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Japanese Lesson 8: Basics 2 Part 3

<h1>Vocabulary: Tango: たんご: 単語</h1>

Book: Hon: ほん: 本

Menu: Menyu-: メニュー

Have: Motteimasu: もっています: 持っています

It:(Japanese doesn't have a word for "It" so you'll be using "sore" which means "that")

That: Sore: それ

Since we already know that Japanese verbs don't change based on who we're talking about, the other two words are repeats:

Has: Motteimasu: もっています: 持っています

Reads: Yomu: よむ: 読む

<h1>Grammar: Bunpou: ぶんぽう: 文法</h1>

Okay. You'll notice that "Has" is "Motteimasu" You all are pretty smart, I know you know a conjugation when you see one. This verb IS conjugated. It's in Continuing Action form.

Continuing action form is an action that goes over a period of time. Like when you have, or own, something. Continuing action is also something you are currently actively in the process of doing.

But here's the thing. I won't be teaching you that conjugation today. I'm just going to give you the word flat out. You'll encounter "Have/Has" In continuing action form (Motteimasu) more often than "Mochimasu". I would crash course you with the 3 conjugations it takes to get to Continuing Action form... but it's a lot to take in, at once and it looks like verb conjugations will be covered in a little while.

I WILL show you how to conjugate "TSU" verbs though.


It's actually pretty easy. So for Motsu and other "tsu" ending verbs you want to switch out "tsu" for "chi" and then add "-masu" "-masen" "-mashita" or "-masendeshita"

Motsu → Mo+chi → Mochi+masu (but we won't be using this form!)

Motsu → Mo+chi → Mochi+mashita

Don't have
Motsu → Mo+chi → Mochi+masen

Didn't have
Motsu → Mo+chi → Mochi+masendeshita

Tatsu → Ta+chi → Tachi+masu

Tatsu → Ta+chi → Tachi+mashita

am not standing/will not stand
(and actually I think "am not standing" would also be continuing action form... but I digress)
Tatsu → Ta+chi → Tachi+masendeshita


It is a woman.
Onna desu.
おんな です。


It is a woman.
Sore wa onna desu. (lit: that is a woman) それ は おんな です。

The above sentence is borderline rude though. Please use:

That person is a woman.
Sono hito wa onna desu.
その ひと は おんな です。

He reads a newspaper.
Kare wa shinbun o yomimasu.
かれ は しんぶん を よみます。

The boy has a newspaper.
Sono otokonoko wa shinbun o motteimasu.
その おとこのこ は しんぶん を もっています。

We have an apple.
Watashitachi wa ringo o motteimasu.
わたしたち は りんご を もっています。

The children eat an apple.
Kodomo wa ringo o tabemasu.
こども は りんご を たべます。

She has a book.
Kanojo wa hon o motteimasu.
かのじょ は ほん を もっています。

I read the menu.
Watashi wa menyu- o yomimasu.
わたし は メニュー を よみます。

She reads the menu. Kanojo wa menyu- o yomimasu.
かのじょ は メニュー を よみます。

It is a book.
Hon desu.
ほん です。


It is a book.
Sore wa hon desu. (lit: that is a book) それ は ほん です。

She has water.
Kanojo wa mizu o motteimasu.
かのじょ は みず を もっています。

It is a menu.
Menyu- desu.


It is a menu.
Sore wa menyu- desu.

He has bread.
Kare wa pan o motteimasu.
かれ は パン を もっています。

We have milk.
Watashitachi wa gyuunyuu o motteimasu.
わたしたち は ぎゅうにゅう を もっています。 私たちは牛乳をもっています。

It is water.
Mizu desu.
みず です。


It is water. Sore wa mizu desu. (lit: that is water) それ は みず です。

I hope this lesson was okay. :)

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March 8, 2015



It's excellent that someone takes upon themselves to do this, so that I can continue lazily observe from the sideline. Thank you for you excellent efforts ^^

That being said, I don't think that one would say ”それ は おんな です” since that would be fairly rude. One would say "その ひと は おんな(のひと)です” or, more politely, ”その かた は おんな(のひと)です”.

Also, I don't fool that saying ”それは” translates to "it is", and it would be better to translate it as "that is". It just has stronger implications in that direction.

Just a few thoughts, still an excellent effort though!


You're absolutely right on all counts.

x_x I'm feeding off the Duolingo English for Japanese speakers and it likes to use "Sore" "it is". I also realize that is not an entirely correct translation. So I'll go ahead and change those to "That is".

Slightly off topic. I questioned why "Are wa _" answers were being marked wrong in the English for Japanese speakers course and I think one of the people working on the actual course replied that that was to make things simpler for those learning. Something like that. ... so in that sense I take the "It is" = "Sore" thing the same way.

I'm also not used to "Sono" being used as "The", or "1 (counter)" as "a".

XD And you're right. My phrases on "She is a woman" etc. are definately borderline rude. I have this nasty habit of translating straight across with sentences.

Thank you for your input! :)


Fair enough. I think that you are right in saying that it's not an entirely correct translation, but I do think that it's somewhat correct, but that translation might be more appropriately introduced in a discussion of これ・それ・あれ. I'm glad you share my sentiment that it shouldn't be the go-to translation though ^^
As to the comment that it makes it easier for the people learning... maybe, at least for Japanese->English? I really hope that they don't decide to maintain that format for the English->Japanese course, I feel that it's important enough to deserve a discussion.

It's not necessarily a bad habit to have, I think ^^

No problem, glad you appreciated it!


Eh, they'll probably change up the order when they do the Japanese -> English course. And I DO think the person who commented said that it was easer for Japanese -> English speakers. TBH I don't generally teach Japanese in this order, myself. I just figured with everyone already comfortable with the order that Duolingo teaches in I should teach in the same order for this site. :)


this should be added to the future Japanese for English speakers course.


I've seen it both ways so, like given your use of motteimasu rather than motte imasu and that IIRC you said you were a Japanese teacher, I was wondering what your thoughts are on viewing something like 持っています as a single conjugation of 持つ or a conjugation of 持つ followed by a conjugation of いる. I think back in the day I was taught it as the latter but it seems when I come across something written about it online the former seems to be more common.


Oh. I've never been taught to think of it as a conjugation of "motsu" followed by a conjugation of "iru" before. I learned it as one single conjugation.

Infact... it wasn't until I started writing out this lesson that I realized that it's not a single conjugation... it's not even a double conjugation... it can technically be percieved as a triple conjugation. ... and that's why I didn't teach how to conjugate into this form.

So, here's my question, have you seen it explained like this?

持つ conjugated to informal past → 持った conjugated to command form (te) → 持って conjugated to continuous action → 持っています

It's kind of long way to get around to it, but you not only learn 3 conjugations... but it really makes the conjugation rules a little easier to learn for those who learn the actual formulas/rules as opposed to me... who memorizes words as their own individual identities... I guess.

No really though. I also didn't realize until I started writing it out that individual verb endings conjugate to Informal Past and therefore "te" form differently. x_x ... for a second I was worried there were no rules for them at all!

.... uh... not to scare anyone reading this. It's actually a lot simpler than I was thinking it was going to be.


... I geek out about Japanese grammar quite a bit for someone who doesn't really have a grasp on English parts of speech. Don't ever ask me to explain English grammar... I haven't the foggiest.


So, here's my question, have you seen it explained like this?

持つ conjugated to informal past → 持った conjugated to command form (te) → 持って conjugated to continuous action → 持っています

I'm not entirely clear why you go through 持った... so I guess the answer to that is no. :P I was taught that 持って is a straight up conjugation of 持つ. What's the link with 待った?

Although I guess the way I was taught it would technically be three steps too. So I think the wording was that present progressive is the て form followed by いる. So 持つ → 持って + いる → 持っています.

Edit: Although thinking about it I either wasn't taught (or at least don't remember being taught) informal past so I guess the teacher wouldn't have had that to fall back on when teaching the て form.


I can see why one wouldn't be taught informal past, it's really only for close friends and family members.

The connection between the two is this, if you can conjugate to informal past you just have to replace た with て and BAM you have the "Te" form.

The reason why this is a big deal is because you don't conjugate to て the same way you would to -ます/-ません/-ました/-ませんでした. You don't follow the "RU" "U" "Hiragana U" conjugation guidelines, rather. ... okay well "RU" still follows the same rules. but for the rest of them it's different.

So, like, for instance verbs ending in む、ぶ、ぬ change to "んだ" for informal past

く changes to いた for informal past and

ぐ changes to いだ for informal past

う、つ、 and some る change to った for informal past

From there you can jump from that conjugation to "Te" form by removing た or だ and replacing it with て or で.

I guess if anything it will cut out learning those strange rules twice, once with た and the other with て.

If that makes sense. XD I guess for you you can now take て form and use that to conjugate informal past. I learned "Iru" as it's own word so I never even registered that's what we're conjugating with in the first place. @_@


Just a small edit for consistency's sake... Kanojo wa hon o motteimasu (you have wo).


-makes gurgling noises- It's a terrible terrible force of habit.


Hi! Finally I'm finishing basics :) But I have a question here. I didn't understand why we use motteimasu instead of mochimasu? And are other tenses for motteimasu like the followings; motteimashita, motteimasen, motteimasendeshita and is this continuous form? Why don't we use present tense? or regular form?


Um... yes... actually I explained it in those paragraphs under the section labeled Grammar.

We use motteimasu in continuing action form because when you own or have something that's an action that you're doing continually... When you have or own something you don't stop doing that action until the item has left your possession.

... For the other conjugations of motteimasu... that's all wibbly wobbly timey wimey... stuff... yes those conjugations exist. You'd use it for speaking about actions that were done continuously over a length of time in the past or in the negative format. I can't say I see them very often, honestly the conjugations of continuing action form are something I myself will need a brush-up on... and I'm not entirely sure you'll even hear them that often.

You'll probably hear motteimasu used in the regular present tense, certainly in more relaxed conversations. But from a purely grammatical standpoint because having or owning something is a continuing action (even I admit it's hard to think of it that way but it's true) then the word SHOULD be used in continuing action format like this.

That and duolingo's interface will mark you wrong if you use regular present tense. So, you know, there's that reason too.

I've kind of been steering everyone clear of regular form. That's because if you get in the habit of talking informally... well it's going to be strange for any (or at least most) of the people you may end up speaking with. So I sort of touch on it... but that's it. The other bad thing you could end up doing with that is alternating between formal and informal conjugations in a conversation... which sounds just weird. (I got told that by a native speaker. WHOOPS!) So that's why we're using the longer conjugations at all times... (even though duolingo does accept informally conjugated answers)


This is a weird question but can you use あります for "have"?
eg. 本をあります instead of 本を持っています (I have a book)
Or does ありますonly means "to exist"?


Actually I think you can use "arimasu". :/ I just don't think Duolingo accepts it.


I think you use が with あります, and not を. 私は本があります。 "As for me, there is a book," implying "I have a book."


That's a thing too. Yes. (totally wasn't paying attention to the particles when I wrote my last comment)

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