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"I am not an elementary school student."


January 10, 2018



私は isn't really required for this sentence is it?


Correct. It's accepted even without that part.


Yes as we are referring to i am


Can anyone else explain why this is arimasen instead of imasen? I known i can't be the only one still confused by this. No offense testmoogle but i got even more confused by your answer lol knowing imasu refers to living objects and arimasu has always worked up until now and now im like "?????"


An attempt at a simpler explanation:

です is basically a shortened form of であります (note the で at the beginning and the す on the end).

であります is the affirmative form, which is virtually always said as です instead.

ありません is the negative form, which doesn't have a shortened form.

So the polite copula is usually in the following form:

  • Affirmative: です
  • Negative: ではありません


Not to be rude, but you still didn't answer his question. あり Is meant to be used for inanimate objects, while い Is meant to be used for living things, which the subject of the sentence is. So why is it あり This time?


Have you read my earlier comment which jamesander650837 mentioned? My reply to jamesander650837 here is built upon what I said in that earlier comment.

What you've said in your reply to me sounds like you haven't yet read my earlier comment. For instance, this part of my earlier comment:

The reason this has ありません on the end is because it's not talking about existence. The living / non-living distinction for the verbs いる (います) / ある (あります) is only for when the verb is being used as an existence verb.

Duolingo's sentence ("I am not an elementary school student") is not talking about existence. It's basically saying "I ≠ elementary school student".

In my reply to jamesander650837, the point I was making is this:

です = shortened version of で+あります.
ではありません = negative form of であります.

An affirmative version of Duolingo's sentence would use です (= であります). So here in this negative sentence it's using ではありません, which is the negative form of です.

- Affirmative copula sentence -
I am an elementary school student.

- Negative copula sentence -
I am not an elementary school student.

- Affirmative existence verb sentence -
There is an elementary school student.

- Negative existence verb sentence -
There isn't an elementary school student.


お疲れ様です! 簡単に説明してくれて有難うございます。


I think i killed a few of my ADHD brain cells trying to comprehend you're immensely detailed explanation but, you're truly a saint


Excellent breakdowns, this pair of explanations... Really learned something valuable here! ~ どうもありがとうございますね。


Speaking of it not having a shortened negative form, though it may be informal, じゃない means the same thing, correct?

It's been a while since I've looked into it, but I believe that じゃ is short for ては、and ない is short for ありません?


Why De before Ha Arimasen?


ありません is the negative polite form of あります. ではありません on the other hand, acts as the negative form of です.


It also accepted just "小学生じゃない"


If I remember correctly, using just じゃない and not じゃない です is more like you're upset/being rude with the person for what they said. I think it would come off as, "I AM NOT an elementary school student!" instead of just informing.

Can anyone confirm?


As I understand it, じゃない (along with the ない forms of verbs in general) is just informal, not particularly rude(though it might be considered rude in certain contexts).


Yes, that's the basic idea. じゃない is not inherently rude, just less formal.


Thanks to ya both, MrcattorKSP and EGriffin3


Why is わたし necessary?


It isnt. I got away with 小学生じゃない


it's telling me to type it in Japanese but I don't have the Japanese keyboard thing so I can't do it... that sucks


Get swiftkey keyboard. It's on google play store so it's probably also on the apple equivalent if you have one. It's really good, i strongly recommend it.


Why sometimes It accept you don't put the "私は" and other not?


Why are there 2 "は" in this sentence?


Is it because わたしは isn't necessary?


The second は is part of ではありません, which is the negative form of です


I thought arimasu was used for non-living? Why isn't this imasu?


For the reason I explained in an earlier comment in this sentence discussion. Here's a link to jump to the comment chain I mean:



Cierann did you ever get a good grasp on this? Please share if so,


There is a problemninnthis question. My answer is exactly as the proposed but duolingo is not accepting it.


If you omit the 私 do you put the は in after the 小学生 or just straight to ではありません ?


は indicates the subject of the sentence. So 小学生はではありません would mean "The student is not ..."


would it also be grammatically correct to use the particle は instead of では? 「小学生ではありません」?


私は小学生はありません。means "I have no elementary school students"


got it - thank you!


ではありません is effectively the negative form of です so you really treat the entire thing as a single word.

Now, it just so happens that the verb ある's negative conjugation is ありません so (something)はありません can be grammatically correct, however, the meaning will be different from ではありません

In this particular case, it would still be wrong because ある (and thus ありません) is only used with inanimate objects so it is incorrect to use it with 小学生


i appreciate the explanation - thanks!


I think there's a piece or two missing. "では"  was not in the choices. Also, should it not be いません since we're talking about living objects?


Sorry. Can't help with what you were saying about the word tiles, since I always use typing for the answers instead and never see the tiles.

However, I can help with why this sentence doesn't end in いません. The reason this has ありません on the end is because it's not talking about existence. The living / non-living distinction for the verbs いる (います) / ある (あります) is only for when the verb is being used as an existence verb.

ではありません is the negative polite form of である (or rather, it is the negative form of です). This is the copula, which links a subject complement with a subject. In this sentence the ありません is just part of the negative form of the copula. This doesn't state the existence of the subject; this instead says what the subject is (or, in this negative sentence, says what the subject is not--"not an elementary school student").

If the sentence were about existence, then, like you said, the answer would require います instead of あります, like this:

わたしは小学校にいます。 "I am at an elementary school."


The reason it's ありません is easier to understand if you start with the casual form of the sentence: 私は小学生じゃない

ない is the negative form of ある so changing it to the polite form makes it ありません the negative form of あります

Changing the じゃ into では isn't required to change the sentence to polite form but it does make it sound more formal.

However while ではありません is technically the correct grammar for is kind of sentence, people will still use じゃないです even in polite conversation because it's easier.


yeah... I don't have a Japanese keyboard.. I just had to copypaste from google the answer. I can't type it in Japanese. Is there a setting to enable that? ..if not, I'd rather just do the multiple choice only please...


Is there a reason why you wouldn't be able to just add Japanese as an additional input language for the keyboard on your device?


You need to download Japanese to your languages in your input settings.


when I put 小学生 on others I get it wrong and it tells me 小学 ...now when i leave out the 生 it tells me "nah bro where my kanji at?".....what am I missing here?


Your 1st example means "Elementary school student" & the 2nd example is "elementary school". The 3rd kanji in these mean "existence" or "life"


I wrote "私は小学生ではありません" but the computer said it is wrong, though I matched the correct answer.


Hinata Shouyo be like:


Would it be correct to say ... janai desu?


Yes, 小学生ではありません, 小学生じゃないです, and 小学生じゃない all mean the same thing, just in descending order of formality.


There's no sei in chugakusei. how can there be a correct answer?


Elementary schoolers are shougakusei, not chuugakusei. 小 shou (small), 中 chuu (middle). Chuugakusei are middle schoolers.


Why is 和は小学生じぁない not accepted? Do i need to add じぁあない?


The new voice says "Ha" instead of "wa" or is this some reginal dialect?

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