"外国に行ったことがありますか?"

Translation:Have you been to a foreign country?

June 22, 2017

32 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith_APP

Literally this sentence does mean Does The Case That You Went To A Foreign Country Exist? It is asking whether you have such experience. But in English you would never express it in the same way. You would rather say Have You (Ever) Been To Any Foreign Country?

June 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/XRavishX

あります can also mean something close "have" as in this case's "have been."

外国 Is neither plural or singular, but both.

こと turns 外国に行った into a noun meaning something like "went/been to foreign country/countries."

Therefore, writing 外国 に 行った こと が ありますか translates roughly to "been to foreign coutries, have you?" or more appropriately "Have you been to foreign countries?"

July 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IdoAbelman

"been to foreign countries, have you?" - Yoda

September 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/XRavishX

The point is that it's silly to try to translate exactly what you're reading to English based on strict word-for-word translations. It doesn't work. The translation of any given word or phrase should be organic depending on the situation, makeup of the sentence, etc. Any language will be like that.

July 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/loladesu

Keith, your last sentence is awkward and not great English. Better options: "have you ever been to a foreign country?", or (the far more commonly used phrases) "have you ever been overseas?"/"have you ever been abroad?".

August 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/darthoctopus

外国に行った事がありますか

July 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Estella763961

I often see this written as 行ったこと

September 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toko102570

You are right. In this case, using hiragana is correct. More info: https://m.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/detail/q1013194790

May 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mystiques-wish

This is why many Japanese people mix up past tense and present perfect. There is no verb tense for future or present perfect in Japanese, so the common link here is "experience".

English = Have you ever + past participle Japanese = verb [ta] + koto ga arimasu ka (as a question)

The more you study Japanese as an English native speaker, the more you'll be forced to rely less on English, as they'll be less equivalents....

July 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/linktohack

~ta + koto arimasu = having experience doing sth.

August 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdrianWill829460

I would favour: "Have you ever been to a foreign country?"

August 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Claine15

I think 'a foreign country' or 'overseas' would sound more natural

July 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kapos

'Overseas' would only apply if you live in a waterlocked country. 'Abroad' is a better expression.

July 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

"Have you ever been abroad?" was accepted for me.

July 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eli-aiki

This English suggestion is totally not idiomatic. I wrote "Have you been to any foreign countries?" which was rejected. But we would always say "a foriegn country" or "any foreign countries" (or "abroad"). Duolingo keeps making it impossible to get a 100% lesson without memorizing irrelevant quirks...

February 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jay.hammer

What is incorrect about my answer 'Did you go to a foreign country' ?

September 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iMith

I think that would be 外国に行きましたか?

September 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Khymeira

もうこの文法を知っていたよかったよ。

November 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gyJe7QcR

"Have you ever been to a foreign country?" feels somewhat more natural to me, and highlights the intention of ことがある more.

November 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChaostenTa

I think there is a problem in my english "have you been in overseas"

October 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

You don't need the preposition "in", so it would be "have you been overseas?"

January 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dtUyaD

Just to be sure, 外 is pronounced あい?

December 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith_APP

FYI がいこく 外国

January 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amrjunior1

are the two signs after koku ni not read at all? - it says "gai koku ni .. ta koto ga ari mas ka" - so nothing between ni and ta. Am I right?

January 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

行った is "itta". The 行 is read as "i", and the っ is a vocal pause, which you're right, isn't pronounced.

January 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nilespng

i think "went to" should be an accepted answer as well, it does say 行く

June 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arsuru
  • 1268

You must not assume the grammar in one language matches that of another. Even if a tense exists in both, they may not even be comparable in normal use. Verbs may be different, especially auxiliaries, and whole words can disappear.

Traditionally in English, went is in the simple past tense and would not be used here. Gone and been are participles in the past perfect tense. Being participles, they require an auxiliary, in this case, have.

  • You went to another country (and then came back).
  • You have gone to another country (and are still there or on the way).
  • You have been to another country (and are no longer there).

While it may seem then that went and have been mean the same thing, the nuance is that the former talks of an action while the later talks of a state or experience. Be, is, after all, existential. Using went makes the statement relative to a specific timeframe (usually only shortly beforehand) while have been is indifferent.

  • While I was in Japan last year, I went to Tokyo and Osaka.
  • I have been to Tokyo and Osaka (at some point in my life).

At the risk of comming off as a prescriptivist, I will say that while it may be perfectly normal to say "have you went" in some parts, it is not standard. It may be of interest to note, if only for illustration, that went is derived from an entirely different verb, wend, and not from go.

June 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kagehime

Arsuru, unfortunately I can't find a button to give you lingots on the phone app, but if I could I would've given you some for that perfect answer [of which the first part in particular applies to a lot of comments on Japanese course questions]

June 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arsuru
  • 1268

Why thank you! It is the thought that counts, right? I've more lingots than I'll likely ever use, so don't worry about it.

The app sure is silly like that though; all get and no give, no timestamps on comments…

June 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamScott794079

I'm just impressed you read all that. I got bored once I realised there was a second sentence

July 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/disasterisks

"Gone to" seems more natural.

July 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

Don't know why you're being downvoted, you are correct. "Went" is the past tense of the verb, but what we use with have is the past participle, which is "gone".

January 21, 2018
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