1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "友だちにてがみを書きます。"


Translation:I will write a letter to my friend.

June 15, 2017



Is there any other translation in english?

-I write a letter to my friend

Dunno about everyone else, but it sounds weird considering that the sentence is referring to present. Can't it be translated as: im writing a letter to a friend (?)


It can also mean "I will write a letter to my friend", since present and future tense are the same.


It can also mean "I write letters to friends".


As is mentioned below, the progressive tense (am writing) has a different form in Japanese, so it shouldn't be used here. This is more of a habitual or general present tense (I write every week, or whenever I go abroad, or that is how I keep in contact), or future tense as TanjaR8 pointed out.




What's the difference between 友だち and ゆうじん, and isn't たち/だち a plural suffix so that 友だち means friends?


Familiarity and politeness. If you're talking to your elders/professors/boss, use 友人. But with your friends, 友だち is fine.

友 by itself has been phased out of usage, I think. I've never heard it.


I remembered it from this song at 1:29 the lyrics go:



I think it's used with the particle よ as a vocative, like "oh, my friend"


I was marked wrong for:

I am writing a letter to friends.

I guess it's a little casual (I'd use this in conversation, much like "I'm writing letters to family"), but I couldn't really decide whose friends it was referring to (could be my friends, could be your friends, depending on context), so I didn't commit to a possessive.

Is this something I should report, or am I missing something?


If the subject of a sentence is left out in Japanese, especially in a situation like this, I think it is safe to assume the subject is 私[わたし]。

However, your translation is incorrect. "I am writing" (present progressive) would be "書いています" rather than "書きます" (present/future tense). The best translation is "I write a letter(s) to my friend(s)".


How should it be if I wanted to say: my friend writes me a letter?


I believe it would be 友だちは私にてがみを書きます (Tomodachi wa watashi ni tegami wo kakimasu).


What indicates our? Nothing in the sentence indicates it is plural possesive


Since the context is left out, pretty much any pronoun and both singular or plural nouns can be a valid translation. I wrote "I write letters to my friends" and that was correct too.


Why couldn't this be translated to "My friend writes a letter"? Duolingo says it's wrong


The particle に implies movement. Your friend isn't the one writing the letter in this sentence, but the one the letter is going to. "友だちは手紙を書きます" is "My friend writes a letter" (notice that the に is changed to the subject marker, は). Often, the subject is left out of Japanese if it is easily implied; Duolingo's sentence here has an implied "私は" at the beginning.


We need a わたしの right? How can know if I write the letter or they in this sentence?


It's implied. Either "I" or "he/she/it" or "they" or "we" should work.


How to differentiate between singular and plural?


Japanese doesn't differentiate between them, most of the time. In particular, ともだち could be either singular or plural.


Why is it "They?"


It could be any pronoun, depending on context.


What would be the difference between "i am writing a letter" and "i wrote a letter"?


Past tense uses た-form: てがみを書きました。 For present progressive, use て-form+いる: てがみを書いています。

Casual た-form and て-form convert similarly, and they are important to learn for Japanese!


I wrote I am writing my friend a letter, I feel this also works


The present progressive "am writing" uses another form, 書いています. The one used here, 書きます, corresponds to a habitual or general present, or to the future tense. In real life, a tense change may sometimes be motivated by context, but we are here to learn the grammar so it would be a bad idea to allow it to cause confusion.


How would you translate 「友達に」in this context? Something like, "Where friend is located (write letter)" ? And also, is this commonly used? For example could you use 「友達に」with the verb "to give"?


に indicates the concept of indirect objects or dative case in European languages. So 友達に means "to a friend/ friends." に is a very common particle, for example, 友達に本をあげます = I give a book to my friend.


"will" was not available for me.


Answered "He writes letters to his friends." and it said incorrect: "He writes letteres to his friends." 12 Feb 2018


"will" was not in the word bank for this one...


I got marked wrong for saying "I will write a letter for my friends." Instead of "I will write a letter to my friends." Should both translations be accepted?


I tried with "I write a letter for my friend" and it was not accepted. Is anything wrong with my translation?


Why is に used here?


I'm also wondering this. Someone above mentioned Ni implies movement, and Andrew-Lin says it marks the indirect object of a verb. So I guess in this context it kind of indicates to whom a thing is given (the thing being the direct object?).


I was asked to type what I hear. I type 「友達に手紙を書きます」 and I'm marked wrong for using Kanji. Amazing job, swaying new Japanese learners away from Kanji.




I am facing a big challenge with those audio tracks. I already found that I am not allowed to write whole sentence using kanji, which would be okay, however when I try writing it with hiragana only, quiz demands some of the names written in kanji. On the contrary, identical problem in different type of quiz accept various versions of the same answer. I assume that audio track questions lack those multiple variants of answers. Have anybody been thinking about doing some kind of mapping between 'answer-complete' questions and audio quizes that would extend answer pool of the latter? I think the source text of most of them match up, so it should not be a problem for an NLP enginneer ;)

Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.