"He has three older brothers."


July 9, 2017



The most frustrating thing about these lessons is not being able to hear the the correct enunciation of a sentence I got wrong.

February 12, 2018


Does the number have to come after the noun?

July 10, 2017


Phrased in this way, yes. I think you could also say 三人のお兄さん, as with other counters.

That's simply how phrasing works with counters in Japanese - you can either use "[number+counter]の[noun]は/が[verb]", or "[noun]は/が[counter][verb]".

January 4, 2018


My instinct was to start this sentence 彼には, and this was accepted. What is the difference between saying 彼には and just 彼は? Are they interchangeable in this circumstance? I know that there are other circumstances where 彼には would not be appropriate but I'm curious if there is any difference in connotation here.

October 29, 2017


Inconsistent translation of oniisan as older brother or simply brother between questions.

July 19, 2017


You use different words when referring to your own family vs someone else's. In this case, it's あに for your own and おにいさん for someone else's.

October 24, 2017


Also, you will use あに when referring your brother to others, and use お兄さん when you call your brother directly

June 29, 2019


In animes, I see everyone treating everyone with nichan and nechan. Are these related to 'brother' and 'sister'?

November 10, 2017


It's an issue of formality. Both "nii-chan" and "nee-chan" still mean brother and sister, respectively, but there's a difference in the nature of the relationship. The "-chan" honorific is incredibly informal, especially when used for anyone older than a child. They've removed the "o-" honorific prefix, which adds even more respect in a title.

So when you hear "nii-chan" or "nee-chan" in anime, you can generally assume it's a pretty close relationship or, depending on tone of voice, super condescending and disrespectful. (You usually hear it used in anime as the former though.)

Honorifics are great because they can tell you SO much about a relationship REAL quick.

November 11, 2017


I'm pretty sure that Duolingo has so far been presenting me with people-count sentences like this one without the "ga" or any particle -which surprised me at the time- so I'm a bit miffed it now required it for "correct".

July 13, 2017


Is が usually (/ always) used with いる / ある?

July 31, 2017



October 22, 2017


why do we have to use the formal word for "brothers"? I used "kyoodai", is it possible?

December 26, 2018


Why it is かれは instead of かれの?

September 30, 2017


かれの means "his", so to use that instead of かれは would mean "His 3 older brothers" instead of "He has 3 older brothers".

October 15, 2017


The subject of the sentence is "he," not "his older brothers." I think you would have to change the verb from "having" to "being" 3 people. Is that right?

October 23, 2017


I thought ~います was "there exists", so expected 「かれのお兄さんが三人います」 to work as "there are three older brothers of his" :o)

November 27, 2018


いる does mean "to exist", but to describe possession in Japanese, you use the form (roughly literal) "As for X, Y exists" or "Xは Yがいる". So, this sentence reads literally as "As for him, three older brothers exist."

November 29, 2018


So why does の exist at all, then?

[this is what's called a rhetorical question, because you seemed to be telling me that possession is only indicated with XはYがいます :-P]

[editing for clarity] So anyway, in my fevered imagination, I was trying to work out how to say "three brothers exist" and thought "かれのきょうだい" would be the way to go, and ... well, I was curious.

November 29, 2018


For when you indicate possession by a determiner modifying a noun, or by a proper noun possessing something. So, whenever you translate "his, her, its, my, your, our," etc. E.g., "my older brothers are funny", "I read your book", "Dr. Takata's friend lives here", "the tiger's coat is smooth", and so on. This "As for X, Y exists" structure is only when you're translating "X has Y".

December 2, 2018


The subject is "he" only in the English sentence, not in Japanese. The topic is "he" in Japanese (what the sentence is about) and the subject is "three older brothers" (those doing the action of existing).

November 29, 2018


は indicates the topic of the sentence -> "Xは" = "In regard to X". の indicates possession -> "XのY" = " Y of X". "XのYは" = "In regard to the Y of X"

November 11, 2017


Ok, I'm struggling a little with combining particles with the counting. Why does the が come before the count rather than after it? Like, why is it not お兄さんが三人 rather than お兄さん三人が?

November 9, 2017


That's simply how phrasing works with counters in Japanese - you can either use "[number+counter]の[noun]は/が[verb]", or "[noun]は/が[counter][verb]".

December 22, 2017


I'm confused, the translation given above is "かれはおにいさんが三人いま", isn't that what LittleHobbit13 wants? Is that not correct? Or does he just have a superfluous "not" in his question which makes it the opposite of what he wanted to ask?

February 8, 2018


Ok.... I've inverted the "ga" and "wa" particles:

  • かれおにいさん三人います vs. かれおにいさん三人います

Why is that? Isn't "he (かれ)" not the subject of the sentence?

(If you'd like to be certain that I saw your answer, please write "danmoller" anywhere in the answer. Thanks a lot).

November 10, 2017


'He' is the subject of the English sentence "He has three older brothers", but most definitely not the subject of the Japanese sentence. The Japanese literally translates to "As for him, three older brothers exist." 'Him/he' is the topic of the sentence here, meaning that which the sentence is about, and takes the particle -は; 'older brothers' is the subject of the verb 'exist' (います), meaning that which does the action of existing, and takes the particle -が.

April 3, 2018


I've read somewhere to think of が not as the subject marker but as an "identifier", and it often helps. Like in this sentence, "he" is the topic and "brothers" is the thing he has three of. Hope it made sense.

January 23, 2018


I'm confused with the uses of the particles "wa" and "ga" in this sentence. Shouldn't He be the subject here? Or is it like this because the older brothers are the ones doing the action of... existing?

May 27, 2018


It's the latter. 'He' is the subject of the English sentence "He has three older brothers", but not of the Japanese sentence, which is literally, "As for him, three older brothers exist." "He" gets the topic particle -は because it's what the sentence is about; but "older brothers" gets the subject particle -が because they are doing the action of existing.

May 27, 2018


Thank you, Sean! Japanese is such a different language, its structures are so interesting! So, in a sentence where we have two "topics" or "objects" (I don't know how to call it... potential subjects?) the subject is going to be the latter one or not necessarily?

May 27, 2018


Not necessarily, and word order is more flexible in Japanese since nouns and pronouns are given their roles by the particles attached to them, rather than their place in the sentence, although it's generally more natural for the topic to come first.

May 27, 2018


This question appears to only accept the kanji for three.

June 1, 2018



August 5, 2019
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