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"Where is the bathroom?"


March 16, 2018



が vs は has been killing me.


This video really helped me out with them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FknmUij6ZIk

Actually her entire channel has, tbh.


As a British English speaker this left me confused. Doesトイレ have the same meaning as bathroom in British English, i.e. the room with a bath, toilet and sink? Or does it literally mean the room with just a toilet?


In Japanese homes, the toilet is in a room separate from the bathing/shower facilities. 浴室(よくじょ)or 風呂場(ふろば)would be the names for these facilities. Often, the sink for hand-washing will be in yet another space, usually attached to or next to the shower/bath room. In this case, most people would just say 手を洗いたいけど… (I'd like to wash my hands...).

お手洗い (おてあらい)might literally mean '(a place to) wash hands', but in everyday Japanese, it could also refer to the place where bodily functions are performed.
[Side note: At temples and shrines, near entrances there are often places to wash one's hands and mouth with the ladles provided, purifying oneself before entering. These are often labeled as 御手洗, which is read as みたらい. In another context this could technically be read as おてあらい, but おてあらい is usually written with the first character being in hiragana, not kanji.]

Between BE, AE, and Japanese, there are enough dissimilarities to warrant a severing of any consideration of direct correlation.


Thanks that really helps! In BE it's also more common to say "where is the loo?" in people's houses while in public spaces you might say "where are the toilets", so there's plenty of differences!


Well, in America we skip to the lou, but I suppose that's neither here nor there.


Thank you for the explanation. So, basically, a toilet is トイレ, bathroom is usually 風呂場, and the bathtub itself is お風呂. お手洗い can be literally sink or it can be a euphemism for toilet


In australia the bathroom is where I take a bath.


In my part of the UK, toilet is the room with just the toilet in, bathroom has a bath in it. So if you asked where the toilet was you would not be directed to the bathroom.


could it be トイレがどこですか instead?


No. Using が would place extra stress on the topic トイレ.

To illustrate: If someone were to say, 'The closet is there' and point at a door, which is in fact the door to the restroom, another person could say, 'No, the RESTROOM is there'. (トイレはそこです vs. トイレがそこです)

The fact that the 'subject' in the example is どこ, it would sound strange: 'WHERE is the bathroom?' ← too much emphasis.

It is best to use the 「AはBです」 sequence for most expression that state 'A is B'.


in this exemple, A is the topic/complement ( トイレ ) and B is the subject (そこ), right? so the complement will always have the topic marker は ?


I am also looking for explanation. BJCUAI's response helped, but I am still feeling unsure. Is there anybody out there that could explain why が is not being used? I feel like KIND of understand. :(


Here's what I've gathered.

は brings focus to the thing after it.

が brings focus to the thing before it.

toilet は where? = "where" is more important

toilet が where? = "toilet" is more important

Since we want our question answered, we should bring focus to that!


"ga" is to be used when a noun is being defined for the first time. It is kind of we use particle "a" or "an" in English. In this case the bathroom has already been identified. Notice "the" bathroom. Hence "wa"


i got a problem with the translation of "bathroom". In a bathroom there is a bath. A bath is translated to ふろ. So my answer was ふろはどこですか。if i was to translate "トイレはどこですか" back to English i would say "where is the restroom?". Why? in america people have an opportunity to rest on a toilet. And Bathroom and Restroom are interchangeable.


The issue here is more with the indirectness (read ambiguity) of the US English terms indicating a place to urinate and/or defecate. Lavatory, wash room, ladies room, mens room, bathroom, and restroom all indicate the same thing: the place where I can 'do my business'/'relieve myself' (see, we can't even say pee or poo).

I hesitate to put a percentage on it, but most of the time someone will inquire about the location of the 'bathroom' it does not mean that they want to take a bath. In that case, they would probably ask 'Where is your shower/bath?' or 'Where can I shower/bathe?'.
I was raised in a home which included a room without bathing/shower facilities which we still referred to as a 'bathroom'. If anyone inquired as to the location of the bathroom we would point them to that room and had no complaints from anyone. So, your statement that 'In a bathroom there is a bath' is not universally true.

Finally, if you look at Japanese floor plans, they will indicate a 浴室 (よくしつ - bathing room). The room with a toilet, which is different, would be WC or トイレ. No ふろ or 風呂室/風呂場 is shown.


bathroom is ofuroba お風呂場 a room with a bath please トイレ is toilet lavatory loo etc I don't go to the loo to lie down and take a rest, sorry rant over


I dont understand the word order here


Normally, Japanese places the verb at the end and the topic at the beginning. This is standard AはBです sequence. It could be rephrased to be more in line with English order, but it would be an aberration from the norm.

トイレ (topic) は (topic marker) どこ (question word, functions the same as an adjective would in its place) です (copula/verb) か (question indicator).


Could you say "どこトイレがですか?" or would that be grammatically wrong? My thinking was using "どこ" like an adjective, so combining it with "トイレ" and then "が" because we're talking about this specific toilet, so a bit like "Where is the toilet?" - as in the specific toilet I'm talking about, rather than just a toilet in general. Hope that made sense?


No, that would be grammatically incorrect. Topic + particle (は) + question word (why, where, what, etc.) + desu + question marker (か):


AはBです sequence with a question mark(er). Japanese 101.


BJCUAI Exactly. It would kinda be like asking “Bathroom where?” in English except worse because it’s the topic marker. Can’t use it like an adjective because it’s a pronoun, not to mention adjectives are a whole other story grammatically anyway.


Everything before the は is the topic of the sentence, everything after the は is a question or a statement about the topic. 「トイレは」- "the toilet" what about it? 「どこですか」- "where is it?"


トイレはどこにありますか should be accepted. flagged it.


Nope. Should be accepted. It is closer in nuance to 'Where is the bathroom located?', but that should be fine.


oh, i get it now. i learned Japanese in college so nuances take time to get there. From now on i will consider "Where is X located?"


Why is the に there?


When います and あります are functioning as location identifier verbs, に must precede them.

The copula verb です functions like 'is' (A is B / A = B), but is not a used in the same sense as simple verbs. Grammatically, B is functioning in a non-location-specific manner, even if it is effectively describing a location.

トイレはどこですか? The toilet is where?
トイレはどこにありますか?The toilet is located where?

ジョンさんは男ですか? John is male? (A = B?) ジョンさんは若いですか?John is young? (A = B?) ジョンさんはどこですか? John is where? (A = B?)
ジョンさんはどこにいますか?John is located where? (A = B location-specific)

I think that your confusion might be based more on a lack of understanding on how です is used as opposed to how あります is used.
You might want to read up on です specifically and understand how it is used as a catch-all predicate. Here is one source: https://8020japanese.com/desu/


UK English to Japanese - Toilet = トイレ

Japanese to US English - トイレ = Bathroom

Then we have the good old WC that you see on the toilet/bathroom door in many other countries. Funny when you find out it stands for 'Water Closet'


Could I say トイレに行きたいんですが。 insted of トイレはどこですか。?


You could say it, but Duolingo wouldn't and shouldn't accept it. In conversational Japanese people would get your implication, but this is calling for a proper translation of the given sentence.


You are literally saying. "I need to go to the bathroom/ toilet."


Shouldn't just "トイレは?" Be accepted? It's a very usual way say the same thing.


I keep seeing です、ます、います、and あります being used, but I have no idea when to use a specific one. Can someone help me?


Every time I get this exercise I look for バスルーム in the word bank, but see only トイレ


I don't know if you are seriously expecting バスルーム to be an option. It shouldn't be, as it is uncommon parlance in Japanese.


Well, I'd say that I'm from a country where "toilet" and "bathroom" are two different things (as they are in Japan, as I suppose from this thread), so I just don't expect to see トイレ when I see "bathroom"; and if バスルーム is an uncommon word, 風呂場 will do


In Japanese, is there a difference between restroom and toilet?


In Japanese, トイレ can refer to either the actual toilet itself, or as an abbreviation of トイレ室 (lit: toilet room, or what we generally refer to as the restroom). It depends on context.
There are less direct ways and more archaic ways of referring to the 'restroom' in Japanese, but トイレ is the standard.


Toilet and bathroom are two different rooms - トイレ(toire) is toilet/restroom, bathroom is お風呂場(ofuroba) - place of the bath. This lack of distinction frustrates me.


Why is it that sometimes the location comes first and other times it's in the sentence? I just had one saying "this is my chair" and the これ was the start of the sentence and a comment said that the location indicator (where, this, there, etc) is supposed to always come first but on this one the どれ is the second to last part of the sentence structure. Does どれ not follow the same rules as これ あれ and それ? I feel like I'm missing something obvious.


I have an issue typing wa. When i type wa i get わ but not は. But i get it when i type ha.

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