"Is this water?"


June 24, 2017



Why is it not 水ですか

August 12, 2017


I think because that translates as "is it water?" rather than "is this water?". It's a subtle distinction but it's there.

August 16, 2017


I don't think there's any need to say "これは," I feel like the context would be obvious in this case.

September 13, 2017


The context would be obvious yes, but the sentence you are translating does specify is this water. Probably wouldn't say it that way, but since thats what it says, the corrct translation would inculde the demonstrative

December 16, 2017


Honestly it's a super casual way of saying it. It's not technically wrong, just very informal.

February 8, 2018


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.

April 14, 2019


それ sore = that (near the listener) これ kore = this (near the speaker)

December 26, 2018


agreed, error on their part

April 23, 2019


wouldn't you use a particle after mizu in that case?

February 1, 2019


I was wondering the same thing

August 20, 2019


Because of "this"

March 17, 2019


Difference between あれ and これ?

November 10, 2017


これ represents something near the speaker. それ represents something near the listener. あれ represents something far from both the speaker and listener. While there's more to it than just that, that's the basic jist of it.

March 8, 2018


これ = This それ = That あれ = That over there (something away from you and the person you're talking to)

May 27, 2018


Excellently helpful, brief comment, And an Itachi picture?!?! Thank you!

September 2, 2019


"Are" is that (far away), "kore" is this. Also, there is "sore" which is that (nearby who you're talking to)

December 31, 2017


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.

December 20, 2018


Why is the particle wa as opposed to wo?

June 26, 2017


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.

June 28, 2017


Very very helpful of you

May 31, 2018


Is there a reason mizu doesnt have the object marker 'o' after it in this sentence?

It was my underatanding you put a marker after an object to deaignate it as an object regardless of action.

September 17, 2018


I believe that the particle is generally only after the subject of the sentance. In this case the subject is this and water is the object.

October 29, 2018


Thank you

August 20, 2019


So the reason I couldn't add the を particle to 水 is because the verb です does not transfer any action from the subject to its object?

August 20, 2019


why no これは水WO ですか? why doesn't 水 need to be marked as the object of the verb 'to be'?

December 30, 2017


There is no verb in the japanese sentence. Its what is called a copula, a word that links a noun to some other word describing it. Its complex and Japanese grammar at best maps poorly onto English

June 7, 2018


Is this correct without これは? Is it okay to just say 水ですか?

June 28, 2017


that's what I said, but it's wrong because it says is "this" water rather than is it water or "water?" so I mean technically speaking they're both correct but since it's trying to teach us "this" and "that" it's wrong

July 4, 2017


Remind me how to pronounce water, please. (No audio on this one).

July 29, 2017


mizu :)

Pitch accent on the second syllable, miZU.

July 29, 2017


Why is it は not を

April 21, 2018


The way I learned it, you can translate the wa particle "as for". Example: "As for Yoshi, drank water." The water was the object, Yoshi was the subject; Yoshi performed the action. More naturally, "Yoshi drank water"

September 30, 2018


What if I didn't put "ha"?

July 27, 2017


It's technically correct if u put a "、" but this app only teaches us formal Japanese so it's incorrect. Also as a particle it's pronounced "wa" :)

August 4, 2017


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 ?

August 19, 2018


Is the か necessary

June 9, 2018


か is necessary as it makes the sentence a question. Without it, "これは水ですか" would instead mean "this is water" (これは水です) rather than "is this water".

June 14, 2018


Thank you, I didnt understand that either.

March 5, 2019


I'm a little confused. I said "omizu" but got it wrong. Was it because it was with the "wo" hiragana instead of the "o"?

August 22, 2018


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.

September 30, 2018


If you still have difficulty distinguishing them. Kore is close to you, close enough that you can ko-re (cuddle) it. If the item is far a-re from you and the other person. Then its a re. And i got nothing for sore

October 24, 2018


Can anyone explain to me why みす Is not accepted in place of 水 And how do i get the English keyboard to type 水 :(

November 18, 2018


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.

May 23, 2019


I could be wrong but I believe 水 is みず As for the English keyboard, you have to download the Japanese keyboards (there are three that I know of) and make them available on your phone in your settings. The three I know are QWERTY, handwriting and 12 keys.

May 23, 2019


これは水ですか? I thought it was これは水です.

August 23, 2019


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

August 24, 2019


Is desu really necesarry? これは水か was not accepted

September 10, 2017


Yes because desu is like a period in a sentence indicating the end of a sentence and adding ka with desu at the end makes it a question.

October 31, 2017


not quite, desu is not a period, it's a contraction of 「であります」("DE" a particle contraction of "nite," not used as one anymore as such and "arimaSU" the verb 'to be' for non-living things), or 「でする」("DE" plus "SUru" the verb 'to do'). it's basically a conjugation of the verb 'to be'

desu is the "is" in "is this water?"

January 1, 2018


Kore wa = is this Mizu = water Desu = ? Kah = ?

Now why do we have those last ones why add the か at the end?

November 15, 2017


I like to think of か as almost like a questipn mark

December 28, 2017


これは means "(concerning) this" 水 is water です means "it is" か makes the whole thing a question.

December 10, 2017


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☺

August 15, 2018


When is it okay to use formal and informal japanese?

March 6, 2018


I believe it depends on the company. When do you speak formally and informally ex. use slang, with the people you meet in your everyday life? Your friend? Your family? Your boss?

May 23, 2019


Can someone explains me the use of を

March 13, 2018


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."

April 13, 2018


Thank you for the detailed explanation! These are the types of grammatical rules that really help me pull everything together.

June 1, 2018


I'm also having a hard time with を and は. Does this in it's essence mean that it should be understood as in "the bread is being eaten by me", "the water is being drunk by me", "the bag is being kicked by me"? I just want to make sure I got understand you right..

May 23, 2019


を always follows the direct object of the verb.

'Is being eaten' and 'is being drunk' are in the passive voice. You're changing the verb form.

May 23, 2019


I never asked if it were to be directly translated as such. Simply if it's to be essentially understood like that. Please dumb it down for me as I never actually learned the rules for English grammar which are more plentiful than in my native language.

May 23, 2019


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.

May 24, 2019


I didn't mean to attack you. I hardly even understand what it is that I don't understand, and I apologise if I came across as rude. I really do mean that I need it simplified because I really want to understand.

May 24, 2019


All good. I misinterpreted your response as sarcastic. I'll come back and edit this with a full explanation in a bit.

May 24, 2019


What is the difference between これ and あれ? And why is it alwayse wrong whichever I choose ?

March 25, 2018


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.

April 13, 2018


For this, the question asks "is this water"? You basically have to answer the question saying "this is water". Then, in the end, you have to add des ka to make it a question. Hope it helps.

March 30, 2018


I'm pretty sure that です is part of "This is water", so really it's just adding か to make it a question.

May 16, 2018


Would それは work here ?

April 12, 2018


No, because それ means "That over there (close to the speaker and listener) これ means "this"

May 16, 2018


What is the difference between それ and これ?

June 27, 2018


これ- This それ- That (near listener) あれ- That (away from speaker and listener)

July 5, 2018


水 - any water 冷 (hya) - cold water (to drink) (polite お冷)

December 30, 2018


When do we use を and は?? I'm really confused plz help

April 19, 2019


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.

For example:

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.

April 22, 2019


Help! I can't understand what's the difference between あれ,それ and これ!

April 21, 2019


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.

April 22, 2019


Why not kore wo mizu desuka?

May 19, 2019


Because を indicates that the word preceding it is the direct object of the verb and "is" cannot take an object.

May 19, 2019


Why not みずをこれですか?

May 24, 2019


That would translate to "is water this?". It doesn't make sense.

May 24, 2019


It should be this is water.

June 5, 2019


No, because it is a question. Word order changes in English for questions. Also, か at the end of a sentence tells us it is a question in Japanese. This is water - is a statement, not a question.

June 5, 2019


What is the difference between using が and は in this sentence? Is が incorrect?

June 16, 2019


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."

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.

June 16, 2019


Thank you very much! Very informative!!

June 19, 2019



July 7, 2019


why we use は instead of を. i can't understand this. Anyone help me out

July 22, 2019


Aaaa can someone please explain to me when to use は and when to useをas if i was a 5 year old

August 29, 2019


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.

August 29, 2019


what is difference between "wo" and "ha"

September 6, 2019
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