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  5. "どれをのみますか?"


Translation:Which will you drink?

June 7, 2017



Nomimasu is the verb meaning "to drink," and is not a noun. So here we are asking "which one will you drink"?


Yes. Verb in -ます and dictionary form can indicate present or future.

The "you" is inferred and it is not wrong to translate this sentence as "What will I drink?" as in wondering whether to drink お酒 and get drunk or お茶 in your own head.


Oh also, どれ is the interrogative form of これ、それ、あれ. It is basically which one do you want to drink, this that or that one over there.


Does that mean "Which are you drinking?" (say, referring to two drinks sitting next to each other) is also an acceptable translation?


Yes, if the drinks are untouched and you mean to ask which drink do they want to choose (to start drinking), as opposed to confirming which one they are currently in the process of drinking so that you don't accidentally drink theirs.


Could I also say "どれをのみませんか?" "Which one are you not drinking?" if I was in a group setting where there are multiple drinks and I am looking for the unclaimed drink?


No, not really. The strange thing about -ませんか in Japanese is that it becomes an invitation/suggestion; のみませんか? means "Won't you drink it?". So it doesn't make sense with a question word like どれ; "Won't you drink which one?" :/

As for what I would say in that situation, the most natural thing I can think of is どれがのまれていないんですか? which is probably too advanced for this course. It makes use of the passive voice ("Which one is not being drunk?") and the んです intensifier for asking for clarification or explanation.


Drinking would require a new continuous form which hasn't been introduced until now.

"Which one are you drinking" would be:



If you were talking to yourself you wouldn't use the polite register, it'd just be どれ飲む?


I laughed out loud just now and here's why: in Russian we also have levels of politeness (there are just 2 of them, though). So I remembered how I address myself in my head. Definitely, in an informal way. It would sound so strange if I started talking to myself using "polite you" instead of "casual you". Good point.


I translated it to "Which one will I drink?"

Why is it "you" instead of "I"?


if a topic is not explicitly stated with は, then it must be inferred. in the examples we've been given so far, the topic of "I" was almost always inferred, unless it explicitly started with 「わたしは」.

in general, if you start talking to somebody without explicitly introducing a topic, they will assume that you are the topic, unless it's a question, in which case they'll assume that they are the topic


I forgot to add that I think your answer is technically correct, but unlikely to appear in conversation. i think duolingo should count it as correct but give some kind of feedback that it's important to remember that a missing topic does not always mean "I"


Just adding to your answer, which OP's suggested answer is technically correct, you'll practically never find a Japanese person who, when talking to themselves, uses ます. ます, and です for that matter, are forms used for showing politeness, and showing politeness to yourself is considered incredibly self-absorbed.

By the way, the more natural way of wondering to yourself "which will I drink" is 「どれを飲もうかな」


I originally translated this as "Which drink would you like? and got it wrong. I'm not exactly sure why, though.


The question is only asking which you will drink, not which you would prefer, which would be an entirely different sentence.


Yes, I agree, but "Which drink would you like" implies "Which drink would you like to have", rather than preference. I would argue that it's pretty close, though 「どれにしますか」 would be a better translation for OP's sentence.

I think OP's issue comes from using "which drink" because it changes the object from どれ to どんな飲み物(どんなのみもの), but again, the difference is very slight.


I answered "Which one do I drink?" and it was marked as correct but these answers seem to conflict with that.


You answer can be correct, in the right context: {begin scene}

You are seated in front of a man wearing dark-tinted sunglasses, even though it's gloomy in the room you're in. He holds out a red drink in one hand and blue drink in the other. He says your choice is very important. You look at the audience and say:

「どれを飲みますか?」 "Which one do I drink"

They all shout "Red!" {End scene}


I'm wondering if the question [どれを飲みますか] could be asked when I want to know what beverage the listener is drinking, instead of which beverage they would choose.


Good question, but no, there's a couple of ideas you seem to be conflating.

Situation 1) You have a drinks menu and you show it to the listener. 「どれを飲みますか」 is fine because どれ is asking "what, out of these options".

Situation 2) A waiter brings you and the listener a tray with several glasses of champagne, white wine, and red wine. Again, 「どれを飲みますか」 is fine. (Side note: if there was only two glasses, you should use どっち instead of どれ.)

Situation 3) You and the listener are seated next to each other at a long table in a fancy restaurant, and you've just realised that perhaps your glass of water is supposed to be on your right but there seems to be glasses on either side of you and the listener. The glasses are in various states of emptiness, since you've drunk some yourself. In this case, 「どれを飲みますか」 is incorrect. The drinks are already in the process of being drunk, so you should use a progressive tense. This can be present or past progressive: 「どれを飲んでいますか」= "Which one are you drinking?" or 「どれを飲んでいましたか」= "Which one were you drinking?".

Situation 4) The listener is at the bar with an interesting-looking red and yellow cocktail, and you want to know the name of it so you can order one too. In this case, 「どれを飲みますか」 is also incorrect. Remember, どれ means "what, out of these options", so when you're asking about one specific thing, it doesn't really make sense. Also, even if they just received their drink and haven't touched it yet, they have it and so can be considered to be in the process of drinking it. So, what you really want to ask is "what are you drinking" or 「何を飲んでいますか」.

Of course, you can also simply ask "what is that" or 「それは何ですか」


Regarding scenario 2, shouldn't you use どちら instead of どっち considering the usage of ます in the sentence? Or would you say that どっち has no connection to the politeness of the sentence itself?


That's a good point, and honestly, I'm not sure myself. I'm not a Japanese native speaker, but どちら feels quite stiff to me. It's difficult to pin down and explain, and I could be completely wrong, but my guess would be that the difference between どちら and どっち is more one of formality rather than politeness (どっち being the spoken form), and as such can be considered separately from the use of ます.


Joshua you are practically my sensei at this point. You're in depth comments are SO appreciated!


Why is it "dore wo" instead of "dore ga"?


"を" indicates that the preceding word is the direct object of the following verb. In this case, "which (one)" is the direct object of the transitive verb "to drink".


because 'ga' indicates the subject but in this case the word is the object of the sentence, hence using '(w)o' as an object indicator.


When do I use 'masu' and when do I use 'desu'?


I understand the difference as "to be" (des, desu, です) versus "to do" (mas, masu, ます).


Why will here? Do we just infer the future tense here?


Basically, yes, you have to infer from context. But it's a possible answer because, in Japanese, simple present tense します is used to describe general actions, habitual actions, and also near future actions.

For example:

・ごはんを食べます = "I eat rice" (general)

・毎日(まいにち)おちゃを飲みます = "I drink tea every day" (habitual)

・まもなく出発(しゅっぱつ)します = "We will be departing shortly" (near future)


Is どれを飲みますか wrong? It didn't allow it. 


I answered "What will you drink" which is incorrect, how come?

Is it because that implies you can choose whatever you like and not a choice from the selection in front of you?


I believe the first word "dore" is associated more with "which." You would have options present so imagine "dore" like pointing to something and saying which.


Pretty much. In English both would mean the same thing in context. I'm not sure if using 何 instead of どれ would also give the same meaning (in context).


In the right context, yes. If you hand someone a menu and use 何, it can effectively be translated as "which". Conversely, you ask someone out of the blue, 何 is more open-ended and should be translated as "what".


Why is there a wo instead of wa?


Its not wo, its the object marker o. Unlike most japanese syllabary, wo(o) has two pronunciations depending on usage in the sentance. Also, are you asking at all about the subject marker ha(wa)?

[deactivated user]

    why is the translation in the discussion so different? on the review itself the answer was "which do i drink" and here it's "which one will you drink?" do they give the same meaning???


    That's because Japanese is a very context-dependent language. The Japanese sentence here can mean "which do I drink" or "which one will you drink", depending on the situation you say it in.


    I typed out どれを飲みますか and it said I used the wrong word?

    I think it just really wants me to use hiragana.



    How do you say you?


    Anta, anata, teme(vulgar), anatatachi, etc.


    Note, anta is also extremely rude to basically anyone who isn't your spouse, and anata-tachi is plural.

    Also, kimi means "you" too, but is somewhat condescending.


    Why must I include "you" in my answer despite it not being in their given sentence?


    Because in English this sentance would nearly always have it, while using the personal pronoun in Japanese is almost obtrusive and feels like you're boorish


    Why is "Witch drink?" wrong?


    Umm... because "witch" is 魔女?

    But seriously, if you meant "which drink?", then it's incorrect because there is no verb in that sentence, while the Japanese sentence does contain a verb (のみます).

    Further, "drink" is behaving as a noun in your sentence which would require the word 飲み物 (のみもの), and when "which" is modifying a noun, it becomes どの instead どれ in Japanese.


    Does は and を represent the pronouns in these sentences? Because there is no watashi or anata/anta to be the pronoun. Is there a rule that I'm missing?


    Since there are no plural distinctions, shkuld "which ones will you drink" also be accepted?


    What's the difference between nomu and nomi?


    飲む (のむ) is the plain/casual/root/dictionary form of the verb "to drink".

    On the other hand, 飲み (のみ) is called the verb/ます stem, which can be considered as a conjugation of the root form. By itself, it doesn't really mean anything, but it's used as a prefix to modify other nouns or verbs. For example, 物 (もの) = "thing" 》 飲み物 (のみもの) = "a drink(s)".


    Would "which one can I drink?" be an appropriate translation?


    I don't think so. For me, there are two possible meanings to "which one can I drink", both of which don't work with the simple present tense of 飲みます (のみます).

    1) Using "can" to ask for permission requires a more advanced grammar pattern, て-form + いいですか (lit. "Is it good/okay to do ~"). To get this meaning ("Which one is okay for me to drink?"), the sentence in Japanese should be どれを飲んでいいですか?with 飲んで being the て-form of 飲みます.

    2) Using "can" to define possibility requires changing the verb (and consequently, the particle) into its potential form (which takes the particle が instead of を, since you're talking about possibilities and there is no direct object). To get this meaning ("Which one is possible for me to drink?"), the sentence in Japanese should be どれが飲めますか?with 飲めます being the potential form of 飲みます.


    The correction I got was "Which do we drink?" and my answer was "Which is my drink" . How was I supposed to know that the pronoun was "we"? I realize the を meant that the verb is acting on the object therefor "do" should have been in my answer but what donates first person plural (we)?


    you can only know by the context who you are referring to. it could you, he, she, we, they. even the unlikely I if you are asking yourself, but you surely would not be that formal. note that 飲み is a verb here not a noun, as you have guessed.


    What is を used for, in this case and in general?


    Here, and in every other case, を is used as the "direct object particle". This signals that the noun/phrase before it is what the verb acts on.

    If we translate it as "is the thing which" (which you should never do, except as an exercise for your own comprehension), the sentence どれをのみますか? reads "which one (どれ) is the thing which (を) you (implied subject) drink (のみます)? (か)" 》 "Which one will you drink?"

    It gets a little jumbled because it's question, but here's another couple of examples:

    • ごはんを食べます。= "rice is the thing which (I) eat" 》 "I eat rice"
    • おちゃをのみます。 = "tea is the thing which (I) drink" 》 "I drink tea"
    • お水をのみません。 = "water is the thing which (I) don't drink" 》 "I don't drink water"


    Im still comfused about 'wo' or 'o' in these food lessons. In the commentsnof lesson 1 they say that wo describes an action taking place or noun 'wo' verb. Butndoes not follow that formula here. I kinda just want to knownthe definition of this word. Unless wa and wo are interchangeable...


    を doesn't describe an action taking place (that's what the verb does); instead, it identifies "the thing" that the verb is being done to (also called "the (direct) object", a grammatical term because "the object" doesn't have to be an actual physical object).

    So, let's take the verb 食べます "to eat". The action being done here is "eating". But what is being eaten?

    • ごはんを食べます 》"rice" (=ごはん) "is the thing that (=を)" {implied subject, I} "eat (=食べます)" 》"I eat rice"
    • さかなを食べます 》"fish" (=さかな) "is the thing that (=を)" {implied subject, I} "eat (=食べます)" 》"I eat fish"

    In this sentence, in exactly the same way, どれ means "which" and のみます means "to drink", so:

    • どれをのみますか?》"which (=どれ)" "is the thing that (=を)" {implied subject, you} "drink (=のみます)" "? (=か?)" 》"Which one will you drink?"

    は and を aren't exactly interchangeable, but は is a special particle, in that it can replace and take over another particle's job in order to emphasize the thing it was identifying. This is commonly done with negative sentences, to emphasize that "the object" and only that object is being negated.


    I said "What drink do you want?" This is still correct, right?


    From a translation perspective, in the right context, yes, this is possibly correct. But from a learning perspective, there are a couple of reasons why I think it should not be acceptable.

    Firstly, "what drink" is colloquial English. In and of itself, that's not a problem, but the more correct version is "which drink" wherein the word "which" is now acting as a determiner, modifying the noun "drink". どれ is strictly a demonstrative pronoun: "which" is the noun in the Japanese sentence, not "drink".

    Secondly, the verb in your translation is "want". While the sentence "which one will you drink" can imply desire, it isn't strictly the case, likewise in the Japanese sentence, where the verb is "drink".


    HELP! I am so lost at the moment.. apparently in japanese you have to guess the person? I mean it works on both ,, which one do I drink, and which one do you drink? Then how do I know? Also, how do you figure out a question if it has no signs? I mean you get things like ,,Can I get/Please give me, but they never make it clear when to use a question (please/can i) , the sentences are literally the same and apparently both are correct.. how do I know when to use what?.. there is no Ka at the end..


    Well, if you're confused by something, reading through the comments that have already been posted previously should generally be pretty helpful. I know I've written comments which answer your questions several times, if not on this discussion page then on other pages too.

    Anyway, here are some quick answers: (if you want more detail, you should read the other comments!)

    • Yes, in Japanese, you often have to infer the person based on the context/situation. It's a key part of the language and the culture.
    • True questions in Japanese will end in か (as this exercise does), though this includes rhetorical questions.
    • "Can I get..." vs "Please give me..." are alternative translation for ください which is a request, not a question.


    How can I tell the difference between this, and, "Which one will I drink?" ? I can't see a difference. Thanks


    Context, mostly. Asking which you will drink isn't a very common phrase in conversation, more something you say to yourself when trying to make a decision. You're more likely to ask "which can I/should I drink". But a good pointer is that when you are talking to yourself you'd more likely use informal "nomu" rather than the very polite "nomimasu"


    What's the difference between 'Which are you going to drink?" and "which do you want to drink?" ? It got marked as incorrect


    The former is asking about intention, while the latter is asking about preference. In English, it's rather subtle and of course depends on the tone and situation, but generally when asking "which are you going to drink", the speaker is assuming/inferring that the listener is already planning to drink something. When asking "which do you want to drink", it's almost an invitation to drink something, and the speaker doesn't assume the listener was planning to drink anything at all.

    In Japanese, these two different usages have different grammatical structures. "Which are you going to drink" and "which will you drink" are practically synonymous, and both talk about an action which is assumed will occur in the future. Therefore, the appropriate equivalent grammar in Japanese is "simple present/non-past tense", i.e. のみます. However, if you're talking about a desire to do an action, the appropriate Japanese verb form is のみたい(です, for politeness).


    Which do you want to drink ? Was wrong?


    From a translation perspective, in the right context, this is possibly correct. But from a learning perspective, the main verb in your translation is "want". While the sentence "which one will you drink" can imply desire, it isn't strictly the case, likewise in the Japanese sentence, where the main verb is "drink".


    could it also be nani wo nomi masu ka?


    In the right context, yes. If you hand someone a menu and use なに, it can effectively be translated as "which", but actually it's more open-ended and should be translated as "what".

    Using どれ explicitly excludes off-menu orders, while なに implies off-menu orders are unexpected but still acceptable.


    How i know it is in the future?


    Context. The -ます form of verbs is the polite positive present/non-past tense form. This means that, depending on the context, the sentence can talk about general actions (e.g. "People drink water to survive"), habitual actions (e.g. "I often drink coffee with breakfast"), or future actions (e.g. "We will drink more milk next time").


    I translated it to 'Which should I drink?' but got it wrong.


    "Should" indicates that you're asking about obligation, correctness or appropriateness. This is different from "which do I drink" or "which will I drink", even in English, and the Japanese sentence here only corresponds with those two tenses.


    Which will "subject" drink? It's like 要喝什么呢?In Chinese.


    Wait, どっち is like "which one" and どれ is like "which"? Like, 哪个 and 哪一个?


    I don't know about the nuance in Chinese, but the difference between どっち and どれ is that どっち is for choosing from two options, while どれ is for choosing from three or more options.

    For example: when I say "I have card A and card B. Which do you want?" I would use どっち. When I say "I have 5 cards. Which do you want?" I would use どれ.

    Also note that どっち is slightly casual; the formal version is どちら with the same nuance.


    Can someone explain why it said "Which ones do you drink?" is incorrect?


    So why isn't it "Which one did you drink"?


    Because "did" is past tense; のみます is not.


    Could this also mean "which (one) do you drink/ are you drinking?"


    Is it okay to say "どれはのみますか?". Would that mean "which one do you drink?"


    Why is it を and not は?


    I don't have a full answer yet, but it seems を is used to mark something that is the direct target of an action, where は marks more general kinds of topics.

    In practice, this means that を is used to mark something that will be eaten, drunk, requested, etc., but は is used in the negative versions of those same actions (because it's no longer going to be directly acted on), as well as at times where something is being described.


    This needs to be changed to "What will you drink?", as that is much more likely to be used in regular conversation.


    I keep answering this with "Which drink will you have?", which is how I would ask the question in English, but it gets marked incorrect.

    Would someone be able to give me the correct translation for "Which drink will you have?" so that I can compare?


    Maybe because the "drink" in the exercise ("nomi") is a verb, whereas the "drink" you're using is a noun?

    Also, "Which will you drink?" and "Which (drink) will you have?" are clearly two different formulations--one involving "have"--of the question.


    I thought that you had to use ga as the subject making particle in sentences with dore?


    のむ > のみます What is the rule?


    Hard to learn if the translation isnt common english..."which will you drink " is never a sentence you will hear outside of a cult about to commit mass suicide.

    I dont know thr proper translation but that is not anything anyenglish speaker is likely to ever say.


    "which will" does not sound like proper English to me. why is 'one' omitted after the 'which' here, when it wasn't in the other exercise asking "Which one will you eat?"?


    I don't understand why we use "wo" instead of "ha". Can someone please explain. I'm a bit lost.


    What does どれ mean in this sentence


    Duolingo, fix this:



    Duolingo, fix this:



    I put "Which one you want to drink" but it is wrong. Why?


    Oh come on. You need to work on your alternate translations. "What are you drinking?" is much more natural a translation than "what one are you drinking?" who even says that?


    But neither are correct. どれ means "which"; please read some of the other comments on this page.

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