"Is this water?"
Is this (clear, unidentified liquid, right by me) water? Is essentially what the speaker is saying. 水ですか - is it water? is less specific. It's not letting us know where the unidentified liquid is or that the speaker is pointing out a specific unknown liquid. Subtle, but distinct differences.
Because は (wa) marks the topic of the sentence.
を (wo) marks the object. In this case, "これ" (this) is the topic of sentence: "THIS, is it water?".
を usually requires an object that is acted upon and the act (verb). Example: わたしはみずをのみます. I drink water.
わたしは can probably be omitted in most cases, because it's obvious from context, and then the sentence becomes just: みずをのみます.
I'm using the following: これ - I can see and know what I'm holding is a Co-ke (starts with ko) それ - I can't tell what the guy next be me is holding. Some sort of So-da (starts with so) あれ - I can't even tell what that guy far away is holding. A-nother soda maybe? (starts with a)
So, Ko(ke) is close, So(da) is the guy next to me, A(nother) drink of some sort far away.
You might say it is a matter of focus. By using は you focus on the theme / action /statement of the sentence and by using が you put the focus on the subject.
For example you use は to introduce a new subject you want to talk about. If there is a sentence already having a subject followed by は, all the other subjects only get が, because the focus you put stays the same for the subordinate clause (and following sentences until another subject is focussed).
Let me give you one example which might shed some light on the difference:
= "I stole the wallet that was being looked for."
私が探した財布を盗んだ。・watashi ga sagashita saifu o nusunda.
= "(Someone) stole the wallet I was looking for."
The subject in the second japanese sentence is missing, that's why I put "Someone" in brackets to make a correct english sentence here. In Japanese, the thief would be the same person who was the subject in another (previous) sentence.
For questions it is quite similar:
誰がこのケーキを食べましたか。and このケーキは誰が食べましたか。(dare ga kono kēki o tabemashita ka?) and (kono kēki ha dare wa tabemashita ka?): both simply ask "who ate this cake?"
BUT the person asking the first question wants to know WHO the culprit is, whereas the person asking the second question wants to know who ate exactly THIS CAKE.
Unfortunately there is something called "contrastive は". Here は is used to separate two different themes from each other and to contrast them with each other, comparable to the Englisch "but" and "however". In practice, "contrastive" and "thematic" はs differ only in nuances. This is complex enough in its details to give rise to some linguistic debates. (for more details: "Shibatani, Masayoshi. (1990). The languages of Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press" and "Kuno, Susumu. (1976). Subject, theme, and the speaker's empathy: A re-examination of relativization phenomena. In Charles N. Li (Hrsg.): Subject and topic (pp. 417–444). New York: Academic Press")
Just to give you a peek at the impact of a sentence regarding its meaning:
僕が知っている人は誰も来なかった。 (boku ga shitte iru hito wa daremo konakatta.) (- example by Kuno)
If you read は "thematically" it roughly translates to "None of the people [I know] have come.". If you read は "contrastive" it's roughly "(There were a lot of people there, but) no one [I know] (was there)."
In the first interpretation "people I know" (boku ga shitte iru hito) is regarded as the theme of the predicate "nobody came". The connotation of the sentence would be that I expected someone from my circle of acquaintances to appear, but that was not the case.
In the second interpretation a counterpoint to a previous statement or implicit assumption is made, namely that a larger number of people have come. Therefore it would have been expected that someone would come who the speaker knew. In fact, however, none of these people came.
I asked myself this question recently, so I wrote some of the references in a docx that I created for the "Japanese grammar". Since I'm German (neither Japanese nor English native speaker) and only a learner myself, I can't guarantee that these explanations are error-free, but I've done my best to give you a brief overview and hope it's clear to you now that using が instead of は in the given sentence wouldn't make much sense.
I also think that が feels more intuitive here, like if you were asking whether an unmarked bottle of liquid is water at a restaurant. With the less focused は I imagined some sort of alien Japanese-speaking lifeform landing on Earth in a lake and wondering aloud, あ、これは水ですか… Though obviously it's not quite that drastic of a difference in reality.
The "wo" Hiragana is pronounced "o" when used as a particle (it marks something as the object in a sentence).
The honorific "o" is written as the Hiragana "o".
It's like how in English "be" and "bee" are not the same. It's not correct to write "Don't bee sad" even though it sounds the same when read out loud.
I believe LanguageBoisss is asking why the kanji isn't accepted - that's just typical inconsistent Duolingo.
As for keyboard just go into your settings on your device and look for a Japanese keyboard under probably languages and input or advanced keyboard or something like that. It's different from phone to phone. Should be able to find it. If you're talking about your pc though I can't remember what I did. Prob look under settings again and add languages.
In English it is the sentence structure that tells you wether you have a question or a statement: "Is this water" and "This is water"
In Japanese the 'easiest' sentences always add か at the end to turn a statement into a question.
これは水です = This is water
これは水ですか = Is this water
The 「を」 character is attached to the end of a word to signify that that word is the direct object of the verb. This character is essentially never used anywhere else. (Direct objects are usually closer to the verb than the other additions.) That is why the katakana equivalent 「ヲ」 is almost never used since particles are always written in hiragana. Unlike the direct object we’re familiar with in English, places can also be the direct object of motion verbs. Since the motion verb is done to the location, the concept of direct object is the same in Japanese.
The「は」character's main function is to identify the topic in the Japanese sentence. Usually, the topic takes the lead in the sentence. The part before は is delimited from the following part, i.e. は identifies a topic about which a statement is made until the end of the sentence. In the simplest case, the part before は consists of an (independent) word, but can also be formed by a larger complex. Contentwise it can concern thereby time or place data, subjects or objects. To get some impressions of は's other functions, please read my answer to Lugeg in this comment section.
これ - This は - topic indicator 水 - Water です - is か - question indicator Kore wa mizu desu ka?
After years of studying French, my brain translates "kore" into the French "ce" which can mean either "this" or "that" (same word for either). So I forget that there is a distinction between "this" (an object near me) and "that" (an object not near me) and put the wrong answer half of the time. I guess I should think of "kore" as "ceci" (This-here) as opposed to just "ce".
what is the ", " that you referenced above ?
I don't even know what that symbol is, or where you found it.
(Hence I used the closet think I know, even though it's not the same)'
Can you show us exactly how the sentence would look, if it was written that way, so I can better recognize/understand ?
When im reading i dont always see a question mark, so if your asking a question and texting putting ka at the somewhat helps the reader understand that this is not at statement, its a question. I cannot say that this is true or not because i am only learning just a couple weeks ago, maybe.... But that is why i think they put ka at the end☺
を is a particle used with certain verbs (called "transitive verbs") to mark the direct object of that verb. In other words, the thing that is "receiving" the verb action. It is placed right after the object that is receiving the action of the verb.
For example, 食べます (たべます) (eat) is a transitive verb. If I wanted to say, "I eat bread", it would be パンを食べます. Bread (パン) is the thing "receiving" the verb action in this case. It's the thing being eaten. Therefore, you use a を after it.
For another example, のみます (drink) is another transitive verb. "I drink water" would be お水をのみます. Again, water (お水) is the thing being drunk, so it gets a を.
There are also verbs that don't have direct objects and thus don't use the を particle. These are called intransitive verbs. An example of this kind of verb would be はたらきます (to work). Notice the difference between the English sentences, "I eat bread" and "I work on Friday." There is no object "receiving" the work verb in the second sentence, whereas bread clearly receives the action of being eaten in the first sentence.
In Japanese, "I work on Friday" would be 金曜日ははたらきます. (金曜日 = Friday, but that isn't important to the point here. You can just ignore this part of the sentence.) Notice that there's no を here because Fridays aren't any kind of object that is "receiving" the work. You instead use the standard は topic particle.
Another intransitive verb would be 来ます (きます) (come). There is never any object that "receives" the action of coming; it's just something that happens. Consider the English sentence, "I'll come at 5:00." As you can see, there is nothing that is "receiving" the coming. In Japanese, this sentence would be 五時に来ます. (五 = 5 and 時 = "o'clock", again not important.) As we expect, there is no を in this sentence. It instead uses the に particle that is used with time to mean, essentially, "at."
Whoaaa! Fierce much? I only meant to point out that changing the form of the verb doesn't affect the particles. The object of an active sentence would become the subject of a passive sentence and be marked by either は・が, there wouldn't be an object and so no を though I don't think that's what you're asking. I won't try to help any further for fear of offending.
これ = "this", something near you
あれ = "that", something far from both you and far from whoever you're speaking to
それ = "that", something far from you but close to the person you're speaking to
In this example, it would be wrong to use anything besides これ, since that is the only one that translates to "this" in English. If the original sentence had said "that" instead, you should be able to use either それ or あれ and it should be accepted.
By answering the question 'who/what is the target of the verb' you may decide which one you have to use. を is the particle used for the person/thing that 'suffers' the action.
You are eating or drinking something. The thing that 'suffers' is the food or drink. So you have to use を behind the stuff you are eating or drinking. It is eaten or drunk. Of course it suffers! ;)
An other sentence expresses that you don't eat the thing or drink it. The drink or food isn't suffering as it is not eaten/drunk. The sentence is about you not wanting to eat/drink it. So は is used here.
In sentences like: お水をください。(=water, please.) the 'important thing', which shall 'suffer the action' of being given to you is the water.
I'm just a learner as well, but this seems to be some kind of 'rule' which may apply always. I've never gotten any answer marked wrong since I ask first the question of who/what is suffering.
Well, since I'm german I can remember it with a little mnemonic.
There is the expression in german: "am Arsch der Welt" (literally: at the ass of the world.; meaning: in the middle of nowhere.)
これ is near yourself => translated with 'this'.
それ and あれ are both translated with 'that'.
The difference is, that それ is near the person you are talking to and あれ is away from both of you.
So あれ is "am A... der Welt" (at the a.. of the world.) That's how I can differenciate between あれ and それ.
Maybe this little donkey bridge can help you as well.