"That is water."


June 20, 2017



Nothing is "happening" to the water, so there's no need for a を that would connect it to a verb.

"That" (それ) is the topic of the sentence. And the only thing the sentence does, is define what the topic is exactly. Nothing is really happening to something specific in the sentence, except for... "being" in regards to the topic.

If something happens to the water (e.g. "I drink water" - (わたしは)水をのみます), then it becomes the object, as we know and are used to it, requiring a を.

I always feel like imagining a comma after は helps establish the topic and thus understand sentences a little better. Also, there's the "As for/Regarding this-and-that" technique.
"As for me は, I drink water."

June 29, 2017


I appreciate the time you take for explaining it to the community, I admire you a lot

February 12, 2018


Make that two!

September 7, 2019


I thought "that" was "あれ"

September 30, 2017


It depends on the context of where the object is. If it's near you, it's これ as in "core". If it's near the other person in the conversation, it's それ as in "seller", and あれ as in "aw man, that's far from both of us". Or at least, I believe that's accurate. Please feel free to correct me.

September 30, 2017


You're correct, but just to give people another way to remember them, i always think of これ/core as something I am currently holding (since core sounds kind of like current), and それ/sore as 'sorry, i cant reach it because it is near you, not me' (since sore sounds like sorry). Love your memory technique of あれ though!

May 8, 2018


The question doesn't give any context so あれ should be correct as well as それ.

December 4, 2018


Yeah that's the way I remember it being taught. これ is by me, それ is by you, あれ isn't by either of us.

May 8, 2018


Now it's so much easier to remember cheers

June 21, 2018


The only thing I would add is that something doesn't need to be far away from both of you (like really far away!) to necessarily be あれ. As long it's out of reach for both of you. That would be the minimum distance so to speak for something to be あれ.

April 14, 2019


What about if the object is as near to me and the other person in the conversation?

September 1, 2019


これ because it’s near you.

September 1, 2019



August 23, 2018


It has accepted this option, too

January 28, 2019


The sentence is kinda ambiguous because we can't really determine the distance since "that" was written. Does it mean both あれ and それ are correct.

December 5, 2018



October 16, 2018


I'm confused, I thought を was used for all direct objects (nouns, pronouns, and noun phrases) but you're saying only if something is happening to the direct object?

August 7, 2018


Yes, を is used for all direct objects. A direct object receives the action of the verb, which you could say means that something is "happening" to it.

です (desu) is not a verb but is very similar to the English verb "to be", which doesn't take a direct object. In the sentence "that is water", there is no direct object. "That" is the subject and "water" is the predicate nominative.

August 29, 2018


Concepts such as direct object, indirect object, and subject, may not translate directly into Japanese grammar.But, even in European languages, sentences like this, that use “to be” as a linking verb, treat both linked in noun phrases as subjects, i.e., they are in the nominative case. At least this is true for the European languages I have studied.

October 7, 2018


My first time commenting...to say THANK YOU. I kept trying to figure this out, and none of the other explanations held consistently, until I found yours. Now, I get it right every time!

January 15, 2019


Referring, btw, to wa and wo

January 15, 2019



April 8, 2019


Thank you so much!!

November 28, 2018



May 24, 2019



June 6, 2019


Thank you i searched the internet and no use.. and then here's your explanation so simple and so good

August 30, 2019


Great! Thanks

September 7, 2019


I am confused, it keeps changing the distance between それ and  これ i thought that they were for objects closer to you and could be considered "this" or "it". "それ" is closest, "これ" is farther "あれ" is farthest.

June 23, 2017


That is correct.
これ = this (close to you).
それ = that (far from you, but close to the person you're talking to).
あれ = that over there (far from both of you). ☺

June 28, 2017


ありがとうございます! I still struggle with these x-x

March 8, 2018


Now that is a clear way to put it! Thank you, you amazing person on the internet!

July 30, 2018


The idea of "this, "that" and "that over there" are not too different from English just different words. You will see this a lot in Japanese pronouns, the 'K' sound represents near you(the person speaking)

これ(Kore) {this}[pronoun] これは水ですKore wa mizu desu(This is water)

この(Kono){this}[adjective] この箱は黒いKono hako wa kuroi(This box is black)

ここ(Koko){here}[pronoun] 本がここですhon ga Koko desu(the book is Here)

secondly the 'S' sound represents near the person being spoken to. It helps to ask yourself: "Is what's being referred to in a position where the other person would say 'this'?"

それ(Sore) {that}[pronoun] それは水ですSore wa mizu desu(that is water)

その(Sono){that}[adjective] その箱は青いSono hako wa aoi(that box is blue)

そこ(Soko){there}[pronoun] 本がそこですhon ga Soko desu(the book is there)

next is the 'A' sound which represents things neither close to speaker nor the person being spoken to. It can be thought of as "that over there, away from us." It's also sometimes used for more abstract concepts that can't be logically positional.

あれ(Are) {that}[pronoun] あれは水ですAre wa mizu desu(that is water)

あの(Ano){that}[adjective] あの箱は黄色い**Ano hako wa kiiroi(that box is yellow)

あそこ(Asoko){there}[pronoun] 本があそこですhon ga Asoko desu(the book is over there)Please note this one is A+Soko: Asoko, not Ako

The last set that's good to know is the 'D' sound which basically means "which?"

どれ(Dore) {which}[pronoun] どれは水ですかDore wa mizu desu ka(which is water?) This also means "which one", used when the subject is understood.

どの(Dono){which one}[adjective] どの箱は赤いですかDono hako wa akai desu ka(which box is red?)

そこ(Doko){where}[pronoun] 本がどこですかhon ga Doko desu ka(Where is the book?)

March 8, 2018


Very nice of U!!! Thanks for taking the time to explain!

September 27, 2018


You deserve a lingot for this surely.

October 7, 2018


thank you for the explaination, really appreciate it

December 6, 2018


Hello I am Jarvis I have learned Japanese for 16 years and I have been speaking Japanese for almost 9 years so I'll brush my knowledge onto you

これ this (near speaker)

それ that (near listener)

あれ that (far from speaker and listener)

July 11, 2018


why can't I write それ は お水 です ?

November 4, 2017


お can only be use when the noun in this insistence 水 is in the front of the sentence

July 11, 2018


Interesting, can anyone else actually confirm whether this is true?

July 30, 2018


Both それ and あれ should be correct in this sentence. Because, in English we don't really have those two seperated words, and we don't know from the sentence if it's far away from just me or for us both.

March 22, 2018


if i wanted to ask ''is that water'' would i say それは水ですか

April 30, 2018



April 30, 2018


Why can not use "それが水です。" here?

May 13, 2018


That's what I would like to know...

I think "それは水です" is a response to "What is that?", and the は takes emphasis away from それ. But "それが水です" would be a good response to "Which bottle is water?", because the が would emphasize that THAT one is water.

Duolingo struggles with context, but I think "それが水です" would translate to "That one is water", not "That is water".

July 7, 2019


Is です necessary?

September 30, 2018



January 24, 2019


Please put whether or not it's far away or close. It makes a big difference.

February 26, 2019


So is を not used after 水 because it is not the object? If it isn't the object, what would you call 水 if we are talking about it's grammatical function in the sentence?

In other words, is 水 the subject, the topic, or something else?

June 26, 2017


水 is being used as a predicate nominative in this sentence.

July 30, 2017


And this is the well...

August 17, 2017


I used それ but it marked me wrong and said I should of used あれ. why? .

January 2, 2018


Your answer should be accepted, considering that we don't know the context of the sentence. It truly can be either あれ or それ depending on the position of the water, but since this is likely something you'd say to somebody in conversation, the water is likely near the listener (so それ applies). It's best to report this the next time around because both answers are acceptable without proper context of the situation.

January 2, 2018


I did report it, I just commented here in case I missed something.

January 2, 2018


I think they fixed it cause I did the exercise twice with different answers, both correct if I remember right.

March 22, 2018


i didnt get this wrong, but water isnt necessarily a living thing, so arent we supposed to use "ga" and "arimasu"?

May 10, 2018


です can be used with living and nonliving things. I think you're thinking about the difference between あります (arimasu - a nonliving thing exists) and います (imasu - a living thing exists).

水です。Mizu desu.

It's water. (Someone asked "what's in your bottle?")

水があります。 Mizu ga arimasu.

Water exists. / I have water. (You're going on a camping trip and you ask if there is drinking water at the campsite.)

June 6, 2018


I put あれ instead of それ、because it showed it on the first word as an alternative. However, I still got the question wrong. Can someone help me?

August 4, 2018


Never mind, other elements of the answer were incorrect.

August 4, 2018


I said それわ水 and it marked me wrong. Isn't it okay to not use ですlike casually?

October 7, 2018


Firstly, you can drop です although to still be grammatically correct, you'd replace it with だ in this instance.

But the much bigger error is you've used わ instead of は. While the particle は is pronounced "wa" in this instance, it's not correct to use わ instead.

October 7, 2018


Oooh right! Thanks I forgot hehe

October 7, 2018


水 is water お水 is water in more polite form. Same as alcohol it can beさけ or おさけ , depends on level of politeness you want it to be

December 8, 2018


They use あれ and それ interchangably as "that"

December 9, 2018


There is no way to discern a/so/ko from the sentence, and kore was marked wrong.

December 15, 2018


There’s no way to differentiate それ and あれ because they both mean “that”. これ is “this”.

December 15, 2018


This has been explained elsewhere but これ means near the speaker, それ means near the listener, あれ means not near either.

February 2, 2019


When can I use あれ and それ?

February 2, 2019


それ means "that" (far from the speaker but near to the listener); あれ means "that" (far from both the speaker and the listener).

March 21, 2019


Why is あれを水です wrong?

February 27, 2019


You can't use the particle を with です. If you check some of the other comments in this thread, there are already some good explanations.

February 27, 2019


Thanks friend

February 27, 2019


It would be useful to know the position of the object being discussed ie (near other person)

March 12, 2019


What the difference between それ、あれ、& これ?

March 24, 2019


これ means "this" それ means "there" (far from the speaker but near to the listener); あれ means "there" (far from both the speaker and the listener).

March 24, 2019


i keep messing up は and を

April 16, 2019


No es tan necesario el ーです AAAHHHH

May 3, 2019


Is word order important here? I wrote 水それはです and it counted as incorrect.

May 8, 2019


Yes, with the order you've used there is no particle marking water and telling us what it is doing in the sentence. Your version doesn't just have a word order issue, it is grammatically incorrect.

May 8, 2019


When do you use あれ and それ?

May 25, 2019


Depends on the position of the object and who's talking. If A is speaking and B is listening, and the object is closer to B then use それ; on the other hand if the object is not near A or B, then use あれ.

June 3, 2019


Because there is no context of the position of the object and/or the person talking, both あれ and それ should be accepted.

June 3, 2019


What is the difference between これ and あれ?

July 28, 2019


Duolingo uses は and が interchangeably for the sentence 'That is water.' ie, ありは水です。 & ありが水です。Please tell me why ?

August 15, 2019


これ and それ both being options here with no further context provided seems unfair.

August 31, 2019


Can someone tell me the diffrence between are and sore?

June 20, 2017


これ - this thing right here / next to me

それ - that thing next to you / the thing I'm pointing at

あれ - that thing all the way over there

It's a gradient of distance and you can't really translate it perfectly without any context. Duo usually translates これ as this thing, それ as that thing or the thing and あれ as that thing

June 20, 2017


What about: この その あの ??

April 21, 2018


kono sono and ano are adjectives as in I want that water: あの水がほしい

これ それ and あれ are pronouns as in I want that(whatever "that" is).

April 21, 2018


それ(sore) that ( near listener )

あれ(are) ( far from speaker and listener )

July 11, 2018


Why is used "wo" and not wa? Ejem. Mizu wa kudasai

April 16, 2018


I got it right with mizu des (sorry, don't know how to do japanese text lol)

November 14, 2017



Additionally, if you're on a Linux machine, Google's Mozc input works. https://github.com/google/mozc

January 2, 2018
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