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  5. "I do not drink tea."

"I do not drink tea."


March 22, 2018



why is it は instead of を ?


おちゃはのみません is As for tea, I do not drink it. While おちゃをのみません is As for me, I do not drink tea.


The sentence with は is for answering do u drink tea? While the other is for answering do u want tea?


Yes, if you're the subject it's は and if it's the tea it's を I'm not exactly sure why though!


I like how Marco put it earlier, but it also helps me to think about like what the emphasis is. While both mean "I don't drink tea," the は emphasizes the tea as the subject - "I don't drink TEA (but I drink other drinks)/Tea is not drunk by me" versus with をit might be more like "I dont drink tea (but other people do)".


If you put を it's like "I wont drink the tea", for some reason you don't want to drink the tea now, but you may drink after. In this case, the tea is the object that you wont drink now for some reason. But when you say "I don't drink tea", you don't like tea or you can't, so probably you are not going to drink tomorrow neither after. So you use は because "Tea" is the topic that you don't drink.

は - referring to a topic. を - referring to an object.

Sorry for my english.


So if a waiter at a restaurant brings out tea that you did not order you might use を to indicate this, whereas if you are vegetarian and they bring out meat you might use は to emphasize that you do not eat meat ever?


はい! But probably you would say something different like "it's not my tea" because this one I assume means - "I don't want a tea".


Thinking of it in terms of time (like I would never drink tea vs I might drink tea later but not now) really helped me here, thank you for this.


Simple negative statements usually use は. Using を in this instance would change the topic and be like saying 'Don't drink tea.'.


Using を in this sentence would be "I'm not going to drink tea." Using は is normal, yes, but it is used to set things apart from objects you want to use as a contrast.


So basically you would use は when saying like: I generally dont drink tea, and you would use を like: I dont want tea now/im not going to drink tea now (but I like tea)?


So would it also be は in 日本語…話せません , or would it be が ?


が, for grammatical reasons that I don't entirely understand. I think は would work too. I know it can't be を because of the way 話せ is conjugated, though, but if you conjugated it differently you probably would use を because it's the direct object marker.


I think that's because は is a particule of description and を is a particule of action. So here we say :" i don't drink tea in general" instead of :" I don't drink tea right now"


Sounds good, can just someone confirm this please? Then I will note this


I'd be careful. While not exactly wrong, this isn't really the whole story and could easily lead to misunderstanding if you try to apply it to every sentence containing は or を.

This topic is discussed a lot in this thread, so I suggest reading the rest of the discussion and consulting other sources if you are still confused.


Iwas thinking the same thing. I thought "I" was the subject, and tea was the object. は to denote the subject and を for the object?


は marks the topic - what the sentence is about or is from the point of view of. It may or may not also be the subject.


In the description (light bulb icon) it explains that は is used in the negative Form. If you don't drink the tea you refer with は, if you drink it its を


For negative statements you tend to use は over を.


Why is it saying "nomi" instead of "nomu", the word we learned earlier in the Duolingo Japanese Lesson that means "drink"?


In Japanese, verbs can come in various forms, just like in English. Drink, drank, drinking .. all variations on the same verb.

Nomu is the most basic form of the verb "to drink". It is the non-past tense plain form, used in casual or non-formal speech or if you were looking up the verb in a dictionary (sometimes called the "dictionary form").

私は飲む (watashi wa nomu.) "As for me, (I) drink"

コーヒーを飲む (Kōhī o nomu) "(I) drink coffee"

Nomimasu is the polite or formal version of this basic form. It is also non-past tense and is used exactly the same, except that it is preferred in formal situations. You will see the formal endings quite frequently on DuoLingo and in other learning materials, since it is common to introduce new Japanese learners to formal forms very early.

私は飲みます (watashi wa nomimasu.) "As for me, (I) drink" (polite)

コーヒーを飲みます (Kōhī o nomimasu) "(I) drink coffee" (polite)

Nomimasen is the NEGATIVE version of "nomimasu". In Japanese, if you want to say that you do not do something, you conjugate the verb into its negative form. So if you want to say that you DO NOT drink, you would use the negative form of the verb "to drink". Nomu becomes "nomanai" and nomimasu becomes "nomimasen".

私は飲まない (watashi wa nomanai.) "As for me, (I) do not drink"
コーヒーを飲まない (Kōhī o nomanai) "(I) do not drink coffee"

私は飲みません (watashi wa nomimasen.) "As for me, (I) do not drink" (polite)
コーヒーを飲みません (Kōhī o nomimasen) "(I) do not drink coffee" (polite)

The example sentence above says "As for tea, (I) do not drink (it)"

おちゃはのみません。(ocha wa nomimasen)

Since the verb is in the negative, we know that the speaker is indicating that they do NOT drink something. Since "ocha" is the topic of the conversation, we can assume they are referring to tea.

So this sentence is often translated as simply "I do not drink tea." in English.


FYI: before reporting, please make sure that you didn't make one of these very common errors:

  • お茶は飲みませ (missing the ん in 飲みません)
  • お茶は飲みませんん (an extra ん at the end of 飲みません)


I still don't get why they're using は instead of を


Because they can?

The topic marker is used to indicate the topic under discussion and can be used to add emphasis or imply contrast. Sometimes the topic is the same as the subject of the sentence, but it doesn't need to be. The topic could be the time or the location referenced by the sentence, or even the object of the verb.

When the direct object of a sentence is marked as the topic under discussion, は will replace を. This is similar to how は and が can swap with each other.

The meaning of the sentence doesn't change that much, but it is a little different, mostly a matter of emphasis. In addition to marking the topic, は is used to imply contrast. This sentence means "As for tea, (I) do not drink (it)" The grammar emphasizes that TEA is not something you drink, but also suggests there are probably other things you would drink.

An example of how this might work in conversation would be something like:

Person A: Would you like tea or coffee? Person B: Coffee, please. As for tea, I do not drink it.


Why is google translate allways translating those sentences in will futur?

"I will not drink tea" Instead of "I do not drink tea"

Is google just wrong or is this irrelevant? (I use Google Translate to practice somehow speaking Japanese.)


Because Google Translate is not yet sophisticated enough to grasp context. Japanese is a very context-reliant language. Both translations, while technically correct, are not equally valid. Suggest viewing Google Translate output with a pillar of salt.


Japanese has a past tense and a non-past tense. Depending on context, this statement could be referring to what you are doing right now or what you will be doing in the future.

Google translate tends to default to the future tense and it doesn't give you all the alternative readings that might make more sense for a particular sentence when read in-context.


While that is a good point, I would make a slight correction: what you are doing right now would be present-progressive (のんでいます), while 'doing something in general or in the future' would be more apt.


The general endings are more of a "I will [in the future] do this" kind of feel... That being said, they use this to describe things that will happen in the immediate future so it's pretty much the same as them saying "I will do this right now," but true 'present' tense would be to change the verb into BaseTe+iru.
In order to standardize the terms used (and thus dispell confusion), lets just call the general endings as non-past (it being in the immediate future or in the distant future) and past. Then we can call the Bte+iru ending by the true title of 'present' tense.


Can someone tell me how to type the small ya in "おちゃ"? Duolingo never accepts mine. どうもありがとう


If you type 'ocha', 'otya', 'ocya', any of these will do. The likely problem is that you are typing 'ochiya', which would be incorrect. If you ever need to type a small character by itself, just type 'l' and the sound (i.e. l + ya, l + tsu, etc.).


Wait, but isn't the topic yourself just implied, and the subject is tea?


No, the topic is tea, marked by は, the topic marker. The grammatical subject is implied. Notice that the Japanese sentence does not have 私 (I, myself) or が (subject marker).

The SUBJECT of a sentence is the person or thing that performs the verb's action. Another way to thing of the subject is as the actor or "doer" in the sentence.

In this sentence, the actor is implied. I am drinking the tea, so 私 is the doer of the verb's action.

(Ocha wa nomimasen.)
"As for tea, (I) do not drink (it)."

In this sentence, both the subject (I) and the direct object of the verb (it) are implied. We can safely assume that the speaker is the subject and that tea is the direct object of the verb, but neither one was clearly stated in the sentence. Tea was marked by は, so it is a topic, but its grammatical role in the sentence (direct object) was left unspoken.

You could also say it like this:

(Watashi ga ocha o nomimasen.)
"I do not drink tea."

In this sentence, the subject is clearly stated. It is grammatically correct, but would sound rather stilted in Japanese, since subjects are usually left out when they are easily inferred from context.

You could also say it like this:

( watashi wa ocha o nomimasen.)
"As for me, (I) do not drink tea."

In this sentence, the subject is implied. You might think that it is not implied, because 私 is right there, but notice that it is marked with は, not が. Since it is marked by は, watashi is the topic of this sentence. If the grammatical subject is also the topic, you mark it with は and leave the subject implied, just like when marking the direct object as a topic. You would not say it like this:

(Watashi wa watashi ga ocha o nomimasen.)
"As for me, I do not drink tea."

Saying it that way in English sounds fine, but in Japanese it sounds pretty dumb. If the topic or subject is obvious, you leave them out entirely. The subject is not considered necessary, like in English.

The same is true, to a certain extent, with the direct object.

(Ocha wa watashi ga ocha o nomimasen).
"As for tea, I do not drink tea."

If you have already used the direct object as a topic, you do not need to repeat it later on. Even in English, this sounds a little funny. Native English speakers would naturally replace "tea" with the pronoun "it" in that sentence. In Japanese, it would be more natural to drop "it" entirely.


The sentence would be 私はおちゃを飲みません。This makes the sentence more polite. This appears to be more casual use with friends kind of thing.


Both sentences are polite. Leaving off subjects, like 私, does not change politeness level. In fact, it is so common to leave out 私 that it sounds weird (and kind of conceded) if you don't drop it.

You could say お茶を飲みます instead of お茶は飲みます, but these are also both polite. The difference is in the grammar, not the formality.

"As for tea, (I) don't drink (it)"

"(I) don't drink tea."


What does 'nome' mean?


飲む (nomu) is the verb "to drink". 飲みます (nomimasu) is the polite form of nomu. It means the same thing as "nomu" but it is more polite. 飲みません (nomimasen) is the polite negative form "to not drink". And the casual negative form of this verb is 飲まない (nomanai). It means the same thing as the polite form, but it would be used in more casual settings.

Japanese uses various verb forms and auxiliary verbs to express various aspects of grammar like past-tense, present-tense, negative, passive, causative, and many more things.


Is the お honorific still used for 茶 even if you dont like it?


Can someone explain when and when not to use watashi


In general, for statements (not questions) where there was no previous context indicating a third person and there is a lack of honorifics, first-person would be assumed.
Unfortunately, with DuoLingo only providing one sentence at a time no previous context can easily be assumed or recognized. For the purposes of this program I would suggest that (lacking in-sentence context) most of these 'statement' sentences should be assumed to be first-person.

As far as when to use a first-person pronoun yourself, the same basic rules apply. Normally, within the context and flow of a conversation the subject will be clear. In cases where it might not be obvious one should use a pronoun for clarity.
Keep in mind, though, that once the subject is established and understood by both/all parties, it is unnecessary and unnatural to continue using the pronoun.


I get confused over when yo add the "wa" and when to leave it out.


Why is "私はお茶が飲みません。” wrong?


が marks the do-er or be-er of a verb,
so your sentence reads as "As for me, tea does not drink" or "tea does not drink me"


If I wanted to use 僕 or 私 or 俺 in this sentence, what would the grammatically correct way be? 僕はお茶は飲みません seems wrong, and I guess you can't use は twice in a sentence. Would 僕はお茶を飲みません be right? If so, why does the particle change from は to を in structurally the same place?


僕はお茶は飲みません would be fine,
は serves two functions, one to introduce a topic, and one to show contrast. The first would introduce "I" as the topic of conversation, and the second would add contrast to the direct object "tea".
You see it used in this way in the negative structure ではありません, such as in 私学生でありません "I am not a student"


That's interesting, but makes sense! Duolingo marked 僕はお茶は飲みません as wrong, but I couldn't really understand why. However, on my second try, 僕はお茶を飲みません was marked as correct, so I'm still a little befuddled here.


Most likely just because even though it isn't wrong it is still a bit odd to say so hasn't been added as an option by the contributors yet.


Alright, so 僕はお茶を飲みません would be the more commonly used way of saying it then?


For female yo have to use 私 or あたし for male is 僕


Why is Wa before and not after tea like Watashi Wa?


Why does it mean "don't" Drink tea?


~ません is the polite negative non-past verb ending
飲みます - (I) drink
飲みません - (I) do not drink


I would like to learn to write the Kanji we learn in these lessons as well. Is there a way to get a list of all the Kanji in each lesson with their pronunciation and meaning so one could practice?


The website's Tips sections sometimes include a kanji list, while the app's Tips usually do not. Otherwise, you have to consult another source.


What is the difference between食べません and 飲みません


食べる - eat
飲む - drink


Does "Watashi wa ocha wa nomi masen also work?


Inconsistent... Two statements ago 'Watashi wa' was REQUIRED, yet here it isn't.


why do we put o and when do we usually put it


を marks a direct object aparently, which is the thing in a sentence being acted on by a verb. You eat or drink "something". That "something" being eaten gets marked with the direct object marker. Verbs that do not act on anything, like "am" (from the verb "to be"), do not take a direct object since it only describes the subject, as in "I am tall" or "I am a man". So those have no direct object and hence need no direct object marker.


Can anyone tell me that when have to use tabemasu/masen and nomimasu/masen pls ha


食べる is the verb "Eat"
食べます- polite non-past "eat"
食べません - polite negative non-past "do not eat"

飲む is the verb "Drink"
飲みます - polite non-past "drink" 飲みません - polite negative non-past "do not drink"


When do you use wa And when o , after the noun?


Why is が wrong? お茶が飲みません。


が marks the subject, the do-er or be-er of an action.
That sentence would be "Tea (is the thing that) doesn't drink"

を marks the direct object, the thing the verb is being acted on.

は marks context and contrast; this replaces particles を and が in a sentence and is commonly used in negative statements to stress the negation.

お茶を飲みません - I do not drink tea (neutral)
お茶は飲みません - I do not drink tea (contrast)


Why is the NO in NO-mimasen a weird symbol instead of の?


飲 is a kanji
Kanji are the logographic system borrowed from Chinese where each individual character represents a unique meaning (and can have multiple pronunciations depending on the context it is used in).

Since kanji have unique meanings they help distinguish the intended meaning of a word between the many homophones that exist in Japanese.
As Japanese doesn't use spaces they also help break apart sentences into easily understandable chunks, showing where words begin and end.

Kanji are used for most nouns, adjective and verb bases, while hiragana are used for grammatical components such as particles and inflections.

飲 is the kanji meaning "drink" and is the stem of the verb here; the okurigana (accompanying hiragana) are the verb inflection. This kanji is used in words related to drinking;
飲む・のむ - to drink (verb)
飲み物・のみもの - a drink/beverage (noun)
飲食・いんしゅ - "eating and drinking"
飲料水・いんりょうすい - drinking water/potable water
飲酒運転・いんしゅうんてん - drunk driving

喫む also pronounced のむ is used for the verb "to smoke"
呑む also のむ may be used to refer to swallowing something whole

An example where kanji is important using a common tongue twister:

庭には二羽鶏がいる "There are two chickens in the garden"

With kanji this is easily understandable,
- 庭 is the kanji meaning "garden, yard"
- には - hiragana as they are particles; the location particle and the topic particle 'wa' to mark "garden" as the location of existence
- 二羽 - the kanji for "two" and kanji for "feather" which is used as a bird counter; literally "two birds"
- 鶏 - Chicken kanji
- が - hiragana subject particle marking 'chicken' as the subject
- いる - existence verb for living things

Written in hiragana this turns into soup. You can't tell where the words are or what they mean:
and in romaji:
niwa ni wa niwa niwatori ga iru

(There are also versions that include words like ワニ 'wani' an alligator, and the many variations of spelling the surname "Niwa" to say "Mr. Niwa's garden", etc.)

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