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  5. "I have two older sisters."

"I have two older sisters."


July 26, 2017



Can anyone please do a sentence break down :))


"I have two sisters." 姉が二人います。 (ane ga futari imasu) The "I" is implied in the sentence when you say あね[姉] (the informal way to say big sister, so it means you're talking about your own sibling or someone you're close to). が is the particle used to indicate sentence subject. The ふたり[二人] is the counter to say "2 people", and "have" is います. ^^


So uh, I have two questions stemming from this explanation. Firstly, it's tempting for me to say that お姉さん is simply a more formal version of 姉, but knowing how this stuff works, I'm guessing context and the particular relationship you have with someone is important here? (Like, if I had to take a stab in the dark, I'd guess that お姉さん is an honorific you might say to someone who isn't literally your older sister, but is someone you respect as an elder woman that's reasonably close to you in age, or something you say to your actual sister in a more polite setting.)

Second question is more related to counting, always a fun one with this language: the つ appendage with the Kun reading, is that for counting inanimate objects, where if you're dealing with people, you swap out the つ for 人[り/-ri]?


With regards to the counters, you've got it basically right, but it's a bit more complicated. 人 does take the place of つ with people, but it is not usually pronounced り, 一人 (hitori) and 二人 (futari) are irregular, while with the other numbers 人 is pronounced にん/nin. Also, there are many different counters that can be used for different kinds of inanimate objects that you will learn later.


Futari and Hitori are special readings of the kanji, referred to when we are talking about a single person or a couple of two people. Those are the only cases in which you can read the 人 kanji as [ Ri ].


That is rito meaning person or people Kanji ins't how I pass a Kanji to the plural, does exist another kanji for it or the context ill show me?! I mean using Only kanji like in Chinese.


Reply to your first question: you're a little off. the difference between "oneesan" and "ane" is not so much a matter of formality, but whether you're being extrapolite or humble. "oneesan" is an honorific and extrapolite, "ane" on the other hand is very humble.

you would use "oneesan" when talking to someone else about THEIR older sister, so as to be polite to them. you would use "ane", when you talk to them about YOUR OWN older sister, because otherwise you would sound as if you're bragging about your oh so very honorable family.

when talking to that older sister directly, you'd usually use "oneesan" - as japanese culture has high respect for all your elders, so using to be extrapolite even in family settings is common.

its the same for parents and younger siblings, and similar rules for appropiate language apply e.g. in many social situations. if this topic interests you, check out "uchi/soto" (inner and outer social circle) and "keigo" (polite language) on wikipedia or the like.


What is it? I mean Kun reading, thank you


Im so used to saying 私わ or 僕わ from class. 姉が confuses me. thank you for your help.


it's 私は though


私 (watashi) means "I", mostly used by women and it can also be used by men if they really want to be very polite. 僕 (boku) also means "I", but solely used by men, also polite but less than watashi. 姉 (ane) means a big sister. There is also 俺 (ore), it also means "I", used by men in the casual way. In the sentence「姉が二人です。」 (Ane ga futari desu.) "I" is already implied, so 「私は」 (watashi wa) left out.

わ (o) and が (ga) are just particles. I think you meant は, this particle sounds as "wa" and is a topic marker.

「私は姉が二人です。」 (Watashi wa ane ga futari desu.) is also correct.


When I use Ka and Wa and other particles?! Thank you by the way






more about ~人 counter here:



Why is it いますand not あります? Is it to do with persons/living things vs. inanimate objects?


Exactly that - います is for animate (people and animals) and あります is for inanimate (objects and things). Be careful of calling the categories living and non living though, because plants take あります. It's easier to think of it as "can it move itself?"

Examples from the internet: つくえがあります。 tsukue ga arimasu Meaning: There is a desk.

きがあります。 ki ga arimasu Meaning: There is a tree.

おとこのこがいます。 otoko noko ga imasu Meaning: There is a boy.

ねこがいます。 neko ga imasu Meaning: There is a cat


I got the sentence right but now that I'm reading your comment I have a question. If つくえがあります is "There is a desk", then why doesn't our sentence read "There are two sisters" instead of ”I have two sisters”? Where is the part that indicates possession/have and not just exists?

あれ が 二人 います

つくえ が あります

Is my question clear? I know this was a year ago but I'm hoping you're, or somebody, is still here! Thank you in advance.


those two can mean both "exist" and "have"

"there is an apple for me" is the same as "I have an apple"


Exactly. :) あります is for inanimate objects. います is for people.

(More broadly, as far as I know, います is for anything with "personality" that you want to refer to as if it were a person, including animals. For example, you might use います to talk about a pet or even a doll.)


This isn't explaining that 二人 is pronounced ふたり(futari), and some people may not know that. Similarly, 一人 is pronounced ひとり


It is included in the notes and description. I.e. they should add those to mobile.


Can someone please explain why this sentence needs to have the particle 'ga' and not 'wa'?


The topic (私), which would be marked by は, is implied. 姉 (あね) is the subject, which is to be marked by が. So, if the topic was included, the full sentence would be 私は姉が二人います。


Apparently 二人の姉がいます works just as well.


私の姉は二人います。 was marked wrong, can someone please explain why? From my understanding; 「私の姉」(older sister of mine)「は」(On the topic of older sister of mine)「二人」(two persons)「います」(exists)。


Your understanding is correct, but your Japanese sentence literally means: "I have my two older sisters". Even in English it sounds weird and wrong.


Could it also be anetachi?


「二人」 は 「にじん」でなくて「ふたり」と発音(はつおん)Pronunciationします。


Is 二人のあねいます wrong here? I was under the impression [number][counter]の[noun] and [noun]が[number][counter] served the same purpose. Is there a nuance there im missing?


It's almost right: 二人のあねがいます is the way to say it here. [X]が います = "There is [X]"/"[X] exists", so here your [X] is 「二人のあね」


What's the importance of い?


It's part of the verb ”います" (or いる, informally) , meaning "to be" or "to exist." So basically in this case it's saying something like "My two older sisters exist."


what does the がstand for?


It is a topic marker. This particle is often used for counter, like that part 「姉が二人」 (ane ga futari) and it means "two older sisters".


I wrote あねが二人あります。What is wrong with that


あります is about inanimate things, like tree, stones, window etc.


Is it weird、unnatural or uncommon to say for japanese people 二人の姉がいます? I got that correct. Does it have a different meaning or emphasis from 姉が二人います?


From my understanding both are correct. You can even use 「二人姉います。」. I don't know how Japanese people feel about this.


二人姉がいます. Also works, but not sure if it really matters. I've heard it both ways...


Just to clarify, do you use 二人 when talking about people and 二つ when talking about non-living things? Or is 二人 also used for animals? If not, what is used for animals? Thanks in advance!




For animals in specific you have ~匹【ひき】 and ~頭【とう】depending on his size。~人 is used for people or anything you can describe as humanoid.

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