1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "My younger sisters are in fr…

"My younger sisters are in front of and behind me."


July 10, 2017



いもうとたちは私の前と後ろにいます should be the natural translation, as the Younger sisters are the subject of the English sentence and not the Front and the Back.


This answer is being marked correct as of September 2020. It felt natural to me to include 私の in that location, but is it necessary? It makes sense that it can be omitted before 妹たち because if i were talking about someone else's sisters I'd use the respectful form. But I'm not so sure what's implied if i said 前と後ろwithout further context.


I put this answer and it was still marked wrong??


I put this 私の妹は私の前と後ろにいます。and it says wrong answer


妹 = sister; 妹たち = younger sisters; 姉妹 = sisters You also needn't put the 私の in both cases, you may want to use them depending on context though.


たち doesn't always mean more than one of the same type of person. For example, 妹たち could also be "younger sister and company," or "younger sister and friends"


Whenever you don't attach the さん suffix everyone will always understand it as your sisters. I can't think of a context where you would need to say 私の.


There's no need to put 私の in 妹because it already means "my younger sister" if it was someone's younger sister it will be "妹さん".

前と後ろ just literally means front and back.



が emphasizes the subject; は reminds the listener of context. 妹たちはいます = Speaking of my younger sisters, they EXIST 妹たちがいます = My younger SISTERS, exist

In this sentence, it depends on whether you are emphasizing that your younger SISTERS are in front and behind, or that your younger sisters are in FRONT and BEHIND.

妹たちは前と後ろにいます = Speaking of my younger sisters, they are in FRONT of and BEHIND me. 前と後ろに妹たちがいます = In front of me and behind me are my SISTERS.

Please correct me if I'm wrong :)


Logicsama: Almost. They younger


Logicsama: Almost. The younger sisters are the grammatical subject of the English sentence but because they are mentioned first they are also assumed to be the topic. If the topic were their whereabouts, we would most likely say something like 'Those in front of and behind me are my younger sisters'.


It depends on what you will put focus on.

On duolingo's sentence the focus are on the places, on your sentence the focus are on the sisters. We always must remember that the particle "ha" does not express the subject, just puts the focus on the most important information to the one who is talking.

On duolingo's sentece we know that the sisters are the subject since they are before the "ga", but at same time the focus is on the places where they are, and the "ha" expresses this.


Why are there two particles next to each other? Ni ha


は is simply used to strengthen the に here.


What does that mean?


I'm not anything close to fluent in Japanese, but I'll try to give a more helpful answer.

は here is doing basically the same thing as when it replaces が; a phrase is marked as a topic, rather than taking its usual place in the syntax of the sentence. When that's a subject or a direct object, you lose the が or を, but something like に is kept before the は. So 「前と後ろにはいもうとたちがいます。」 is literally something like "As for in front of and behind me, there's my little sisters." One could instead topicalize the sisters: 「いもうとたちは前と後ろにいます。」 "As for my little sisters, they're in front of and behind me." These different versions of the sentence might perhaps answer the questions "Who is near you?" and "Where are your siblings?" respectively.


Good answer. I tried to answer via you second example. Multiple ways to skin a cat with language.


Is には always used when the topic is essentially a phrase like "in front and behind" or "mother and father" (when two or more things are the subject together)?


[mae to ushiro ni] is the main focus of that sentence. The whole sentence is literally saying something like "As for what's in my front and back, it's my sisters". Except obviously, you don't translate it into something stupid like that, instead you translate it into something that makes sense in English.


It's acceptable without the は as well.

[deactivated user]

    I did not put the は btw and it was wrong.. I never know when they want me to put


    I have just answered  前と後ろに妹がいます and it was accepted.


    That's correct as well, japanese distinguish plural from context, so the たち part can be omiitted.


    Any simple reason "妹たちが前と後ろにはいます" is incorrect?


    There is no logical reason for は to be right before the verb. How can the whole sentence be the topic of this same sentence?

    妹たちは前と後ろにいます or 前と後ろには妹たちがいます would make sense though.


    妹たちは前と後ろにいます was also marked incorrect


    I recommend reporting it the next time you see the sentence. Last time i checked 妹は前と後ろにいます was marked correct, but probably no one has reported with "たち" yet.


    I have exactly the same answer. And it was accepted.


    たち should not necessarily be required


    It is not normally necessary to mark plurality on Japanese nouns. I would be interested to hear from a native speaker whether this would sound as natural with just いもうと.


    Not native, but it's perfectly fine. The context doesn't allow for misunderstanding as a person can't be in 2 places at once.

    Except in murder mysteries.


    I agree if it has been established that we are talking about two people. However if we haven't then it is necessary to make that distinction


    But one sister can't actually be in two places at once, so it's kinda implied that there is more than just one sister. And besides I was told that tachi is awkward to use most of the times, especially with anything that's not a pronoun.


    Yes, it'd be great if someone could advise on whether it's more natural to just say いもうと or perhaps ふたりのいもうと "my two sisters"


    It's not always necessary to indicate plurality in Japanese.

    If you think about it, why do we (in English and other languages) distinguish between one and two, but not two and three (or any other number)? As native Japanese speaker sora_Japan pointed out in another thread, two is closer to one than it is to a billion.

    Just food for thought!


    Some languages have or had single, dual and plural.


    Scottish gaelic does that. And different words for people counting too. aon bùth, dà bhùth, tri bùthan - one shop, two shops, three shops.


    Why not "imouto ga" first?


    Location and time are typically stated at the beginning of a sentence.


    thankyou so much for saying this I had no idea this was a thing and it was a revelation to me. Taught me quite a bit why some of my answers so far have been wrong.


    same, just like that, everything made more sense.


    Why is there は after に ?


    は is a topic marker meaning it marks what the topic is. Just using に might not convey that the topic is topic, so Japanese grammar allows for you to use には for these very situations.


    Thanks for the clear explanation ☺️ I knew that は was a topic marker, but was unsure why there were two particles next to each other.


    So, why is 妹たちが前と後ろにはいます wrong?


    Because the topic (if included) must always be at the sentence's start then everything else and then the verb at the end, Everything before the topic marker (は) is the topic of the sentence. So, if you look it that way, you can see that it doesn't make sense here.


    This was accepted for me, 1/1/2021. It didn't seem the best way to answer but was restricted by the word bank.


    If anyone's having trouble with this sentence like I have for the longest time, think of it like this:

    私の前と後ろ (Watashi no mae to ushiro) = my front and back.

    私の前と後ろには (Watashi no mae to ushiro ni wa) = in the front and back of me.

    私の前と後ろには妹たちがいます (Watashi no mae to ushiro ni wa imouto-tachi ga imasu) = in my front and back, my little sisters exist. (aka: my little sisters are in front of and behind me)

    Then just omit the 私の because we already know that "I" am the speaker.


    what wrong with 妹たちが in front? Not the way a Japanese will say it? would they not understand?


    As long as you place only 前と後ろに (without the particle は) after 妹たちが it should be accepted


    I dont get it. For some sentences the position goes in front of the subject and for others it goes behind how am i supposed to know which is which???


    I'm not a native speaker but, usually the topic goes in front of the sentence, and time and date would go before that. In this example, in front of and behind are the main topics. You are answering the question of "Who are in front of and behind you?" The topic here is asking the location of someone. Then you answered it with "The people who are in front of and behind me are my younger sister." Hope this work.


    I dont understand why the placement is first on some questions but not others. The subject is still the sisters right? So why are we saying location first? Im so confused.


    Yea, so i must find the alternative correct sentence that available


    instead of "には" could you use "no" ? If not why can't you? Because it is used this way in other sentences. Thanks


    "No" is usually used as an indication of possession, while "ni" is used indicating location. What you probably refer to is the "...の前と後ろに..." structure, right? (Somebody)の(前と後ろ)に(Verb) This means, (Somebody)(Has)(The front and back)(At)(Verb). It's quite tricky to translate to English, becouse in English we use ""I am at your back", while Japanese uses the "I have your back" structure. As far as I know.


    Is it correct if I say: 妹たちは私の前と後ろにです。? Or do I to use it the way Duo suggested because of the がいます ending?


    "妹たちは私の前と後ろにいます。" is correct, but you can't use "です" as you pointed out, because it is a copula that goes attached to nouns at the end of phrases.


    What is には for!?


    When the location (ni) is the topic (wa.)


    は is talking about 前と後ろに and に how the friend answered you indicates location/placement.


    What is right with the sisters? ga or wa? Or in general, what's the difference of those two subject markers


    Both are right and depends on the situation and context that you are in. For exemple, using が with the sisters, you are making them the subject of the verb いる (which is the case here). If you mark them with は, then they would be the topic of the sentence.

    In this case what is marked with は is "in front and behind me", so that is the topic. You are making a statement about "in front and behind me":

    前と後ろには妹たちがにいます。 = About "in front and behind me", my younger sisters exists.

    If you use は with the sisters then now they are the topic.

    妹たちは前と後ろにいます。About my younger sisters, they are in front and behind me.


    i put "たくさん妹があります" and got it wrong, grammartically though, am i correct?


    Uh, I'm not completely sure why you thought that would work. You said: たくさん (a lot of) • 妹 (younger sister) • が (subject marker) • あります (to exist). So you said "A lot of younger sisters exist." Not only that, you used あります which is for nonliving objects rather than います for living or once living. Last time I checked, younger sisters are living beings.

    Now, here's the correct solution duo presents. [There is first an omitted/ uneeded with context 私の meaning "my"] •前 (front) • と (and) • 後ろ (behind) • には (location + topic marker) • 妹たち (younger sisters) • が (subject marker) • います (to exist for LIVING objects). So literally, this means, "In front and behind (of me), younger sisters are existing.

    If you still have any further questions as to why this is the correct solution or just something else, feel free to ask!



    The kanji

    前 you can remember this kanji by two arms reaching out of desire with a line under, below that is the moon radical and to the right of it is リ in katakana, kf anyone could make a story about the components that relate to rhe meaning or pronouciation of まえ前 it would be even easier to remember next is 後ろ it consists of 彳幺夊 And いもうと妹女未


    I'm still confused with には and just は. I'm hoping I'll distinguishing it more in time but I'm in like Japanese 2 in uni and it's still pretty weird to me; I know that's pretty silly, mein gott


    This question actually doesn't make much sense. There are different types of particles; "in a nutshell" there are more than "one type of particle": に is needed to make the sentence grammatically correct, while は only marks a topic (in this sentence). Since に marks a grammatical function but は doesn't, the latter can be omitted but the former cannot. Thus your question would make more sense if it were "What's the difference between using には or just に.

    In this case the only difference is: using only に you are simply saying the location of existence of somebody/something (いる, ある); using には you are also marking this location as the topic of you sentence.

    庭に = In the yard... 庭には = As for "in the yard"...

    Also, there are some particles that are usually omitted when placed right before は, but there are some that you probably won't see being omitted that often such as で and に. So you'll see plenty of では and には.


    Is 妹たち standard Japanese? I can't find it at jisho.org. I did find 私たち.

    Sure, 妹たち makes sense but is it common usage? Or is it a bit へん?


    Yes, it is standard Japanese. 妹たち isn't a single word though. たち (達) is a pluralizing suffix


    Is word order really important here? I was marked wrong for putting; 妹たちが前と後ろにはいます。Is that plain wrong or does it just not sound very natural?


    I can't assure 100% if it is grammatically wrong but it definitely doesn't sound natural. The は particle marks the topic of the sentence, so everything that comes before it is related to what comes after it (like a commentary to what comes before). In your example the whole sentence except the verb precedes は. See why it doesn't really makes sense?

    If only 妹たち was marked with は then it would be : About my younger sisters, they are in front of and behind me.

    If only 前と後ろに was marked with は then it would be: About "in front of and behind me", my younger sisters exist there.


    Thank you for clearing that up for me, Deyhm, that's really useful :)


    This is what I put and I got it right. I wonder if it's changed?


    I used 後に(あと.に) instead of 後ろ(うし.ろ), and it was excepted, but whats the difference between the two?

    Any feedback is much appreciated : )


    後に is an adverb of time (朝食の後に - after the breakfast)

    後ろに is "an spatial word" meaning behind


    前と後ろ(behind and in front of) には(particle) 妹(sister)たち(multiple of em) が(particle) います (end sentance/are there)


    Why do i have to use には instead of は?


    Make sure to check the comments, this has been answered a few times on this page already

    は marks the topic of the sentence; the contextual information for what you are about the comment on
    に is the location particle, marking the place of existence

    Either に or には is fine, depending on if the location is known or unknown information and you want it to be the topic of the sentence or not, but the location must be marked with at least に here to show the relationship the noun has to the verb.


    I wrote this answer 妹は前と後ろにいます and it was marked as correct, can someone let me know if its another way of saying or if it sounds weird please?


    It doesn't sound weird, it is just different. In Duo's example the topic are the positions and you are saying that your sisters are there; In yours the topic is your sisters and you are saying that they are in front and behind you.


    What? I don't even know what the english is saying. So where is the yonger sister in front or behind?


    "My younger sisters are in front of and behind me"
    Two sisters; one in front of you, one behind you.

    Sister < Me < Sister


    Is "妹たちには前と後ろがいます" correct? Marked wrong on 4/20


    You've swapped the location with the subject
    に marks the location (which you've given to 'younger sisters')
    が marks the subject, the do-er or be-er of a sentence, the thing existing (which you've given to 'front and behind')
    You've essentially written "There is a front and behind on my younger sisters" though you've used the animate verb います which has a weird implication that the concepts of "front and behind" are animated/living things

    You can reorder the sentence but you need to make sure the particles remain attached to the proper words otherwise the meaning will completely change. Topic particle は should also remain at the beginning of the sentence, and while it can be doubled with a location, with a subject or object particle it would replace them so you have to choose either the new information subject が or old information topic は for "sisters"

    妹たち (が or は) 前と後ろにいます - My sisters (subject) exist (animate) in front of and behind (location)


    What does niwa mean


    に marks the location of existence (as well as time, destination of movement and indirect object in other contexts)
    は marks the topic, the old/known information that provides context for what you are about to say. It can also be used to mark contrast (it is this, but not that).

    前と後ろ - in front of and behind (me) に - location は - topic
    妹たちがいます - my younger sisters exist


    「前と後ろには妹たちがいます」 ...これだけ聞くと「何の前に? 」てなりますよ。「私の前と後ろに...」とするほうがましだけど、この出題文の英語を直訳するとなんか不自然な日本語になり苦しい、練習のためだとしても。


    Can you explainには


    Is not 前と後ろには、is not rong if the ask are like you have older sisters and you say not to say that, but if you say in a single sentence dont put the は,it sound trange


    Why it is “に” sometimes and "にわ" sometimes?


    Why is には used insted of just に or?


    Why is には used instead of just に or


    I forgot to add 「たち」 and it marked it right. I'm gonna report it just in case


    Why can't I say "Imouto-tachi wa mae to uchiro ni ga imasu"?


    There is no reason for this が before います. Particles mark the word right before them (in this case が is next to what "exist").

    You can say 妹たちは前と後ろにいます though

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