"それは何ですか?"

Translation:What is that?

June 8, 2017

63 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Shadow15243

これ Kore=This, in front of me それ Sore=that, Next to you あれ Are=That, over there

June 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/GuyNamedDavid

And どれ (dore) = "which?" for a thing in an unknown location. These together are the "ko-so-a-do" system of demonstratives. The same pattern applies to 〜こ (here/there/where), and 〜の (ex: この is short for これの and is used to say "this ___" while referring to a specific object), and ko-so-a-do can be used in a few other cases as well.

June 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/EvilJamie

These two comments have taken me from head-scratching and guessing, to just getting it right every time. Thanks so much!!!!

December 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/NoahDale1

The true lessons in duolingo are in the comments. Thank you.

March 30, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AdilAde3

There are tips you can read them before this.

April 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TJabraao

For the ones familiarized with Portuguese and Spanish: Kore=Este || Sore=Esse/Ese || Are=aquel/aquele.

June 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ASleepingRock

And if you're familiar with English... wait a minute...

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JamesMaddo8

Yeah, we don't quite have an あれ equivalent. But as my spanish teacher tought us for aquel, don't think of it as "that one", think of it as "that one, way over there".

February 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Gary251512

What about yonder?

March 30, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Boondock4

For anyone who is familiar with Tubu. ( which I'm pretty sure no one is over here) これ: À それ: To あれ: Buto

June 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/KateB.16

Where is Tubu from?

August 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/tenienteramires

If you're familiarised with Catalan: kore: aquest, sore: aqueix/eixe, are: aquell.

May 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Florfy

If there's anyone here who knows Korean!!! これ=이거 それ=그거 あれ=저거

August 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/nomeatfreak

Thanks!!!

October 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/missingnins58

For anyone who speaks Malay, これ → sini すれ → situ あれ → sana

August 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hafizah.rzk

どれ untuk "mana"?

October 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/deathlessmile

In Filipino: /Kore=Ito/ /Sore=Iyan/ /Are=Iyon/

December 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Alypaap

さらまつ!

May 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Contemno_I

Italian: これ: questo それ: codesto (almost never used nowadays in informal speech) あれ: quello

August 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/nic.agnoletti

"Codesto" viene usato spesso dalle mie parti u.u

January 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LennyTheHo

What's the difference between:それ and あれ?

June 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Tsunasama

こ= Close to the speaker. そ= Close to the listener. あ= Distant from both the speaker and listener. ど=Interrogative.

ここ=Here それ=That あんな=That (sort of (thing)) どれ=Which

June 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Akai_VAC

それ is used to refer to objects closer to the subject, whereas あれ is used for objects farther away

June 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DanielOCal

The same distinction applies to koko/soko/asoko, kono/sono/ano, kore/sore/are, where 'so-' refers to 'there, by you' and 'a-' refers to 'there distant from both you and me'.

June 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jake3.14

What role does 何 play in this sentence?

June 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DanielOCal

何 is "nani" which is contracted to "nan" before a "d" sound. So the full sentence reads "Sore wa nan desu ka ?" The meaning of 何 is "what".

Sore is “that which is close to you” or “that thing which is close to you” as a noun, distinct from “sono” which is a relative adjective and requires a noun eg “sono neko” - “that cat near you” “That thing which is not near you or me” is “Are”あれ

So the complete literal translation is: "That thing which is close to you, what is it?"

June 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/K.A.966562

Japanese is rather like an open-ended Yoda language. The structure of grammar is subject-object-verb, instead of English's subject-verb-object.

Instead of saying "The cat eats mice", they say "The cat mice eats."

This turns the full question in this particular lesson from "What is that?" to "That thing which is close to you, it is.....?" Basically asking the other person to fill in the blank. It explains why a lot of Japanese answers are very simple words or phrases. "Betsuni" = "nothing", or "This? Pencil it is." or "Plush toy, is."

If they're interested, of course they'll tell you more. If not, that's usually all they say, and then leave you with a weird stare or muttered "idiot".

It's also why I love Japanese. They can fit whole subtleties into one small phrase, but then other concepts take whole sentences to describe. :-)

August 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jake3.14

I understood the rest, I just didn't know what 何 meant. Though, I feel like I've seen other words for "what" than 何. Are there other words? And if so, which ones do you use when.

June 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DanielOCal

I just threw "what" into Google translate and it came up with a bunch of variants on 何 and also どんな "donna". どんな is much better translated as "what kind of" if I recall correctly.
Also どんなもの - what kind of physical thing? and どんなこと- what kind of abstract thing? As usual, donna has its friends konna, sonna and anna https://www.reddit.com/r/LearnJapanese/comments/381eug/how_do_i_use_konna_sonna_anna/

June 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/punkdoabc

For Portuguese speakers, seeing that we are many:

この ISTO;

その ISSO;

あの AQUELE.

September 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/tx91791

Does the Japanese language use "?", as Duolingo is?

July 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

Yes, for the most part, I think. In more formal writing, such as correspondence with a client or a professor, I think using ? tends to be avoided, but there's nothing wrong with it.

Also, since many particles, including か, are dropped in casual speech, ?is used when texting friends to indicate the upward inflection of a question, e.g. 「今日(きょう)、暇(ひま)?」 = "Are you free today?" (Lit. "Today, free?")

July 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnPMChappell

其れは何ですか。

June 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/absp2006

It says "wa", but I see a "ha"...

July 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

That's correct. When は is used as the topic/subject particle, it is pronounced wa.

July 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/1161542143

I dont understand the rules, but it sounds as both WA and HA at times. It may have something to do with 'nouns' or 'subjects'. I believe the hiragana sounds as WA also WA to mark subjects sometimes? Maybe HA sounds are for when it is a part of a word... at least maybe this can point you in the direction of what to search.

March 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Crys_tal

Remember the kosoado words!

Ko- = near the speaker So- = near the listener A- = far from both the reader and speaker Do- = a question

September 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Mya730913

I noticed some of these questions end with a question mark, but others do not, and I was wondering why that is. From what I've heard, question marks are improper in Japanese, but they're used for stylizing and emphasis, especially in manga.

December 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BenJammin234988

So I assume this is the polite way to say this? I have heard it said before as "Nani sore" or "What is this" as "Nani kare".

February 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

Yes, this is the polite, and grammatically correct, way to say this. 何それ and 何れ (not kare) are colloquialisms.

March 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/BenJammin234988

I see. Thank you, kind sir.

May 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Awanis10

how can to differ the use of wa and wo?

July 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

By wa, I'm assuming you mean the particle は, in which case it denotes the topic and often 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), and/or what is doing the verb (subject).

On the other hand, を is the object particle. That means the noun or phrase before を is what the verb is being done to.

An example:

子犬は水を飲みます。(こいぬは みずを のみます)

子犬 is the topic and the subject in this case, marked by は. 子犬 means "puppy" by the way.

飲みます is of course the verb, since it comes at the end of the sentence. It means "to drink".

水 is the object, marked by を. As we learn in this lesson, 水 is water.

So, putting all three together, you have the puppy which does the verb "to drink" to the object, "water". As a whole, the sentence can be translated to "The puppy drinks water."

July 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ZianaShwitz

May i ask what app or site did/do you use for learing japanese?

July 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

I'm afraid I don't have a very good answer for you. It's a long-winded one, and probably not that helpful at all.

I'll put it as a reply to this comment, so people can downvote the long version.

The short version is no specific app/site. I just broke down and analyzed whatever Japanese I could get my hands on.

July 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

The long version is a bit all over the place, but here goes:

The "site" I used to get the most improvement is called Sapporo City, Japan. I lived there for two years f(^_^;

Being an assistant language teacher over there, it was very enlightening to watch how they approached English. Grammar was everything, and I got to learn a lot of basic grammar patterns helping my students map Japanese grammar onto English sentences.

Meeting my partner there, who is a Japanese native, was also really motivating and I learned a lot from her, mostly by bugging her with a lot of questions about the minutiae of the nuance behind different word/phrase usage.

Immersion was really helpful, but I went over armed with some basics. Over the few years before I ever thought of going to live in Japan, I memorized hiragana and katakana, simply by writing them over and over again; I kind of cheated when it came to kanji, since I had studied Chinese since primary school (I didn't enjoy it, so I can't speak Chinese at all now, but it certainly made kanji less daunting); I found various websites explaining the rules for verb conjugation; I figured out the basic sentence structure rules by analyzing song lyrics for J-pop and J-rock songs, comparing the Japanese lyrics with translations people put up online (every now and then when I felt confident, I'd try and translate it myself before checking translations online).

While I was in Japan, my study became a bit more formal though. Many of my fellow native English-speaking teachers recommended the textbooks from [Mina no Nihongo] or the [Genki] books, but I kept plodding along with grammar, and picked up a grammar guide (kind of an index of grammar patterns with examples and very brief explanations of meaning and usage) for the JLPT exams, which I managed to pass after a year and a half of living in Japan. My vocabulary study relied on my dictionary app (Japanese-English Dictionary, or JED, for Android), things I heard in my everyday surroundings, and conversations with my partner and other Japanese friends.

July 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dim-ond-dysgwr

I understood that no question mark was necessary in Japanese -- the か itself being indicative of a question. Any comments?

December 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

Yes, two other comments addressing this were already up at time of writing, one of them being my own. I've copied the relevant part:

In more formal writing, such as correspondence with a client or a professor, I think using ? tends to be avoided, but there's nothing wrong with it.

Also, since many particles, including か, are dropped in casual speech, ?is used when texting friends to indicate the upward inflection of a question, e.g. 「今日(きょう)、暇(ひま)?」 = "Are you free today?" (Lit. "Today, free?")

December 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Bedight

I gave out my answer has "What is it? " and it came out as correct. Please clarify me on this.

January 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Brakstone

I put what is this and it was WRONG and if I put that CORRECT. This not have sense

January 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

English isn't your first language, is it? "This" and "that" are used differently in English, as are the Japanese words これ, それ, and あれ.

"This" refers to something close to the speaker, which is the same as これ.

"That" refers to something far away from the speaker, which is the same as それ (if it is close to the listener) or あれ (if it is far away from the listener too).

January 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Boondock4

For anyone familiar with Tubu. (which I'm pretty sure no one here) これ: À それ: To あれ: Buto

June 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/gee317484

I never knew "this" meant close to me.... I use "this" and "that" indiscriminately.... Twice the problem for me...

September 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/kairu260485

I dont like how they use are and sore with basically the same translation

September 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SonRyu

if the correct answer for translating それは何ですか into english is "what is that", but another lesson gives me "what is that" to translate into japanese and the correct answer is not それ, but is あれ, how can we differentiate the two without a visual?

October 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Maya_Hefty

Couldn't が be used for this sentence?

November 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreeaHagiu

In Romania it's a headache without a pattern XD.

December 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Emmy158363

I am constantly, after all these years, getting あれ、これ and それ mixed up. I'll never learn I swear

March 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Reno453636

For the germans here:

これ - Dieses hier (bei mir) それ - Dieses dort (bei dir) あれ - Jenes dort (weder bei dir, noch bei mir) どれ - Welches?

April 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Salman1157

The sound of kanji "nani/nan" is wrong. It should come "nan" instead of "nani"

April 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Nirosu

Better not learn by dualingo the different uses of "this, that" - you have a form for something close by, something far away, an object, a person/living thing, and such, better read comments to see what people say about this.

June 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/momokafuyu

「あれは何ですか?」 would be 'What is that over there?' right? and「は」would be marking the object that is not in reach of the speaker, but 'over there'?

August 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

Aww, so close! 「あれは何ですか?」 does indeed mean "what is that over there (out of your reach)?" but the information about the object being out of reach of the speaker and the listener is all contained in あれ.

は just marks out the topic/subject of the sentence.

August 15, 2017
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