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  5. "The fish was slowly swimming…

"The fish was slowly swimming in the river."


July 9, 2017



I need some rules to distinguish between で and に. Why is it で here?


Generally, に is a location where something exists, and で is more of a space in which something happens; the setting for something to take place.


De : it is a particle to show "place of action" Ni : just a location marker


で is an event marker. Although keep in mind で does other things too. For example, 鉛筆で書きました (えんぴつでかきました) means I wrote it with a pencil or by means of a pencil. So the same particle can do entirely different things.


Why does it have to be 魚 が  and not 魚は ?


I think both of them are accepted. But が is only used to indicate the subject.


Why is it not およぎました? Would it be "the fish swam" then ? I don't understand how the verb is conjugated, can someone explain ? Thank you very much !


It's a different case of the verb.

およぎました = swam (So yes, it would be "the fish swam" if this was used like you said!)

およいでいました = was swimming. It's a combination of およいで, the で form of およぐ (to swim) and いました, the past tense of います, to exist.

The way I think of it is "In the past, the act of swimming existed" therefore, it becomes "was swimming".

GreggoGato has a good breakdown a few comments below as well.

(P.S. if this is wrong at all, please comment and explain why it is so I can come back and correct it so people can see the correct version. I'm still learning, too)


Would it be wrong to say おそくおよいで instead of ゆっくりおよいで?


That's the difference between swimming late (i.e. at a late time rather than while late for something which would be おくれて) and swimming slowly.

I just wonder why they don't like 川で魚がゆっくりで泳いでいました。Too colloquial?


Why oyogi de ? In slow ?


泳ぐ -> 泳いで the connecting form of swim


When you want to use gerund, you have to add imasu (います) in the end of the verb. But to add it you must change the verb to the DE (で) form. oyoide (およいで) is the DE form of the oyogi (およぎます) verb.


川で魚がゆっくり泳いでいました was not accepted


So for other examples it has been に in reference to fish swimming, location - ni. This has been described because it's more a natural state of them being, not a specific action as used with で in other examples. But because the fish is swimming slowly, I think this is no longer the natural state and now becomes a different action, which gives the justification for で. Please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm still working out the difference between these particles.




I would use だから


I think it'd be better if we put から behind this sentence instead IMO


Can anyone break this down?


さかな (fish) が 川で <--- In the river ゆっくり <--- slowly およいでいました。 <--- Was swimming

およぐ <-- Swim

およいでいます <-- Is swimming (conjugated continuous form of およぐ)

およいでいました <-- Is swimming (conjugated past continous form of およぐ)


First it's the boy is performing the action of swimming in a river so it's で then fish always exist in a river so it's technically に because reasons and now its で for reasons unknown to even possibly duo.

Is there maybe, I don't know, a different river I was supposed to be aware of before attempting this sentence that makes it obvious it is で and not に or is it just that obvious the more you learn the language. Probably the most inconsistent unintuitive particle I have had to deal with yet... So frustrating.


I think it's because the fish is swimming slowly? Not sure.


It has nothing to do with the speed of the fish, but what is happening at the location. で is used for the location at which an action occurs, not necessarily any verb. に is used for the target of a verb or action, and also the location of an existence verb, such as "to exist." In all of the instances mentioned, Duolingo is being consistent, it's just hard to see unless you take a look at some of the comments along the way.


Why is it i + mashita? Is it because the fish are living beings?


This is like the "ing" form in English - "The fish was slowly swimmING in the river". It means that the action happened over an indefinite period of time, not just at one moment.


Its actually て + いました form. The て + います form indicates the "ing" portion (泳いでいます - swimming), but you turn the ます into ました (泳いでいました - was swimming).


Is there a reason why 川の中で is not accepted where 川で is asked for?


Probably because it's very unnecessary. It's like saying "inside of the river" but even more, and is just weird. 川で clearly means that you are swimming inside, so I'm pretty sure that 川の中 would never be used. You can try reporting it, and maybe it's already accept now, but I wouldn't be too sure.


Why "de" instead of "te"? --Ing form was always translated as "te+imasu" so far, never "de+imasu"


Because it is およぐ

  • かく -> (かきて) -> かいて
  • およぐ -> (およぎて) -> およいで

Do you see the two dots (く vs ぐ) ? They are preserved.
The forms in parenthesis do not exist, but are what a "regular" て.form would have been


I agree with you question. Can some one help us......john


Why the de form of the verb? I thought de was used for an ongoing action (ie, "is swimming") but this is past tense ("was swimming"). Thanks.


The て form is for continuous actions, which this in fact is. 泳ぎます is "swim(s)/will swim", 泳ぎました is "did swim/swam." 泳いでいます is "is/am/are swimming", and 泳いでいました is "was/were swimming."

If we didn't have the て form here, and the sentence was「魚が池でゆっくり泳ぎました」、then it would translate to "the fish slowly swam in the pond", rather than with the て form, "the fish was slowly swimming in the pond."

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