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  5. "I am American."

"I am American."


June 10, 2017



What's the difference between です and である?


"dearu" is a formal version of "desu"


From what I understand "desu" is the formal, "da" is the informal and "degozaimasu" is the very very formal one. I never heard "dearu"

  • 1957

"De aru/De arimasu" is used in formal writing (newspapers, articles, etc.). It is often used to convey that something is being explained rather than just stated as fact (like with 'Da/Desu'). You will seldom here it spoken though, except for in very formal speeches.


だ and です are the contracted form of である and であります as far I know.


Not sure other than the fact they are spelt a little different


What is 人 doing?

  • 1957

人 (じん/Jin) denotes nationality when appended to the name of a country.


why does 人 sound like 'jin' but on duolingo, alone it's something completely different?


I just encountered an alternate correct answer that ended with "da" instead of "desu." Never seen that before.


'da' is simply the more informal version of 'desu'. 'desu' however is the one that's taught more commonly since 'da' can be a bit rude in certain situations therefore 'desu' is more safe to use.

Hope that helps!


Can someone please explain why '人' is sometimes pronounced 'jin' and sometimes 'hito'?


Kanji have multiple readings
Their on-yomi (sino-japanese reading) is most often used in compound words. 人 (Jin, Nin)
外国人 - gaikokujin - foreigner,
人形 - ningyou - puppet/doll

Kun-yomi are the traditional Japanese readings, most often used when a kanji is by itself or when part of name.
人 - hito - person.

Don't stress out memorizing all of the readings like another syllabary, you'll lose your mind. (Some kanji can have over 10+ readings depending on context and many have totally irregular readings you won't see in a dictionary like the 日 "Ni" in 日本 Nihon - Japan). Just treat them like vocabulary and learn the word as a whole.


What is difference between しゅうしん and 人?


しゅっしん - your homeland, where you were born/are from

Amerika shusshin - Homeland is america

人 - literally: "person"

Amerika jin - American person

There's also から来ました

から - from 来ました - came

Amerika kara kimashita - Came from America


Can the desu be omitted?


Basically, no. です is the verb.


But there was a question where there was no です card and it accepted the sentence without it


I believe です can indeed be omitted in casual Japanese (which explains why your sentence was accepted) however keep in mind that this is quite informal and could be considered rude if not used properly. There are also different versions of です like:

•だ (informal) •でございます (very formal)

When in doubt just stick with です.


Mines telling me である is the correct answer


Both should be acceptable. である is another form of です。


That doesn't mean anything, as there are languages in which you can omit the verb, and in fact there are situations where you can omit です in Japanese. If you're giving your name though, I'd wager you'd probably want to include a subject to be understood (and you should probably just include です anyway if you're in a situation in which you're giving someone your name to avoid being rude).


です can be omitted for sentences are always mutable and will maintain the same context, but not always the same politeness. You'll encounter several sentences that completely ignore the verb and slap on a ね (or other particle that would qualfiy as a marker) on there and call it a day. But at the same time, you'll probably stand out if you don't know what you're doing.

9.5 times out of 10, you'll see です used if the context is right. Cheers.


Why isn't watashi ok to use here?


As long as you have the right particle, it should be accepted, since it's grammatically correct. But most speakers will omit it since it's understood from context. You should report it.


So I answered with "私アメリカ人です", and the answer ommited the "私" (and counted incorrect). I know Japanese is very contextual, but is there a reason to omit 私? Would it be correct to include it?


If it can be understood through context it isn't necessary to use pronouns. They're only really necessary if it is unclear who you are referring to.
It is fine to add 私 but it also requires a particle to make it grammatically correct 私アメリカ人です


Like the other guy said. It's not necessarily incorrect. However, yours is wrong because it's missing the particle.


Where is the subject "I" in this sentence? If you use desu by itself is it just implied?

  • 1957

Yes, pronouns are often omitted in Japanese. The context helps determine who is being referred to.


They are not necessary. The かのじょ and かれ from duolingo seems so unnatural to me since you would not use them so extensively in a real conversation. The main point here is that Japanese is a topic sensitive language, which means the topic of a conversation becomes part of the grammar. Unlike a subject Germanic languages like English, a topic can "live" longer than only one sentence, so you don't need a pronoun in the next sentence. In a Germanic language you would have to say the word again or use a short word to replace it (= pronoun), so when talking about your sister, you might mention that you are talking about her in the first sentence and use "she" (or "her" or ... if it's not the subject) as long as you are continuing talking about her. Japanese you would make her the topic using the は particle and then you don't even have to mention that you are still talking about her in the next sentence. When talking about another person, you usually only use their name (which you would do anyway at the beginning of the conversation because he/she does not say about whom you actually talk). Therefore, using replacement words Is uncommon and depending on the situation is might even be rude (please don't call your boss, customer or a business partner あなた even if the dictionary says that is the formal way of saying "you"). Unfortunately, I often get "wrong" because I use I/you/we in the English translation and duolingo says it's another of them although the sentence is out of context and has not mentioned who is being talked about.


こにちは。I'm a bit stumped on when I should use "は” in a sentence that states my ethnicity. And, I haven't really found a post that answered my question (unless I haven't been looking hard enough?)

Please, explain it to me as if I were an idiot. I get lost easily.


は is a topic marker in a sentence and is used to mark what a conversation will be about. Often this is information that can be dropped if it is understood through context.
In sentences like this the speaker (you/I) is (usually) the topic. The full sentence would read as
(I) (topic marker) (America) (Person) (am)
"On the topic of me - I am American"

Since the listener probably already understands that you are talking about yourself though you can drop the 私は portion of the sentence to a much shorter and easier アメリカ人です "(I) Am American"

You will mainly use は when clarification of a new topic is needed. If you were previously talking about someone else, saying アメリカ人です may lead the listener to believe you are still talking about that original person; so you would require a 私は "On the topic of me-" at the beginning to alert the listener that you are now talking about yourself instead. Or another noun/pronoun like 彼は "on the topic of him-" to change the conversation to be about someone else.


I do understand I need to use "人" to presumably make it an adjective, e.g. I come from Greece vs I am Greece+人 (Greek), but shouldn't it pronounced "jin"? Duolingo's pronunciation sounds nothing like it..


It should be pronounced じん。 (as in jeans, your pants.)


exactly, thank you, that's what I thought. Duolingo pronounces it differently when in a multiple choice scenario, when "人" is on its own.


Why is 人 sounds different from "じん"?


人 by itself means "man" which is ひと and thats what they say when you click on it. But when you combine it with a country, it changes to "じん" oe "man of_" I think the idea was to familiarize us with seeing kanji with different sounds but its really just confusing. They should have explained it a little better imo


There was no "wa" chatacter available. And using 私は before is more proper.


It's not necessarily 'more proper'; it is actually pretty uncommon to use pronouns in Japanese unless you absolutely need to clarify to the listener who you are talking about. Otherwise the topic is usually omitted and implied through context. アメリカ人です is a perfectly fine answer.


Yes, but the provided answer by Duolingo is 私はアメリカ人だす, despite は being absent from the word bank. It's a bug.


i think that for this, you can add 私が before since japanese is a topic-prominent language so it doesnt matter if you add 私が before the verb and noun if you're talking to one other person, if you're talking to a group of people and stating something, you add 私が at the start of the semtence. i typed that at the start of the sentence and it said i was wrong but i'm pretty sure i was right.


You'd more likely use 私は with the topic marker は rather than the subject marker が here. Though が wouldn't be incorrect, it changes the emphasis a bit.
私はアメリカ人です - (on the topic of me) I am American
私がアメリカ人です - I (am the one who is) American (and not someone else)


could anyone please explain to me why sometimes the word しゆうしん is used instead of only 人 で? i hope I was clear enough


出身・しゅっしん・shusshin (note the small ゆゅ and つっ, the small yu combines with the shi to become "shu" and the small tsu notes the doubling of the following consonant "sshi". This means "origin", where one comes from. This is your hometown, your country, your school. Wherever you "came from" in the sense of where you grew and developed and can call home.
人 is "person" and is used to note your nationality.
Where you are from and what your nationality is can be the same thing but they don't hold the same meaning. You can be from China but be Japanese, You can be from a graduate of certain school but you wouldn't say you are a citizen of the school.

アメリカ出身 - To be from America
アメリカ人 - To be American
Simply one is a place, the other is a person


I dont even know how to configure my keyboard to type katakana, much less how to separate the sentences in hiragan or katakana, like, wich one do i use now??? And also it just threw a whole bunch of sentences even tho previously we were just learning what each one of the hiragana's represented! I feel dumb now...


Katakana is used for loan words, so words like "America" and names like "John" and "Maria" that are not native to Japanese. When typing in hiragana, after typing a word you want to be in katakana hitting the space key should automatically convert it. This is also how you turn hiragana into kanji. Hitting the space key multiple times will toggle through different options which is useful when you need a specific word that has a lot of homophones and the one you need may not be the first option it gives you. When I type in "amerikajindesu" and hit the space key it automatically turns my entire sentence into アメリカ人です
The jump from hiragana/basic vocab to small sentences can be rough, make sure you check out the tips & notes for each section and if you ever get stuck you can hover over or tap on the words in the question to see hints. :)


Omg! Thank you soo much, i was soo confused trying to find tutorials on youtube to input katakana, and you even explained the use of it too! アリガト!


Why my answer using watashi kanji (watashi americajin desu) is wrong? Cant it also be right?


私はアメリカ人です (watashi wa amerikajin desu) is the recommended answer for this question
Your answer is missing the topic particle は that marks "I" as being the thing that "is american"


The de are making me confuse


です is the copula; it functions similarly to the verb "to be" in English.
It is the "am" in "I am American"


Please when do we have to put "watashi" and when do we have to put only the nationality with "desu"? I'm confused...


In Japanese the subject can be dropped or hidden once it has been introduced. If you were beginning a conversation you would say 私はアメリカ人です whereas if you had already been talking about yourself, you could simply say アメリカ人です。

If you started talking about another subject (not 私) you would state the subject for the first sentence. For example, Naomi (直美)is the new subject for the sentence 直美さんは学生です。


Please could someone explain why watashi is used in some cases but not others. I've noticed this especially with "I am French" versus "I am American" or "I am British". I keep getting it wrong without knowing why!


In the exercice there is the kanji for "Watashi" but not the particle "は" that indicates the topic you are talking about. Both are correct, "America jin des" and "watashi wa america jin des" beacause if it's clear that you are talking about yourself it's not necessary. But in the second one you would say は after watashi. Maybe we aren't talking about the same exercice, but I tried XD


I get confused when to use 私 before or just say アメリカン人 です. The sentence says; i am american. So why should u not use 私?


Japanese has an "invisible" pronoun. Based on context you drop the pronoun completely. This goes for "I/Me" and "You/Them". So if you are giving an introduction or responding to a question about your ethnicity the context already has "me" as the subject and thus the actual "watashi/boku" is unneeded. English is very pronoun heavy while Japanese will typically omit them. (Duolingo teaches you he/she but very rarely are those atually used in conversation.)


Why can't it be "watashi wa America jin desu"?


Ok I'm confused earlier I had "I am from France"i used watashi at the beginning and it was correct. Here I have " I am American" and watashi is wrong....why...?


app: translate "I am American" writing in japanese : 私はアメリカ人です app : oh no, it will be right "アメリカ人です" ????? but the translation will be "American", there is "I" in the sentence. why my answer is not correct, kmone


The recommended answer at the top of this page is 私はアメリカ人です so if you were marked incorrect you likely had a typo somewhere that you missed
アメリカ人です is also acceptable because in Japanese pronouns are usually omitted/implied through context. They're only really necessary if you need to clarify who you are speaking about.
アメリカ人 alone would be the noun "American", the copula です makes it a full sentence with an implied subject "(someone) is American". In a statement between you and a listener it can be assumed you are referring to yourself, so "I".


In the phrase "I am French" I was required to use 私 but in "I am American です was sufficient. Why the difference?


What is the difference between "watashi wa americajin desu" and "americajin desu"?


"watashi wa americajin desu", is saying I'm america, but "americajin desu" is only saying an america people, it doesn't specific anyone/


What is this if its France you need to put Watashi regardless it would still make sense


Bruh, should I use 私ワ or not? it keeps on switching (watashi wa)


De aru and da are the common /casual forms . Desu is polite and de gozaimasu is the honorific form of the verb to adress a customer for instance.


Why is "私はアメリカです" Incorrect?


That would be "I am America", or "I am the US"
アメリカ is a place, アメリカ would be the nationality "American"


Would アメリカン人です work or is the 私は needed? Duolingo accept it without.


When i try to do the exercises i know that i am missing the "wa" but its it's just not listed in the options i can chose....


Where is "は"


Why add " 私" as one of the options if there's no "は"?

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