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  5. "犬がいます。"


Translation:There is a dog.

June 10, 2017



Why not inuga arimasu?


Arimasu is for objects, imasu is used for living things


Why not は instead of が?


I think 犬はいます puts the focus on "there is" (Speaking of dogs THERE IS one).

While 犬がいます puts the focus on "dog" (There is a DOG).


"It has a dog"? I don't understand. Is it the particle?


If you typed in "It is a dog", you're incorrect (because "it is a dog" would be 犬です in Japanese), and Duo was trying to suggest the closest thing it had in the list of accepted answers.

As for why "It has a dog" is correct, note that the sentence here literally means "a dog (=犬が) exists(=います)". You'll also notice that there is no topic particle は in this sentence, meaning the topic has been omitted and can therefore be implied.

If you include それ as the generic pronoun for "it", the sentence becomes 「それは犬がいます」 which is literally "as for that (=それは), a dog (=犬が) exists (=います)." If you think about what it means for a dog to exist for something, you could say "a dog exists (among its possessions)". In other words, "It has a dog".


So then from "IT has a dog", the sentence can come to mean "I have a dog", in this case anyway, where the topic is still omitted?


but DL gave the correct answer as 'It's a dog'


"It's" can be a contraction of "it is" or "it has". The fact that a native English speaker would never contract "it has" in this particular situation is probably an error that has been missed by the course creators.


There is a very good dog


I thought dog was いぬ


It is, the kanji for いぬ is 犬. As far as I know, it is typically written in kanji to avoid confusion.


Why is "There is the dog" an answer that is not accepted. There are no obvious indicators of whether "a" or "the" is correct, and I have been unable to figure it out on the google


That's a good question. Most of the time we just say "it depends on the context" in a hand-wavy way, and it often does, but in this case, I think there is a subtle yet significant shift in focus in the English sentence when going from "a" to "the".

In "There is a dog", the new information conveyed to the listener is "a dog". It exists, but we don't necessarily know anything specific about it; the fact that it exists is most relevant.

If we say "There is the dog", presumably the listener already has some knowledge that a dog exists, because we're referencing a specific one. The more relevant fact now becomes where the dog is, "there".

In Japanese, this change in meaning isn't so subtle, with "There is the dog" being translated to 犬(あ)そこです。


Probably because neither この/その/あの nor は is used here.


Something wrong with "there exists a dog"?


It sounds a bit strange to me (US English speaker). "There is a dog" or "a dog exists" sounds better to me.


Could someone explain why "犬がいます“ needs the "が" particle but "犬です” does not?


います is a verb, but です is something called a "copula" that acts like our English verb "to be".

In general, です needs to attach to a noun or adjective directly and you would not put a particle directly in front of it.

犬です。 (inu desu)

(It's) a dog.

大きいです。(ookii desu)

It's big.

Regular Japanese verbs like います require particles to show the relationship between the words in a sentence.

犬がいます。(inu ga imasu)

A dog exists. / There is a dog.

The が marks the subject of the sentence. In this case it tells us that the thing that exists is a dog.


Could you also use this when you say "I have a dog"?


You certainly can, but it's more specific to say 犬を飼っています (inu o katte imasu).


For what it's worth, I put that as my answer and it was marked correct.


How do you know whether the dog is singular or plural?


It can be either. "There is a dog" or "there are dogs" should both be correct.


how come this sentence doesn't require a counter? in another question, duo won't accept "猫がいます" for "there is a cat," and instead asks for "猫が一匹います" ... so when is the small animal counter required?


The counter is only needed if you need to specify the number. Your answer should have been accepted for that other sentence.


I'm really confused with the use of は and が, when is it appropriate tu use which ?


In this particular case, it sounds more appropriate to use が because you are stating new information to the listener, but if you were to use は in these cases, since が is expected, then a contrast appears. The difference goes like this:

「犬がいます」"a dog exists".

「犬はいます」"as for a dog, (it) exist" or "dogs exists (in contrast to other things that could be there)".

For this section of duo, you will find a pattern of は being used for questions and negative sentences, and the use of が for sentences that express new information or describe the state of something (existence, adjective, etc). Obviously, these are not hard rules and you will find exceptions, but it is a good way to get past that initial barrier so you can start seeing the difference of usage in は vs が across the language.

犬はありますか? "are there dogs?" or "do you have dogs?". Question.

犬があります "there is a dog" or "I have a dog". New information.

犬はどこですか? "where are the dogs?". Question.

犬は外です "The dogs are outside". This one might be confusing, but in this case は is passing the focus of the sentence to the important part of the sentence. 外です is what you want to say, while the topic 犬は is there just for context. は in this cases is expected, similar to how sometimes "the" is expected in English.

それは犬じゃないです "that's not a dog". Negative

犬が好きです "I like dogs". Description of a state.


How do we pronounce the counters for birds and other animals?


For birds and other small animals, the counter is 匹. Depending on the number of animals you want to say, the pronunciation will change slightly. I think this is due to a phenomenon called "rendaku", which is very prevalent in Japanese. Anyways, pronunciations from 1 to 10 are:

  • 【いっぴき
  • 【にひき
  • 【さんびき
  • 【よんひき
  • 【ごひき
  • 【ろっぴき
  • 【ななひき
  • 【はっぴき
  • 【きゅうひき
  • 【じゅっぴき


How do you understand whether it's one dog or multiple?


General question but, how do you tell if it is singular or plural?


The audio sounds like 犬ないます。


Some Japanese speakers pronounce the "g" sound nasally like the "ng" in "king". If you listen closely you should be able to hear the "g" sound.


does ga become na here for some reason?


Why does she pronounce "inu NA imasu" instead of "inu GA imasu"? O.o


Why is "there ARE a dog" wrong???


"Are" is used for plural nouns but "a dog" is singular
"There is a dog" singular, or "There are dogs" plural


I just tried "I have a dog" and I got it right. I mean, what is it? In what context would this phrase be really used? There is a dog / I have a dog are pretty different sentences.


So, Japanese is a very context-dependent language. This phrase really is used in contexts where it means "There is a dog", and in other contexts where it means "I have a dog", AND in other contexts where it means "Dogs exist", AND ... well, hopefully you get my point.

Consider it this way. If someone asked you, "Do you have any pets?" and you answered "Well, there's a dog in my house", in English, you'd be thought of as a smartarse, but the point would get across: you own a dog. In Japanese, the point gets across, and you sound like a normal person because that's kind of how Japanese people prefer to communicate (indirectly, I mean, not like smartarses).


And I don't understand why with me it keep showing me the correct answer is "He's a dog"


It depends on what your "incorrect" answer was; Duo tries to show you the "closest" "correct" answer to that. I suspect that "He's a dog" is in the bank of correct answers for much the same reason "It's a dog" is, which I've discussed at length on other comments already; check them out!


I responded "There is a good dog" and it marked me as incorrect. What is it trying to say about this dog?


It's saying the dog exists.

犬 (inu) - dog

が (ga) - particle that marks the subject

います (imasu) - verb meaning that something exists, usually translated as "there is"

"There is a dog."


What is ga used for in this sentence?


In this sentence, が is behaving as the subject particle, which means that it indicates "the thing that does the verb".

Because particles are postpositions, unlike the prepositions we're used to in English, が points at 犬 and says "a dog does it" or "a dog will do it". The "it" here is the verb, います, so the sentence becomes "a dog (=犬が) does exist (=います)" or in normal English, "there is a dog."


And why not a は instead?


I think "Soko ga inu imasu." is a more accurate way to say "There is a dog." "Inu ga imasu.", is vague. Is the dog here or there? Is the speaker holding a picture of a dog and teaching 1-year old baby what a dog looks like by pointing to it and saying "Inu ga imasu."?


If you're thinking of "there" as a location like "here", then you're right. But Duolingo is using the existential there. Saying "there is" in that respect means that you are saying that something exists, rather than indicating its location, which is the same as the Japanese sentence.


Why it's not "I have a dog" instead of "There is a dog" ?!


In the right context, it could be. Also he has a dog, it has a dog, they have a dog, etc...


And if use 犬がいっぴきいます ? Is this right ?


Yes, that should be accepted. The difference is that you are specifying that there is one dog. The number is important.


犬がいます - Can it mean "It is a dog" ?


No, "it is a dog" is 犬です.




For this sentence in the recording, the が is pronounced "na" instead of "ga." Is this an error or does the pronunciation actually change?


In Japanese, some people pronounce "g" more like "ng" (as in "singer"). Maybe that's what you're hearing?


Yes, that sounds pretty accurate! I guess then there's just the confusion of in what circumstances they say the "ng" sound, and in what circumstances they say the "g" sound, or if it's completely random.


I sense a "beware of dog" message underneath.


Does 「犬がいます」 mean both "there are dogs" and "there is a dog" depending on the context? There is no plural specified right?


That's correct, it could mean either depending on the context.


Is it just me or is the audio just not that great for this one.


Same, the audio isn’t the best for some. On the Korean course, however, the audio is (In my opinion) Really bad for like, 50% of it..


Is it the same as "i have a dog" When someone ask me if i have a pet?


Why can't this be, "There's the dog"


"There's the dog" is pointing out the location of the dog. The location is "there".

"There is a dog" is not pointing out a location, it's talking about the existence of a dog. "A dog exists", though we don't know where it is, because "there" is not a location, it's the existential there.

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