"Her older brother is a fifth grader."


June 8, 2017



Could someone explain me when to use 'ha' and when to use 'no'?

June 8, 2017


I'm glad you asked this, because this is one of the features of Japanese that makes the language beautiful.

So in attempting to read a string of complicated characters, some of the questions one would like to answer is "What is this sentence talking about? What is the subject of this sentence? What is the subject doing? What is the subject doing something to?" and "What are the relationships between subject/noun and objects in the sentence?"

In Japanese some Hiragana symbols are used syntactically in ways which help clarify these questions, and are referred to as "particles." So far up to this point in Duolingo you've seen quite a few of them. Namely:

ね - used when looking for agreement or confirming a statement

Example: 寒いです! "It is cold!" そおうですね "Yes it is."

は and が are used to mark the "topic" and "subject" of the sentence respectively. It is important to note that the "subject" of a sentence has a grammatical relationship only to the verb, while the topic is a non grammatical context for the whole sentence.

The difference between these two is highly nontrivial, and a good explanation is given here: https://japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/22/whats-the-difference-between-wa-は-and-ga-が?newreg=3675ce533daa412aa5ae1676a45f834d

But for now, a good heuristic is to think of は as marking something already familiar to both speakers in the conversation.

For example, if a friend visits your family and sees your brother, both speakers would know who "he" is in the following sentence

彼は私のおにさんです "He is my older brother."

Now suppose while in the conversation, you observed a cat outside behind the person you are talking to eating a bird. In this situation if you mention a cat with は, this is assuming the speaker already knows which cat you are referring to and would be incorrect. Here we would say:

猫が鳥を食べます "The cat eats the bird"

More detail about these including other uses for both か and が can be found at this link: https://thoughtco.com/japanese-particles-wa-vs-ga-4091105

の - In the beginning contexts here is used to indicate possesion. When you see "AのB," just think of the grammatically correct way to say "A's B."

For example:

彼女の猫 "Her cat"

ブランドノの犬 "Brandon's dog"

の also has various other uses which are explained here: https://thoughtco.com/particles-o-and-no-2027923

June 10, 2017


This deserves double upvote

June 15, 2017


Thank you!

June 20, 2017


This was seriously so helpful to me. Thank you so much!!!

March 17, 2018


Could you then change the order of the sentence, like the "word-ha" with the "word-no" somehow?

June 16, 2017


The word order in any Japanese sentence realistically doesn't matter due to particles. However, you MUST put the object and verb at the end.

June 22, 2017


Ha is when you want to specify the topic. No is used to discribe the possessiveness of something. Try the youtube. Lot of interesting material there.

June 8, 2017


Since the subject of the sentence is the older brother, the 'ha' comes after him.

June 9, 2017


why do I need 小学

June 26, 2018


Since the latest update, when placing a word, it does no longer pronounce it, which makes it a lot harder to verify what you are doing.

June 19, 2017


How do we know whether it's 小学 or 中学 when the English is fifth grader?

June 20, 2018


I think they expect you to know the Japanese schooling system. Grades 1-6 are [小学], Grades 7-9 are [中学], Grades 10-12 are [高校] and Grade 13 onwards are all considered [大学]

March 7, 2019


You would use the kanji for 5 (五)...

October 26, 2018



June 10, 2017


What does the "お" do?

June 17, 2017


It's a polite prefix to add to many nouns (お皿、お兄さん, etc) which is actually a form of keigo.

June 24, 2017


Something seems to be going on with the program for me. "Desu" was not available, but it marked me correct without it. This is the third time I've had a sentence dealing with younger or older brother that is missing the pieces I need to answer the question correctly.

February 15, 2018


Would a native speaker understand you if you left out 小学?

It was counted correct when I typed 「彼女のお兄さんは五年生です」, but I'm curious if that sounds weird to a native.

February 4, 2019


Same. @.@

March 28, 2019


Does かのじょ usually imply an older female? I have never heard it in reference to younger girls before. Any clarification is appreciated, thanks!

June 10, 2017


It's also important to remember that in the vast majority of cases, Japanese doesn't use pronouns. Since かのじょ also means "girlfriend" (and かれ = "boyfriend") you may hear the word more in that context. Duolingo seems to just be using it for the sake of convenience.

June 22, 2017


It's for both younger and older females. (As for me, I usually hear older males refer to younger girls as kanojo.)

June 13, 2017


かのじよのおにいさん小学五年生 ですlooks exactly like the correct answer.. this keeps happening to me. what am I doing wrong..

October 29, 2017


seems like you forgot the は after おにさん

January 3, 2018


It lacks the "は" particle but I suppose you solved that much time ago

January 1, 2018


you forgot about 「は」between 「おにいさん」and「小学五年生」

January 14, 2018


you forgot about 「は」between 「おにいさん」and 「小学五年生」 :)

January 14, 2018


Can't you leave out the pronoun, so it's just "おにいさんは小学五年生です"?

September 17, 2018


can't write shogaku in kanji, plz help, all i get is 書学

January 5, 2019


小学 You have to type it out in hiragana しょうがく it will then turn into 小学. Try it again. Make sure ょ is small not よ.

January 11, 2019


You gotta visualize the romaji for this one.

Rather than saying "shogaku", it's written (and pronounced) as "shougaku".

So the kana looks like しょうがく and if you hit space or enter afterwards, it should come out as 小学。

As a side note, I had to hit spacebar twice to shuffle to the correct kanji.

February 4, 2019


The tile options presented contained no に character, which was demanded in the "Correct Solutions."

April 13, 2019


I used が instead of は in my response, which was otherwise the same as the translation given, and it was marked incorrect. Should my translation have been accepted, or is が wrong in this case? And if it's wrong, does someone know the reason why?

April 14, 2019


I always remember the "wa" as "am" or "is" and the "no" as ""my," "hers," or "theirs."

June 9, 2017


I forgot to add "ha" :(

February 20, 2018


Great explanation!

April 13, 2018
Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.