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  5. "そこにあります。"


Translation:It is there.

June 22, 2017



So my understanding is that this would be used for example in response to "Where is the toilet?" "It is there (right next to you)", whereas adding あ at the start would change it to "It is over there (pointing somewhere else)".

Is that correct?


Yes. あそこ means over there while そこ means there/near you.


Where is the logic that adding あ would change it? Does this apply to most words by adding あ at the beginning?


It kind of applies to demonstrative adjectives, pronouns and adjectives. In general, there are 4 series of demonstratives/determiners in Japanese, each corresponding to a ‘prefix’: close to the speaker (こ-), close to the listener (そ-), far from both (あ-), interrogative (ど-). Each one can be compounded with a number of suffixes to form demonstratives. ‘あそこ’ is actually an exception, since the suffix for places is normally just ‘-こ’, so ‘あこ’ would be expected. Some such ‘suffixes’:

  • -の to form adjectives (この, this; その, that; あの, that there;どの, which?).

  • -んな to form ‘sort of’-type adjectives (e.g.: こんな, this type of; どんな, which type of...?).

  • -れ to form pronouns for things (e.g.: これ, this (thing)).

  • -こ to form place pronouns, which coupled with preposition can form place adverbs (e.g.: ここ, this place; ここで, here; ここへ, to here; ここから, from here).

There are more, but you can easily find them by googling ‘Japanese determiners’.


Thats a lot of information to take in




Man this is so helpful; Thank you soo much!!!


Why arimasu and not desu?


I think the reason is because arimasu tells the existence of something (eg. In reply to the question "where is your car?"). Desu on the other hand tells what something is (eg. In reply to the question "which is your car?")


That doesn't really work, though, because when asking where the car is, you can say, "Kuruma wa doko desu ka?"


It kind of still does, actually, because you could equally as 車はどこにありますか and it means exactly the same thing.

In the case of です, the question can be roughly interpreted as "your car is where?"

Whereas the あります case would be something like "your car exists at what location?"


The fact that you can say the same thing in a different way from the way I said it does not contradict my point that you can say it the way I said it.

The question was, "Why arimasu and not desu?"

This question can be interpreted as having two parts:

(1) Why does "arimasu" work here?

(2) Why would "desu" not work here?

Part (1) seems to have been adequately answered, but part (2) has still not been addressed.


This has become a confusion about logic rather than about Japanese, now, so perhaps it can be better illustrated with an analogy that doesn't require knowledge of Japanese to follow.

Imagine that Alex is given a bowl of brown stew and is told, "You should eat this with a fork," and Alex replies, "Why should I eat it with a fork and not with a spoon?"

And Mik replies with an argument about how stew is meant to be eaten with a fork.

However, I happen to have seen people eating stew with a spoon, albeit under different circumstances, so I say, "That doesn't work, though, because people eat green stew with a spoon."

And then you say, "It kind of still does, actually, because you could equally eat green stew with a fork, and it will have exactly the same effect."

While it might be true that people can eat green stew with a fork, that doesn't change the fact that they can also eat green stew with a spoon, and it is the fact that people can eat green stew with a spoon that contradicts Mik's argument that stew is meant to be eaten with a fork. Whether green stew can also be eaten with a fork is entirely beside the point.

Do you see how this exchange completely fails to address the question of why brown stew should not be eaten with a spoon?


Would there it is also be correct or only it is there?


This seems like a very abstract sentence without context.


Does the に in this sentence work like it does when talking about time and when i do certain things?


No, に has a lot of different functions and in this case, it indicates the target location of a "state" verb (as opposed to "action" verbs).


I'm reading through the comments, and I've done some research. I am unable to find out what に means in this sentence.

Does に simply mark "そこ" as the target for "あります"?

I guess because "あります" is not a verb necessarily. Though the word "exist" is a verb. So why don't we use ”を” in this sentence? Maybe i'm just way off in my line of thinking but i'm trying to find out what "に 's" purpose is in this sentence.

I would appreciate any assistance, thanks!


Normally, the postposition indicating location is “で” and the one indicating direction is “へ”. For verbs indicating existence (like ある) or movement, however, “に” is used to indicate location and direction respectively. Yes, we can talk about “targets” of the verb, but I don't think it really helps in this case.

I do not understand why you would use “を”. “を” is used for the direct object, it certainly cannot be used with “ある”, which is intransitive (as is “to exist” in English).


From this lesson and onwards you can almost always determine whether to use a に by asking if it indicates a target for/direction of an action (even passively existing), so yes, your initial instinct was correct in the sense that 'something is actively existing over there'. Most of the time topics may be omitted to accommodate effective communication but remember most sentences can trace to a contextual は being 'used'. E.g. this example may be the answer to the question トイレはどこにありますか (just to show where the に might come from). Which can also be answered in the です form i.e. トイレはあそこです - or something similar :P


Why does it use "soko" instead of "sore?" Would it be acceptable to use "sore" instead


Soko - there. Sore - that thing.


Thanks. I got a bit confused on that.


Why is this not "I am/exist there"?


ある (or あります) is used mainly for inanimate things, while for living beings such as yourself, you use いる (or います)


What is the meaning of this sentence, "that place exist"?


No, the に in this sentence is used to indicate the target location for the verb. So, そこにあります = "the implied subject (it) exists (=あります) in (=に) that place (=そこ)" or in normal English, "It's there"


I thought the same. How might translation of "that place exists" be a mistranslation? After reading JoshuaLore's answer, I think I have a good handle on it.
*”It (implied subject) exists (あります) in (に) that place (そこ).”*


I translated it as "It is in there" Weird sentence, but makes sense to me to translate it that way.


It makes sense to me too, but you have to be careful with using "in". Here, the に can be used to mean "in", but it can also be "at" in different contexts (although, "it is at there" is an even weirder sentence :S)


you sure like correcting people even when they are right


Well, they were right in this instance, but an incomplete understanding will lead to mistakes being made in the future. I know from personal experience that it's easy to get overconfident with a particular grammar point, only to then apply it incorrectly or to cases that it doesn't apply to. I just wanted to make sure OP (and others reading these comments) didn't fall for the "に = in" heuristic, which can be a hindrance in later learning.

Besides, just because someone is right, doesn't mean there isn't anything more to learn. Getting the basics right is generally a good stepping stone to the more advanced stuff.


Thank you for your explanation. So in this case (given the lesson has no context) it could go either way: "It is there" or "It is in there". Still a little confused how に indicates what is being referred to though.


So, one thing to realise about Japanese particles is that they are postpositions, unlike the prepositions that we commonly have in English. For example:

  • "It is at home." In English, we first say how it relates to the verb ("at"), then the auxiliary thing ("home")
  • あります In Japanese, we first say the auxiliary thing (家), then how it relates to the verb (に).

In our case, に indicates that the auxiliary thing is the "target location" for our verb. And this is where our sentence introduces the ambiguity, by referring to そこ which is a pronoun or a placeholder for an actual location. Context dictates whether "It is there" or "It is in there" is correct because perspective forms part of the context.

Suppose the two of us are in a featureless room, and you ask "Where is my ball?"

  • If I point to a spot by your foot and say そこにあります, you would assume that そこ refers to "by your foot" and the translation of my sentence would be "It is there."
  • If you looked down and saw a box there instead, you would (probably) NOT assume I'm crazy and can't tell a box apart from a ball; you'd assume I meant そこ refers to "inside the box" and the translation of my sentence would be "It is in there".
  • If we were standing outside the room instead, and I pointed to the door next to you, you would probably not assume that そこ refers to "in/on/by/near the door", you'd assume I meant "It is in there."
  • If your question had been "Where is the room?" instead, you'd assume that そこ refers to "adjacent to/through the door" and the translation of my sentence would be "It is there."

The perspective changes depending on the relative sizes of the object, the location represented by そこ, and us, but in all cases, に refers to the same thing, そこ.

*Disclaimer: I'm not saying that all of these perspectives are equally natural or ideal, but if the same phrase is said in different situations, they are all possible interpretations. Of course, in Japanese as well, different sentences feel more/less natural in different situations, and the language is expressive enough that you can emphasize different things with different sentences too to guide the interpretation more strongly one way or the other, but that would open up too many possibilities to keep track of and learn from.


So, saying "Over there" is incorrect? Considering there is no subject given. For example それはそこにあります。Or if we'd like to be a little more specific ぼうしはそこにあります (The hat is over there). There is too little to assume that it is simply "it"


The problem is “over there” omits the verb (あります), however English, unlike Japanese, doesn't allow a verb without a subject, consequently “it's there” is the most natural translation for “そこにあります” (which is a full sentence in Japanese, it doesn't need a subject), considering that most other pronominal subjects are out of the question (“ある” is only for inanimate things). “They are there” is also possible, but I'm sure it's already accepted.


So unless specified, a translator would have to say "it's over there" unless there was more context given within the sentence/previous sentences?


Yes, I believe so. I dare say, even with context “it's over there” would often be the best option, given the tendency of Japanese to omit pronominal subjects.


Thanks! I try not to assume anything till I get more context.


Mm why does it use に instead of へ (same duolingo explains that へ its for direction and に for time)


Both へ and に can be used for directions; に can also be used for time, but it isn't always used that way.

When used with movement verbs (in Japanese, "existing" is a movement verb), へ is used to indicate a rough direction, for example 海へ行く = " go towards the sea (but not necessarily arrive there)", whereas に is used to indicate a specific destination, such as ビーチに行く = "go to the beach".

As you can see, while "existing" is treated as a movement verb in Japanese, you can't exist in a rough, general direction; existence occurs at a specific location.


But some earlier sentences in the Japanese course had like, "I go to school", but it makes us put /e/.


Yes, へ is for direction (although に is used in its place for motion verbs) but in this case “here” is a position, not a direction, so normally you would use で. However, some verbs—you could say verbs of existence or location—consider the location an indirect object, in English terms, so you use に.


How about そこにです?


です i think its used for 'being' instead of 'where are' (en espanol podria describirlo mejor)


です is more like a verbal period. To specifically state "being" you would use ある(あります)= non living things or いる(います)= living things.

So using the example:

そこにあります (It's over there)

そこにいます (It's over there (in reference to a thing that has life))

if you want to omit the verb, which is super casual and generally used among people you would consider on a friendship level, I believe it would be


to have に sounds odd, at least here in Japan I have not heard そこにです used at all.


so it means there it's? that's what i got


It means “it's there”. “There it's” clearly isn't a valid English sentence (although it may be that the database has “there it is” as an acceptable translation and it's been told to accept [“it is” = “it's”] regardless of context).


"there is the place" should be valid also, as prior questions mention a non specific 'place'


Does それはそこです not translate to "It is there" as well?


It also can be said "it is right there"


Yes, though I would argue that "it is right there" sounds more like そこにあります. Without the よ, it doesn't have the emphasis that "right there" seems to imply.


Why the answer is "it is there" rather than "that is"?


why i understand this as "we do have that place here"


Perhaps because you are misunderstanding the role of the particle に. It indicates that そこ is the target location of the verb, when applied to the subject/object. So そこ cannot also be the subject/object of this sentence; that would require the particle to be は (not を because あります is a state verb that doesn't apply to direct objects).


Why isn't it ( that is there) I don't get it


I tried, "It exists in that location." And it was marked as incorrect. Hands up who thinks this should have been accepted.


Ok, please help me here, but so far my consensus is that both "soko-ni (ar)imas'" and "soko des'" are fine, however "des'" is grammatically incorrect, and only used when with others of close familiarity.



Then what does そこです or そこでわありません mean?


Why won't "It is right there work?"


is there a difference in "there is it" and "it is there"? i got marked wrong since i answered there is "it is there"


Literally "there it is/there is/is there" i think. I really wish they would show a literal translations under the regular translation when showing us the answer. It would make understanding stuff so much easier and make sentence structure easier to learn. Theres an app called memrise that does that. I only stopped using that cuz they put stuff that was free behind a paywall, and its a shame cuz its actually a good app. Like when teaching the sound for は. It would say は=ha,wa. So you know it had two sounds. Duo teaches one sound, and then just throws the other at you randomly down the line, same with the numbers like 7 for example. Mem would go 七=nana,shichi from the start. Whereas duo doesnt tell you about shichi till u start learning how to tell time. This is a great app, its just little things like this that would make it even better, and literal translations is defo one of them. Apart from that i love it.

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