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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 )'


Yes, in my understanding. は is the topic of the sentence, like: "About rice, i don't eat rice" While を applies to the object in this sentence, like: "This rice, I'm not eating 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."


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.


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:



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?


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.


There we go again... understand it like this:

1-「この」お茶が飲みません = I do not drink [this (particular)] tea.

2-「どんな」お茶は飲みません = I don't drink [any (general)] tea.

3- お茶を飲みません = I don't drink tea (Like [I'm not drinking tea right now in this precisely moment]).

Meaning: 1- Like 'I don't drink this kind of tea', in this case would be a が。

2- Like 'I don't like tea so I don't drink it whatever the kind It is', then would be a は。

3-When you get ask by someone 'What are you doing'and you respond 'I drink tea, don't you see?' it's a を。

What I'm saying is that you need the context, another example could be:

君がいない = You are not here. 君はいない = You are not here.

The difference just by that is not very visible but a JP person could understand that in the first case 'The person isn't in that place at that time' giving it the next context:

君がこの部屋にいない = You are not in this room.

In the 2d case it could mean that the person has passed away, so the full sentence will be something like:

君はもうこの世界にいない = You are no longer in this world.

I hope this helps you to understand が、は、and を.


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」


' 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'


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)


What would this sentence look like if you wanted to use 私 in it?


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.


Answering this while about to prepare 茶漬 for breakfast xD


how can you remember this sentence :<


With A LOT of repetition. But don't worry, this isn't the hardest sentence to remember.


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"


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."


"I eat rice" was marked wrong for leaving out the watashi wa plus wo and here it's perfectly fine. Confusing


Are there any good books that I can add to my use of Duo that would help explain Japanese sentence structure and grammar?


So of i was to put Boku-ha(wa) would i replace the ha(wa) with ga because im already using ha(wa) to mark myslef as the topic


For the direct object of the verb you could also use を rather than は but は also functions as a contrast marker and can be used multiple times in a sentence. (You've probably seen this used this way already in the structure でありません "is/am not" from the intro skills)
が marks the do-er of be-er of an action and would change the meaning to "Rice doesn't eat"


Why is "tabe" used in this phrase instead of "nomi"?


well, 食べる means "to eat" while 飲む means "to drink"...

polite forms are: 食べます and 飲みます.


How can I use this sentence in a proper dialogue?


is it not "wa" for the subject and "o" for the complement? looks like it isn't.


は is the topic particle and contrast marker. The topic is often the subject, but not always.
は replaces subject particle が and object particle を in a sentence, and combines with others (には、では、とは)
It marks what comes before it as contextual/known information for the statement you are about to make. In this way it also adds an emphasis to what comes after it as the new important information related to that topic and often replaces を in negative sentences to stress the negative verb, (as for rice, I do not eat)
In simpler sentences like this many learners remember negative は with the idea that を marks the thing a verb is acting on, but in a negative sentence you are stating that the verb is not acting on something so you use は because it is not acting as a direct object anymore.

You can also have more than one instance of は in a sentence, the first being the general topic of conversation ( I/me ) and the second marking contrast (at least rice).
You see this in the structure ではありません "is not/am not" in phrases like 私は学生ではありません "I am not a student" - 私 "I" is the topic は and 学生で "being a student" is contrast は
Generally topics can be omitted if understood through context of the conversation though so it sounds much more natural to drop 私は

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