1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "ハンカチをもっていますか?"


Translation:Do you have a handkerchief?

July 6, 2017





Can't I use あります instead of 持っています?


I also wanna know if there is a difference, kinda nuance, to using ある vs もつ.


ある just refers to whether something exists/is present. 持つ means "to hold/carry" or "to possess/own".


Motteimasu usually means "do you have (it) on/with you"


Handkerchief o arimasu ka to me sounds like 'Is there a handkerchief?' Maybe it can also be used when asking 'do you have' as in 'do you possess' but am not sure.

__ o motteimasu ka = do you own _? but I think it would be weird in English to say 'own' in some situations, so 'have' is used in translations

For example, in okane o motteimasu ka, it's weird to say 'do you own/possess money?

When translating from English and the sentence uses 'have,' I check if the context is looking for existence/having vs owning/possession to choose between arimasu/imasu and motteimasu.

Do you have kids? = The question seems to ask about existence of kids. Besides, kids aren't owned, so unless we're dealing with child slavery, I'll stick with 'imasu'

Do you have a car? = Here it's about possession, so I'll use motteimasu.

At least, that's how I see it.


It can mean someone does have something, but a topic (私は, etc) would be needed to differentiate the meaning between "this exists" and "I have this."

Of course, Japanese often relies on context to shorten sentences, so it might not even be necessary.


What on earth is a handkerchief? I have literally never seen or heard this word in my life.


A napkin that you can wash, I think.


Google it, its a small piece of garment every gentleman must bring.


Obviously my point here was to suggest it's not a commonly used word, not that I haven't looked it up.


"Are you carrying a handkerchief?" should be accepted


I don't like DL's translation of もっています because it's not helping learners understand. While "Are you carrying this?" and "Do you have this?" mean the same thing, they're not the same literal translations and thus DL marks them wrong.


Handkerchief has been replaced by tissue or "Kleenex" and anyway they are surely "Kitanai !" in polite Japanese.


Hanky should be acceptable for ハンカチ

Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.