Japanese Skill: Position (Unofficial Tips & Notes)

Open for comments

[Under Construction] This post is not complete. But, I'll be back to put the last two bits later today.

Japanese Skill: Positions (Located just after second checkpoint.)

I've taken the liberty of going a little more in depth than the Duolingo skill into using location words and composing some basic location question/answer sentences.

Handy terms to Google: "Japanese Ko So A Do"

Here/There/Over There/Where (Part 1)

ここ koko here
そこ soko there
あそこ asoko over there
どこ doko where

Basic sentence sample:
[ここ・そこ・あそこ] にえんぴつがあります
[koko/soko/asoko] ni enpitsu ga arimasu.
There is a pencil [here/there/over there].
The particle に NI is used here because it pairs with location words. However, で DE is related to where things take place. For instance, if we play at the park, で would be used. I don't have a good explanation off the top of my head to go into when to use に vs で. I'm very rusty at this. Feel free to comment about it if you've got a good explanation.

Location: Where
どこですか。Doko desu ka? Where is it?
Xはどこですか。X wa doko desu ka? Where is X?
あそこ / ここです。Asoko / koko desu. It is over there/here.
X は Yと Z のあいだです。X wa Y to Z no aida desu. X is between Y and Z.
(間=あいだ / aida= between)

Example: (Taylor = X, Central = Y, Stevenson = Z) TaylorはCentralとStevensonのあいだです。Taylor wa Central to Stevenson no aida desu.
Taylor is between Central and Stevenson [Building].
(間=あいだ / aida= between)

Location + Reference Item
Noun1 の Noun2

Noun1: Reference/Marker item.
Noun 2: Location word.

Question: SOUはどこですか。SOU wa doko desu ka? Where is SOU?
Answer: Subway のまえです。Subway no mae desu. It is in front of Subway.
Subway = reference/marker. まえ=location word.
(前 = まえ / mae = in front. の前 = in front of.)

This/That/Over there/Which (Part 2)

Without noun
これ kore This
それ sore That
あれ are That over there
どれ dore Which

Basic sentence samples:
[これ・それ・あれ] はペンです。
[This/That/Over there] is a pen.
[...]はなんですか。What is [this/that/over there]? [...]はいくらですか。How much does [this/that/that over there] cost? [...]はですか。Is it [this/that/that over there]? Note: どれ is not followed by は that I'm aware of. You can just say どれですか。for "Which is it?"

With noun
この kono + noun
その sono + noun
あの ano + noun
どの dono + noun

Basic sentence sample:
[この・その・あの] + [noun] はいくらですか。
Example: このとけいはいくらですか。Kono tokei wa ikura desuka.
How much does this watch cost.
(時計 とけい/tokei watch)

(Location Words: Left, right, under, etc. ... under construction)

Other Unofficial Tips and Notes:
[handakuten [ ゚] and dakuten [ ゙], and the little や、ゆ、よ, and つ (Unofficial Tips & Notes)](

July 2, 2017


Thank you! That is quite helpful - and explains a lot of my frustration...

July 3, 2017

Oh good! I haven't added the last bit. But, I swear it will arrive! I've had a 15 states + Canada road trip recently and a friend visiting out of country. So, I'm exhausted. But, one day when the dinosaurs return, I'll cover how to put together the left, right, front, back, beside, etc. sentences. lol :P

July 3, 2017

Can you explain why の is used in X は Yと Z のあいだです instead of で? Thanks.

July 4, 2017

Hi Wiijimmy,

I have no idea. I may have known back in 2010 when I was taking Japanese. But, these days it's just memorized. I've double checked it with my textbook and X は Yと Z のあいだです is correct. I'll upvote your question in the hopes that someone else will be able to give you an explanation. :)

July 4, 2017

I'm not exactly an expert but I suspect it would be because で generally provides context in association with verbs where as の acts on nouns. 間 is a noun.

July 6, 2017

Awesome, thank you!

July 3, 2017

Thanks very much for doing this, it's very useful.

July 5, 2017

GUIDE: In which forum should I post my discussion

(This is obviously about the locked post, not this one)

July 2, 2017

Hi DonFiore, thanks for the tip!

However, as someone who has consulted on the current set up of the forums, forum etiquette, and such, I'm pretty good at navigating forum nuances. ;) (Not that I don't accidentally mis-post something now and then.)

In most instances, it would be correct to have one post and to put that the JA for EN speakers forum. However, as the course is listed as being in alpha on desktop, though available in beta for two of the apps, newer users likely won't know that a) there is a Japanese course b) that there is forum for it c) how to locate that forum. Once the course releases in beta for desktop, I'll be removing the other version of this post. For now, it serves as an onboarding post for those looking for JA/EN, as well as a tutorial in advance of the course's release for website users. :)

July 2, 2017
Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.