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  5. "おぼえていますか?"


Translation:Do you remember?

June 23, 2017





I was thinking this, but I wasn't fancy enough to think of it in Japanese! Bravo!


Am I the only one who's clueless about this comment? The 21st of September something?


It's a reference to the song "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire. Its opening lyrics are "do you remember the 21st night of September?"


バ~ デ~ ヤ~。。。 9月にダンスしていました


Omg I wasn't expecting this comment. Lol




Oh my gosh I was thinking about the same thing, but I really didn't think somebody would actually write it!! I love it!


Why the て form?


It's just one of those things, Japanese people use 覚える (oboeru) in the present progressive form to mean "remember" when in English we use the present tense.


It's that some verbs are progressive and te form describes the result of the finished action: suwaru - is to sit down, suwatteiru - to sit (you finished the process of sitting down) so oboeru is more like "to memorize" and oboeteiru is "to remember"




Why is this continuous? That's just how this phrase is set in Japanese? You wouldn't say 覚えますか?


て- form of that verb describes the continuous state. I had remembered it early and now I remember(know) it.


Got it memorized?


The irony is this is also the first chorus line of a famous Anison- Ai oboete imasu ka. This was the song that broke the Zentraedi in Macross: Do You Remember Love? And it appears in some way in just about every Macross series.


And yet you didn't remember the word おぼえる... (or how else is this irony?)


覚えてる 今覚えてる 初めて 君と出会った時を


Is this a 君の名は。 reference?


I was actually thinking of a Macross reference


These are the meanings of 覚える: to memorize; to memorise; to commit to memory; to learn by heart; to bear in mind; to remember​. You're telling the learners here that that's the exclusive answer? 覚える is usually associated with memorising kanji by Japanese kids.


The tense of the verb matters with this word.

From Nihongo Day By Day:

Oboemasu/ oboeru: the future tense, the present habitual tense watashi wa ashita kanji o 10 ko oboeru. (I will memorize 10 kanjis tomorrow.)[future tense]

watashi wa mainichi 10 ko kanji o oboeru. (I memorize 10 kanjis every day.)[present habitual tense]

These sentences mean that I (will) learn kanji and put them into my brain.

Oboemashita/ oboeta: the past tense kino watashi wa kanji o 10 ko oboeta. (I memorized 10 kanjis yesterday.) [past tense]

Oboeteimasu/ oboeteiru: the present tense of state watashi wa kanji o 100 ko oboeteiru. (I know/ have learned 100 kanjis.) [present state]

This describes a state that I have learned kanji and 100 characters are now in my brain. In other words, I haven’t forgotten them.

shogakko no sensei no namae o oboeteiru. (I remember a name of my teacher from elementary school.) [present state]

It means that I have never forgotten the teacher’s name since I was in elementary school.

Please makes sure not to say “shogakko no sensei no namae o oboeru”. It means that I will memorize my teacher’s name.


Not sure what level of JLPT you passed but when you discuss the meaning of verbs in Japanese, you usually use the dictionary form. (By the way, in that textbook you copied, keep in mind that there is no future tense in Japanese.)


As this is a discussion for the sentence "おぼえていますか", I assumed that you were wondering why something like "do you memorize?" was not accepted instead of "do you remember?" Was that an incorrect assumption? I agree that 覚える is very commonly used to talk about children memorizing kanji, but that's not what this sentence is about.

The article I linked and quoted, which explains why "memorize" would not be a good definition of 覚えています, was written by a native Japanese speaker. Though I agree the -masu form isn't necessarily the future tense, I think her use of "future tense" and "present habitual tense" to describe it is both appropriate and useful for English learners. As she explains, 覚える means "I will memorize" (which we in English call the future tense) or "I memorize" (present tense to describe a habit).


おぼえていますか How would you know what this sentence is about when there is no context? Thanks for your input, but this is the end of this discussion for me.


I'm sorry you didn't find this discussion helpful. Good luck with your studies.

For anyone else with the same question, to put it simply, the meaning of the verb 覚えます (oboemasu) changes according to the tense of the verb.

覚えます (oboemasu) - I will memorize / I memorize

覚えています (oboete imasu) - I remember (being in a state of having memorized the information)

覚えました (oboemashita) - I memorized


IsolaCiao I don't know if you're Duo admin or just a user. Thank you for the meaning and conjugation of the verb meaning of the verb 覚えます to memorize. I am presently in Japan so I should know all that. But why is it then that the exercise says the correct answer is exclusively "Do you remember?" As you should also know the commonly used verb for remember is 思い出すwhereas 覚えます means to memorize. Can you think of an answer using the English verb to memorize? Difficult, isn't it. Either change the exercise question or add the non-transliteral correct answer.


Moderators, contributors, and administrators are marked with a green or gold circle around their user picture. I am just a user, though I have lived and worked in Japan for years. That being said, just because I live here doesn't mean that I know everything about Japanese or that I don't make mistakes. That's why I always try to post a link to support the point I am making, because I don't think anyone should just take another user's word on something. If I am wrong, please correct me because I don't want to keep making the same mistake and giving other users misinformation.

I've already addressed why the exclusive answer is "remember". Maybe someone else can explain it better. 思い出した and 覚えている do both mean "remember", but they are used differently. There are countless links on 思い出す vs 覚えている if you do a search, like the link I already posted:


Or many others:




Remember or memorize. It all depends on context which the exercise does not give. Let me give you an example: 4級の漢字をどれだけ覚えていますか。 How many grade four kanji have you memorised? 覚えていますか here means "Have you memorized". It means you cannot take おぼえていますか out of context and say the only correct answer is "Do you remember" because another correct non-transliterated answer is "Have you memorized". I've completed the Duo Japanese course years ago and received over 2 dozens emails stating "my answer is now accepted". This is be just another case.

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