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