1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "これは水ですか?"

"これは水ですか?"

Translation:Is this water?

June 8, 2017

92 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Taeshima

Slowly learning kanji. It was always my worst subject in school.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nihongo_papi

WaniKaniを使ってみるほうがいいですよ。 You should try WaniKani to learn Kanji. It is run by Tofugu LLC. Try the first three levels for free! https://www.wanikani.com


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dnlsrl

I can't upvote you more


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/duo.gluon

I've been using Wanikani for quite a long time, and i agree that it is one of the best methods for learning kanji. When i first started, my plan was to learn some kanji, and then come back to Duolingo (since japanese is now available) for vocabulary. That's what im doing currently doing and i must say it is pretty effective.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jedimunkey

Very clever Kanji app! Trying the free part now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mixxedyolyfe

I'm having trouble understanding how "wa" works in this?

Kore wa mizu desu Ka?

I assumed wa made it say. "Is this my water?"

What would be the difference between the two phrases?

Why is wa necessary and how would it be confusing if omitted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Ok, sorry in advance for a super long reply.

The particle は is used to denote the topic, which is often also the subject, of the sentence. That is to say, the noun or phrase before は is what the rest of the sentence is talking about (topic) or what is doing the verb (subject).

In our case, the topic is これ which we know because it comes before は. The rest of the sentence is referring back to これ. That's essentially all は does here. Our verb in this case, is actually the copula です which behaves like the English copula "is"/"am", and it connects the object, in our case 水 back to the subject これ.

So, a very rough way to break it down into English is:

As for (は) this (これ), is it (です) water (水)?

Changing that into more natural English gives us "Is this water?"

I think you might have assumed "my water" because of previous lessons have often assumed the subject to be "I" or "me" when it is omitted, and you tried to put it back into your translation almost out of habit. But in this case, the subject is specified so there's no need for "I" or "me".

If you wanted to say "my water", you have to add the possessive particle の to "water". "Is this my water?" would look like 「これは私の水ですか」. Here, the topic is still this, but the object is now modified to be "my water".

Since Japanese is such a contextual language, they quite used to filling in blanks in the right places and leaving out は is actually done quite often, particularly in speech. For example:「これ、水ですか」 with the comma (、) there to create a short pause when speaking.

You could even leave out これ and just say 「水ですか」 if it's really obvious that you're asking about "this".

Note that it does make things a little more informal, so if you're not sure, it's better to include it.

Sorry again for such a long post, but I hope it helps.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

Very helpful explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gustavo_Antoine

You sincerely is one of the Legends of this community。 Always helping the others, you're doing God's work here! ありがとうございます!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Akai_Ito

Thank you so much for this explanation, really helped me out! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Emi_Akino

Thank you a lot!! So good and comprehensible explanation that would give some lingots if I can (now on mobile and there's no such possibility :(


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SurfaceDweller

What about が?Didn't you just explain the opposite? I thought the が particle is exactly what you explained about は. This is so confusing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/penguinyaro

What is the difference between that and this?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anonamoose52

Kore - this Sore - that (closer) Are - that (furthur) Dore - which?

These KSAD packs will show up everywhere, so remembering the style of pattern here will help a lot!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnPMChappell

Close, but not quite. こ is "this, near to me (speaker)", often literally in my hand. そ is "that, near to you (listener)", and implies that it some distance away from the speaker. あ is "that, over there", and implies some distance from both speaker and listener.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marin862481

How I remember the ksad K for close S for somewhat close A for all the way over there And d you just have to remember ;) Hope this helps a little....


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ryan754970

This helped a ton :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drog0n

So could you use this to ask if something is a specific flavor in a supermarket? Like korewa tsuna mayo deska? I suppose you can even leave out de korewa if you're holding the product?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Yes, you're exactly right on all three!

Just to be pedantic, I'll add the caveat that you would basically only use これ in cases where you are holding the product (otherwise you might you それ or あれ), but can leave out これは if it's obvious you're talking about the product in your hand. You can be holding a product and looking at a different product on the shelf, for example.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkOne6

But at your said before, I think, it's often better to not shorten too much, for politeness (especially with people you don't know well).. Right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

That's right, I wouldn't recommend shortening too much unless you're confident you know what you're doing.

For the sake of interest, I'll add that in the example above (you, the customer, asking a staff member), you would be able to shorten your sentences more than if you were about the same social standing as the listener. That is, you can get away with a slightly ruder manner of speaking because you are the customer. But again, that's only to a certain degree, so I wouldn't recommend trying it until you know what you're doing :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SakuraGreyCat

We share the same lone braincell, I see :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Daniel513800

The difference between this and that is infuriating. I can be talking about something far from me and the listener and have it still be, "this." Say I'm a car salesman comparing two cars that are both far from me and the listener. Car A becomes "this car" because it is the car im focusing on, and Car B becomes "that car" because its the one I'm comparing Car A with. "This car is much better on mpg than that car, but that car has better acceleration than this one." I mean, come on. The two cars could be next to each other and they'd still be "this" and "that" while being far from myself and the listener


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

That's an interesting point. I think in this situation, Japanese people (which doesn't include me; I'm Australian) are likely to continue using "Car A" and "Car B" throughout the conversation, without resorting to "this" or "that". My guess is they would differentiate the focus of the conversation by the use of は vs が.

Alternatively, they may say 右の方 migi no hou and 左の方 hidari no hou for "the one on the right" and "the one on the left", respectively, or some other similar framing pronoun.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tophyr

Why is "This is water?" incorrect?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eon3000

I don't think duolingo looks at question marks, so maybe they just looked at it as this is water, making it incorrect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkOne6

It's wrong because in Japanese it is a question, not a statement. You wrote a statement in English


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Heartless_Nobody

"This is water?" is a question - not a statement, the fact that there's a question mark makes it so. Tophyr's question is worth being reported as correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/adams.alice.k

This. In English, interrogatives are more about intonation than word order, really.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AVAX3M
  • 1209

At first sight, I thought it was a weird sentence but then imagining myself going to Japan and eventually getting so thirsty while exploring that I'd take any liquid just to quench my thirst, I realized it could be very well my very lifesaver.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SurfaceDweller

Does Gasoline have color? XD


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ckreezee

これ は ドゥオリンゴ です か?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aldeseus

If you need to question whether it's water or not, you probably shouldn't drink it. Also as someone who speaks three Chinese dialects, Kanji is like my bane. It seems like it's Chinese, my brain says that it's Chinese, but the language says it's characters with Japanese pronunciations.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joshua10902

Now this one is a bit concerning


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnPMChappell

此れは水ですか。


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/torstbol

Would この水ですが mean the same (and is it a valid sentence)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

It is a valid sentence, but it has quite a different meaning.

First, I'm going to assume you meant 「この水ですか」 and not ですが. Using ですが makes it a statement that sounds like you're embarrassed to admit.

Because, in your sentence, この水, or "this water", is the object, 「この水ですか」 means "Is it this water?" and sounds like you're confirming with someone if they are talking about "this water" as opposed to some other water.

Compare that to the exercise sentence 「これは水ですか」, where the object is simply 水, or "water", and the subject is specified as これ, or "this". In this sentence, you're confirming whether "this" is water or not.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robbadob

First, I'm going to assume you meant 「この水ですか」 and not ですが. Using ですが makes it a statement that sounds like you're embarrassed to admit.

God, is Japanese complicated at times.
All the more reason to learn it while I'm young, though, right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rainer29919

I know I should've commented this in an earlier lesson, but why is は pronounced like "ha" but in questions it sounds like "wa"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Actually, it has nothing to do with being a question or not.

When it is used as part of a word, は is pronounced as ha, but whenever it is being used as a particle (usually to indicate the topic), it is pronounced as wa. As your vocabulary grows, you'll easily be able to figure out which pronunciation to use.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrius5225

So what's Japanese for simply "Is it water"? Would it be 水はですか or smth different? I checked the English-Japanese translation of the phrase at Google's, and it was それは水ですか . So I guess it could be the same with これ, too. And if it's so, then the question これは水ですか may be also properly translated as "Is it water?". At the moment, the latter is being counted as an error, though.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Well, "it" is a weird thing to translate into Japanese. "Is it water?" should be an acceptable translation of これは水ですか, but it is probably far more common to say "Is this water?" in most similar situations.

For simply "Is it water?" though, I would probably suggest 水ですか


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/languagesbruh4

What's the difference between これ and あれ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robbadob

これ is used to refer to something that is close to the speaker (roughly "this" in English, or esto in Spanish).
それ is used to refer to something that is close to the listener (like "that" or eso).
あれ is used to refer to something that is close to neither the speaker nor the listener (like aquello or "that thing over there").

They don't match up exactly, but that's the idea.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zenjupiter

i could be wrong, but i'm pretty sure "kore" means "this" and "are" and "sore" mean "that"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Quinnquilly

これは鳩ですか?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SherylHohman

This
これ
kore

"core" can refer to ones' abs/trunk/body

..so Close to my Core (Me) = This


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Julian131313

これは鳩ですか?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anzumiya

Waitress serving Pepsi. Me: Is this water?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/512l420

I like to imagine you asked a chemist to give you H2O but you think he gave you H2O2.


[deactivated user]

    これ - This は - topic indicator 水 - Water です - Is か - question indicator Kore wa mizu desu ka?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarolineGo172264

    Kore _ this (near me) Sore _ that (near us, but don't touching) Are _ that Dore_ witch one

    Kono_ same as kore, but used in a diferent structure Sono_ same as sore, but used in a diferent structure Ano_ same as are, but used in a diferent structure

    Ex. Kono hon wa dare no desu ka _ like "who owns this book?" Kore wa hon desu (ka) _ this is a book(?)

    Kochira_ this way Sochira_ that (but near) way Achira _ that (far, pointing) way

    In portuguese if it helps anyone:

    Kore isto Sore isso Are aquilo

    Kochira por este caminho Sochira por esse caminho Achira por aquele caminho


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnnoyingDog__

    Tip: if you're unsure about whether it's this or that, say "thit" or "thas". Duolingo will detect it as a typo and correct it to whichever one it is.

    Of course you won't learn anything, but it could be useful


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Psyracore

    Wouldnt the litteral translation be "this water?"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    No, the "this" in "this water" would be acting as an adjective rather than a pronoun. The literal translation would be more like "this, water is?" which is nonsensical in English, thus it's best to avoid literal translations.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oliver747900

    I think that is slightly wrong, but not for the reason that JoshuaLore9 gives.

    I would interpret the English sentence, "This water?" as short for, "Is this water?" The speaker has simply omitted the word "is". This is very informal, but it is something that I can imagine a native speaker saying, as least in some dialects of English.

    In your English sentence, as in its expanded version - "Is this water?" - the word "this" is a demonstrative pronoun, just like "kore" in Japanese.

    However, the Japanese and English sentences differ in that the Japanese sentence contains a topic but omits the subject, whereas the English sentence does the opposite.

    In the Japanese sentence, "kore" is the topic. You can tell because it is marked with "wa". That means that it is grammatically disconnected, so to speak, from the actual subject-predicate part of the sentence. This is not commonly done in English, but the way it works is that you have a preamble, to set the topic - "As for this..." - and then you have the main body of the sentence, with the subject and the predicate, which could stand as a complete sentence in itself: "Is it water?"

    If this were expressed in full in the Japanese sentence, it would come out as, "Kore wa, kore ga mizu desu ka?" This would mean, "As for this, is this water?"

    In the Japanese sentence that we were given, the subject, marked with the subject-marking particle "ga", is omitted, as it can be deduced from the context. So you just end up with, "Kore wa mizu desu ka?" Whereas in the English version, "Is this water?" we have kept the subject as it was but omitted the topic.

    So I think the Japanese sentence and the English sentence that you have given are actually different in structure.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Heather318444

    What is the difference between 'this' and 'that'


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    In English? Usually "this" means something near the person speaking, while "that" is something farther away.

    In Japanese, they account for both the speaker and the listener, so これ means near the speaker, それ means near the listener, and あれ means far from both the speaker and the listener.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nkwk88

    This is water? is wrong?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arrekin

    Duolingo ignores all nonletters symbols so it thinks you made statement and not question.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eddy992128

    getting some real grand blue vibes from this question


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kli13

    So if I understand well : これ this (near me) それ that (near the person I'm talking to) あれ that (neither close to me or the person I'm talking to, but still seeable by us) どれ that (something none of us can see)

    How would we say "it"? "Is it water? "

    Or should it be accepted for one of the 4 other cases as a correct answer by duolingo?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robbadob

    You're close on これ, それ, あれ and どれ — どれ means "which", not something that neither person can see. あれ would probably be used for that.

    JoshuaLore9 has said above that he would probably use「水ですか」for "Is it water?". It's difficult to find places where the nuances of English and Japanese line up, since they're such different languages.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robbadob

    That being said, you probably know this by now. I can't check dates on the mobile app.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Christophe193573

    I wrote "is that water" and it's still marked me as incorrect


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tim613889

    これ means "this", not "that".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/philinator

    It sounds like she is saying ore which is screwing with me picking the wrong answers and getting confused.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Poof_Meister

    Why is これ used in this instance instead of この? If the speaker is asking about a specific instance of water wouldn't you use この?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G-M2
    • 259

    Kore is standalone "this" whereas kono requires a noun after it, meaning "this...(water or whatever)." It doesn't make sense without the subject word.

    "This water is cold" (kono mizu wa samui desu).

    "This is cold" (kore wa samui desu).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    Great explanation of これ vs この! I just have to nitpick your examples :)

    寒い【さむい】is a tricky word in Japanese. It is used to describe someone's experience of being cold, or the weather (in the general sense that it would make someone feel cold). But when describing things as being cold or physically feeling cold to the touch, you should use 冷たい【冷たい】

    So, in your example, "this water is cold" should be この水は冷たいです.

    "This is cold" is fine, because we don't have any context, so it could be referring to a low temperature and someone agreeing/stating that it is a cold temperature. But if "this" is also referring to "this water", you would also have to use 冷たい ;)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bunnyblip

    Say this before dying when someone has poisoned your drink.


    [deactivated user]

      Why not; Is that water? What is the difference?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

      "This" means something near you, "that" is for everything else.

      Japanese takes it a little further; これ means something near you, それ means something near the person you're speaking to, and あれ is for everything else, so only "is this" is correct for this exercise.


      [deactivated user]

        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zeekson1407

        What is the difference between "kore" and "sore"? I am quite confused


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nawm_D_Ploom

        As I understand it, Kore = this (near us) Sore = that (near us, but not touching).


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnnoyingDog__

        Kore is near the speaker, sore is near the listener. Both translate to "this"

        Are isn't near both the speaker and the listener, and would translate to "that"


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jasmine111686

        I feel like "is that water" is basically saying the same thing but it says I'm wrong


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G-M2
        • 259

        Ko-Re is used when something is near the speaker and translates to English as "this" whereas So-Re or A-Re are near the listener or away from both (respectively) and both translate to "that" in English (or to specify the latter, "that, over there).


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeanneCenNi

        Kore wa mizu desu ka Is this water ?

        Mizu ga kore desu ka Is water that one?

        Are sentences above correct? And wo (o) should not be used in pointing direction but only with an accompanying verb?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oliver747900

        This sentence just came up in lesson 2 of 3 on my way to level 1 of the skill "Counting". Weird place for it to appear. Is this sort of thing an error that needs reporting, or do they just like to mix things up a bit?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Abbie165352

        This is harder than I thought, anyone else?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dude838520

        Why couldnt i put the "o" after mizu? I usually can but in this question it's always "wrong".


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StaceyBusu

        All I can see is the meme...

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