"There is no bathtub."
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For people really want to understand what で is underneath, it is one of the particle usage - "in/as a state of." So これはトイレです expands to これはトイレであります meaning "This exists as a concept/state of a toilet." In a more reader-friendly version, "This is a toilet."
Similarly, トイレではありません means "(This) does not exists as a concept of a toilet." The は in ではありません is a contrast marker particle stressing the negative fact.
トイレがあります means "A toilet exists." Note that the subject is different from トイレであります (implicitly これ is the subject - これは is omitted from the sentence). Using the same logic, トイレはありません is "A toilet does not exist." In other words, "There is no toilet."
I don't think I'm being able to get the whole で (de) deal. Sometimes in negation sentences lingo would include the simbol to pick and sometimes won't. Both times the sentence comes out fine with or without it. I'm thinking to myself で is just an adornment for negation sentences. This language has oh so many adornments.
It would help me to help you if you can send me some concrete examples that you have come across. However I would like to stress again that, the で in ではありません is not an optional modifier to はありません. These two phrases have different meanings and should not be mixed up.
Let me give some more examples and hopefully it will help.
- ごはんは ありません There is no rice.
ごはんでは ありません It is not rice.
学校（がっこう）は ありません There is no school.
- 学校では ありません It is not a school.
- 学校には ありません It is not in school.
I remember Cure Dolly saying that で is the connective form of だ. So to me, it makes sense to say that お風呂では ありません is the equivalent of お風呂だ (state of being a bathtub [is a bathtub]) plus ありません (is not). So all together is like (お風呂だ)は(ありません) or "As for being a bathtub, does not exist" or "It is not a bathtub". Is this a fair way to think about it?
Ah, thank you, thank you, thank you!
I've seen lots of explanations of the difference between desu and arimasu, and people talking about "existing", but the examples you gave here finally made it click for me. Screencapping this to add to my notes later.
[Oct. 9, 2021]
(EDIT: I'll leave this up for posterity, but I immediately got corrected, sooo... Nevermind!)
No, but I'm also too new at this to tell you what's correct. ごめん！
But you have two は particles, which isn't allowed (meaning the sentence has two subjects).
今日は学校がありません might be correct (replacing the second は with a が), but I have no idea if that sounds correct to a native speaker.
Hopefully someone with more experience will weigh in on this.
[Oct. 18, 2021]
Oh, wow. Ignore me, then, sorry! (‘◉⌓◉’)
I must have absorbed some bad info from earlier comment sections, then.
I had only ever read that there was a single は, even if には.
Does the listener assume the first one is the topic then? Or is it another "should be apparent from context" thing?
Thank you for your input!
I believe it's because the sentence is, "There is no bathtub," instead of, "It is not a bathtub." ありません is the negative, polite verb for the existence of inanimate objects (ある), where ではありません is the negative, polite ending of です. Take this with a grain of salt, as I'm not entirely sure.
So I am a bit late, but here is maybe an other way to explain it, and correct me if I'm wrong, because it is what I understood after doing many researches, and not something I know because I'm a master at japanese.
There is something, in japanese, called the "te form", which applies to verbs, and is used to link two verbs together: to say "and" in a sentence changes depending on what you want to link, and the "te form" is used to link two verbs in a sentence. Exemple : "My name is Sakura and I'm Japanese" would translate to 私の名前はさくらで日本人です。 Watashi no namae ha Sakura de Nihonjin desu. Basically, the "で" in this sentence is the "te" form of "desu". I could have said : 私の名前はさくらです、日本人です。 It would translate to "My name is Sakura, I am Japanese" An other example : ごはんを食べて水を飲みます。 Would mean "I eat rice and I drink water".
So if we analyze the sentence : So the verb "ある" means : to exist "は" is the particle は, meaning "in concern of, speaking of" お風呂はありません。 "Speaking of the bathtub, [it does'nt exist] it's not there" Final traduction would be "There is no bathtub"
So about the "で" : です is basically the closest thing there is to "to be" Let's do the sentence with the regular form of "to be" 風呂ですはありません。 So は still indicate the theme, meaning "in concern of", except the theme is not the bathtub anymore, it's the concept of a bathtub, like : "In concern of the being of a bathtub, [it does'nt exist] there is none"
But to be grammatically correct, you have to use the "te" form of the word, because we want to link the two verbs, so the sentence is a whole and not two entities. It's kind of as if we said "in concern of the being (existence) of a bathtub, [it does'nt exist] there is none" Final traduction would be : It is not a bathtub
So one is "no bathtub" in the sense of "there is no bathtub" and the other is "no bathtub" in the sense of "this not a bathtub". That's how I undertand it. You have to see it as adding "で", "to be" to the theme, so the theme changes from 風呂 (a bathtub) to 風呂で (the concept of a bathtub), and not like "は" changing to "では".
Yes, we can think like that, but I avoid using です+ある to explain the で because です is a contraction of であります or でございます, so it turns out to be a recursive explanation.
Referring to the dictionary, である was a contraction of に (the continuative form of なり "to be") + て + あり, and にて became で which we see today. This matches with your observation. This で is similar to the following cases
Normally these are classified in the dictionary as "marking a state, boundary, condition, etc." That's what I used to explain in the previous comment.
They both mean "There is no restroom" however in one sentence you are making restrooms the topic of conversation by using は.
The other sentence marked with が would be used when restrooms are a subject of the wider topic of conversation, eg. レストラン は トイレ が ありません - the restaurant has no restroom.
は and が are two key characters known as particles. Particles are fundamental to the Japanese language so I recommend finding some good learning material specifically on particles, it will really help with the rest of this Duolingo course, there are plenty of dedicated articles and videos around.
If you are actually interested I recommend reading this article: https://www.japanesewithanime.com/2018/03/honorific-prefix-o-go.html
But in general you use these prefixes because the word is often times used with it and separating them will make it sound weird, or because you wanna be polite to the listener. In the particular case of ご飯 is just a phenomenon where the word is always said like that but if you see 飯 you will pronounce it with the kunyomi as in めし, for お昼ご飯 is adding the prefix to be polite, and 昼ご飯 sounds completely fine without the prefix.
that's a terrible way to teach it, the difference between using が and は is how explicit the topic is and how much emphasis you want to put on the thing you are marking.
if you use は is to let the listener know that you are talking about that, usually is used when a conversation is starting, when you wanna change topic mid conversation or when you are just saying general statements.
For this example, I imagine the speaker is just stating a fact, maybe you are selling a house and you are telling the potential buyer お風呂はありません (as for a bathtub there is none). But let's say someone is asking you what's missing in the house (the topic is set, the house), so you mentally go on a list of the things that are there and you compare that with the ones that are not... and you say お風呂がありません (it's a bathtub that doesn't exist here), the が makes an emphasis on the thing in contrast with other things.
You can usually see が too when stating fact about a topic. If I wanna say for example you don't have a bathtub I say "コニンさんはお風呂がいません", because I need to be explicit that I'm talking about you, but if I wanna say I don't have one I just say お風呂はいません, because it's implicit that I'm talking about myself.
There are two types of usage with the honorifics お（御）/ご（御）/み（御）/おん（御）/ぎょ（御）.
One is customary usage, where the described noun may or may not need to be honored. e.g. お箸（はし）"chopsticks"、お寺（てら）"temple"、ご飯（はん）"rice"、御曹司（おんぞうし）"son of a rich family"、御霊（みたま）"holy spirit"、御苑（ぎょえん）"emperor's garden"
Another usage is to honor the subject of the sentence. Note that it can be different from the listener, but with lack of context, we simply assume the listener is the subject of the sentence. e.g. お名前（なまえ） "your name"、お子（こ）さま "your child"、ご機嫌（きげん）"your mood"、御社（おんしゃ） "your company"、御意（ぎょい）"your will"
There are two questions in this lesson that may appear to be the same but are actually different, and it is very common for learners to mix them up.
お風呂はありません is "There is no bathtub" or "there is not a bathtub" more literally say "a bathtub does not exist". This would be the correct answer for this specific question.
お風呂ではありません is "It is not a bathtub" more literally "the state of being a bathtub does not exist"
the direct object particle を (wo) is not used here.
お (o) is an honorific prefix often used for word beautification; this can be used to add a level of politeness or show respect. It is often found on words of cultural significance (such as お風呂 'bath', which was traditionally done in temples to cleanse the body and spirit. From there private baths were introduced as a luxury item only wealthy nobles could afford to have)