"His older sister is a college student."


July 4, 2017



I think it would be nice to have a way to give pronunciation and definition reminders, somehow. E.g., i keep forgetting how to pronounce the the "big" ("da" in Mandarin) symbol in Japanese. Like in the word for college.

July 4, 2017


totally agree. i know the meaning of the word but cannot pronounce it. i always remember it is da in mandarin

July 7, 2017


In cantonese, it is "dai"

July 26, 2017



July 21, 2017


In japanese it's pronounced "Dai"

September 25, 2017


Except when it's not!

May 31, 2019


What you are looking for is furigana. That's when you put the hirigana pronounciation above the kanji. I suggest putting in a suggestion if your interested.

January 22, 2018


I do not even know the mandarin pronouciation, and it is quite unclear when read out load by the lady.

July 24, 2017


I forgot how you pronounce "college"

August 5, 2017


it's だいがくせい

August 15, 2017


Taru, what you wrote is college student. College/university is daigaku 大学

August 19, 2017



October 13, 2017


How come it is right with or without the お in (お)ねえさん ?

November 30, 2017


お and ご (depending on the word's origins) can be used with several nouns to "make them more polite". If you'd like to read more about it, have a gander here: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Japanese/Grammar/Honorific_prefixes

November 30, 2017


I have done this lesson every day for the last three weeks and i still have absolutely no idea what's going on. The lessons have become too complicated too quickly.

August 24, 2018


I remember which is older and which is younger sister by the 'san'. Which I guess is a sign of respect for them being your senior.

August 25, 2017


That's a good way to remember it here on Duo, but you can say いもうとさん if you are referring to someone else's younger sister.

あね/いもうと = my older/younger sister

おねえさん/いもうとさん = someone else's older/younger sister

September 10, 2017


Is it important that the の part of the sentence come before the は? How do we decide the order of things?

November 22, 2017


The placement of の can be pretty tricky, and changes a lot depending on exactly what you want to say. Its function in this case is to show possession. In general terms, "AのB" means "the B of A" or "A's B".

Here in our sentence, there are three nouns: かれ "he/him", おねえさん "older sister", and 大学生 "college student". You can put them together using の in various different ways (not all of which make sense):

  • かれ の おねえさん = his older sister
  • かれ の 大学生 = his college student
  • おねえさん の かれ = older sister's (or young lady's) boyfriend (because かれ is weird like that)
  • おねえさん の 大学生 = older sister's (or young lady's) college student
  • 大学生 の かれ = college student's boyfriend (because かれ is weird like that)
  • 大学生 の おねえさん = college student's older sister (or young lady)

So, as you can see, it's not so much that の has to come before は, but rather の has to go between かれ and おねえさん. And since the older sister is the actual topic, not him, the は has to come after おねえさん.

December 12, 2017


What is the difference in rendering this sentence  かれのお姉さんは大学生です、 And in rendering it かれのお姉さんは大学生います ? Is there a difference in how that sounds to the Japanese ear? is the former simply more natural? etc.

December 2, 2017


Well, the main difference is that using います is actually an incorrect translation; that sentence conveys a completely different meaning from the English sentence in this exercise. Both います and です can be (and often are) translated to "is", but they serve different purposes and cannot be used interchangeably.

In the case of です, "is" is used to convey equivalence. In the following examples, I'm not telling you that John exists; we know he exists, but I'm giving you information about him.

  • かれジョンです 》 He has the property of being "John" 》 He is John.
  • ジョンアメリカ人です 》 John has the property of being an American person 》 John is American.
  • ジョン十六さいです 》 John has the property of being sixteen years old 》 John is sixteen years old.

On the other hand, います uses "is" to convey existence. The new information I'm telling you in the following examples is that something exists. います is an intransitive verb, so we use the particle が to indicate the agent of the verb (i.e. the thing doing the existing).

  • ジョンがいます 》 John exists 》 There is a John.
  • がいます 》 a dog exists 》There is a dog. OR There are dogs.
  • 中国人がいます 》 a Chinese person exists 》 There is a Chinese person. OR There are Chinese people.

The nifty thing about Japanese is that they have these two particles, は and が, to differentiate the topic and the subject (something we don't really do in English). So, we can talk about something, but have the verb be done by something else. Check out these examples:

  • ジョンいます 》 When it comes to John, a dog exists 》 John has a dog.
  • かれおねえさんいます 》 When it comes to him, an older sister exists 》 He has an older sister.
  • かれのおねえさん大学生います 》 When it comes to his older sister, a college student exists 》 His older sister has a college student.

That last one doesn't really make sense, does it? But because particles are often omitted in Japanese (especially in speech), it's the same as your suggested alternative. Obviously (hopefully), the one we want is:

かれのおねえさん大学生です 》 His older sister has the property of being a college student 》 His older sister is a college student.

December 19, 2017


Why does order matter. I swapped his and older sister, keeping the correct particles, but got it wrong.

February 14, 2018


I have already answered this at length in my response to @ntpttr 's question, so please have a read of it.

But in short, の is a special particle where the order of words on either side of it is important.

February 27, 2018



February 25, 2018


What is the differences between "kare" and "karera" ?

May 7, 2018


Karera is the plural form, i.e. "they" (typically either all male, or mostly male). The "-ra" suffix is a somewhat rough/not polite way to change a pronoun/noun into a plural version of it, but karera is very normal (that is, not impolite).

June 7, 2018


I'm curious about the 'mostly male'. In French and Czech I think that even one male in the group is enough to use the male form of the word. (Please correct me if I'm wrong!)

What are the rules for this in Japanese?

July 29, 2018


Honestly, I'm not a native Japanese speaker, so I might not be completely accurate about where the distinction lands.

I think the first thing to consider is: is there a clear "leader" or a perceived person who stands out as a "representative" of the group to you? (For example, a group booking at a hotel - to the concierge staff, there is the person who made the booking) Typically, you would use that person's name, but if you didn't know their name (or you're talking to someone you can be blunt with), you could refer to the group as karera if the person is male, or kanojo-tachi if the person is female.

If no one particular stands out as a representative, that's when you consider the rough makeup of the group. I think, if a clear majority of the group (i.e. more than around 70%) is male, then karera is the most common way to refer to them, and if a clear majority of the group is female, then it's kanojo-tachi. If there's isn't a clear majority from a quick glance, either is fine; personally, in this situation, I think the level of politeness of your conversation is more influential (kanojo-tachi being more preferred in politer contexts).

Again, not a native Japanese speaker, and I'm just going from my experience.

January 22, 2019



May 17, 2018


ther is no option for かる

May 17, 2018


whats the difference between ane and oneesan and when to use which?

August 3, 2018


So for a young man you don't know you use いさん to be polite and for a young woman you don't know it's えさん?

November 3, 2018


Not sure why how we got stuck with "college" rather than "university" student, but in almost every English-speaking country bar the US, "college" and "university" don't automatically mean the same thing, in fact "college" is closer to 高校 than 大学.

Since they more or less do mean the same in the US, please consider using "university" in the English sentences to be translated?

December 9, 2018
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