1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "There is a chair behind me."

"There is a chair behind me."


June 20, 2017



I keep forgetting the kanji!! 後ろ is うしろ they should have a hiragana option in case you forget.


2020.4.24 Personally I think when you click on a Japanese word involving kanji, Duolingo should show the furigana reading as well as the English meaning. Would be a lot of help to people studying Japanese


From a contributor:

Unfortunately, we don't currently have the technical capability to include furigana. We (the contributors) would also be very happy if this capability was added by staff, but it's currently not available. I'm not one of Duo's staff/developers, so I don't know how much work and resources would have to be diverted in order to add this capability (or where this would exist on their priority list), so I can't speak to the likelihood of it being added in the future.

We also can't just use a workaround by putting the hiragana pronunciation in with the English hints, because then Japanese words in hiragana would appear in the word tiles when you are meant to compose a sentence in English. That would make the distractor tiles completely useless (since it's clear hiragana doesn't belong in an English sentence!).

We do hear your frustration, which has also been voiced by many other users in the past, but currently it's not within our power. Hopefully someday though!


Came back to this comment doing practice. So glad it got added a while back. (Funnily enough I have it off most of the time though :P. Still, it is reassuring to have the option.)




Sometimes I remember what a certain Kanji means, but not how it is pronounced (this was the case with 後) what advice do you have for these cases?


I recommend using a second app to look up the pronounciation. I use Kanji Study on android myself. Jisho might work great as well.


What do you use as a kanji learn ing application?!


Remembering the kanji is a good book to make it very difficult to forget kanji. That with anki and you now have your kanji forever with no subscription costs (anki is free everywhere but apple). I've learned 400 kanji this way so far and i can write them all. Eventually I'll learn the rest. There are 2200 in the first book. The downside is it doesn't teach readings.


I heard reading books have oniyomi and kunyomi. Maybe some reading books might help. Libraries can have books for other languages especially university libraries if you're allowed in them.


2020.4.24 Learning to say the word first うしろ (for back) then learning it's written 後ろ, may help too.

With the okurigana ろ it has to be read うしろ and without it, it can be ご or あと. ご will most likely be a kanji compound like 午後「ご。ご、p.m.」or 放課後「ほう。か。ご、after school」or あと where probably it's not a kanji compound


Chair behind me is.

Gotta get that yoda vibe!


Am I to understand that if an object is omitted, by default the object is understood to be me? ( Ehy not "you"?) Or is this just duolingo deciding that imaginary context would make it so?


You understand correctly. Japanese prefer not to expressly state subjects. This is not a duolingo problem. This is the way Japanese people communicate. They infer context all the time when they think it's obvious or that people can figure it out without them spelling it out.


I have lived with my Japanese husband who speaks English well, and still there are times that I get an indefinite answer from him or NO answer. lol So even though we communicate in English, he still has the Japanese style of indirectness.


Don't you have that in all languages?


Imaginary context


it's both. Omitting the subjrct or topic is extremely common in japanese, whenever the context is clear enough. Duo tries to use the language as it would be used, so they omit topics frequently, and use "me" as an imaginary context so that there aren't 50+ right answers to every question.


If I wanted to write the full scentence, where did I have to put the 私? In front of the 後ろ?


That is correct, you would then use a の particle afterwards. So it would be 私の後ろ...


so I got it wrong because I typed "私は"? damm.. lol


why can't you do it the other way around, like いすがわたしの後ろにあります/the chair there is one behind me?


This worked for me without わたしの


So, I wrote 後に椅子があります。And I got it wrong. What difference does the ろ make after 後?


後 can also be read as あと as in「後で電話する」"I'll call you later".

Most of the time when a word uses the okurigana of something in particular like in 後、it's to avoid confusion with their homographs.

You can check for yourself on jisho.org, they usually add notes for irregular usage:


If it happens to you again, you should report it and select the option saying that your answer should have been accepted.


What's the difference between うしろ and あと?


うしろ - physically behind something (location)

あと - 1) after (time), 2) physically behind something (location)

They can sometimes be interchangeable.


I entered いすが後ろにあります and it was accepted. Is the word order not important then? What is the difference between the two, if any?


the word order isn't very important here. Because of the use of particles (が and に in this sentence) to mark the grammatical function of words, it's understandable in almost any order, so long as the particles are paired up right. Order can change the emphasis of a sentence too.


This is what I put too, and it was accepted, "there is a chair behind me". Duo's Japanese sentence literally says "behind me, there is a chair".


so.. Why is only が possible here and not は?


Furthermore, in this case, there is an implicit subject (the speaker), so you could think of it as 「[僕の]後ろにいすがあります」. You are describing the object (a chair) in relation to the subject (the speaker). I think 「が」 is primarily used to describe the object, so you use 「が」 even when the subject is elided.

I think it's also because it is an exclusive description: i.e, the chair is not anywhere else but behind you: 後ろにあります. I think the English sentence in this example is a bit confusing because it is a more general statement that "there is a chair behind me" rather than "the chair is behind me", which seems like what the Japanese sentence is actually saying.

You would use は for inclusive descriptions, i.e. if you say that you're a member of the NRA, that doesn't mean you're not a member of some other charitable organization, therefore 「[SUBJECT]は[OBJECT]の会員です」. By that same token, even if a description is not generally exclusive, in some cases it can warrant a 「が」, and that can also come along with dropping some particles like 「の」in certain cases, it's tricky.

There are other subtle signals sent by the choice between 「は」 and 「が」, and you're honestly more likely to figure them out with listening experience than with hard and fast rules.


How do you know it is me? Here we just write ushiro


Other translations are possible, but "there is a chair behind" is an incomplete sentence in English, so we have to make a reasonable assumption about what it is behind. It's behind something, and if I'm the person speaking, it's most likely behind me


I thought 「います」 made more sense, though it was rejected. 「あります」seems to imply the definite article, i.e. “The chair is behind me.”, where 「後ろにいすがいます」 seems more like “Behind me a chair is present”, or "There is a chair behind me.".

Maybe I'm missing something here.


When using います and あります to mean that something exists, います is used for animate objects and あります is used for inanimate objects. A chair is inanimate, so we use あります.


Just so I understand how I got this wrong:

後ろに椅子があります。 means "There is a chair behind me."

椅子の後ろにあります。means "I am behind the chair."

Am I understanding my mistake correctly?


You've got the main idea, but there's one more element to it. あります (arimasu) can only be used with inanimate objects, so your second sentence means "(something) is behind the chair". If you want to say that you, a living person, are behind a chair, you need to replace あります with います (imasu).


I asked my japanese teacher once, if plants are inanime (ある) or animate (いる). She wasn't sure, but said first inanimate. Later she discussed it with friends and told me they also thought of plants as inanimate.


私の後ろに椅子があります ダメですか?


why can't the chair be first?


is this a natural sounding sentence? 後ろに椅子 already describes the chair that's behind you why would you need to say that it exists あります?

is this wrong? 後ろには椅子があります


Can someone remind me of the importance/meaning of the order please. Isu ga ushiro ni arimasu is also accepted but I'm trying to remember what the difference in English is (roughly the same but different emphasis I think?).


Generally in Japanese, it is between:

ushiro ni isu GA arimasu

isu WA ushiro ni arimasu

The equivalent in English would just be to change the subjects.

There is a chair behind me.

( A / The ) chair is behind me.


Ok, thanks. I just read through some other comments, which I didn't earlier as there were so many and I was in the middle of practise on my phone. Someone else advised that it can be in either order so long as the particles are correct. To confirm them are you saying that although it can use GA or WA in either order, it is more commonly used for GA at the end and WA at the start?

Also isn't GA used for emphasis so that would be when we are talking about a chair, chairs in general already? E.g. The chair is behind me would be for GA rather than WA, right?


In this case, both are set expressions, so the placements of the particles have been decided and are fixed.

The patterns for the grammar of the sentences are:

1) y NI x GA arimasu
2) x WA y NI arimasu


Great, thanks.


I wrote "椅子が私の後ろにあります" can someone explain me why is it wrong please?


In positioning what is the difference between No and Ni?


So duolingo accepted "椅子が後ろにあります" Here it says that the "後ろに" comes before "椅子が". Can someone please tell me the transliteration between the two? Or is it technically the same thing?


Can someone explain the difference between あとに and うしろに? Does it have to do with formality?


When you hover over "behind" in the English sentence, the first option given is 後に. However, duo marked 後に椅子があります. Is this just a mistake in the hover option, or did I mess up somewhere else?


Why is it wrong to say: 僕の後ろに椅子がいます


います is only for living things. A chair is non-living, so we have to use あります.


Why sometimes 後(あと) but sometimes 後ろ(うしろ)


It told me the answer was いすが後ろにある, but it didn't have an option to select ある so I put, いすが後ろにます which it marked as wrong.

I've reported it but as it won't give me the option for the answer it says is correct. can someone tell me what's wrong with the answer I gave?


ます (masu) is just the helper verb ending the word, it's not actually a word used by itself, so you needed the stem of the verb to complete your answer.

The answer that it tells you is "right" is often the version of the answer that you came closest to (there is more than one right answer). The preferred answer at the top of this thread is 後にいすがあります (ushiro ni isu ga arimasu). ある (aru) is the short form of あります (arimasu). I'm guessing there was probably a floating あり (ari) somewhere in your options.


You need to use the polite form of ある、which is あります。


why do I hear "the chair in behind it is, a way the Japanese their language to understand that is" echo in Master Yoda's voice?


Sentence structure is so frustrating

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