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  5. "It takes about five minutes …

"It takes about five minutes to get from the train station to the hotel by car."


October 16, 2017



This sentence is just intimidating


it is, but it is also so satisfying when we get it correct.


And it's also satisfying when you work out how it works. Here's my thinking:

  • 駅から = from train station
  • ホテルまで = to hotel
  • 車で = by car
  • 五分くらい = about five minutes
  • かかります = it takes


Yes, you are right, I had it exactly this way, but I wrote くらい五分, and this was rejected.


くらい only modifies the word that comes before it


Guenter that is exactly what I did for my first attempt! I don't think I've come across くらい before this lesson and didn't know which side of 五分 it should go! On my second attempt 車で駅からホテルまで五分くらいかかります was accepted, and it is satisfying being able to structure such an intimidating Japanese sentence! :)


Alwaya appreciate it when ya beautiful bastards help with the breakdowns of the sentences, explanations, and pronunciations. Duolingo should really restructure how things are taught throughout the lessons but we all rely on the comments for in depth analysis. Apes together strong.


This has really helped me! Thanks!


Stage boss Fight!


Could someone explain the difference between くらい and ごろ? And what means ほど? Some people here mentioned it. This word wasn't present in previous lessons.


Someone else explained on a different question that ごろ is an approximate time whereas くらい is an approximate length of time.


くらい is an approximate amount of anything, including time. ごろ is an approximate point in time.


I know くらい means "approximately/about" but what does かかり mean in this context?


It means "takes", as in spending whatever you're talking about. For example: "旅行はお金がかかります" (traveling takes money) or "バスで時間がかかります" (By bus, it takes time).

By the way, I learnt those examples from the Pimsleur audio CDs. They are a really good resource.


I think it is the verb that signifies that something takes a certain amount of time.


ほど is nowhere to be found


It's true both ほど and ごろ/くらい are somewhat interchangeable but using ほど here would shift the meaning slightly, in my opinion.

ほど implies an extent, upper limit. ごろ/くらい mean "about.." So instead of "it takes about 5 minutes..." you'd be saying "it takes up to 5 minutes..."


Yeah -i thought ごろ or くらい meant "about" ....


Why is it えきからホテルまで… and not ホテルまでえきから…? Shouldn't both be accepted?


I think the "from/start" always comes first and the "to/end" comes last.


This one is a bit tricky as it looks as if there are 2 verbs, takes and get to, but really there is only the one "takes". It reads" from station to hotel, by car, 5 minutes about takes. I got this wrong but I think it was because of the time words 'gofun karai'- about five minutes were the other way around in my answer.


Try to remember each pair of details as the object in that detail suffixed with the English preposition.

It's not "from the station" but "the station from".

It turns from "about 5 minutes" to "5 minutes about".

Turn the preposition into a 'postposition'.


Can someone here summarize what an acceptable word order would be? As far as I can tell from other sources, Duo's suggested answer is the most normal; I.e. "X から Y まで Z で". However, I wrote the following and it was considered incorrect. Is it because what I wrote is actually wrong, or is it just that Duo doesn't like the transposing of words in the sentence?

えきから車でホテルまで五分くらいかかります。 -> From the station by car to the hotel takes about 5 minutes.


Disclaimer: I've been living in Japan for several years but I'm not a native speaker. So please take my explanation with a grain of salt.

Officially, beyond the basic S-O-V structure, there are no concrete rules about word order imposed by Japanese grammar. Most adverbials are directly linked to the verb by a particle which makes their relation to the verb set no matter where they are. However, there are patterns in day-to-day speech that sound more natural than just randomly ordering the sentence any way you fancy.

One good way to think about this is that parts of the sentence you say early are considered to be more important. That is also why topics marked by は are usually at the beginning or close to it. So depending on the word order, you can change the perceived emphasis of various chunks:

駅からホテルまで車で5分くらいかかります。It takes about 5 minutes by car from the train station to the hotel.

車で駅からホテルまで5分くらいかかります。By car, it takes about 5 minutes from the train station to the hotel.

駅から車でホテルまで五分くらいかかります。It takes about 5 minutes from the train station by car to the hotel.

As you can tell, while not technically incorrect, the third one doesn't sound very natural (which I simulated by broken English) and your Japanese teacher would probably scold you a bit about it. I don't recommend splitting ~から~まで into two chunks, it's not done very often. Also, 5分くらい should really stay in front of かかります.

Besides this, some categories of words behave in a certain way (most of the time). Namely:

  • Adverbs and similar structures (like 5分くらい which behaves like an adverb here) are usually next to their verb. Example: 日本語をたくさん勉強します。I'll study Japanese a lot.
  • Direct objects (marked by を) are next to their verb unless there is also an adverb or adverb-like structure in the sentence.
  • Temporal nouns like けさ, いま or 週末 tend to be at the beginning or very close to it. So are subjects but those are often omitted in these sentences, unless they are not apparent from context. Example: けさ、朝ご飯を食べる時間がなかった。I didn't have time to eat breakfast this morning (very often, けさ would be the topic marked by は in a sentence like this).
  • Multi-chunk grammatical structures that are used together (like ~から~まで) should remain together.

Please note that these are just observations about usual sentence structure. Of course, it's possible to "break the rules" if you want to say something in a certain way. But unless you are very familiar with the language I wouldn't recommend it. That's probably why duo accepts only "normal" word orders.



it does not recognize  掛かる kanji :(


かかる is normally written in just hirigana.


Maybe a dumb question, but why is 駅からホテルまで車に五分かかります not acceptable?


It's not a dumb question at all. This is very close to being correct, the only change is the に particle to で.

に is used for the location of a things direction or its existence. で is used for describing the means or location of an action, how something is done.

I can ride in a car as a passenger and describe my location (に). If I'm trying to describe the car as the form of travel, how I got somewhere rather than where I was while doing so, then I want to describe that I travelled by car (で) rather than in (に) the car. It's the nuance of describing the means of the action rather than the location of it.


Why I am hearing boss music?


Why くらい instead of ぐらい?


Jisho says they can both be used, and are both valid readings of 位.

Considering the prior ん sound, I'd be more inclined towards ぐらい as well.


I'd be more inclined to say ぐらい, too. But my Japanese professor often told us that ぐらい is colloquial... so technically both are correct, I guess.


I tried this and it was marked as incorrect. I don't know if it's just because nobody has suggested it as an answer before or if there is something really wrong with it. Does anyone have an idea? 車で駅からホテルまで行くのは五分くらいかかります。


I wouldn't say it like this but I don't see anything inherently wrong with your grammar. It's not exactly "it takes about five minutes to get from the train station to the hotel by car," though.

Your sentence feels more like a general statement: "By car, going from the station to the hotel takes about 5 minutes."


Makes sense. I know that the order can be very flexible in Japanese, but I didn't consider how that would change the nuance of the sentence. Thanks!


What is the difference between 駅からホテルまで車で五分くらいかかります and 車で駅からホテルまで五分暗いかかります ? Both seem to be correct, so I wonder if there's a difference in where I place the "車で"


Both should be correct, though one might feel more natural than the other to an actual fluent speaker, I wouldn't know. Where you place it can affect emphasis, though; starting with 車で puts the emphasis on it being by car, especially if you introduce a short pause after で


Sakata_Kintoki did a summary of different ways of structuring this sentence above. Putting 車で first places a bit more emphasis on "by car", but should otherwise have a similar meaning & should still be grammatically correct.

However, 暗い is not the same as くらい AFAIK, even though they have the same pronunciation. That kanji means "dark" or "gloomy".


Boy this felt satisfying getting this correct


does anyone else keep getting issues with this question where the only difference is "train station to hotel" vs. "hotel to train station", and it still marks it wrong? I've tried this two different times with similar questions and for each one the placement seems to contradict the other. Is there an actual grammatical rule I'm missing?


から is "from" and marks the starting point
まで is "until" and marks the ending point
駅からホテルまで [From the train station] [To the hotel]
ホテルから駅まで [From the hotel] [To the train station]

Mixing up the starting point and ending point in your translation will mark it wrong because "train station to hotel" and "hotel to train station" are opposite directions


Just to add another reason to be precise about where you start and end-

I used to live in a place with a lot of one-way streets. To get to the flower shop from my house was only 5 minutes. However, to get to my house from the flower shop was 15 minutes. Because of the 1 way streets, the direction one was going it really caused a significant time difference.


Just curious would, ... 頃五分かかります work too? Or maybe 五分頃かかります

(頃 • ころ)


Don't we need to do something for that "to get" part? Like 行くには or something? Otherwise the English sentence should be "It takes about five minutes from the train station to the hotel by car." Same meaning more or less, but it would help a lot to avoid confusion for translating (by typing).


No matter how many times I come across sentences with this basic structure in this unit, I cannot for the life of me figure out what word order it wants. When it describes getting from one place to another place, which comes first? I've tried to arrange it by starting point vs. ending point, by which is mentioned first, by anything I can think of, and it almost seems random. No matter who pattern I go with, it's wrong half the time. Is this something about Japanese grammar or is Duolingo just being arbitrarily difficult?


Just to add a nitpick, I honestly don't see why it would matter for purposes of communication. If it takes a given amount of time to go in one direction, it'll take about the same to do it the other way round.


This is related to how Japanese people think when they speak, here is a good article about it:


but let's try to find logic on this one.

Let's analyze what you want to say first "It takes about five minutes to get from the train station to the hotel by car."

First at all you always put the topic first if you are bringing it up, this is because what's important about your sentence should be closest to the verb, and a topic is just something you want to say something about, you say「〇〇は」and the listener thinks "what about 〇〇?". However this sentence doesn't have a topic particle, I still mentioned it because it's good to visualize how they think when they speak.

Anyways, you want to go from the bigger picture to the little things. So the things you can extract from the English sentence are a verb "it takes", a temporal frame "five minutes", a trajectory "from the train station to the hotel" and the means in which you go there "by car".

The biggest thing you can find in that list is the location, so you write「駅からホテルまで」or「駅からホテルまで」both are correct but the first one sounds more natural because you go from where you are to where you are going.

The second biggest thing is your car, so you say「車で」

After that comes the time span and the verb. The verb is easy because verbs always go last but what about the time span? "5 minutes".

Well, the time span is acting directly on the sentence through the verb, this is really similar to how Japanese people count things as「一つある」"there is one thing" but you see how the quantity is next to the verb? this is an expression of extent, and anything you attach to the verb is modifying the verb and by consequence the whole sentence.

Let's see the time span expression though, it has 3 parts. the number, the sufix for "minutes" and the sufix for "approximately". So 5 minutes is「5分」and if you add the suffix ~くらい it means "around 5 minutes". 「5分くらい」is whole, and that is the time span that's modifying the verb「5分くらい ~かかりま」"it takes about five minutes".

So you see in reality the sentence has 3 parts, the trajectory between locations, the means, and the time span with the verb, which in this case count as one. If you go from bigger to small you only need to decide if the car is smallest than the trajectory or not, the verb always comes last.




Oh my you're the goat


Fantastic explanation, just wanted to confirm:

...so you write「駅からホテルまで」or「駅からホテルまで」both are correct but the first one sounds more natural...

I'm assuming the second Japanese section which was "unnatural" should've been 「ホテルまで駅から」is that correct? Given the meaning / grammar should be correct, but wouldn't be said that way?


Is 駅からホテルまで車で は 五分くらいかかります. Technically wrong? Specifically using a double particle the で then は? Cause wouldn't describing how long it takes technically be talking about the topic? Duolingo rules it wrong, is it alright in real life?


If you were to make a contrast, yes. Otherwise, I don't think it makes much sense. You would also place the topic at the start for better clarity.

For example, you could say:



"It takes about 5 minutes to get from the train station to the hotel by car, but it took 10 minutes by bus.


Eki kara (from the station) Hoteru made (To the hotel) Kuruma de (By Car) Go Bun (Five minutes) Karai (About/Roughly) Kakaimasu (To take). Hope that helps, this one is really hard!


Go Bun = (to divide into) five parts; five minutes = Go Fun


Hi, please can someone help me with the word order as I am not sure I understand it? Thanks


What is most important here are the particles used to tell you what role each word takes. Japanese also tends to work from big to small, so the more important and specific information will go closer to the verb, which is always at the end.
駅から ホテルまで 車で 五分 くらい かかります

XからYまで shows the route you take
駅から - From the train station - から "from" marks the train station as the starting point
ホテルまで - To the hotel - まで "until" marks the hotel as the stopping point

車で - By car - で marks the means/utensil used
So you have "From the train station, to the hotel, by car"

五分 - 5 minutes くらい - about/around - "About 5 minutes"
かかります - to take (time) - so "it takes about five minutes" is the most important information so it goes at the end

Overall format:
[location traveled] - the overall theme of the sentence; presenting the idea of what you are going to be commenting on (from the station to the hotel)
[means of travel] - additional information to add context and narrow down the point you are going to make to something more specific (by car)
[amount of time it takes] - what you really want to say about the theme presented (it takes about five minutes to get there)


Word order in Japanese is in many cases not very important. I believe the only requisite in this sentence is that 五分くらいかかります must be at the end, as verbs should end sentences and 'adverbs' should directly precede adverbs.

Secondly, while it may not be strictly necessary, 駅からホテルまで should probably be kept as one piece. You can say ホテルまで駅から, but in general it's more natural to start with where you're starting from, and end with your destination.

If you've any specific questions, I'll be glad to help to the extent of my knowledge.


Densha no eki is not valid?,電車の駅から?


駅 already has the meaning of "train station" on its own, 電車の駅 would make it "the train's train station" which is unnecessary and not part of the translation


"From the station to the hotel, by car, about 5 minutes, it takes."

ありがとう、 ヨーダ先生


Oof, I struggle knowing when to use から, まで, and で in sentences like this


I wrote 五分くらい駅からホテルまで車でかかります, is it really necessary to write the sentence in the order Duolingo's answer shows??


Probably easiest if you read through the other comments. Sakata_Kintoki, TyrantRC, and Swisidniak among others have effectively answered this already. In this case, I think that it would be odd to separate the "timespan" from the verb it's modifying, "to take time".




That feeling when you get it correct but in a different order


Question: Can you reorder the gopun kurai phrase and put it front? Is the pattern non-interchageable?


That phrase is one of the less changeable ones, I believe it should always directly precede the verb


I feel like duolingo's just flexing with us at this point

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