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  5. "I do not eat rice."

"I do not eat rice."


June 9, 2017



Why does this use the "wa" particle and not "o" ?


Because the sentence is declaring that you do not eat rice in general.

「ごはんはたべません」 = As for rice (in general), (I) do not eat.

Basically, you can say there is a わたし implied before たべません.

If を was used here, it would be 「(わたしは) ごはんをたべません」, which would translate to "As for me, I do/will not eat rice (right now/this time/today).

I hope I was able to exemplify the slightly different meanings of these cases/examples... ☺


So if someone is asking you, are you eating rice now? You could reply ごはんをたべません。? は is more that you don't eat rice ever? Did I understand you correctly?



Yes, you're correct!

I think 0~0 )'


Thank you for clarifying! :D


So if わたし is implied before 食べません then what particle comes afterわたし?
ごはん は わたし_食べません
が?を? Maybe nothing at all?


Watshi is the implied subject in this sentence, so if it was stated it would be marked with the subject marking particle が. However, subjects are frequently dropped in Japanese, especially first person pronouns, like watashi, so it sounds more natural to leave it out.

Typically, if context does not suggest a different subject, the speaker is assumed to be the subject of the sentence.

In this example, ご飯は食べません。 There is a topic and a verb. Both the subject and the direct object are not directly stated. The most likely subject is the speaker (watashi) and the most likely direct object is rice (gohan).

Here's another example sentence - 田中さんは食べません。In this case, we have a different topic and the same verb. This time, the topic suggests that Mr Tanaka is the implied subject. The direct object is unclear. It might be rice or it might be something else entirely. There isn't enough context to know for sure.

"As for rice, (I) do not eat (it)."

"As for Mr Tanaka, (he) does not eat (it)."

The parts in parenthesis are not actually provided in the Japanese and might change depending on contextual clues.


Thank you I understand lot better now


Thank you - nice, clear explanation!


There is no implied grammar, only implied semantics. And it's only the context (or lack of in this case) which provides the implication. Another context could imply 2nd or 3rd person in this exact sentence.


Gotcha so there isn't enough context known to deduce what Is implied there


Yes, exactly. Since these are standalone practice sentences, there is almost no context which is very tough with Japanese. It is a language that relies heavily on context cues.

Now imagine I was talking to you and I said the following:


Using information provided in the previous sentence, we know more about Mr Tanaka's eating habits. Based on context, it can be inferred that he doesn't eat rice. But I do eat rice.

If we both didn't eat rice, I would probably say this:



Since we can tell through context that you are talking about yourself, you don't say it.


why does it not use "ga" particle then. How would that change the meaning/tone. Would it be grammatically incorrect?


Using the "ga" particle after the ごはん would turn ごはん into the subject of the sentence, no? Then it would be something like, "The rice doesn't eat."


I know it's a bit above the skill level that we're at here, but wouldn't it be better to conjugate the verb into something like: ごはんを食べていません。

Or am I using progressive form incorrectly or language that the average Japanese person wouldn't speak?


Nope. That's a different grammar altogether. With that you'd be saying "I am not currently eating rice." In order to say that you don't eat rice in general (the same as if you don't meat cause you're vegetarian or you avoid sourdough bread cause you don't like it), you would use exactly what was said earlier: ごはんは食べません。

The は makes it into a general thing in this case. 'As for rice, I don't eat it (for whatever reason).'

Does that help at all?


Thank you! That's very helpful


Even though it sounds weird, for me it's helpful to think of it as "The rice isn't eaten (by me)" because that's similar to the japanese phrasing and makes the rice the topic of the sentence, which is why は is used.


I wish there was a way to edit that comment. Drop the "the" before the rice. So it's more like "Rice (in general) isn't eaten (by me)". Not a native english speaker.


So then if I were to say ごはんは食べます, (O eat rice) using the particle は instead of を, does that mean I eat rice in general?


This is a very difficult concept to understand for westerners.


wa is normally used to represent the topic of the sentence so since rice is the topic of the sentence they put a wa to represent it as the topic of the sentence


I have the same question. Its a mistake of the system.


I guess it's a mistake...


Is the difference between 食べません and 食べない simply politeness then?


Yup, just a matter of formality.


Which is more formal?


食べません is more polite than 食べない


Please explain what's the difference between "は" and "を" particles. Arigatou in advance~


Because the sentence is declaring that you do not eat rice in general.

「ごはんはたべません」 = As for rice (in general), (I) do not eat.

Basically, you can say there is a わたし implied before たべません.

If を was used here, it would be 「(わたしは) ごはんをたべません」, which would translate to "As for me, I do/will not eat rice (right now/this time/today).

I hope I was able to exemplify the slightly different meanings of these cases/examples... ☺


Would 「ご飯を食べません」be a different implication, or is it just wrong?


You whould use the progressive form then「ご飯を食べていません」


"は" indicates the subject of the sentence (thing doing the action). "を" indcates the direct object (thing receiving the action). In this sentence, I would have thought をshould be used rather than は, but apparently not. I'm not sure why!


as far as i know, "は" indicates the topic of the sentence, which is not necessarily the subject.


Subjects are indicated with が, topics are indicated with は. But sometimes the subject is also the topic.


' ごはんは食べまsu' I eat rice ' ごはんは食べまsen' I don't eat rice.. negation is always at the end..

also, difference between ' ごはんは' and ごはんを' ' ごはんは' is a statement which a person is declaring that he/she does not eat rich due to medical reason, or some other persona reason, etc, and has a committed decision/choice.. 'ごはんはを' is temporary choice, I will eat pasta today, but not rice, or I will eat toast with tea for breakfast and not rice with miso soup....

then there is another ’ごはんも(mo) たべません。’ this is 'I don't eat rice either'


Could I also say ごはん お 食べません or does the particle have to be は?


It would have to be 'wo' in any case (which is pronounced 'o'). My guess is that this sentence describes not eating rice in general.


I do not understan where is the word rice un this sentence.


ごはん, at the beginning


What is the difference between "masen" and "arimasen"?


Masen is a normal negative word. It's just like a word pattern. Arimasen is the negative of happenings or the existence of a non living thing(except trees)


Can someone explain how do I recognize a sentence in negative, I find myself confised cuz to me they all have the same characters whether it is neg or affirmative? Thanks


Positive verbs end with "ます", if you want the verb to turn into negative form, you change the " ます" into "ません"


ご飯(ごはん)(gohan)(rice)は(wa)(japanese particle)(more or less は=is)食べません(たべません)(tabemasen)(do not eat)


Um, Why first of all the ex was "I do not eat rice=Gohan wano tabemasen" and now it's without の?


Mine was marked wrong because I didn't put a period at the end. When did punctuation become required?


What does 'no mi' mean?


のみます means "drink" and のみません means '"don't drink"


But why is not eat 'ta be' and not drink 'no mi'...


You're missing some important parts in the words you mention ('ta be' and 'no mi'). I hope my explanation helps.

The verbs are 食べる (たべる – taberu – to eat) and 飲む (のむ – nomu – to drink). The roots of the verbs are 食べ (たべ – tabe) and 飲み (のみ – nomi). Behind the roots you put either ます(positive) or ません (negative). So, what you get is the following: たべます (tabemasu; I eat) たべません (tabemasen; I don’t eat) のみます (nomimasu; I drink) のみません (nomimasen; I don’t drink)


why is it “... は食べません” and not “... は食べません” like in the previous lesson’s examples?


as far as i know: では is for politeness and only used with ありません ("ではありません"). The は in "ご飯は食べません" is the topic particle and is attached to "ご飯" and not to "食べません".


There are many things that just add politeness in Japanese, but では isn't one of them. It has a different grammatical role, not related to politeness.

ではありません is the polite negative form of です, the Japanese copula. Not to be confused with ありません which is the polite negative form of ある, the verb of existence for inanimate objects.

The grammar behind ではありません is complicated and hard to explain clearly, so I recommend simply memorizing it at this point and watch for the では so you know which one you are looking at.

The copula is used to for simple "A is B" sentences like these:

"This is a banana"
"That is not a problem."

Copular sentences are very handy for describing things and answering simple questions. But if you want to describe an action, you need a verb, not the copula. For an "A does B" type sentence, you replace the copula with the appropriate verb, like the verb "to eat" or "to exist".

"There are bananas." (Literally "banana does exist.")
"There is no problem" (Literally "problem does not exist")

"I eat bananas."
"I don't eat problems."

And remember ...

(Banana wa mondai dewa arimasen. Bunpō ga mondai desu.)
"Bananas are not the problem. Grammar is the problem."


My answer was the same as the "correction"


I understand that "wa" is a topic marker but what is a topic in a sentence? Is it just what the sentence is mainly about/focused on?


Why does it have to be ご飯は食べません? Isn't 飯は食べません the same?


OK, so just to clarify: If we're saying "She doesn't eat rice," would the 彼女 be followed by a が?


saing ご飯は食べません means that rice doea not eat. I do not eat rice can be 私はご飯を食べません, or in short ご飯を食べません


No. (私が)ご飯は食べません means, that the speaker doesn't eat rice in general. No eating rice right now whould be ご飯を食べていません.


The word「飯(めし)」isn't accepted.


I think wa is alternative...cause I saw many japanese people leave out は in this sentence.

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    Bookmark bump. Pardon me!


    I'm still struggling to wrap my head around the use of 'は' here...

    I understand that 'ご飯' is the subject of the sentence here, but what would happen if you added '私は' in front of the sentence?

    Would the sentence become 私はご飯は食ません? Or would it be 私はご飯が食ません? Or something else?


    That's hard to say without context. 私はご飯が食ません would mean: "Rice is the thing I do not eat" (but the other things I do, at a buffet or something). 私がご飯は食ません would mean: "I am the one, that doesn't eat rice." If it's obvious that you talk about yourself you always drop the 私. 私はご飯は食ません is not a sentence one would say. You can use two はs in a sentence, but only to contrast two things and iirc it has to be a compound sentence, so in this case it wouldn't work.


    Could you say 私はご飯が食べません ?


    Since this says "gohan wa" doesn't that make rice the subject? Wouldn't this sentence be "rice doesn't eat"? I thought it would be "Watashi wa gohan ga tabemasen" or "Watashi wa gohan o tabemasen" or either of those without the "watashi wa" because you can ignore that part sometimes.


    It isn't a matter of timing. If we said ごはんをたべます it would be correct in that the rice is receiving the action of being eaten. However saying は instead assumes that we know that rice doesn't eat, therefore it would be silly to translate the sentence as "rice eats" even though that's what it literally translates to. In Japanese there are a lot of implied words that the listener simply understands who the subject is. If you notice in these practices, we almost never say "わたしは" because when speaking in Japanese, it is already understood who the subject of the sentence is from context clues


    Sorry for romanji, phone Japanese input sucks though. So for the person who asked about arimasen vs masen. Also just an explanation of negative since alot of people asked.

    Arimasen is the polite negative form of the verb aru, which means to have/to exist which is used to talk about inanimate objects (iru/imasu the same meaning but for animate things in case your curious). You have probably seen it in it's polite form, written as arimasu. Masu is the polite conjugation, aru is jisho form, if you ever see that term, it means literally dictionary form, jisho is Japanese for dictionary.

    So the jisho form of a verb is unconjugated, but since Japanese is very polite we rarely teach the dictionary form when learning. Better to be overly polite not overly casual, right? And then you learn most conjugation from the masu form.

    Arimasen is aru conjugated with the polite negative ending, masen. If a verb is written in its polite form (ending with masu) then to make it negative you change masu to masen. So arimasu becomes arimasen, to not exist/does not exist. Tabemasu becomes tabemasen, to not eat/does not eat. Nomimasu (jisho form nomu) becomes nomimasen, to not drink/does not drink. Etc etc.

    I believe that is true for all verbs, but I dont know every verb, so....seems right so far. And desu is not technically a verb, its a copula (dunno what that means...lol) but it becomes polite negative as dewaarimasen (using hiragana ha for wa).

    So the difference is arimasen is a verb that is conjugated, ~masen is a conjugation.


    Gives an error for 御飯は食べません

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