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  5. "ごはんを食べます。"


Translation:I eat rice.

June 9, 2017



i just got the sentence ごはんは食べません, which uses は, whereas this sentence uses を. is that because, the first sentence means "i do not eat rice in general" and thos sentence means "i am currently eqting rice"? so if i wanted to say, i am not eating rice now, but i do other times, would it be "ごはんを食べません"?


You've got a pretty good grasp of it, yes! A solid rule of thumb with は is to translate it "As for..." So ごはんは食べません comes across "As for rice, I do not eat it" which sounds very general, but ごはんを食べません feels more like "I will not eat rice." in the present sense.


Seconding this, I just want to point out that while 食べます and 食べません are defined as "present tense", they are not used to describe actions you are currently doing (or not doing). Those actions require present progressive tense, which in Japanese uses て-form with います.

Confusingly, present tense verbs in Japanese describe general actions, habitual actions, and near future actions. In our exercise, this means it can be roughly translated to "I eat rice as a matter of general principle", "I regularly eat rice", or "I am about to eat rice."


Haha, not that confusing; we do this in English too; we just don't realise it most of the time. "The sun rises in the east" (simple present tense) means a different thing from "The sun is rising in the east" (present progressive tense)


Oh whoops my bad, you were saying it was confusing that they don't separate simple present from simple future. Ignore me ^^"


But we do that too! "I'm going to Japan next week"


Personally, I feel it's better to think of it as a "non past tense" (I'm not even sure where I first heard that term) than a "present tense". While that term might be confusing at first, it's less misleading than "present tense".


I agree in part, because the "masu" form in Japanese can be used for simple present tense ("I eat") and simple future tense ("I will eat") in English.

I personally prefer to use the exact terms above (specifically simple present and simple future tense) to describe it though, because just "non-past" still leaves leaves a host of other tenses that people could potentially confuse it with. This is especially the case with the present progressive tense ("is/am/are eating") that JoshuaLore9 mentioned above, and that needs to be conjugated in Japanese as 食べて います


Progressive is an aspect, not a tense. That would be "present tense in progressive aspect." Although I suppose "present progressive tense" is less of a mouthful, if technically imprecise.


Thanks to all the people writing in the comment section, otherwise i couldn't get anything


を is a particle for "direct object", which means that the next verb is "done to" that object. So with "を" you're saying "I eat rice" as in "what are you doing?", "I eat rice" (note that it's not a continous action); with "は" you're saying "I eat rice" as in "I can eat rice". Now, I'm learning Japanese too, so CMIIW~~


In a sentence where you could have used を the idea is one of contrast. ごはんは 食べません. I won't/don't eat rice (but I will/do eat other things).


"I eat rice" versus "I am eating rice" for this exercise?


It has to be I eat. 食べます is the "to eat" conjugation. (I) am eating has the conjugation たべている


So does it still imply that you are currently eating rice?


No, unless you use Mitch's second conjugation. ごはんを食べます is more of a general statement that has no relation to what you are currently doing.


Why dont we pronounce 食 shoku but its pronounced ta ben


Relating to this it is increasingly annoying how in the course when you however above kanji it gives different reading than when actually playing the audio for whole sentence. Combined with the lack of any real reference catalogue for the kanji you've been introduced to and all their different readings it is pretty confusing = _=


I think shoku is the chinese reading, maybe?


That's right, almost all kanji has multiple readings. I think the general rule is that the Chinese reading, or on'yomi, is usually used when the kanji is used in combination with other kanji, for example 食品 shokuhin. But on its own or in combination with hiragana (excluding particles), the Japanese reading, or kun'yomi, is used. Hence 食べます is tabemasu


So... I wrote 'food' instead of 'rice'. I'm Japanese and I know all this, but why can't I write 'food'? Cuz ごはん means both 'food' and 'rice'...


Is it really incorrect to say "I eat the rice" versus "I eat rice"? That seems overally pedantic seeing as in English both translations mean the same thing


No it's correct. As far as I'm aware Japanese doesn't have an indefinite or definite article so it would remain the same


There's no definite or indedinite article in Japanese.


Yet, I think that both translations (with the article and without) should both be correct.

It is true there are no articles in Japanese; however, the message of "gohan o tabemasu" is "I eat rice" with the "o" making "rice" the object of the action. Without a context, some important information is missing: thus, if this phrase would be said with a bowl of rice in front of me, we would assume I am making a reference to "the rice" I have in front of me. In English, I'd use a determined article; in Japanese, we'd assume the rice we're talking about by the context.

So, exact translations are always an issue, specially in two languages as different as English and Japanese. Thereby, I found more accurate to translate the message and get to know the meaning and proper usage of the language rather than learning how to translate word to word.

P.S: I've reported it to help improve this beta :)


They don't mean the same in English. "I eat rice" can mean you eat rice in general, or you are currently eating rice. However, in "I eat the rice", there is some specific rice that is being referred to. This second phrase cannot be used to say that you eat rice in general.


Is 食べます a different type of verb and that's why it ends with -ます and not -です?


Every verb ends with ます as far as i know, the verb itself is たべる, ます is more like the conjugation


I thought the interpretation of the subject was contextual and since there is no context gohan o tabemasu could equally mean I eat rice, or you eat rice, or he eats rice for that matter. Please help to clarify...? Arigato.


I am just guessing here but I think when you drop the subject pronoun in a statement it is implied to be 1st person (I) but if you drop it in a question it should be 2nd person (you). You probably would never drop the 3rd person.


How am i supposed to know when are we talking about me or talking about you or someone else? It may sound stupid but i thought the answer was eat rice, since i only saw gohan wo tabemasu

I ask cause im reading that watashi or anata can be somehow muted words in sentences like this i think?


It's all about the context. In this case i think duolingo actually accepts "he eats rice", "they eat rice" etc as correct answers.


This should be お米を食べます to differentiate with "food".


True, but ごはん is also understood as "rice" in Japanese.

Fun fact: if rice is served to you in a bowl, it's ごはん and you eat it with chopsticks, but if it is served on a plate, it's ライス and you eat it with a spoon or fork.


At least, in my japanese school, they told me that "gohan" can also stand for "Dinner" or final meal of the day. That's why even though I knew "Wo" refered to rice. I still hada little doubt.


たべる, this is eat, but I am a little confused on the conjunction of the verbs.


In Japanese, there are (at least) two "forms" for every verb; the "plain"/casual form (which is also called "dictionary" form since this is the form verbs appear in in the dictionary) and the "formal"/polite form. たべる is the plain form for "to eat".

When we conjugate to make the polite form, we first have to figure out which group of verbs it belongs to. There are two main groups, plus the "irregular" group. The two groups go by different names, depending on how you learned them, but I learned godan and ichidan (literally "5-step" and "1-step").

Luckily for us, たべる is an ichidan verb so to get the polite form, we make the verb stem たべ, by simply dropping the る. Then all that's left is the add ます back on the end of the verb stem, and we get たべます, the polite form of たべる.


True - a bit like French, isn't it?


Couldnt "i do eat rice also work"?


Would this sentence also translate into "I am eating rice"? "I eat rice" gives the implication being able to eat rice when I read it.


What is the difference between を and は?


It's my understanding that を indicates object of a verb (example: "Tanaka drinks water" -> "water" would be the object of the verb). は indicates the subject, which in the example I just used would be Tanaka. I'm not a native speaker so I could be wrong.


Soku is pronounced as ta in this sentence?


Can't this also mean "I eat lunch"?


What means tabe? Eat?


食べ (たべ) is the verb stem for the verb 食べる which means "to eat"


If it is I who is eating the rice why isn't "watashi' used?


The subject is often omitted in sentences when it is easily assumed who or what the subject is. When it is a person speaking about themselves, "watashi" is often omitted. This is also referenced in the info below this lesson.


Why is 食べ pronounced as "tabe"? Why isn't it "shokube"?


Copied from one of my earlier answers:

「I think the general rule is that the Chinese reading, or on'yomi, is usually used when the kanji is used in combination with other kanji, for example 食品 shokuhin. But on its own or in combination with hiragana (excluding particles), the Japanese reading, or kun'yomi, is used. Hence 食べます is tabemasu」


食 why is it pronounced "Ta"


"I am eating rice" should be a valid translation, but it was marked incorrect.


"I am eating rice" is incorrect because it isn't the appropriate tense for the simple present tense 食べます. This has already been discussed previously on this page.


Hi, I probably am mistaken, but I thought '" Gohan" also means "lunch" besides "rice" .


御飯 (gohan) can also mean meal

昼御飯 (hirugohan) = noon meal, i.e. lunch

朝御飯 (asagohan) = morning meal, i.e. breakfast

晩御飯 (bangohan) = night meal, i.e. dinner


"I am eating rice." Is also a good awnser too, right?


"I am eating rice" is incorrect because it isn't the appropriate tense for the simple present tense 食べます. This has already been discussed previously on this page.


Does ごはん also mean breakfast? Was watching "Kimi no na wa" the other day and I heard ごはん with "breakfast" in subtitle.


ごはん also means "meal", which in colloquial usage allows you to say ごはん in lieu of any meal of the day, if it is obvious which meal you mean from the situation.

Also, you may have heard あさごはん , which means "breakfast" or literally, "morning rice/meal".


When should i use "masu" vs "desu" ?


Well, the first thing you have to realize is that the two are not simply interchangeable.

"Desu" is a bon fide, fully-fledged verb, all on its own. It is typically translated as "is/am/are" because it is a copula which fulfills a similar role as those words do in English. If you want to say "A is B" in Japanese, it's AはBです. For example: "John is American" would be ジョンさんはアメリカ人です. (The は is there to indicate the direction of the verb: it's "John is American", not "American is John".)

"Masu" on the other hand, isn't a complete verb on its own. Rather, it is one way to conjugate verbs, specifically to turn verbs into their polite present/non-past tense form. So, "masu" only tells you half the story, the tense. The other half of the story, the meaning, comes from the other part of the verb, the verb stem.

In this exercise, 食べ- is the verb stem which comes from the root verb 食べる. There are a bunch of complicated rules for how to get the verb stem from the root verb and how to conjugate verbs into different verb forms, but suffice it to say that 食べ- carries with it the idea of "eat". When you conjugate it with -ます, you complete the verb so it conveys meaning and tense.

For all other verbs besides です (which is a special verb that doesn't have a verb stem), when you conjugate them into their respective polite present/non-past tense form, you will always end up with [verb stem]+ます.

As a beginner, you don't have to worry too much about how to figure out the verb stem yet, and can learn the -ます form of the verb as "the verb", but keep in mind that "masu" is only one part of the verb.


It appears を is used for the verb 'to eat' in the positive (ます), While は is used for the negative (ません) 。。。


This is how Duo have chosen to introduce them, though personally I think it's unnecessarily complicated for a beginners' course. In fact, using は instead of を can be done with positive and negative sentences, where it adds emphasis to the object. Granted, this emphasis is much more common for negative sentences, since you're more likely to want to emphasize the exclusion of something than its inclusion, so Duo kind of gets it right, but both scenarios are fairly common and natural.

On the other hand, using を with negative sentences is also common and natural, if you don't particularly want to emphasize the negativeness of the sentence.


would it not be "ご飯を食べます" instead


It can be, but ごはん is just as valid as ご飯 which is just as valid as 御飯. None are "more correct" than any other.

If you got marked incorrect for using ご飯, then you should report that for the clurse developers to fix.


You eat rice is also good!


Can anyone break the sentence for me please


while gohan is rice, the word gohan is also used for dinner.. Sometimes with the word ban in front of it but not always. Your questions always leave me wondering why both are not given.


Does the audio sound like "wo" for を for anyone else?


I could be wrong but i think "wo" is pronounced more like "o" in Japanese.


If it's the object particle (as it is here) then yes, exactly. So the fact it sounds like "wo" is wrong...suspect it's an error in the auto-generated audio.


Isn't ごはん food?


I love how this "learning program" is just a clicker game without explanation what so ever...


what is this を for?


Given the difference between 米 「こめ」 and ご飯 「ごはん」, it should really take "cooked rice" as well. I gave it "I eat cooked rice" and got marked incorrect.


I also eat rixe


Haha they actually put rice. Yes gohan is rice but it most often means meal. Okome or raisu is usually for rice


Why do none of the listening exercises allow me to use the kanji for anything other than the ones that are being taught in the lesson? I said, ”ご飯を食べます” instead of, ”ごはんを食べます” and it wasn't okay with that even though "ご飯” is the correct way to write "rice"


Why does を sound like "wa" here?


Because its sound blends with the other sounds around it. When "wo" is used in this sense, it really becomes just "o" and you ignore the "w", which it so why it usually blends in with other vowel sounds. Also Duolingo pronunciations aren't always what I would call "the best".


It is assumed you are talking about yourself? Or is it in there somewhere and i am missing it.


How do you pronounce thus sentence? Could someone break it down for me?


I put in "he eats rice," and it was accepted, but the translation is "I eat rice," can someone HELP, please? =.=


Japanese is highly contextual. This sentence lacks a clearly specified topic/subject, and usually when that happens we assume you're talking about yourself, hence "I eat rice". But if you were in the middle of a conversation about someone else, and you'd already mentioned you were talking about him right before this, this sentence can also be taken to mean "HE eats rice".

Note that Japanese does not have separate conjugations for simple present and simple future tense, so depending on context, this could also be translated as "I/He will eat rice."


It did not accept 「ご飯を食べます。」. Why?


i put in ご飯 instead of ごはん and it was incorrect? is there a reason for that or is duolingo just being mean


Just make sure you select the "my answer should be accepted" option (annoyingly for listening exercises, it doesn't exist, you should report that as a bug: https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/requests/new)


Whats the difference between は and を?。


question should also take the kanji form of ごはん - 御飯


So I understand that for the following ごはんを食べます。and ごはんは食べません。one means I eat rice and the other one I do not eat rice. Could someone please help me understand why the first one uses を and the second uses は in the sentence. I'm confused. Thanks!

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