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

Translation:前と後ろには妹たちがいます。

July 10, 2017

103 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anothertazn

Omg this is the most difficult sentence I've done so far!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeAllenSt

But it challenges us.. so its good. I keep misspelling younger sister... grrrr. Also I forgot about imas vs arimas. That is why I couldn't find arimas.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saliast

ImoUto!! ..i keep wanting to start with "imoutotachi wa" as the topic of the sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/superowlcat

You can do that. 「私の妹たちは前と後ろにいる」 works


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Logicsama

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HollowCat

Same, 同じこともやりました。


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gamjawoo_

This was also my first guess when I saw this sentence. I think it is indeed more natural this way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andreas467962

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V2Blast

It's acceptable without the は as well.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sonylang

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ajpache2000

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AxelBJYM

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ginkkou

は is simply used to strengthen the に here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrittanyRo14

What does that mean?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/butsuri

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeAllenSt

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/inudeska

[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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Adelheid_G

たち should not necessarily be required


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/butsuri

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BernhardTe8

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TerminatorAlso

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/inudeska

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sonokenokino

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"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JgoXr

Unless it's an axe murder story.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/trishka9

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!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Igor.Zaytsev

Some languages have or had single, dual and plural.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ariaflame

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JacobMantz

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vic.chan

I want to know that too


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/elementart_

Still being marked wrong. Can someone explain?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrey.R.V

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/elementart_

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrey.R.V

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Emma370870

I wrote "いもとうたちは前と後ろにいます" and it was marked wrong. Why?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/S2gy7

いもとう wrong いもうと correct


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/THAPRAWIN

Why "いもうとたちは前と後ろにいます" is wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/S2gy7

Mmm... I'm Japanese but I think it is enough.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AxelBJYM

I don't think it should be necessarily wrong, because, languages like Japanese (that used particles or heavy forms of inflection (like Russian in the latter)), the clauses can have different ordering without altering the general sense of the sentence (except verbs, they tend to go at the end of a sentence/clause), but they tend to put some terms first instead of others (i.e. time phrases before anything else).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GroggyFrogy

I would also like to know. Because on other sentences this structure was accepted


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Claire611

Because the topic of the sentence is 'mae to ushiro' its something like 'in front and in back of me are my younger sisters' in english . thats the structure to use when writing in japanese


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/abcarty3

Why not "imouto ga" first?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/breazu

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ScarterII

it accepted that also.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GroggyFrogy

It did not, I tried it and it failed


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nexus227

At first, it accepted it when I put the younger sisters (いもうとたち) before the location. Now it says that I'm wrong. What is this?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kat0id

Why is there は after に ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/69wQcO

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kat0id

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RVREVO

Well now, the English sentence translates differently, and so does the japanese sentence.

Duolingo says: my younger sisters are in front and behind me. Literal translation is: 私の妹は私の前と後ろにいます Watashi no imōto wa watashi no mae to ushiro ni imasu.

Duolingo answer is: 前と後ろには妹たちがいます Mae to ushironi wa imōto-tachi ga imasu Literal translation: there are sisters in front and behind.

This is what makes Japanese confusing. And why my Japanese friends do not understand what they are reading.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zay095

Can someone please break this down. The syntax and particals are impossible. It feels like it changes literally every time with no explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hallojanelle

The correct English translation for this is: "In front and behind me are my younger sisters". Because the topic is the location!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrey.R.V

it did accept 妹は前と後ろにいます


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrey.R.V

since the sentence starts with "my younger sisters" i think it is the best translation ( 妹は or 妹たちは)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheKylano

I don't get this one. Why is the subject marker in front of the segment talking about the location? "Sisters" is the subject, not "behind and in front of".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AxelBJYM

The subject in this case is the location; if the sisters were the subject, the pharse would be "妹たちは前と後ろにいます。"; the focus on the subject may differ from a language to another, with Japanese talking first about time and location; both subjects would be fine in English just given their corresponding contexts.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jabnique

So, why is 妹たちが前と後ろにはいます wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dexttorr

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Israndiel2

"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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Margiedt101

It should be ok to start the sentence with いもうとたち. It works that way too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndyCardoso23

Is there another way to write this sentence in Japanese?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Margiedt101

Yes, you can write it like this: いもとたちは前と後ろにいます。 Which I am pretty sure is a better way to say it because Japanese sentences generally start with the subject. You can also leave off the tachi and write it like this: いもは前と後ろにいます。


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndyCardoso23

wow... i wrote it exactly like this (seems much more natural) but duo says its wrong >.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IgnacyKito1

Without some context I can't tell which one (wa or ga) goes as the particle in those sentences


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cryopneuma

Ahh I think I see... The "watashi no" is just cut off of the beginning. "(Watashi no) mae to ushiro ni wa imoutotachi ga i masu."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kidkuma

に and は are next to each other? Does the (wa) particle state that (ni) and everything before it is the topic? As in the fact that their placement next to me (ni) is also a topic?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JakeCosta3

I cant seem to find the consistency in the place structure. Sometimes the location is first, sometimes the subject comes first. Any help?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/laja.max

why is the は needed here? who would go around saying "as for front and back..."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/laja.max

*unless it's a bad sandwich double entree


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/correa.will

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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AxelBJYM

"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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Matt397295

I feel like the literal translation of this should be, "In front of a behind me are my younger sisters." The Japanese sentence doesn't place the sisters as the subject and I feel like it should.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AsukeAki

What is には for!?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cryopneuma

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kayla49358

i swear the location words keep switching when im not looking, sometimes they are infront and sometimes they are after the word!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dfordazzling

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/69wQcO

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!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshWilson46178

This entire section is the most confusing for me. Half the time the subject comes first, the other half the location comes first and I still don't know when to put what first


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/luke_martin56

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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrey.R.V

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 after it is related to what comes before it. In your example the whole sentence except the verb is marked by は.

If only 妹たち was marked with は then it would be "as for 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 "as for in front of and behind me, my younger sisters exist"

Marking 妹たちが前と後ろに with は it would be something like "as for my younger sister in front of and behind me, they exist" (no reason for this は particle)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarteRouge

why is the が necessary?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaurenVict5

Can you switch the に and は in th sentence?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexisLess5

Why is the position marker sometimes in the beginning and sometimes at the end of the sentence? And how do we know that they are MY younger sisters?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vhw04

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrey.R.V

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nicole465732

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrey.R.V

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nicole465732

Thank you! Now that I think about it, it does sounds weird, ahahaha


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkVillaf1

why is it が and not は?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scareckbud

can you like improve the tips like the tips say Topic LocationのDirectional Verb but this is different


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marius865446

まえとうしろにはいもうとたちがいます。

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BodgedIt

Wait why is the topic not at the start?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wynterrhapsody

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yassinov7

why not simply 前 と後ろ に 妹たち が いまあう??? i can't see why they said "~ 後ろ に は ~ "


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/George661709

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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrey.R.V

Yes, although 妹たち isn't a single word. 達 (たち) is a pluralizing suffix


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/draculasboy

i can't get a grip of the sentence structure in this lesson section.. it seemed to me that when talking about position with an object, position goes first. but with the position of a person, the person goes first. but clearly i'm wrong. can someone help clear this up for me?

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