"Mr. Tanaka is Japanese."


July 2, 2017



I always forget when to add 'wa' and when not

July 2, 2017


Same, anyone have an answer as to when 'wa' should be added?

July 31, 2017


It's used to mark the topic of the sentence (or the subject if the topic and sentence are the same)

If you're not using it, the subject of the sentence should be clear from context.. 田中さんはたべました。(tanaka ate.) 田中さんをたべました。(someone ate tanaka) 田中さんたべました。 (Doesn't mean anything)

A common time that you don't have any particles is with desu (です). In English we use 'it's' for this purpose. This is because desu isn't a verb. 田中さんです。( [It] is tanaka.)

October 11, 2017


So it comes after the subject

April 9, 2018


I guess it's when you refer to someone. In this case Mr Tanaka -> he's Japanese

So basically Everytime you talk about someone other than yourself except if you mention yourself by adding watashi then you have to use wa as well.

This is as far as i understood it by now

September 24, 2017


Japanese is all about context. "Mr Tanaka is Japanese" could also be written as 日本人です。 This only works, if you were already talking about Mr Tanaka, though, since otherwise you wouldn't know who you refer to. (In fact, the default context is yourself, so you would actually be saying "I am Japanese")

To introduce a new context, you use は. Therefore, 田中さんは日本人です means "Mr Tanaka is Japanese". If he was already the topic you could just say 日本人です as mentioned earlier. If he was already in context, but maybe not the main subject right now, you can use が to make him the current subject, so 田中さんが日本人です。 However, if you do that without Mr Tanaka being in context, it sounds like you are surprised at this fact.

The difference between は and が is confusing a great many learners; you will develop an intuition for it eventually. Luckily, simple sentences without any context generally only use は.

February 27, 2018


Great explanation, this helped me a lot. Thanks.

May 11, 2018


Excellent explanation, the only one that has really helped so far.

January 14, 2019


Thank you so much! Answered so many questions, lol.

July 3, 2018



August 11, 2018


I am a complete newbie but I am trying. But why it is that in some cases the Japanese is translated in English from the right side while in some cases it is from the left side. I am confused.

January 4, 2019


Depends on the translator, but in Japan, people read from right to left, in contrast to America, from left to right. At least I'm almost certain its like that.

January 14, 2019


Thanks this was very helpful

January 26, 2019


Same with me

March 4, 2018


Is the topic particle WA

March 11, 2019


'wa' is used as a subject marker. in japanese, the subject comes first in a sentence, so wa is said once you've finished naming the subject. it's hard to explain, but think of it like "anything before wa is the subject". for example, if i said いぬはかわいいです (inu wa kawaii desu/the dog is cute) everything before wa is the subject, therefore inu/dog is the subject.

January 16, 2018


It's said wa, but spelt ha.

October 5, 2017


Same, so many times I forgot to add は and got it wrong.

July 16, 2018


Same here! Anyone??

September 19, 2017


Wa defines the subject. In this case Tanaka is the subject thus wa is added.

November 24, 2017



May 1, 2019


It's sounds like 'wa' but is は. And i dont know why

October 26, 2018


Me to

April 25, 2018


I belive sanwa should come with the wa instead of the wa separate. I guess it helps us think though.

December 9, 2018


This thing went from great to excruciating. Was at 90% now im at 10%. They jumped from hiragana to everything else way too fast.

August 1, 2017


Also Agreed. Killed my progress when it suddenly started adding Kanji when I wasn't even fluent with Hiragana, let alone started on Katakana.

June 26, 2018



January 1, 2018


Agreed. It's really discouraging because I really want to learn Japanese but it's way too fast...

October 4, 2018


You have to practise the hiragana and katakana youself such as using the tiny cards flashcards

November 22, 2018


Why is 中 pronounced as "なか" when its descriptions say its ちよう?

July 10, 2017


Some kanjis have diferent types of pronunciation, the one you are talking about has 3 different manners: なか,ちゅうand うち. I don't the rules about how to chose in each case, but I hope I helped at least a little bit. :)

July 12, 2017


Kanji have one set of readings when combined with other kanji (Chinese, or onyomi) and one when they are not. (Japanese or kunyomi). Some of them are the same for both and some of them have many readings for reasons that are not obvious. Compare

中国 (Chuugokuk 中 (Naka)

There are a bunch of more complex rules governing which words use which ones。Body parts are notorious for only using kunyomi readings with other kanji; the onyomi for east (東, とう) is thrown out the window when combined with mouth to form 'east entrance/exit' 東口、[ひがし]ぐち

October 11, 2017


And just to make it even more confusing there is also a set of readings for when they are used in names (Nanori). However, sometimes they use some of the other readings.

May 13, 2018


Kanji have different readings, called kunyomi and oniyomi. They are also bringing attention to the 中 in 田中 and how it is also used in 中国 but with a different reading.

October 15, 2018


The pronunciation of the kanji for this name is "ta naka". But I don't know what description you are talking about.

July 11, 2017


When is it correct to use です and ます and anything I've missed? I've been a bit confused by this.

November 8, 2017


desu is the "be" verb of japanese, it means is/am/are. imasu and arimasu mean "it exists". imasu is used for living things while arimasu is used for objects, for example: if the teacher was checking attendance and called your name, you would say "はい, います” meaning "yes, i exist". but if someone was asking, for example, if theres a train station in your town (えきがありますか) you could reply with ”はい, えきがあります” meaning "yes, the train station exists" hope that helps!

January 16, 2018


Isn't it more appropriate to say nihon no kata instead of nihon jin while talking about someone else or is it just used to be more polite while asking someone directly about his or her origin?

July 6, 2017


Nihon no kata has the same meaning but is more polite.

October 11, 2017


Sigh, I'm just not getting it.

March 10, 2018


What is the difference in saying 田中さんは日本人です。and 田中さんは日本しゅっしんです。 in the other lessons in this category these two seem interchangeable but when i input them into google translate they seem to mean two different things.

October 11, 2018



January 8, 2019



January 8, 2019


Wa isn't really needed here. The topic is clear from context.

September 14, 2018


Thats what i was thinking. The subject is obviously about Tanaka so why do we need 'wa' ?

December 13, 2018


this is very frustating

October 20, 2018


Why do you have to put "wa" before "nihom"

January 14, 2019


I'm not entirely sure what the Japanese sentence order is. Is it 'subject -> nominative adjective -> verb'?

March 3, 2019


Why is "さんは" here?

March 13, 2019


That is a term of respect. Its like the English term Mr.

March 13, 2019


Why would a space between words make it wrong? Especially while learning, it is easier to learn by being able to see the words clearly.

March 14, 2019


I have trouble believing that having spaces between the words makes it wrong. As in: 田中さん は 日本人です

March 14, 2019


This is repeatedly saying wrong for the correct answer.

March 18, 2019


Why is ha also pronounced as wa...

March 31, 2019


Tanaka san nihon jin des; this is incorrect??

April 8, 2019


That wos a good answer!

April 9, 2019


I wish there was better highlighting for errors....

April 16, 2019


Why don't we add しゅっしん ?

April 26, 2019


but i know only hiragana what should i do ?

April 30, 2019


What does "toiimas" mean?

May 6, 2019


Would be nice to be able to hear the pronunciations in the corrected answer

May 16, 2019


I answered it correctly but it said i was wrong?

June 6, 2019


It should be Tanaka-san is Japanese.

October 5, 2017


Does duolingo teach grammar. Like when to use the particles and kanji

December 19, 2017


Sadly its mostly vocabulary, i highly suggest that you look for the grammer lessons else where. Its not only in this course, but also in the german one as well.

March 30, 2018


How do we get the little dot at the end??

January 22, 2018


This sentence structure is killing me. I have a big problem understanding it.

February 17, 2018


Same here

May 11, 2018


The sentence structure really stinks but its ALL WE HAVE!!!

June 27, 2018


Wait so the subject comes first and the verb comes last? what if there are 2 verbs being displayed in the same sentence (Ex: Mr. Tanaka is Japanese and like's soccer.)

March 14, 2018


Yes the verb always comes at the end of the sentence in Japanese.

As for having two verbs, this is somewhat advanced and hasn't been covered yet at this point in the Duolingo course. But if you're curious:

If you're using verbs in the positive sense, you conjugate the ones that come earlier in the sentence to the (non-polite) past tense and then you replace the た / だ at the end with て / で (respectively). This is also called the te-form of a verb if you see that phrase anywhere. For verbs in the negative sense (eg "didn't eat," "will not go," etc.), you replace the い at the end of the verb with くて. You then conjugate the last verb at the end as normal for whatever sentence tense you're going for and that dictates the tense of the whole sentence.

Your exact sentence would be kinda confusing to display this point, though, for various reasons. For example, "likes" is not actually a verb in Japanese, it's an adjective. To say "I like X" in Japanese is done by saying "X is likable."

So to display the point, I'll use a simpler sentence, say, "I go to the restaurant and eat breakfast":

レストランに行って, あさごはんを食べます.

To break down what happened, the verb changed from 行く (to go) -> 行った ("went", non-polite past tense of 行く) -> 行って (te-form of 行く). The 食べる verb was the last one in the sentence, so we just conjugated it normally to 食べます since we wanted the sentence to be in present tense. If we had written 食べました instead at the end of the sentence and changed nothing else, then the whole sentence would change to past tense - "I went to the restaurant and ate breakfast."

Also important to note here is that when you use this construction in Japanese, you're implicitly saying that the verbs either came in chronological order or the earlier one has a cause-effect relationship with the later one.

March 15, 2018



March 18, 2018


i had the exact same answer but wrong still?

March 21, 2018


Forgot to put です

April 30, 2018


This one leaves me confuse

June 25, 2018



July 13, 2018


why is "imasu" incorrect to use here? it's a living thing, and the translation doesn't make a lot of sense to me. i get "desu" is "to be" but "he be Japanese" sounds archaic. Wouldn't "imasu" be more appropriate be cause "he is"/"i am" japanese makes more sense? I dont know

July 20, 2018


Why is there a 'ha' after Tanaka San?

July 29, 2018


What EXACTLY です means? Is that like "is" or...?

August 2, 2018



August 15, 2018


I ommited "desu" and it still said i was correct. Shouldn't "desu" be required as the verb?

August 23, 2018


Can’t seem to get it

October 20, 2018


What change would it make to say this without desu? Would it still make sense? Im guessing its just rude to some extent but still proper japanese, am i right here?

October 22, 2018



November 6, 2018


It's used to mark the topic of the sentence (or the subject if the topic and sentence are the same)

If you're not using it, the subject of the sentence should be clear from context.. 田中さんはたべました。(tanaka ate.) 田中さんをたべました。(someone ate tanaka) 田中さんたべました。 (Doesn't mean anything)

A common time that you don't have any particles is with desu (です). In English we use 'it's' for this purpose. This is because desu isn't a verb. 田中さんです。( [It] is tanaka.)

February 1, 2019


It's used to mark the topic of a sentence (or the subject if the topic and sentence are the same)

If you're not using it, the subject of the sentence should be clear from context.. 田中さんはたべました。(tanaka ate.) 田中さんをたべました。(someone ate tanaka) 田中さんたべました。 (Doesn't mean anything)

A common time that you don't have any particles is with desu (です). In English we use 'it's' for this purpose. This is because desu isn't a verb. 田中さんです。( [It] is tanaka.)

February 5, 2019


Yoda speak, am I right?

June 15, 2018


Not quite.

English is generally Subject-Verb-Object (SVO). Luke eats stinky cheese.

Yodish is generally Object-Subject-Verb (OSV). Stinky cheese Luke eats.

Japanese is generally Subject-Object-Verb (SOV). Luke stinky cheese eats.

July 6, 2018


who is mr. tanaka?

October 28, 2018


It will always amaze me day in and day out when my brain is making connections I am barely aware of and I am constructing the right sentence in anew language on impulse that I know I was barely confident in as I clicked the order.

August 3, 2018



February 7, 2018


日本語 is Japanese the language, not Japanese the nationality. Japanese the nationality is, as the question says, 日本人.

March 15, 2018


You're wrong

January 8, 2019
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