"ねこがいます。"

Translation:There is a cat.

June 30, 2017

47 Comments


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

Why is "it is a cat "wrong? Imasu is "to be " for animate objects... So...

July 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

います is the verb "to exist" for animate objects, which is subtly different from the verb です which is "to be".

When you say "it is a cat", or "it be a cat", you are equating "it" with "a cat". In Japanese, that would be 猫です.

In the Japanese sentence here, 猫がいます simply means "a cat exists", without specifically telling you what object is being a cat.

August 15, 2017

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

Informative answer. But "It is a cat." should still be accepted if "It's a cat." is accepted because "it's" is a contraction of "it is". These two terms are exactly equivalent in meaning.

January 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

I've explained this already in an earlier comment:

"It's" can also be a contraction of "it has". Obviously, to a native English speaker, shortening "it has a cat" to "it's a cat" is ridiculous, but I believe this is just a bug that "it's a cat" is suggested. "It has a cat" is technically a possible translation for ねこがいます though, which is probably what should be suggested instead.

January 3, 2018

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

Agreed

October 26, 2018

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

...so...if it said... neko-desu it is translated as "it is a cat"

but if it's neko ga imasu it should be "there is a cat?"

sorry i still haven't installed the japanese keyboard

December 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Sorry I shouldn't have used the kanji in my earlier comment, 猫 = neko, but yes, you're almost exactly right. It might be a bit confusing, but it's more accurate to say ねこです can be translated to "it is a cat" and ねこがいます can be translated to "there is a cat". They can be translated to other things depending on context, but they are never interchangeable.

(Don't worry about not having a Japanese keyboard; I just use it here to look smarter than I am :P)

December 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ofek228934

If I change it to ねこはいます will it become "There is the cat"?

July 2, 2017

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

I don't think so. I think it would be closer to, "Yes, I do have a cat." Like if someone asked you, 「猫がいますか?」, you might answer, 「猫はいますか。」. I'm not so sure about this though.

August 9, 2018

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

Aren't you answering with a question? Should that か be there?

January 18, 2019

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

Probably. Thanks for sharing.

October 30, 2017

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

Why not あります?

August 19, 2017

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

Arimasu is only use for stationary object like house, plants etc. Imasu is the word for other living things

September 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HyderHussa1

In the previous questions, "it is a dog" is acceptable, but in this one "it is a cat" is marked as wrong. It said "It's a cat" is the correct answer... given that "it is" and "it's" are the same word, that seems inconsistent

November 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

です is among the previous questions for which "it is a dog" is acceptable, but that would be the wrong answer for 犬がいます.

"It's" can also be a contraction of "it has". Obviously, to a native English speaker, shortening "it has a cat" to "it's a cat" is ridiculous, but I believe this is just a bug that "it's a cat" is suggested. "It has a cat" is technically a possible translation for ねこがいます though, which is probably what should be suggested instead.

December 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VEa645886

が subject marker with いますmeans "it has"? confusing.

August 7, 2017

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

Can it be "there are cats" too?

August 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VEa645886

Yes, that should be a correct translation too. ねこ = "a cat/the cat/the cats/some cats/cats in general", source: http://www.japaneseprofessor.com/lessons/beginning/nouns-pronouns-and-plurals/

Also,

"You can also make general nouns (living things) explicitly plural with -tachi 「ーたち」, with the same meaning: a specific being and others around them. いぬたち = "(a specific group of) dogs". (Same source)

But you don't need 「ーたち」 for it to be plural. It's a way of being more specific, it depends on context.

Also note that for people it's a bit different, 「わたしたち」 (watashi-tachi) obviously doesn't mean a specific group of "me", it means roughly "myself and company" and can be applied to others (2nd or 3rd person) the same way.

August 27, 2017

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

what is the difference が or は

May 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Oh boy, you're better off spending an hour or twenty googling this for yourself.

But "basically" (in really, really big quotation marks), は marks something as the topic, while が marks something as the subject.

In English, we don't really have an explicit topic like this, but you can think of it as "defining the context" for the rest of the sentence. In many cases, that means defining the subject at the same time. To be clear, the subject in Japanese is the thing that performs the verb.

So whether you use が or は depends the context you're in, and whether you need to make the context explicit or not.

June 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vee3000

Why 'it'?

June 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shelby482723

Yeah I'm also confused about this one

July 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brother84

I learned that は is usually used for living creatures while が is used for non-living things. So, shouldn't it be ねこはいます。? Does switching between は and が change in any way the meaning?

July 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

No, that difference is only between using the verbs います or あります.

Typically, in basic sentences, switching between は and が doesn't change the meaning, but it does drastically change the emphasis of the sentence. This can become important in more advanced sentences or where the context is ambiguous. Other times, if は andboth appear in the sentence, switching between them can have a huge impact on the meaning.

I'm sure there are many, significantly more detailed explanations of the difference elsewhere on the internet, but in general, は is described as the "topic" particle, since it assigns "the thing" as the main topic of the sentence or emphasizes it, and が is typically called the "subject" particle , since it designates "the thing" as the agent doing the verb or the target of a preference/ability.

December 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trevor220058

"There are cats" . Marked Wrong! Why?

September 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FlaminGalah91

sometimes the answer shows the kanji if I get it wrong. Then I put the kanji in correctly and it marks it as wrong! 何ですか???

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RowanM.1

Does it happen to you in written exercises or just audio ones? From my own experience, kanji are more likely to be accepted in written exercises, but it seems to be hiragana or nothing in the audio exercises.

July 30, 2019

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

there a bug i type 猫がいます and go it wrong because i use the kanji

September 8, 2019

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

Could this also be translated as "There are cats"?

April 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Yes, it can. Nouns in Japanese can be either singular or plural, depending on the context (which we don't have any information about).

April 23, 2018

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

Alright! Thank you!

April 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sleepingegg1

がorは?

April 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellis441172

Why is "I have a cat" accepted. This seem rather different from "There is a cat".

August 21, 2018

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

Depending on the context, it can mean both (:

June 3, 2019

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

So what would "this is a cat" be?

August 28, 2018

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

Why is "it is" wrong if "it's" is correct?

September 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MonikaHill3

Why isnt it "I have a cat" ?

September 13, 2018

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

Why aren't they using the Kanji for cat, 猫?

November 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WillH.620982

Am i the only one think "i will buy a cat"?

December 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/matt636881

It tricked me :(

December 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joe264823

Is it just me or is the make voice better?

February 28, 2019

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

"I have a cat" is the most plausible for me here :3

May 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RowanM.1

In the audio exercise for this sentence, "猫がいます" is not accepted, but "ねこがいます" is. Why? I can't understand why it's wrong to use kanji in an audio exercise. It's not the first time I've been marked wrong for using kanji instead of hiragana in an audio exercise. Something that needs looking at, unless there is some specific rule about it, or if I have actually used the wrong kanji (I think that is the kanji for "neko" though).

July 30, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jim.Foster

It is a cat wasn't accepted, but IT'S a cat was... I think the people programming the answers need more knowledge in the language of the learner. Clearly they are not native English speakers if they don't know that it's = it is.

March 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

I've explained this already in an earlier comment:

「"It's" can also be a contraction of "it has". Obviously, to a native English speaker, shortening "it has a cat" to "it's a cat" is ridiculous, but I believe this is just a bug that "it's a cat" is suggested. "It has a cat" is technically a possible translation for ねこがいます though, which is probably what should be suggested instead.」

If you wanted to help the people programming the answers (who don't necessarily read these comments), you should flag/report these kinds of issues.

March 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/7Su53bds

This answer is grammatically incorrect.

'It's' is always short for 'it is'. It has shortens to its- without the apostrophe. It has in the english language, at least here in the US means ownership or belonging to the noun/subject- not genereally used to denote existance.

It has existed as an arguement doesn't work here as saying it has is a reference to its time of existance and not the existance of the subject itself, ergo not directly speaking of the subject but rather the time that the subject has existed for/since.

Another simpler explaination would be- when you say it has a cat, you are literally saying to a native that: "THE cat subject itself has a cat." This is why many natives are getting confused.

Ex-Native English ESL tutor and 2 yrs Japanese.

But hey Im just another random guy on the internet. Those who need a straight answer should seek out an active english/japanese professor to get the most current translation as standards change all the time.

April 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Did you even read my comment? I specifically said shortening "it has" to "it's" in this situation is ridiculous to a native English speaker.

Perhaps you need to seek out an active English professor since your rules for contracting "it is" and "it has" are simply incorrect.

  • it is ‐> it's: "It is cold today" ‐>"It's cold today"
  • it has -> it's: "It has been a while" ‐> "It's been a while"
  • it has X its: incorrect
  • its: not a contraction, denotes ownership, "Its nose is cute"

Translation standards may change from time to time, but in the scheme of things, they (and grammatical rules) don't change frequently or drastically enough to say that they "change all the time".

Also, when I say "It has a cat", you are assuming, for some strange reason, that "it" = "the cat". If I asked "What is in the box?" you coud reasonably answer "It has a cat." The subject, "it", is commonly left out of Japanese sentences: this is the real reason many native English speakers get confused when learning Japanese.

But hey, I'm just another random ex-native English ESL teacher in Japan with 5+ years Japanese.

April 18, 2018
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