1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "I looked up the meaning of t…

"I looked up the meaning of the kanji in a dictionary."


June 16, 2017



Duo. I hate you sometimes...these sort of questions confuse first time learners who have only, to this point, seen wo with jisho and hikimasu. Now you change the direct object and expect learners to know that's why there is now a de to the left of the verb...well most learners wouldn't recognize a direct object if it bit them on the ass and most lerners are already struggling with wo de he and ni! You should atleast try and explain some of the grammatical points before each lesson.


Yeah it's exactly what I'm wondering! を , で why?


The explanation is more in the definition of the word and the way it and the particles を, は & で are used.


So the verb means more like "to consult/refer to (a dictionary)", with a dictionary or other source of reference being implied. So in sentences like 辞書を引いてください, which translates to "look it up in a dictionary", more literally means "consult a dictionary", with dictionary being the Direct Object.

In this current sentence, 漢字の意味を辞書で引きました, dictionary is no longer the DO because this means something more like "I looked up the meaning of the kanji USING a dictionary.

If we tried to write this any other way, it simply wouldn't make sense. If we try は, then we get 漢字の意味は、辞書を引きました, which would mean something like "The kanji's meaning, I consulted a dictionary". This gives us why it can't be 辞書を in this sentence.



Then this sentence should not be here in this lesson. If they can't make it work then no point in forcing it.

I still have no idea why it couldn't be は.

Oh, well. Back to the usual, memorize without understanding...


I was more confused at why jisho was using wo previously. I thought it was something to do with the verb. Then this bit me in the ass. Why wouldn't "look it up in the dictionary" be "辞書で引いてください"?


I have seen that there are some grammar points explained in the French course on iOS so I'm hoping that's in the works for Japanese. We do need it!


I understand what を (object) and で (place where something happens or you do something in this case) mean but doesn't the direct object usually go right before the verb?

de で particle https://www.thoughtco.com/particles-de-4077278

o を particle https://japanesemeow.com/japanese-grammar-lessons/connect-a-verb-to-a-direct-object-with-wo/

辞書で 漢字の意味を引きました is also accepted.


No. 辞書で漢字の意味を引きました is not accepted, at least not as of 01/03/2020.


Making mistakes is part of learning. Perhaps, let yourself be okay with getting a few wrong answers the first time you encounter new material. It will let you focus on abosrbing it rather than worrying about being right or wrong. /zen


It would help if DuoLingo actually played the audio for the kanji as you selected it, or taught you the kanji for the terms they're trying to make you select earlier in the lesson.


Every Kanji was missing audio for the voice the excercise used, I reported it as incorrect audio, here's to hoping it gets fixed.


Agreed. If I could hear the kanji, then I often wouldn't need to check the hints to see what it meant if I recognized the sound of it.


In this exercise, there are two very similar sentences:

  • 漢字の意味を辞書で引きました。

  • その言葉はすぐに辞書で引きました

One uses は and the other uses を and if you swap them, the answer is marked incorrect. Does adding すぐに change the particle? My very limited understanding would say that both should be accepted in both cases. If this is not the case, I'd love to know why.



At least give me the OPTIONS to get it right. D<


You were supposed to have selected ひきました, there's an unused まし at the bottom. Also, you can switch to manual input as well.


How do you use manual input? That would be nice!


I don't know how to do it on the mobile version, but on a browser on a conputer there are grey underlined words that say "use keyboard".


Install a Japanese keyboard on your phone's OS. On samsung, you switch input by swiping on the space bar


Kanji: 漢字の意味を辞書で引きました。


That moment when you realize even the word kanji has a kanji to it


My epiphany came when I realized that を does not directly connect 'kanji' with 'dictionary'. All the previous uses of を had been short simple sentences where the object being acted upon was always followed directly by the action.

So this is "The meaning of the Kanji"| "In the dictionary"| ”consult"

That when used in a single sentence mean

"(I) Look(ed) up the meaning of the kanji in the dictionary"


I tried putting "in the dictionary" first, and it was okay. I just find it easier (less confusing) to do it that way.


I did じしよでかんじのいまをひきましや and it worked. Not sure if it is correct.


Trying to do it on a mobile is hopeless, there seems to be a lot missing just by reading these comments. The sudden switch to kanji not shown before is confusing enough without the particle issue!!


I had じしょで 漢字の意味を引きました. ("じしょで かんじのいみをひきました)

Is that wrong? If so, can anyone explain? Duolingo says that I used the wrong word, but 辞書 and じしょ mean the same thing don't they? Or maybe it was the placement? This is discouraging because I can't identify if this is truly wrong or what's exactly wrong with it.


Report it, that sentence is fine. Might just be the kanji use being flagged.


I was even marked wrong with 私は辞書で漢字の意味を引きました。which has all the right kanji and seems to be correct grammar according to the other comments. I think sometimes Duo just doesn't have enough permutations of grammatically valid translations in its bank to check against.


If your translation is correct, just click on the report option, and they will add it into the list of acceptable translations.




Yes, this. I'm completely confused by saying 引きました for looking up the meaning of a kanji. It seems as if the sentence is saying that someone opened the kanji. 辞書を引いて漢字の意味を調べました。And if I wanted to say look it up in a dictionary, I might say 辞書を引いて, but that means open a dictionary, or use a dictionary. But if we remove dictionary and just say 漢字を引いて it doesn't make sense.

Is it just me, or does something about this seem wrong?


Nothing is wrong; one of the meanings of 引く is "to look up (in a dictionary)

Definition 8 at https://jisho.org/search/引く


Furthermore, none of the definitions say "open", even for a drawer!


That "を辞書で" looks weird to me. I thought を is is always followed by the verb. In any case, it took my answer "辞書で漢字の意味を引きました".


Japanese particles can come in any order the speaker would like. Some orders might be less common or more for poems and such, but any order really is admissible.

This sentence could be written two different ways:

  1. 漢字の意味を辞書で引きました。
  2. 辞書で漢字の意味を引きました。

If we add in subjects to be a little more specific, we could write it more ways

  1. 僕は辞書で漢字の意味を引きました。
  2. 僕は漢字の意味を辞書で引きました。
  3. 漢字の意味を僕は辞書で引きました。
  4. 漢字の意味を辞書で僕は引きました。
  5. 辞書で漢字の意味を僕は引きました。
  6. 辞書で僕は漢字の意味を引きました。

However, 3-6, You'll either never hear, or extremely seldom, even though you could do it; you might see odd constructions like this more frequently in poems in order to fit certain schemes / morae counts



I'm wondering why 調べます is not accepted in any of these sentences. I was taught to use 調べる for looking stuff up. I have never seen 引く used in this context before, so I've learned something too, but I'm really surprised that duo hasn't accepted shiraberu once no matter how many combinations I try.


Looked up:「調べた」(しらべた)or 「調べました」(しらべました) I looked up the meaning of the kanji in a dictionary. 「漢字の意味を辞書で調べました」


In another exercise in this lesson "難しい漢字は辞書を引いてください" means "please look up difficult kanji in your dictionary" (literally "As for difficult Kanji, please consult your dictionary"). And yet here we can't use

漢字の意味は辞書を引きました ("as for the meaning of the kanji, I consulted a dictionary").

It appears it's been like this for at least 3 years so the contributors have intentionally been rejecting any reports that the sentence above is an acceptable alternative. But for the life of me I can't see why the distinction... .

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