1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "Do you have a family?"

"Do you have a family?"


July 8, 2017



Why is the は required here?


I learned that the particle は marks the topic of the phrase and can be literally translated as: "about..." So this sentence will be: About family, do (you) have? You are implied here


は must be attached to the topic of a sentence. As in this case the subject is "family", は is required right after it.


No it musn't. While it is preferred to do so when you want specifically change to topic, you don't have to attach it.

「かぞくいますか」is also grammatically correct.


With verbs of existence such as います or あります, I believe that が is normally the default in sentences like 家族がいます= I have a family. 家族がいますか is also accepted.


The "は" here is the subject particle . So its role is to define the subject of the sentence in other words "what we are talking about" but you have to be careful when you are using it and don't be confused with the "が particle .


が is the subject particle and は is the topic particle. は might also be the implied subject of the sentence, but not always.


Batman has left the chat


In my opinion this comment is underrated


Shouldn't it be kazoku ga imasu


I agree! I think the family is not the subject of this sentence, "you" is the (implicit) subject. So shouldn't it be 「かぞくがいますか?」?


Actually, if you wrote かぞくがいますか?you would make the family, rather than any implicit "you", the subject of the sentence. That is what が does, mark the (non-topic) subject. So かぞくがいますか would mean "Is there a family?", while the topicalized かぞくはいますか would be more akin to "Does the family exist?", with an implied reference to the listener turning "the family" into "your family" and thus "Do you have a family?". (Or at least I think so -- there could well be deeper levels to this.)


Actually actually, I have now tested and かぞくがいますか is accepted as well. So both work, but they have to choose one as the "main" translation to put at the top of the page. The first part of my answer above, about が marking the subject, is still valid, however.


I agree that the sentence, as is, would mean "Is there a family" since は implies that family is the subject rather than the object. However, it could simply have idiomatic meaning in that "Is there a family?" in Japanese actually means "Do you have any family members?" Idiomaticity is a rather common phenomenon in the Japanese language, so I would not be surprised if this were the case here.


Is anyone else wondering why they aren't using ご家族?For such a delicate question, it sounds pretty strange just to say 家族。


What if the answer is no? A wasted ご...


My Japanese tutor said it should be ごかぞく when speaking of someone else's family. Are there regional/social differences in this?


The ご and お you often see at the start of words makes it more polite, and if you're talking about someone elses family, especially in japan, you need to be as formal as possible


is it impolite to use かおくinstead of ごかぞくor is it the latter just being extra polite?


I too learned to use ごかぞくfor other people's families and かぞく when referring to your own. I'm curious about this as well.


Why is い necessary? Couldn't I say only: かぞくはますか ?


Because it isn't ます it is the verb いる which means to exist. かぞくはいますか -> Is there is a family.


Since いる is a る verb it conjugates into the polite form of います. The inanimate equivalent is ある/あります.


Is it perhaps that the full polite sentance would be "あなたのかぞくはいますか"?


「あなた」is considered impolite. Unlike in English in Japanese you don't use "I," "my," "you" or "your" unless in a conversation when you need to change the subject. Here's a video explaining it a bit better: https://youtu.be/2DqSfpmL2Ms


If you wrote it out in full could you say あなたは家族(かぞく)います Or would you need to add the は again amd make it あなたは家族はいます


It would be あなたの家族はいますか




In an earlier sentence, "Do you have siblings?" I put "Kyoudai imasu ka?" and it was accepted, but why is it not accepted here for kazoku?


I wrote anata wa kazoku i masuka. Why is that wrong?


I think your sentence means something closer to "Are you a family?" To say "your family" it would be "anata no kazoku", which you would then mark as the subject with ha, giving you "anata no kazoku ha imasu ka?" This answer might work! I'll try it if I can!


I think it's because in this context, the questioner asks the questionee, "kazoku wa imasu ka?" So it'd be the same as "hey, do you have a family?" That's how it intuitively came to me.

If it's "kazoku ga imasu ka?" The questionee addresses a wider audience or no audience and then asks "hey, does a family exist?"


for me, using は reads more like "Is there a family?" and using が reads as "Do you have a family?" I think both make sense technically, but using が seems to give more clarity as to what exactly the speaker is referring to (at least for me)


If someone could explain to me when we use De su and I ma su i would be forever grateful


Desu is "it is" (I think) whereas imasu is something like "have". I might be wrong though.


Technically it means "exists", but it can mean have.


I'm curious, could i not say


Would that not translate to do you have a family. Your family exist?


My Japanese isn't up to native level, but I'm kinda just on duolingo for vocabulary I missed rather than grammar (I highly recommend going elsewhere if you want grammar anyway) but that sounds more like "Is your family here?" to me. Hope that helps.


私:家族はいますか? バットマン:……


Oh hy batman 家族はどこに行くの?


Be careful not to ask batman this. He understands Japanese.


it should be が instead of は in this case seeing as a question is being asked and not a statement being made


Not necessarily. I think you'd need to use は to mark a different subject; if the conversation was about everyone else's families, then you wouldn't need any topic marker. I might be wrong though.


Whether it's a question or a statement makes no difference with が and は. が is used to draw attention to the subject and can only be used on the subject, you use it when the information is new. は can actually replace many particles, and it's kind of like using a pronoun instead of saying the actual object. Duolingo's strong point isn't grammar, so I highly recommend you go elsewhere for that.


I think when using います, you would usually use が instead of は, so this isn't technically correct. Though, I think when speaking, the difference might not be huge and you'd be understood anyway.


Why is family the topic of the sentence and not you? Also, does this sentence mean the same as 家族がいる?


Even if it doesn't seem polite, is it still grammatically correct to say 家族はいる?I'm practicing conversation and want to learn both informal and formal.


Vin Diesel: Heavy breathing


I put あなたの家族わいますか but was marked as incorrect. I belive my statment is correctly structured and translates the same, can anybody help me with this?


「家族はいますか」 だと失礼な聞き方になってしまいます。 「ご家族はどちらに住んでいますか」のほうが実践的です。


It marked me down for using a '。' at the end of my sentence. Surely this is correct; more correct than using a question mark in formal Japanese?


Why isn't "あなたは家族がいますか?" correct here?


Would "家族がいるの?" also work?

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