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"There is one person in the room."


August 26, 2017



right answer for me was へやに人が一人います which says to me a person in the room was one person. why is 人 shown twice with ga between it?wouldnt it just be better to say へやに一人がいます?


人 (hito) is the noun meaning people. 一人 (hitori) is the counter. Counters do not usually take particles, so your suggestion wouldn't work. I think 部屋に一人います (heya ni hitori imasu) should be correct, but it was marked wrong for me today.

As for why there would be 人 twice in the sentence, I think it's easier to understand if we use a counter that has a different kanji from its noun.


Banana ga nihon arimasu.

There are two bananas.

This is the structure that this sentence is using.


Excellent explanation of this. Thank you!


I agree with your counter explanation and that is clearly what Duo wants, but as well as 一人 (hitori) being a counter, it is also a noun, meaning "one person or alone". I do not think 人 is used to count anything except people.


From HiNative:

教室に一人がいますis not natural and we don’t use it.

From another HiNative thread asking about the sentence 「3. 私はお姉さんが一人とお兄さんが一人がいます。」:

3 is 私はお姉さんが一人とお兄さんが一人います


After some more investigation I agree and edited my original reply above.
So in practice natives would drop the 人が when speaking and would say:-


Why isnt it ひとり what i have just heard is something else.


It is ひとり, but the sound is automatically generated and can't be changed, so sometimes the voice chooses the wrong reading of the kanji. You can report incorrect audio with the methods described here: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/32352336


@IsolaCiao 1st. Thanks for 方 explanation below (from italki).

2nd. Other comments claim single readings intentionally differ to teach Japanese learners to recreate natural Japanese instincts when approaching their native written language.

Many films integrate short exchanges concerning readings and characters -- sometimes to clear up misunderstandings, sometimes as comedy.

Other comments claim these 'alleged mistakes' are intentional and helpful.


I'm glad those users find them helpful, but they're definitely mistakes.

It seems the post I linked to has been deleted without explanation, but the contributors have expressed in other threads that they can't control the TTS such as here:

Unfortunately, Duolingo's system isn't always ideal for a language in which the same word/character can be read more than one way. Since the audio is TTS (text to speech) provided by a third-party provider, we (the contribs) have no control over which reading the TTS chooses, and when a word/character is provided as an individual tile, it's read the same way throughout the entire course, even if that reading isn't correct for the context of a particular sentence.

I'm hopeful that there will be some point in the future in which we have more control over the TTS audio and can correct errors like this, but at the current moment, it's a technical limitation of the system.


July 2020 : In the wordbank, the 一人 tile says "kazuto", I think it's a pronounciation for given names.


Yah I was also wondering if dropping the 人が would be valid since the 人 counter already implies people.


Just to give another explanation, へやに人が一人います is like saying "people in the room, there is one." or "concerning people in the room, there is one person." So in English it becomes "There is one person in the room."


I'd like to add another translation to your good explanation:

"the person in the room is alone" (I preferred this one when I first encountered with the sentence) I hope this thread clears the ambiguity for other learners.


This maybe is not a good translation, because the subject/topic is different and it actually answers a different question.

Question 1: Is there anyone in the room with that person? その方と一緒に部屋に誰かいますか?[人 or 方 would be correct here?]

Answer 1 : "(No,) The person in the room is alone" 部屋にいる人は一人です。[部屋にいる方は一人です。方 is ok here?]

Subject= [The person in the roomは] is alone. Similarly, [xは] is a lawyer. 部屋にいる方は弁護士です。 or 部屋の中の方は弁護士です。

BUT, Question 2 : How many people are in the room? 部屋には何人いますか?

Answer 2: 部屋に人が一人います。 There is 1 person in the room.

The same structure allows for counting a varying number of people.


[any help with my explanation would be appreciated]


Imagine you are talking in the most basic and underdeveloped way. You are saying, "People in room, one person is". Welcome to Japanese (i'm sorry this phrase makes me mad)


that is because the language tree of the Japanese and English are so far apart... so naturally, the grammar would be nonsense to English speakers.

as for English, German, French, and Persian (my primary language) they are so similar in general and different in details. fortunately structurally Persian is so similar to English and has high flexibility like Japanese so I am having an easier time than you guys although there are some cases that are exceptions.

so I think for learning other languages it is crucial to put yourself in their position and see how they approach and interact with the sentence. Although it is important to grasp the meaning by translation, it is not the main goal (for me at least). have fun. :-)


Is there a reason you cannot use 方 in place of 人 in the first position, before the がー人? I understood that to be the more polite form for person. Is it because it does not match the politeness of the counter, or would it just sound weird?


I'm not sure you'd hear 方 very often.

You might have a person serving customers who would use お客様(おきゃくさま)and the counter 名様(めいさま)[technically the counter is 名). So you often hear お客様何名様でしょうか?(おきゃくさまなんめいさまでしょうか?) How many people? [for a reservation, table, etc.]

But you'd usually answer with 一人、二人, etc. You could answer with 一名、二名, etc., as well, though it seems to be less common. It's not really considered much more polite, either, though 名 is used in more official circumstances, from what I've heard.


Why is 部屋に方が一人います not accepted?


方 can't be used by itself like that.

From italki:

Note that there is one case you cannot use "kata" instead of "hito." "Kata" should be always modified some other preceding word/phrase/clause. It can't stand alone.

For example, 部屋に人がいます。 There is a person in the room.

This "hito" is not modified by any word. Therefore, 部屋にかたがいますis wrong.

If you change the sentence like this; あの部屋にいる人はメリーさんです。 The person who is in the room is Mary.

This "hito" is modified by あの部屋にいる, so あの部屋にいらっしゃるかたはメリーさんです。is correct. (The verb いる becomes いらっしゃる in honorific speech.)


Bro thanks for this explanation it helped me a ton


"へやに一人の人がいます。" was the suggested answer it gave me, but のwasn't even provided for me to use.


The answer they were looking for was 部屋に人が一人います (heya ni hito ga hitori imasu), but whatever answer you submitted must have been closer to the answer they suggested to you. Both are correct.


The Japanese is read out as "いちじん" instead of "ひとり"、which is incorrect.


「人」=hito or jin. 「一人」=hitori. Japanese people don't pronounce it "ichijin" or "ichinin", they pronounce it "hitori" all the time.


What is wrong with "Heya ni ichi jin ga imasu" ?


The counter for people follows the convention ひとり、ふたり、etc.


「へやに一人人がいます。」should also be correct.


When you put the counter before the noun, it's better to say 一人人 (hitori no hito). Duolingo tends not to accept casual speech particle dropping.


Yup, I agree that "一人の人" is the better word-to-word translation for "one person", but "一人人がいます" is natural enough to express the same meaning.

"一人人がいます。" ... 「一人」is an adverb, which modifies the phrase "人がいます". "一人の人がいます。" ... 「一人」is a noun. 「"一人の」 modifies 「人」.


But you should be able to say "hitori" instead of "hito ga hitori"


The implication is, "As for the people in the room, there is one." Rather than "There is one person in the room."


I know it should be the same meaning but in Japanese, unless you already know we are talking about a person you say ひとりの人. This is because hitori's 人 represents nothing. In Japanese, when we count a number of persons, things, animals etc, we sometimes put counting noun before the noun. I.e. いぬ、dog accompanies with ひき or ぴき(匹) and 'Two dogs are there' is にひきのいぬがいます。because we cannot say に いぬ がいます。 Japanese has many counting nouns but excexpt for the counting noun for person ひと、you learn whenever you think it is necessary.


Yes you're right. Except nobody actually says this because hitori means one person. I know it's a counter for people but I don't think it's used as a counter for anything else. Please correct me if im wrong.


Duolingo obviously does NOT know Japanese, and they do not provide "の“ as an answer!!! and they are making ANOTHER mistake by saying ichijin. It is actually read hitori in this case.


I didn't even see a の character as part of the options! This question done broke :l


The answer they're looking for is 部屋に人が一人います (heya ni hito ga hitori imasu), so の isn't necessary for that answer.


I said 「お部屋には人が一人います」, and it was marked wrong. But isn't it correct?


Hmm is 部屋が一人にいます like completely and totally wrong? Hmm


In a sentence using います (there is ~ / ~ exists), the が marks the thing that exists. What you're saying in your sentence is that a room exists rather than that a person exists. The に marks where something exists, so you would not use it with a counter.


I see. S。一人 by itself doesn't translate to one person. But rather 人が一人 is actually necessary to count the person.


one person means 一人




Can I say 「部屋に一人がいます。」 ?


What is the difference between "人” (じん) and "方”(かた)?


I'm a bit confused why it is: 部屋 に and not 部屋 には.

I feel like every other instance where the contents of a room is inventoried, it was translated using には. So why is this one different?

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