こそあど言葉 ( = kosoado kotoba) (This and that in Japanese)

「それとって!」

= Sore totte!

= Can you get me that one?

「どれ?」

= Dore?

= Which one?

This lesson is for my dear twitter follower, Hayley who asked me to make a lesson on “this” and “that” in Japanese and what situations they are used in.

Let’s take a look at the picture first.

Each toy on the floor is indicated by one of the following

これ = kore      ★それ = sore       ★あれ = are

depending on the distance from Maggie.

When Maggie addresses the closest toy  she will say,

:rrrr: これ = kore = this one

and the toy which is a bit further from her will be

:rrrr: それ = sore= that one

and when she refers the furthest toy, she will say

:rrrr: あれ = are = that one over there

So instead of saying the object name, you can just point it  and say

これ = kore = this one, this thing

(object which is right close to the speaker / It is so close that speaker can actually touch it.)

それ = sore = that one, that thing, it

(the nearby object yet the speaker can’t reach./ The nearby object for the listeners. (Unless the speaker and the listener are right next to each other.)

あれ = are  = that one over there, that thing over there

(the object which is far from the speaker and the listener.)

:i: Note :

1) The translation of それ  ( = sore) and あれ  ( = are) could be  both “that one” in English butあれ  ( = are) is used for things which they see much further それ ( = sore).

So back to the picture above, someone is asking Maggie,

「ねえ、それとって」

= Nee, sore totte

= Hey, can you get me that one?

Maggie wasn’t sure which one so she asked,

「どれ?」

= Dore

= Which one?

どれ(= dore) is used for questions, which one

2) We also use these demonstrative pronouns for intangible things, such as matters, situations, topics,etc.

Ex. あれどうなった?

= Are dou natta?

= What happened to that (matter)?

Ex.それはいいですね。

= Sore wa ii desu ne.

= That’s nice!

Now

= kore

= sore

= are

= dore

Pick the first hiragana of the words and line them up.
It will be

:rrrr: = kosoado

So these demonstrative pronouns  which start from these letters are called,

こそあど言葉 = kosoado kotoba

(言葉 = kotoba = words)

Note : There are actually more for こそあど言葉 = kosoado kotoba. I will show you the rest later in this lesson.

Let’s learn how to use them!!

:s: As an object :

For example when you go shopping and you don’t know the names of the items, you can just point to an item and say

!to right! すみません、**ください。

= Sumimasen ** kudasai.

= Excuse me. Can I have **?

If the item is close to you, point to it and say

:rrrr: これ(を)ください。= kore (wo) kudasai.

And if it is a bit further, you can say

:rrrr: それ(を)ください。= sore (wo) kudasai.

If the item is far from you, you can say

:rrrr: あれ(を)ください。= are (wo) kudasai.

(Note : In conversation many people drop the particles, ex. = wo =ga,  =wa, etc)

Variation :

Ex. これ(を)一つ下さい。

= Kore (wo) hitotsu kudasai.

= Give me one (of these).

Ex.それ(は)、いくらですか?

= Sore (wa) ikura desuka?

= How much is it / that one?

Ex.あれ(を)見せて下さい。

= Are (wo) misete kudasai.

= Please show me that one (over there).

Ex. どれが欲しいですか?

= Dorega hoshii desuka?

= Which one would you like?

:kkk: As a subject :

Ex. これはマギーのおもちゃです。

= Kore wa Maggie no omocha desu.

= This is Maggie’s toy.

Ex. でもあれはマギーのおもちゃではありません。

=  Demo are wa Maggie no omocha dewa arimasen

= But that is not Maggie’s toy.

Ex. どれがマギーのおもちゃですか?

= Dore ga Maggie no omocha desuka?

= Which one is Maggie’s toy?

(You can also say)

:rrrr: = マギーのおもちゃはどれですか?

= Maggie no omocha wa dore desuka?

Ex. A:「すみません。これは何ですか?」

= Sumimasen kore wa nan desuka?

= Excuse me. What is this?

B:「どれですか?」

= Dore desuka?

= Which one?

A:「これです。」

= Kore desu.

= This one.

B:「ああ、それは生姜です。」

= Aa sore wa shouga desu.

= Oh that’s ginger.

The plural form:

There are plural forms for demonstratives  but they sound formal and it might sound odd to use in daily conversation.

これ = kore → これら=  korera = these things

それ = sore → それら = sorera = those things

あれ = are → あれら = arera = those things (over there)

When you want to ask the price of plural things, we almost never say,

:u:

  △ Ex.これらはいくらですか?

= Korera wa ikura desuka?

= How much are these?

It is grammatically correct but not natural. We just say これいくらですか?= Kore ikura desuka? or この〜はいくらですか?= Kono ~ wa ikura desuka?

Note : These  demonstrative pronouns are for objects, not for people.

Ex. Let me make introduction. This is Maggie.

X 御紹介します。これはマギー先生です。(rude!)

= Goshoukai shimasu. Kore wa Maggie Sensei desu.

Ex. Which one is your father? 

Xどれがあなたのお父さんですか?(rude)

= Dore ga anatano otousan desuka?

It is not polite to address people with これ= kore, それ = sore, あれ= are, どれ = dore

Well, there are people who use these for people casually but just remember it is not polite.

Ex. 「あれ誰だよ? (rough)

= Are dare dayo?

= Who is that?

あれ、俺の彼女!(male casual talk)

= Are ore no kanojo!

= She’s my girlfriend.

Also when you are looking at pictures, you might say

Ex. これ、マギーのお父さん?

= Kore Maggie no otousan?

= Is this your (Maggie’s) dad?

When you address other people , use honorific demonstrative pronouns.

これ =  kore (more polite) こちら  = kochira = this personto indicate a person who is physically very close to you.

それ= sore→(more polite)  そちら =  sochira = that person, to indicate a person who is a bit further from you or closer to the listener.

あれ= are→(more polite)   あちら = achira = that person over thereto indicate a person who is far away,

どれ = dore  →(more polite)  どちら = dochira = who, which person, used in questions

So the above sentences should be:

!to right! 御紹介します。こ ちらはマ ギー先生です。

= Goshoukai shimasu. Kochira wa Maggie sensei desu.

!to right!  どちらがマ ギー先生ですか?

= Dochira ga Maggie sensei desuka?

 

These polite forms might look familiar to some people. These are also the polite forms of the demonstrative pronouns to define locations.

:u:

!Anapple! To define the locations:

ここ = koko = here   (casual form : こっち = kocchi)

:rrrr: (more polite ) こちら =kochira

そこ = soko = there (casual form : そっち = socchi)

:rrrr: (more polite ) そちら = sochira

あそこ = asoko = over there (casual form : あっち = acchi)

:rrrr: (more polite ) あちら = achira

どこ = doko = Where? (casual form : どっち  = docchi)

:rrrr:  (more polite ) どちら = dochira

Ex. どこに置けばいい?ここ?

= Doko ni okeba ii? Koko?

= Where should I put it? Here?

Ex. こっち、こっち!

= Kocchi,Kocchi!

= Here!! (This way!)

Ex. そこの家の猫かわいいよ。

= Soko no ie no neko kawaii yo.

= The cat who belongs to that house is so cute.

Ex. どちらにお住まいですか?(polite)

= Dochira ni osumai desuka?

= Where do you live?

( You can also say, お住まいはどちらですか?= Osumai wa dochira desuka?)

Ex. こちらへどうぞ!(polite)

= Kochira he douzo!

= This way, please.

Ex. いつあちらに行かれるのですか?(polite)

= Itsu achirani ikareru no desu ka?

= When are you going there?

!carnation! demonstrative adjectives

この = kono = this + noun

Ex. この犬の名前は何?

= Kono inu no namae wa nani?

= What’s the name of this dog?

その = sono = that, the  + noun

Ex. その通りの向かい

= sono toori no mukai

= across from the/that street

Ex. そのお店には行ったことがありません。

= Sono omise ni wa itta koto ga arimasen.

= I have never been to the store. (or restaurant, bar)

あの = ano = that  + noun

Ex. あの人どうしてる?

= ano hito doushiteru?

= How is she/he/ that person?

どの = dono = which + noun

Ex. どの部屋? = dono heya? = Which room?

Ex. A: 「この曲大好き

= Kono kyoku daisuki!

= I love this song!

B:「どの曲?」

= Dono kyoku?

= Which song?

Ex. A:「この花の名前を知っていますか?」

= Kono hana no namae wo shitte imasuka?

= Do you know the name of this flower?

B:「えっ?どの花の名前ですか?」

= Eh? Dono hana no namae desuka?

= What? Which flower’s name?

A:「ああ、その花ですね。撫子です。」

= Aa sono hana desune. Nadeshiko desu.

= Oh, that flower. It’s “Nadeshiko”

The plural form for demonstrative adjectives :


この = kono  →これら = korerano = these  + noun

その = sono  →それら = sorerano = those + noun

あの = ano →あれら = arerano = those over there + noun

Ex. これらの国々 = korerano kuniguni = these countries

Note : Again, these plural forms are for formal use and we don’t use them so much in a daily conversation.

:jjj: Plural forms in Japanese :

Unlike other western languages, we have limited plural forms for nouns.

Ex. 生徒 = seito = student(s) → (plural)  生徒達 = seito tachi = students

= hi = day(s)(plural) 日々= hibi = days

= hito = person/people (plural) 人々 = hitobito = people

We use both singular or plural form of demonstrative adjectives for those nouns in plural form

Ex. these people:

:rrrr: この人達 = kono hitotachi or これらの人達  = korera no hitotachi (not so common)

Ex. these children:

:rrrr:  その子供達 = sono kodomotachi or  それらの子供達  = sorera no kotomotachi (not so common)

There are also adjective forms for  こちら = kochira、そちら = sochira、あちら= achira

:rrrr: こちら = kochirano + noun

:rrrr:そちらの = sochirano + noun

:rrrr:あちら = achirano + noun

:rrrr:どちら= dochirano + noun

Ex. あちら方はどなたですか?

= Achira no kata wa donata desuka?

Who is the person over there?

Ex. こちら先生がマギー先生です。

= Kochira no sensei ga Maggie Sensei desu.

= This teacher is Maggie-Sensei.


Additional Note for more advanced learners :

!yflower! To refer to intangible things:

これ  ( = kore)、それ  ( = sore) 、あれ ( = are) and also この  ( = kono), その  ( = sono), and あの  ( = ano) are used when we refer to intangible things such as time, matters, events, memories,etc.

Basically if the event is far back, we tend to use あれ  ( =  are) and あの  ( =  ano), if the event has happened a little while ago, we use それ  ( =  sore) or その  ( = sono),  and if it the event is happening right now we use これ (  =  kore) and この  ( = kono)

Ex. この旅行で一杯いい思い出を作りたい。

= Kono ryokou de ippai ii omoide wo tsukuritai.

= I would like to make lots of good memories on this trip.
(It is happening right now or the speaker is talking about future trips which will happen soon.)

Ex. あの時は楽しかったね。

= Ano toki wa tanoshikatta ne.

= That was fun. / It was fun that time.
(When a speaker recalls an old memory.)

Ex. その節はお世話になりました。

= Sono setsu wa osewani narimashita.

= Thank you for the other day!
(When a speaker recalls a fairly recent event.)

However, in a lot of cases it is not always easy to know which one to use.
Sometimes It is determined by how the speaker feels about the event in terms of space, time and psychology.

Ex. A : あのパーティーは行ったの?

= Ano paatii wa itta no?

= Did you go to that party?

B : えっ?あのパーティーってどのパーティー?

= Eh? Ano paatii tte dono paatii?

= Umm? (“That party” means ) What party?

A : ほら、マギーのあの誕生日パーティー!

= Hora Maggie no ano tanjoubi paatii!

= I’m talking about that birthday party Maggie had!

B -1 :  ああ、そのパーティーだったら行かなかったよ。

= Aa sono paatii dattara ikanakatta yo.

= Oh, I didn’t go to that/the party.

or
B -2 :  ああ、あのパーティーだったら行かなかったよ。

= Aa ano paatii dattara ikanakatta yo.

= Oh, I didn’t go to that party.

Note : B-1, B-2 : If the listener sees the party distantly time-wise of psychologically they use あの = ano and if they  use それ =sore if they see it closer.
Once it appears in the conversation, however, the listener tends use その = sono or それ = sore.

Ex. A : 明日、誕生日パーティーを開くんだ。

= Ashita tanjoubi paatii wo hirakunda.

= I am going to have a birthday party tomorrow.

B : そのパーティーには何人位来るの?

= Sono paatii niwa nannin ku(gu)rai kuru no?

= How many people do you expect to come to the party?

A : まだわからない。でもこのパーティーの為に1ヶ月以上準備してるんだよ。

= Mada wakaranai. Demo kono paatii no tame ni ikkagetu ijou mo junbi shiterundayo.

= I don’t know yet. But I have been preparing for this party for over a month.

 

Note : The speaker A uses この ( = kono) or これ ( = kore0  because he sees it happening in his head right now. Thus which one to use is often determined by the speaker’s psychological distance to an event.

********************************************************

For intermediate level people, I will teach you one expression.

あれこれ = arekore = this or that, all sorts of (→We also say あれやこれや = areya koreya)

Ex. あれこれやってみたがだめだった。

= Are kore yatte mita ga damedatta.

= I tried many things but nothing worked.

Ex. あれこれ考えるだけ時間の無駄だ。

= Are kore kangaeru dake jikan no mudada.

= It is just waste of time kicking around things.

Ex. あれこれうるさく言わないで!

= Are kore urusaku iwanai de!
= Don’t nag!


マギー先生より = Maggie sensei yori = From Maggie-sensei

これは、私のおもちゃです。それもあれも全部私のおもちゃです。

= Kore wa watashi no omocha desu. Soremo aremo zennbu watashi no omocha desu.

= This is my toy. And that one and that one over there are all mine as well.

でも気分がいい時は貸してあげます。

= Demo kibun ga ii toki wa kashite agemasu.

= But I will share them with you when I am in a good mood.



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17 Comments

  1. i’ve never heard of 住まい or お住まい before, ちょっと説明してくれませんか?(´・ω・`)
    i also have learned こう、そう、ああ and どう before(ex: こういう、こうして- this way). They’re used to describe things in an abstract way right? can you please tell me about more of its uses or just examples 先生? (´ω`)

    1. @yzr

      住まい means where you live/ a house/housing/dwelling.
      So “Where do you live?” in Japanese is どこに住んでいますか?= Doko ni sunde imasu ka? But you can also ask
      お住まいはどちらですか?= Osumai wa dochira desuka?. It sounds more polite.

      Yes, こう, そう、ああ means this way, that way

      どうやるんですか? = How do you do that?
      こうやってください。= Do this way, please.

      こういう・そういう・ああいう also means “this kind of/that kind of/ such a ”
      こういう本がほしい= Koiuiu hon ga hoshii = I would like this kind of book. / a book like this.

        1. @yzr

          Hi yzr!
          この、その、あの just indicates an item/person depending on the distance from the speaker.
          こんな、そんな、あんな involves more emotions.
          こういう、そういう、ああいう means like this, like that, like that one (physically or mentally far from the speakers) or such ~
          Ex.こういうやり方 = such a way to deal with things

  2. Hi! Can I check with you, how do I say “I really love this, it is so cute!” in Japanese? (referring to a toy/pet)

    Thank you in advance!

    1. @Carmen

      Hi Carmen,
      In casual Japanese? There are many ways but if you are talking to your (young) friend, すごくいいね、めちゃ、かわいい!
      or (more formal) すごくかわいらしいですね。
      You could say 大好き for I really love this! but if it is obvious that you are talking about particular picture or pet/toy, you don’t need to say “this.”

  3. Again: Wow! Feel like I’m learning more in a few hours than in the last weeks. Thank you very much for your work!
    本当にTwitterのフォローしているデージャです。
    And I won’t stop :-)

    1. @Deja,

      Thank you for visiting again, Deja! やっぱり!!どこかで見たことある名前だなって..Hope you keep learning!

  4. 気分がいい so 気 like in “genki” ne~ I remember that lesson Maggie sensei taught me^^
    mou hontou ni ARGATOU m(_)m Maggie sensei is such a great teacher :)
    so how would u say “there are all sorts of lessons on Maggie Sensei’s site!” or would u not use あれこれ for that?^^
    and can u please tell me the main uses of the verb “ageru”? cause it can be used in a few ways ne? oshiete kudasai ^ ^
    mou ichido, hontou ni arigatou :)

    1. @Aki
      Hi, Aki! こちらこそ、いつも来てくれてありがと〜!
      there are all sorts of lessons on Maggie Sensei’s site!” → In this case マギー先生のサイトにはあらゆるレッスンがあります。 will be better.
      the verb あげる is difficult. Since I knew you would ask me, I already made this lesson for you a year ago! :)

      あげる、くれるLesson

  5. I left you a youtube message with the same thing before I scrolled down here like a true moron, so if you read that disregaurd this.
    In the *to define locations* segment you put socchi for the casual form of so a and do. If this is correct I’m sorry for wasting your time, but if not please edit it so people with less insight don’t learn wrong. Thanks for everything!

    1. @DrVoltage
      Oh, you are right!! I must have copied and paste the text.
      Thank you for spotting the mistakes. I fixed them.

      ありがとう!!

      1. It was nothing…I’m sure other people may have spotted it as well and just assumed. I just wanted to make sure if it was correct or not.
        Thank you for constantly working hard to help us learn!

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