく) is also typically considered as an irregular verb because its -て and -た forms don't follow the V5 rules, even though its polite, potential and other forms do.


What will be the difference between 食べ and 食べる. Do their meanings change?


Seriously Duo is really bad at kanji, it does not accept 御飯は食べません。


If something doesn't accept kanji yet simply report it so it can be added. However, honorifics are very rarely ever written with kanji.


Thanks, I just noticed the "report" flag. Hope this will get fixed, it seems that Duo is very restrictive with Kanji, so I've started reporting a lot already. I think they should really allow it, getting the right kanji in the IME is certainly a good way to memorize them so Duo should accept them.


if ごはんは食べません is 'I do not eat rice' how would 'Do not eat the rice' be written?


"Do not eat" is an imperative form. So it would be written ご飯を食べないで or more politely ご飯を食べないで下さい Also note that I used the particle を and not は because you asked for "the rice" and not "rice".


ah. appreciate the help, thanks.


Would this also be a correct way of saying "i do not like rice"


Why is it "wa" if the rice is (not) being eaten? Doesn't it make it the object?


は does not mark the subject. It marks the topic. If the object and the topic are the same, one uses は instead of を.


If ごはん also refers to any meal, why can't it be "I haven't eaten"?


That's because "I haven't eaten" is different grammatical construct (present perfect tense, if I'm not mistaken) from the simple present tense of 食べません, and as such, would also require a different Japanese sentence.


Does ごはん mean also "meal"?


I wrote "don't eat rice" without a subject since it was left off. Is there a trick to know that the subject was I?


I've already commented on the problem with the "don't eat rice" translation on Mohammad Ghaznavi's earlier question, and other comments on this exercise have explained about understanding the subject through context.

But as I came to reply to your comment, I realized that "don't eat the rice" could be a possible, if rather passive-aggressive, meaning for this sentence in the right context. If you had rice on the table, and someone else went to eat it, you could say 「ごはんは食べません」 to mean "that rice isn't for eating" or "that rice isn't for you to eat". Like I said, it's somewhat passive-aggressive and this sounds like something a mother would say to her child (if it wasn't time to eat yet, or if the mother was mean...), so I wouldn't advise you to remember this usage.


I see, thanks. Now that I've gone through the course a bit I've learned that I is the subject they want in most cases.


You're welcome :) and you're right, most of the time "I" is the subject Duo expects you to use, but it's good to keep in the back of your head that it's not always the case. You'll get used to figuring it out with practice ;)


If this example is assuming that I am the subject, how would one say instead "He/she does not eat rice"?


You can say exactly the same thing, in the right context.

A: 作りすぎたので、ごはんはお父さんにあげましようか。 = "Since we made too much, shall we give some rice to your father?"

B: いいえ、ごはんは食べませんね。 = "No, he doesn't eat rice, y'know."

Alternatively, I think you can specify "he" or "she" as the subject, by using 彼は (kare wa) or 彼女は (kanojo wa), and get away with using は twice. That is 「彼は / 彼女は、ごはんは食べません。」 There might be technical reasons why this is incorrect (please explain them to me, if you know that's the case), but I think people will understand what you're saying.


Does "masen" mean "do not" or something similar? Is it related to "Sumi masen" in any way? Thanks in advance!


Technically, masen on its own doesn't "mean" anything, but it is how Japanese expresses negative tense and so it's often associated with "do/does not" or "will not".

As for how it relates to すみません, that's an interesting question, and I'd never thought about it like that before.

I might be wrong about this, but according to my dictionary, すみません can also be written as 済みません. The root verb 済む usually means "to finish, to be completed, to end" but can also mean "to feel at ease". I think it usually takes on the latter meaning in the phrasal verb 気が済む (ki ga sumu = "to feel satisfied, to feel good about something").

In that case, I think すみません might have originated from a phrase like 「ご迷惑をかけて気が済みません」 which means "I don't feel good about having to bother you", in a similar way to はじめまして originating from a longer greeting.


Why is "I'm not eating rice." incorrect?


Because "I'm not eating rice" is present progressive tense (telling us what you are not doing right now), where as "I don't eat rice" is simple present (which tells us what you don't do in general).




How would the affirmative sentence be? Like: I eat Rice


ごはんは食べます or ごはんを食べます depending on whether you want to put up ごはん as a comparison or not.


"I don't want to eat rice." Should not this also the answer??? The answer "It isn't going to eat rice." in the placement test is crap.


But I don't eat rice does not mean I don't want to eat rice...


Does putting ません at the end turn "do" into "do not"?


~ません makes a verb negative in either present or future tense. So yes it changes it to do not or does not.


Is ごはん cooked or uncooked rice? And こめ?


ご飯/ 飯 - gohan / meshi - Cooked rice, Meal
米 - kome - (husked grains of) Rice

ごはん for the meal, こめ for the crop


I always was thinking that the ごはん means dinner. Something like ごはんすぐにつくてります.


When I wrote "ご飯は食べません" it said that I was wrong, why?


Is this correct? は - subject / topic of sentence を - direct object / recipient of the verb's action


Yes, sometimes it's helpful to think of は as "as for" (i.e. as for rice, I don't eat it) since topic and subject are used pretty interchangeably in English, and in Japanese learning materials they tend to use the word "topic" for は and "subject" for が which can be confusing.


How do I tell the difference between if it is I do eat rice and I do not eat rice


do ends in ます (食べます) do not ends in ません(食べません)


this has nothing to do with this, but what does kippu mean? and why does it keep coming up


きっぷ is the noun "ticket" :)
It is from the hiragana lessons as an example of the usage of small つ


NANII?!!?! a japanese person who doesn't eat rice?!!


I feel like I have missed something here. What makes this "do NOT eat" instead of "do eat"


食べます - eat 食べません - do not eat
ません is the negative form of ます


Said no Asian ever


25% of Japanese prefer pasta to rice...


Doesn't this mean "I don't eat breakfast" ???


『ごはん』 can mean either "rice" or "meal".

Breakfast is 『あさごはん』 :『朝ご飯』

Lunch is 『ひるごはん』:『昼ご飯』

Dinner is 『ばんごはん』: 『晩ご飯』

Evening meal/supper is 『ゆうはん』 : 『夕飯』


Shouldn't it be ごはんを instead of ごはんは?


If I understand correctly, when を is used, it means that the action will end eventually, where as when は ia used, it means that the action is happening continually

So with を it would mean, something like "I won't eat rice (this time)"


It is not correct at all. は is used to bring up the topic, and has nothing to do with "continuation" of action. The difference is solely "I do not eat rice." and "As for rice I do not eat."


Imagine a child sitting in front of a cup of rice. If this child refuses to eat it would it be correct to change the "ha" to "o" ?


No, will be something like ごはんは いやだ! ごはんは 食べたくない. He doesn't want to eat rice, but may want something else e.g. cake.


I used 「ご飯」instead of 「ごはん」and it marked me incorrect. It means the same thing, except I just used the kanji makeup for rice. Did I do something wrong or was it just Duo?


It is just that the kanji has not been entered in the Duolingo's database.


For some reason, on both of these audio questions, I'd use the button that was marked "ません" in its entirety and it wouldn't accept it as correct. So I had to use the "ませ" and "ん" buttons separately.

Is that a bug, or is it to get us used to using these characters more separately?


Sounds like a bug to me but I have never heard people complaining about this. Maybe this is some bug which is newly infroduced.


Yeah, that's definitely a bug.
I've run into situations where using either construction, as one piece or separate pieces, both get marked wrong for the first couple attempts and then it suddenly changes its mind.
There have been a few complaints on the forums, but every time ehartz takes a look at the question's answer settings everything looks normal; so it not accepting is just a strange glitch that pops up occasionally.


Looks like it is not occasional because I got several of these complaints in my mailbox all over the forum suddenly in these few days. Hopefully it will get fixed soon.


It has definitely been popping up more and more frequently lately. I'm making a report and am now collecting as many examples of it happening as I can to try to help staff narrow down the possible cause.

If you or anyone else run into this problem please take a screenshot (preferably with your screen zoomed out a little bit to show those pesky answers that get hidden by the box at the bottom) and send it in a bug report

Especially send one if this is happening in other languages. I've only run into this problem doing Japanese but it'd really help to know if it is specifically a course issue or a general issue. :)


Why is eat written as "食べ" And not as "たべ" ?


食 is the kanji for "eat, food" pronounced here as "た" as part of the verb 食べる taberu - to eat

Kanji are used for most nouns/adjectives/verb stems in order to distinguish between homophones and make the language easier to read/understand. In longer sentences kanji help you tell where one word starts and another ends, and clarify otherwise ambiguous meanings.

The course currently doesn't use much kanji (though the new one coming soon will use far more). Currently it only teaches roughly the 100 or so needed for the JLPT-N5 beginner level, such as 食


That's illegal in Japan


It doesn't accept the kanji for ご飯?


I notice a lot of people having issues with は and を. (In fact I did until about 5 seconds ago, because a lot of the explanations haven't been clicking).

So with は, you're talking about rice as a whole, the actual concept of rice. So you're saying you dont eat rice at all, ever.

As for を, it's referring to an actual object. So as opposed to not eating rice at all, it's this specific rice that won't be eaten.


Sorry but this explanation is a rumor and is not correct. Please see my note above.


i think that it is better that japanese is taken as a class' the notes are horrible for the tyro


ご飯は食べません。= Wrong... why???


This is more appropriate for beginners in English. Bakka mitai!


This website is friendly when trying to type out the sentences in Japanese. For some reason 「ご飯は食べません」gets marked as incorrect when it means the exact same thing as「ごはんは食べません」 :/


I keep getting errors for writing the kanji verson for many word on these listening exercises. Very annoying, please fix! My answer was > ご飯は食べません Solution > ごはんは食べません。


Was just on the phrase "i do not eat rice" and i made a mistake and it exepted it to they are listening


Can anyone tell me why 食 comes out as "shoku" when I click on the kanji, but sounds like "ta" when it's a part of the sentence? Thank you in advance


Since most Kanji characters come from China they usually have multiple ways to read them.

The readings are split into two categories called Onyomi - a reading that sounds like the original Chinese pronunciation(s)
Kunyomi - the Japanese pronunciation of a word

"Shoku" is a Onyomi reading but in the sentence it should be the Kunyomi "ta" but since Duolingo is a computer program it often has the audio for the wrong reading when you click on it.

There's no hard rule to know when to read a character as a certian reading but something that I've noticed is that when a word is alone it is a usually a Kunyomi reading (木 - ki) but when in a compound word it's usually read as an Onyomi reading (木曜日 - 木 is read moku) but for the most part you will just learn by seeing the word over and over and learning the reading for it that way.

Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.