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What's the difference between 'あれおなんですか' (Are o nandesu ka) and 'それはなんですか' (Sore ha nandesu ka)?

I'm learning Japanese from here, and one of the questions asked me to write 'What is that' in Japanese. I wrote out 'Areonandesuka' and was told it was wrong, with the correct one being 'Sorehanandesuka', whilst a translator tells me they mean the same thing.

What's the difference between the two?

February 15, 2018



Hi! Your sentence was wrong not because of the あれ, but because of the お. You need the particle は, like in the sentence Duolingo gave you. Both あれはなんですか and それはなんですか translate to "What is that?" I hope this helps.


それ means that and is used for something that's far from the speaker and near the listener.
あれ means that (over there) and is used for something that's is far from both the speaker and the listener.
and これ means this and is used for something that's is near the speaker and far from the listener.


Perhaps the wrong thing was "を" instead "は"?


If the quiz didn't mention the object in detail, and just asking 'What is that', both answers あれ and それ must be correct. But precisely, as others already mention, there are a tiny difference, which "that in English doesn't have.あれ and それ are different from the distance of the object you point out. When I hear あれ, I guess the object is situated in the visible distance but unreachable, like stars, sun, or sometimes far distant past. それ is reachable distance for the listener but the speaker. ex a thing listeners wearing on or grabbing.


Go to LingoDeer, there the difference between これ、それ、あれ、どれ、この、その、あの、どの is explained. When you mastered LingoDeer you can go use DuoLingo again.

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