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  5. "What is that?"

"What is that?"


June 8, 2017



Seems like は should be its own block, and then move な together with ん to make なん right?

June 16, 2017


This is so wrong. I thought that はな was 花, so I tried to pick another way to build the sentence...

June 24, 2017


What's the difference between 花 and 話 (both はな)?

March 25, 2019


花 - はな - (noun) Flower
話 - はなし - (noun) Talk, tale, story, chat
話す - はな.す - (verb root) - to talk, to speak
You'll never see 話 as "hana" by itself in a sentence, it'll always have a verb ending attached or be pronounced "hanashi" as a noun

March 25, 2019


Agreed especially when は can be 'ha' or 'wa' depending on if it's a particle and putting it with な could suggest the block is はな aka 花 aka "flower".

August 28, 2017


the characters なん aren't right at all, are they? you dont pronounce the "i" but it's still なに isn't it?

August 25, 2017


No. 何 can either be pronounced nani or nan depending on whats following, and afaik is also written in kana that way.

September 1, 2017


Shouldn't this just be それ は 何 ですか?

June 11, 2017


In fact, それ is "it", and not "that", (that is said あれ btw). But it is surprising that they didn't use a kanji they had taught to us...

June 18, 2017


Both それ and あれ can be translated as 'that'. それ refers to something close to the listener, and あれ refers to something that is far from both the listener and the speaker. Both are translated as 'that' in English.

(For the sake of completeness, これ refers to something close to the speaker, and would be 'this' in English)

June 26, 2017


これ at the reach of an arm of the speaker or so

それ is far from the speaker, but at sight

あれ away...

July 12, 2017


I've seen others explain it as "kore" is near the speaker, "sore" is away from the speaker but near the addressee, and "are" is away from both speaker and addressee--in other words, it's not about measured distance per se, but rather position relative to the interlocutors.

September 18, 2017


The way I like to think of it is: kore = this, sore= that, and are = that (over there)

July 1, 2018


It is actually used as a measure of distance:

これ (Kore): This それ (Sore): That (the object in question is physically close to the speaker) あれ (Are): That (the object is farther away from the speaker)

February 26, 2018


それ is used in reference to "That" あれ is used in reference to "That over there" それ is used for objects that are close while あれ is used for objects that are farther away

January 10, 2018


これ is used for close object to the speaker, それ is for object far from speaker but close to the listener. While あれ is used for object far from both.

January 11, 2018


Koko is near from both?! I translate as here.

July 13, 2019


ここ means “this place”. If the speaker and listener are in different places, it refers to where the speaker is. Same with when they’re in the same place. そこ means “that place”. When in separate places, it refers to the listener’s place. When in the same place, it refers to relative distance. あそこ means “that place (over there)” it refers to a place not near the speaker or the listener. If I wasn’t clear, feel free to ask!

July 13, 2019


Can somebody please explain what そちら stands for? So far I've only seen あれ, これ and それ

June 27, 2017


I know this is an old question, but そちら is the more polite form of それ. They both mean "that one" or "that"

August 4, 2019


I could have sworn, from other programs, that it had a 'direction' connotation. As in 'that way'. Doesn't seem to fit here.

July 27, 2017


Well I looked it up on Jisho shortly after posting this comment, it actually has several meanings (all close to the listener) : "that one", "there", "that person" and yes, "that way". Thanks anyway ! :)

July 31, 2017


I've heard thet the x-chii words like sochii or dochii refer to two things and x-re like sorre or dorre words refer to all other cases.

August 1, 2017


Shouldn't 何ですか? also be accepted?

July 9, 2017


I also wrote this as I couldn't find あれ like I wanted to put in and そちら was not a word used in the lessons to my understanding

July 17, 2017


Yes, DL's list of correct answers included only あれ and それ but they were not on the list of choices, and I thought I was in some kind of endless loop. In desperation, I plugged in そちら, and 'lo and behold, it was right. I looked it up afterwards in my Tuttle Compact Japanese Dictionary. Sochira: 1. there, that way; 2. that one (of two); 3. you. The second definition fits. New word for today: Sochira.

January 6, 2018


That would be more accurate as "What is it?" rather than "What is that?" as the question asks.

January 20, 2018


Technically, no. The subject of the sentence is not clear, and it just translates to "What is ... (without anything referring to the subject, so it is incorrect.)

January 3, 2019


They accept "何あれ?"

May 4, 2019


it accepts 何それ? but you need to say it with a very annoying and raspy voice.

February 20, 2019


I love the fact that it accepted that, that makes me happy.

July 10, 2019


I get too many emails saying the same thing-- the answer is not available. I'll try to explain it here: The answer should be "それは何ですか" right? Yes it should, but 何 has 2 different ways to pronounce itself (in this case it's なん). So at Hiragana form, the answer is "それはなんですか". Usually you'll get a box with は and なん combined, thus making it はなん in one box. Conclusion: try to answer (それーはなんーですーか).

EDIT: あちら、そちら also counts as "It/that" although there's more explanation of why both are, I'm not going to go into details.

December 7, 2017


それ is not even offered.

December 26, 2017


そちら、あちら is also a variant of "That/It" FYI

January 22, 2018


It says "Correct solutions: それは何ですか?, あれは何ですか?" but you can't get one or the other from the signs offered (at least on the web version I am using)

December 26, 2017


I can't understand the difference between the use of は and を after それ.

March 23, 2019


それ、あれ、これ are nouns used in place of other nouns. The use of は and を function with them normally as they would with other nouns.
は marks the topic of the conversation, such as here それは何ですか (On the topic of that - what is it?) "That" is doing the action of "being what"
を marks the direct object of the sentence; the thing that the verb is acting on. それをください (That thing - please give (it) to me) "That" is the object being requested/given to the speaker.
それは食べます - "That eats" or "That (topic) - eats" With the thing marked with は doing the eating.
それを食べます - "(I) eat that" or "That (object) - (I) eat" With the thing marked with を being eaten.

March 23, 2019


Just to add a little bit to what swisidniak said. Think of を as an indicator of something being affected by an action. If you say それをください, you are essentially choosing something, affecting the object with your actions.

March 24, 2019



I had the same problem, and the answer which was accepted as right one was:


December 26, 2017


That's also right, it's the Hiragana form of "あちら は 何ですか"

あちら and そちら also counts as "that" or "it"

December 27, 2017


Why is 何 pronounced なに on its own, but in this sentence it's なん all of a sudden?

December 28, 2017


Kanji can have multiple readings, when followed by (ですか), 何 will be pronounced as なん.

December 29, 2017


それは何ですか?is still "sore wa nani desuka" but it is just pronounced as "sore wa nan deska", isn't it? So the "i" is silent.

June 10, 2019


It is very confusing when "これをなにですか", this one please, and "これえわなにですか", that one please are translated as the same in English.

December 15, 2018


Neither of those sentences make sense though
In your first sentence を is the object particle, meaning that it marks the noun that a verb is acting upon; but there is not verb in this sentence, only the copula "to be".

I think you're thinking of これをください "this one, please"
(This thing) (object particle) (Please give it to me)
それをください - "That one, please"
(That thing over there) (object particle) (Please give it to me)
あれをください - "That one, please"
(That thing over there) (object particle) (Please give it to me)

In your second sentence えわ aren't particles at all; I'm not sure what they're doing there. I assume you mean maybe "e" へ the direction particle that indicates movement (which doesn't make sense here either since "kore" is not a destination and there is no movement verb), and "wa" は the topic particle (which actually does belong there)

なに 『何』when followed by ですか, is shortened to 『なん』  
これはなんですか - "What is this" (This thing) (topic) (what is it?)
それはなんですか - "What is that" (That thing) (topic) (what is it?)
あれはなんですか - "What is that (over there)" (That thing over there) (topic) (what is it?)

December 21, 2018


Please! Someone tell me the defirenc betweenあれ_それ_これ

January 26, 2019


This question has been answered many times on this discussion, please read the thread before posting.
これ - This (near the speaker)
それ - That (near the listener)
あれ - That (over there - far from both speaker and listener)

January 26, 2019


How am I supposed to know which "that" it is referring to?

February 14, 2019


Since the english translation is vague any form of "that" should be acceptable. If it isn't you can report it to have it added.

February 14, 2019


i don't get what to put can somebody tell me and explain

January 17, 2018


Imagine that you want some information about "That" (point to it over there), so start your sentence with the word for "that" (Sore) それ as your topic, then mark it with the topic particle (wa) は. You want to know "what" 何 ( the kanji for "what" and pronounced nan or nani) it is (desu) です. End your sentence with the particle (ka) か to make this a question: Sore wa nan desu ka. I hope that helps. "Sochira" works in place of "sore."

January 17, 2018


何それ or 何あれ is also possible

June 14, 2018


How would I refer to something that isn't tangible, like something that someone is referencing that I haven't heard of? would I just choose from sorenandeska and korenandeska? or do those only refer to things you can touch?

June 22, 2018


If you speaking to someone, that says a word or phrase you don't understand, you can repeat the word and add



"what is (that thing you say as) [unknown word]"

If you don't want to repeat the word, you can use:

今の表現(いまのひょうげん) /今の言葉(いまのことば) "the expression/word just now"


は何ですか "what is"

You could also substitute [word]+ということ with

そのこと or それ (If your conversation partner just said something you don't know)

あのこと or あれ (if your conversation partner said something you don't know a while ago and moved to another topic already)

The concept of distance to the speaker and listener is still valid, but in a figurative sense rather than the spatial distance.


There are many more appropriate/polite ways to make someone explain a reference without repeating the word other than using それ and あれ.

March 15, 2019


do "あれ" and "それ" mean the same?  

July 17, 2018


Sore Wa Nan Desu Ka. I left off the "wa" and was marked correct. Can someone please explain to me if this is acceptable or just a mistake? Sorry for not writing w proper characters

September 4, 2018


I gave them kore wa nan-desu ka. But i should have use ore*. What does the sentence done with ko mean?

December 14, 2018


"Ko-" is the prefix used to describe objects near the speaker. In this sentence "Kore wa nan desu ka" would be "What is this"
You'll see this prefix in other words like
"Koko" - "Here (Near me)"
"Kochira" - "This way (Towards me)"
"Kono (noun)" - "This (noun near me)"

Similarly "So-" is used to describe things near the listener.
"Sore" - "That (near you)"
"Soko" - "There (near you)"
"Sochira" - "That way (towards you)"
"Sono (noun)" - "That (noun near you)"

and "A-" for things far from both the speaker and the listener.
"Are" - "That (over there)"
"Asoko" - "Over there"
"Achira" - "That way (over there)"
"Ano (noun)" - "That (noun)"

Since English doesn't really distinguish distances, sentences with "That" in them can generally take either "So-" and "A-" words unless the "over there" part is specified.
And "That- (-re ending)" and "That way (-chira ending)" words can also be often used somewhat interchangeably. It's like pointing at an object and saying "That one!" versus gesturing with your hand in the general direction of the object; which can be seen as a bit more polite, especially if the "that one" in question is a person. It's a bit rude to point directly at people.

December 21, 2018


What would これ何ですか mean?

December 21, 2018


"What is this" or literally "This-what is it?" but a bit more informal since you've dropped the topic particle は. これは何ですか

December 21, 2018


How can you tell which answer ("kore", " "sore" or "are") is correct when you dont know the distance.

December 27, 2018


"kore" is "this" so that is wrong for this sentence either way.

"sore" and "are" can both mean "that" and should both be acceptable. "sochira" and "achira" are "that way/direction" and can also be used in a more polite situation. View my comment above responding for Saint.Elijah for a longer explanation.

December 27, 2018


Could the particle be を not は?

January 4, 2019


No, を is for direct objects and there is no direct object in this sentence. It is used with transitive verbs to describe an action being done to an object.
In this case the copula です is intransitive and describes a state of being, not an action being done, so it takes は.
あれ は 何 です か
(That) (topic) (what) (is) (?)
(On the topic of that thing - what is it?)

January 4, 2019


I have been confused about what the difference is between a Japanese character that is normal and a Japanese character that has those mini quotation marks... what do you call those and what are they for? I don't understand why the letter ko sometimes has tiny quotation marks above it for instance

January 6, 2019


They're both normal. Duolingo doesn't explain it except if you happen to click the light bulb for the lessons they happen to be in.

There are two syllabaries, or sets of symbols that map to sounds, used in Japanese. Hiragana is for Japanese words, katakana is for foreign words. They map to the same sounds. The diacritic marks (those mini quotation marks plus the circle mark you asked about) add extra sounds without adding new sumbols... sort of like how there's no special letter for "th" sound in english.

The marks change ko (こ) to go (ご) for example, and hi (ひ) to bi (び) and pi (ぴ), ka (か) to ga (が), he (へ) to be (べ) and pe (ぺ)...etc.

I recommend looking at the wikipedia page or any other basic search outside of duolingo to learn more. And I recommend the open source and free and no-ads program "KaQui" on android for practicing to learn both syllabaries.

January 7, 2019


thank you! that explains a lot

January 7, 2019


それとあれは同じ意味がある。This translation is slightly wrong since それ and あれ both would mean "that"

January 14, 2019


それ and あれ both mean "that", it's actually based on distance of the object both there would be no way to tell with the English provided

January 14, 2019


What is the difference between あれ and それ?

January 26, 2019


if you open up the 'food 1' "tips and notes" page (click the icon that looks like a light bulb) you'll see the explanation.

February 2, 2019


The sentences need to specify where the object is so we know wither to use これ, それ or あれ correctly.

January 31, 2019

  • 422

For any sentence using "that" in which it is unclear where the object is located, both それ and あれ are accepted answers. If you find one where it is not accepted, please send a report.

For sentences using "this," これ is the correct answer.

September 11, 2019


I feel like I can't quite grasp the difference between "あれは何ですか" and "これは何ですか" when I'm translating from English to Japanese. Can someone explain?

February 7, 2019


これ - "This" Near the speaker
 これは何ですか - What is this?
それ - "That" Near the listener
  それは何ですか - What is that?
あれ "That" Far from both speaker in listener
 あれは何ですか - What is that (over there)?

Since English doesn't really distinguish between distances, either form of "That" (are, sore) should be acceptable.

February 8, 2019


I had a tricky time remember which that, is which… There’s something silly that I used to help me. It’s not 100% accurate, but just a way to remember the words.

これ (kore) – This – Just remember the person saying it, is usually ‘keeping’ the item near them or in their hand. (Keep, Kore)

それ (sore) – That – “Somewhere” near the listener. (Somewhere, Sore)

あれ – (are) -- That -- That thing is Around there somewhere… (Around, Are)

Like I said, not 100% accurate, but it can help give you an idea of how to remember the words. If you want to be more accurate Swisidniak was right.

April 3, 2019


Thank you very much, I was looking for a memory aid and this is just perfect :D

June 10, 2019


The biggest frustration with sentences like this is translating them from english TO Japanese due to there being 2 possible correct answers to translate for "that".

You can use both あれ and それ for "that", but if they give you both to pick as a option then it feels like the only way to get it right is trial and error or tapping on the word in the sentence and looking at the listed answer. Which is kind if frustrating. Please correct me if I am wrong on this one.

February 14, 2019


Is, "それを何ですか。" also acceptable? How else would I know how far away the object is?

March 9, 2019


それ works fine since the english is vague, but you need a は particle there instead of を. The copulaです is not a transitive verb so cannot take a direct object.

March 10, 2019


Couldn't both sentences "あれは何ですか?" and "あれは何をですか?" count as the same thing?

April 2, 2019


を marks direct objects used with transitive verbs and wouldn't be used with the copula です
You also just can't place a particle directly before the copula in general.

April 2, 2019


however, I think I have heard あれは何を? and 何を? used as a casual way/slang to ask for something like "what's that?"

Can you confirm if this correct?

April 4, 2019


In that case you would be asking what the direct object is while knowing the verb and subject. Like: "Did (verb) to what thing...?"
あれは何を食べましたか - (about that thing) (what object) (did it eat)?
Or if the thing that ate and the eating is already known from context, 何を would simply be "what is it (that it ate?)"

あれは何をしますか - (that) (topic) (to what object) (did)(?) - "What thing did that do"
vs が that marks the subject, the thing doing the action  
何がしますか (what thing) (did)(?) - "What did it"
but no particles would be used with です since it simply marks a state of being rather than an action.

April 4, 2019


It asked me to translate 'what is that?' to which I put それは何ですか? But im incorrect becuase it was あれ as in that one over there. But it didnt specify in the question which measure of distance it was refering too.

April 25, 2019


If this question in English 'what is that?' was asked and they provided both それ and あれ as possible choices would you have any way of knowing which was meant without visual context?

May 6, 2019


"それ" is when the object is closer to the listener(the person being asked) but "あれ" is when the object is far from both the speaker and listener. それ= that あれ= that over there. I guess

July 26, 2019


Couldnt it be それは as well? Not only あれは? Whats the differencw between the two?

May 26, 2019


A re wa nan(i) desu ka is correct. But why is A re wo nan(i) desu ka wrong?

June 3, 2019


を is a direct object marker used with transitive verbs. The copula です is intransitive and does not take a direct object.
Please refer to my reply to TylerlBates above in this discussion.

June 3, 2019


Im pretty sure that それ、これ、あれ ect mean that one, this one, and that one over there. To say that, this, and that over there, you would say その、この、あの.

In other words, putting れ at the end is like saying (word) one and saying の at the end is like saying simply (word).

June 5, 2019


Kore(これ)= This | This one please Sore(それ)= That | That one please Are(あれ)= That(over there) | That one please pointing

June 7, 2019


え?どうして正しくないの? 「それは何ですか?」も「何、これ?」もあってるでしょ

June 17, 2019


"are" and "sore" both mean that but one is farther than the other. HOwever since this question doesn't specify the distance, both "are" and "sore" should work

June 18, 2019


"are" is for an object that is far from both the speaker and the listener whilst "sore "is far from the speaker and closer to the listener.

July 26, 2019


It can be Sore wo nani desu ka?!

July 13, 2019


それ (which means "that") is used to speak about things near the listener.

これ (which also means "that") is used to speak about things near the speaker.

Meanwhile, あれ (which, again, also means "that") is used to speak about things not near both the listener and the speaker.

July 29, 2019


different between wa and wo..

August 10, 2019


How would i know to use sore vs are in this lesson?

September 4, 2019


there is really not difference in english but duolingo tends to accept "over there" for あそこ and "there" for そこ. With あれ is probably something like "that over there"

September 4, 2019


What's the difference between それ、あれ、and これ?Are they just synonyms?

September 4, 2019


these are kosoado words. Here is a good article if you want to read about it.

September 4, 2019


Why wont it accept これは何ですか?

September 26, 2019


これ means "this", indicating something near the speaker, and is the opposite of what this question uses both in English and Japanese.
You need それ or あれ for "that" (away from the speaker)

September 26, 2019


Why can't it be これは何ですか ?

October 16, 2019


This has been answered many times on this discussion
これ means "this", indicating something near the speaker, and is the opposite of what this question uses both in English and Japanese. You need それ or あれ for "that" (away from the speaker)

October 16, 2019


Why cant it be Kore Ha Nani Desu Ka ?

October 16, 2019


Nani× 何=なん(Nan) ←right

October 16, 2019


What is this achira hana n desu ka? Never heard achira hana n ?

January 27, 2018


あちら: another version of あれ (that) はなん: simply は ('wa' as in the particle) combined with なん (the pronunciation of 何 in this case) ですか: formal question ender

あちらはなんですか (Kanji: あちらは何ですか) means 'What is that?'

January 27, 2018


Korewa or sorewa !!

September 6, 2019

  • 422

"Kore" means "this," so it would not be correct.

"Sore" and "are" are both accepted answers.

September 11, 2019


Can we please get concrete lessons explaining the difference between これ あれ  etc. It's confusing to remember which and it keeps tripping me up

February 19, 2019


これ = something close to the speaker, and usually gets translated as "this" in english.

それ = something close to the listener.

あれ = something distant from both the speaker and listener.

Both それ and あれ tend to come out as "that" in english and as a result can end up causing confusion. If you are using a mobile device I recommend Takoboto: Japanese Dictionary or any similar app, they are a big help on elaborating at times when Duolingo isn't so clear.

February 19, 2019


There's a lesson explaining the differences in the Tips & Notes for Food 1

February 19, 2019


Those of us using the app do not have the button available to see the tips and words covered tab on lessons. When will we be getting it? This has been a major issue with using the app. I can't help but wonder if we are being subtly nudged to switch back to using the web browser. Please correct me if I am wrong on this. I can't find the little lightbulb icon when I click on lessons at all in the app. It only shows up in the web browser.

February 19, 2019
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