What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

Question Impersonal sentences

Eiga

Registered
Joined
4 Oct 2019
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Hello, everyone!

Are there impersonal pronouns in Japanese? 'It', 'there is/are' - can they be translated? Or they don't exist in Japanese language?
For example,
- It's raining.
- It's a good idea.
- It's 4 o'clock.
- There is a book on the table.

Is there a pronoun for animals? For example,

- This is a cat. IT has white fur.
 

bentenmusume

やれやれ
Contributor
Joined
12 Oct 2004
Messages
1,008
Reaction score
732
Pronouns exist in Japanese, but they are used far, far more rarely then they are in languages like English (or French), in part because Japanese has no grammatical requirement that the subject in a sentence be explicitly stated.

For all of the example sentences you gave, the most natural Japanese translation simply would not contain a word that corresponds to "it".

It's raining.
雨が降っています。 Ame ga futte imasu.
(lit., "Rain is falling.")

It's a good idea.
いい考え(アイデア)です。 Ii kangae (or "aidea") desu.
(lit., "It's a good idea", but the function of "it" is incorporated in the copula "desu"; there is no pronoun in this sentence.)

It's 4 o'clock.
4時です。Yo-ji desu.
(grammatically identical to the second sentence)

There is a book on the table.
テーブルの上に本があります。 Te-buru no ue ni hon ga arimasu.
(lit. "A book (inanimately) exists on the table.")

This is a cat. It has white fur.
これは猫です。毛が白いです。 Kore wa neko desu. Ke ga shiroi desu.
(pattern of the second sentence again similar to the two sentences above that also end with "desu")

There are pronouns in Japanese (これ/それ/あれ meaning this/that. 彼女/彼 meaning she/he) but they are only used when semantically necessary. Basically, any time a pronoun like "it" is being used simply to fill English (or another language)'s grammatical need for a subject, etc., it will almost invariably not exist in the corresponding Japanese utterance.
 

Eiga

Registered
Joined
4 Oct 2019
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Thank you very much! Now I understand.
 
Top Bottom