Translation:I am a woman.

June 9, 2017



"It's a woman" didn't work, but it should, right? When an unknown person is being identified by their sex. I feel that I hear that in entertainment and news pretty frequently. Plus it's a bit more literal.

June 28, 2017


You are correct. Since the subject is not specified, that would be an acceptable translation. That said, it sounds a bit weird to me to refer to someone with the pronoun "it".

July 8, 2017


This is a subject that has evolved in various strange ways in everyday spoken English.

I've often heard "they" used when a person's gender is unknown, even if the speaker is certain that they're speaking about a single person. I've also heard the masculine used a lot for unknown gender identities, especially when older generations of adults are speaking. And when trying to be correct either way, "he or she" and "him or her" in some people's speech sometimes.

I'm not certain what's grammatically correct in English anymore... Maybe we are all an "it"

July 14, 2017


Well, I guess I should clarify a bit here... I think it's kind of weird to refer directly to a person as "it", I'm more thinking of a situation where you have the concept of a person (think "perpetrator" or something) but perhaps don't know what they look like at all. Like, where not just the gender is unknown, but the person is totally unknown...

It's hard to describe, but I've just now recalled a concrete example: There's a specific instance where I heard this sort of thing, in Ninja Gaiden 2: Our superninja protagonist is killing left and right on the "flying fortress" Daedalus, while his female accomplice is in some other part of the Daedalus, causing trouble with a rocket launcher. Over the intercom, a voice says that that two hostiles have been identified aboard the Daedalus: there's a "class A ninja", and there's a person with a rocket launcher. The guy on the intercom says he's trying to get a better look on the cameras... then he realizes what he sees and says 「女だ!」 which was translated as "It's a woman!"

I'd have to check that to make sure 100% that's what's said, but that example is probably where I got the idea here. I think in that sort of case, "it" isn't referring directly to the person but referring to the concept of the person, like an abbreviation of "the hostile is a woman" or "it's a woman who is blowing this aircraft up with a rocket launcher"

July 14, 2017


There also to common response to a knock at the door "who is it?".

In both cases, the speaker does not consider the unknown person to be a thing.

September 12, 2017


The translation is "I am (a) woman" not "It's a woman" so I don't know what you guys are on??

March 12, 2019


Calling a person "it" seems rude to me in English. At the very least, she's a woman would be better.

March 2, 2019


In the following exchange, no native English speaker would substitute "she" for "it."

A: "Someone's coming up the street." B: "Who is it?" A: "It is a woman."

"She" is used after it is established that the person in question is female.

March 2, 2019


In Japanese, if there is no subject you need to automatically assume the subject is "I".

June 29, 2017


Hmm, I'm just sort of imagining other contexts. But you're right, there's no real context here, so I guess "I" would be the assumption.

June 29, 2017

[deactivated user]

    That's what I was trying to say, since I'd heard it used in that context before.

    July 8, 2017


    That's definitely true for Duolingo. If there's no context, assume it's "I".

    December 14, 2018


    ^^candy yeah your right, but sometimes the subject will not always be I/my/me. Japanese is pretty contextual xD

    June 1, 2019


    Wouldn't this be more along the lines of "I am a female" since 人 or 子 were never specified?

    June 17, 2017


    I've seen it accept something like "I am female" in other lessons.

    June 24, 2017


    It accepts "I am male" for 男です but not "I am female" for 女です. It's definitely a glitch and I reported it.

    December 13, 2017


    Female haa it's own word: josei

    September 7, 2018


    I kind of wish the subjects were included in the sentences. I know it's often dropped, but that's typically when the subject is understood in context. These example sentences don't have context. The Japanese to English version of Duo has that, I don't know why they didn't also do so here. Just makes things less confusing and is helpful for beginners to see subjects in sentences.

    June 25, 2017


    You have to be careful with that kind of thing - you're not learning how to translate English sentences word for word, you're learning to express things in another language, and they don't all work the same.

    Japanese (as far as I'm aware at my level!) seems to rely a lot more on implied context, where it's natural to omit certain things unless you really need to be specific. English has a lot of required sentence elements (which are often dropped in informal speech because they're actually unnecessary).

    You need to be able to break out of the patterns your first language imposes on you, and learn to think and speak in the style of the foreign language you're learning - otherwise you'll sound unnatural, and you'll have trouble understanding other people. Your brain needs to adapt so it just gets what the other person must mean without you needing to think about it. You need to dive in, no crutches!

    And yeah I know it's difficult, especially without any actual explanations about what's going on and what you need to look out for. Finding a good resource to read along with this will probably help a whole lot (have a look at... I think it's Tae Kim's lessons?) - but it'll get easier!

    June 28, 2017


    Sorry for the misunderstanding, I'm not a beginner myself, but thinking back to when I started, it was helpful to have an understanding of the grammar usage of "ha". I'm not trying to imply that ALL the examples in Duo should have the subject, but a few would be nice to help people see it in action so they can at least "get" a basic grammar point before it's completely dropped. As I said, I know it's commonly not used, but it still exists and is important. Beginners should have to learn it.

    June 28, 2017


    There's tons of them that use the topic particle though? These examples that omit it (or other elements like da/desu) are definitely in the minority in this course so far.

    I'm saying it's important to have some of those more natural minimalist sentences so people get used to not having everything spelled out for them, or doing it themselves. If that's what you're saying too then great! But it looked like someone in a rare example with the topic dropped saying 'they should always explicitly include it', so I wanted to counter that in case any other beginners are reading and feel like they're facing a problem

    June 28, 2017


    I must be getting all the rare ones then xD I've only seen one "ha" so far, haha. I definitely didn't mean " they should always explicitly include it" so perhaps I phrased my comment badly. We seem to be in agreement though :)

    June 28, 2017


    What exactly is the difference between "女" and "女 の 人"?

    November 23, 2017


    I agree with Ben. While I am a woman may be the most common translation is in not the only one.

    June 16, 2017


    I got this wrong with "It's a woman." I think that should be acceptable, because it's exactly how I might respond if someone asked me who's at the door or on the phone. There's nothing wrong with the grammar in a context like that, and it's an accurate translation.

    January 18, 2018


    I've read it's rude to use 女 instead of 女の人 or 女性, is that true?

    October 30, 2017


    Onna by itself has slightly rude connotations. There's an interesting feminist essay from the first half of the 20th century on this topic.

    March 9, 2018


    Is there anything keeping "They are a woman" from being correct here?

    January 20, 2019


    yes. I'm new to japanese, but 'desu' means "(implied subject) is" or 'it is'. So, the word 'they' in japanese would be a different word if your trying to be super specific. japanese is contextual, so depending on the situation, they could be the subject, or I could be the subject

    "Onna desu." = "(subject...) is (a) woman" or "I am a woman", "You are a woman", "It is a woman". is not the same as "(japanese word meaning 'they') (wa, ga) onna desu." = "They, girl, it is." = "They is(are) (a) girl." the sentence with 'they' as the subject can't be translated the same because the word 'they' specifies the subject, and is before 'onna'. Unless the context suggests that subject is they. Duolingo uses the regular subject as 'I', so...

    im a beginner not a pro, but hopefully I helped anyway. '':D

    June 1, 2019


    You cant tell me im wrong for gettin the subject wrong if there is no subject ❤❤❤❤❤❤ -.-

    June 9, 2017

    [deactivated user]

      Couldn't this also say "There's a woman?"

      June 19, 2017


      That would be 女がいます (onna ga imasu)

      October 16, 2017


      A question deserves an answer, not a markdown.

      The sentence can't mean "there is a woman" because the function of "desu" is to affirm something about the subject. In this case it affirms that "onna" applies to an understood topic/subject.

      The verbs "aru (arimasu)" and "iru (imasu)" express existence.

      January 5, 2019


      "There is" is あります though right?

      June 22, 2017


      Not when talking about living things (people/animals); then you use います

      June 23, 2017


      Right. So, if you wanted "There's a woman" it would be 女は/がいます。

      June 24, 2017


      So, how would you write, "I am female" in Japanese?

      September 18, 2017



      September 18, 2017


      Expand possibilities for simple sentences whose subject is not clearly indicated. This could refer to first, second or third person depending on the context, which isn't provided in this brief sentence.

      November 15, 2017


      The default order in Japanese is first, second, third person. There is no trick here. This is how the language is used. The rule works consistently. You just have to remember it.

      June 20, 2018


      Someone gave me a -1. I stand by my comment. The default order is what it is, even if the truth is painful. If the utterance can apply to the speaker, it applies to the speaker. The second option is the person addressed and the third option, if the second doesn't work, is someone else. The sentence in question means, "(topic/subject) am/is/are woman." The unknown topic/subject could be anything but, if it can be the speaker, it is assumed to be the speaker. That is the way it works. That is what Duo wants. But, yes, the understood topic/subject could be just about anyone that would be known from context.

      December 14, 2018


      tried 'I am woman', but duo is not a Helen Reddy fan

      March 8, 2018


      The default order for determining unstated subjects of Japanese sentences is first person (I), second person (you), someone else (must be named or be clear from context).

      June 20, 2018


      Why "a woman" doesn't work huh?

      July 7, 2018


      Because that would be saying "a woman (exists)" and that would be better translated from 女の人がいる rather than (Xは)女です (which would mean X is a woman)

      July 18, 2018


      Doesn't says watashi, therefore "a woman" shoul suffice as translation since there is no context.

      August 8, 2018


      "Onna desu" is a predication and demands an understood subject, i.e., "(somebody) is/are/am woman." The default subject in Japanese is the speaker.

      August 8, 2018


      And I am proud!

      November 27, 2018


      Why not 女の人です?

      January 4, 2019



      January 7, 2019


      It is a male voice in my test and it make me hesitate to type the answer.

      March 12, 2019


      The translation is "I am (a) woman" not "It's a woman" so I don't know what you're on ahaha Also as a Japanese person myself, I translated it to "I am a girl" and that didn't work confused but k then.

      March 12, 2019


      "I'm a girl" is the same meaning right? So i decided to uninstall this app

      April 16, 2019


      I put "It is a girl", but it said it was wrong, but would have accepted "It is female"

      June 8, 2019


      I was taught that when referring to a woman (yourself or otherwise) be it in written form or spoken, it should always be as 女の人 or 女の子 as just 女 alone can be considered rude and offensive.

      July 23, 2019


      Should be 女の人です

      August 19, 2019


      i thought it was a dude

      June 1, 2019


      I really don't like the English translation. This can mean a lot depending on context. It's literally "a women is." The implied I doesnt work well. As a man I can use this sentence and that context alone would change the meaning from I am a woman to something else.

      June 15, 2017


      I'm not an expert of course, but I think I've really only heard simple sentences like this- noun, followed by です, to mean "I am (noun)." Like "Kaitlinです," or "25さいです." If it were after a question I think it could be like "what is that?" "It's a woman," or whatever, but on its own I generally assume it to mean "I am x."

      June 15, 2017


      In the case of picking a translation that will be accepted here, you are most likely correct. Duolingo tends to assume the subject is "I" even when not given. However, in reality B_2_H is correct. You cannot assume that every sentence that follows the nounです pattern means "I am (noun)." A man could say this sentence is response to a question about someone else and he would definitely not be saying "I am a woman."

      It's best to keep in mind that you can't assume you know who the subject is unless you've heard more of the conversation.

      November 17, 2017


      "Desu" is not a copula like "is" or the equivalent in Indo-european languages. Traditional Japanese grammar calls it "dantei" or "affirmative." The structure "onna desu" is a predication that affirms "onna" of the unspoken topic. The presumptive topic is the speaker unless known to be something or someone else.

      July 7, 2018


      "Desu" is an affirmative, not a copula. The sentence means that the speaker affirms "woman" of the unspecified topic. The default order for determining the topic being, 1st, 2nd, 3rd person, this sentence translates to "I am a woman" unless context indicates otherwise.

      June 20, 2018


      "Desu" affirms something about a subject. "Onna desu" means ".... is woman" but cannot mean "woman is" with or without a complement. That is "Onna ga iru" or "Onna wa xxxx desu."

      January 7, 2019


      It is not literally "a woman is." It is "(omitted subject) is woman." The verb "desu" affirms "woman" of an unexpressed topic/subject. Duo conventionally wants "I", which would be correct on the assumption that the speaker is talking about herself. Actually, the subject could be just about anything that could be called "woman." Know this and just give Duo what he wants.

      April 17, 2019


      I have identity issues

      October 10, 2017


      A proud one at that

      May 23, 2018


      Yet another line from True(l)ove

      June 7, 2018


      Hellsing abridged, anyone?

      June 27, 2018



      「Its a woman」って書いたんのに正しくへんや? なんでやねん! 「女です」って 「I am a woman」でも「 It is a woman」でもよう使いますわ!!


      July 3, 2018


      Ton nadisu what it is

      October 11, 2017


      I sell woman

      July 24, 2018


      I have iddentity issues

      October 10, 2017
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