Japanese Conversation: Talking About Existence

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Today’s lesson will help you to get a topic to converse with your friend. Happy learning!

What do you have?

A: たなかさんのへやになにがありますか?
B: ベッドやテレビやほんなどがあります

A: What exist in Tanaka’s room?
B: There are bed, tv, books and other stuff.

B: ともきさんのいえにはいぬがいますか?
A: いぬがいませんですがねこがいますよ

B: Is there a dog in Tomoki’s house?
A: There is no dog, but there is a cat!

Important Points

Below are some points you might need to know~

Literal and natural translation
In いぬがいませんですがねこがいますよ (Inu ga imasen desu ga neko ga imasu yo), the translation is rather childish. But it’s the literal translation of how Japanese really speak. Translated naturally, it would be “I don’t have any dog but I do have a cat in my house”.

Addressing other people in Japanese
In Japanese, we need to address other people with names & suffix to be polite. It also seems childish in English, but it’s very normal in Japanese.

“What exist in Tanaka’s room?” is the literal translation of how Japanese speak. The normal translation would be “What is in your room, Tanaka?”. And the natural translation for “Is there a dog in Tomoki’s house?” would be “Do you have a dog in your house, Tomoki?”

Use this pattern to talk about the existence of an object. For animate/living object, replace あります (arimasu) with います (imasu).

Use this pattern to talk about an incomplete list of objects. や acts similarly like a comma. While など can be translated as “etc” or “others”. You can read more about it here.