3. The verb to be

Learn Japanese
Lesson 3: The verb to be

In this lesson you will learn the sentences in the table below. Above the kanji are some hiragana that show how the kanji is pronounced.

Since you don't know all hiragana characters yet, you can also see a romanization below the Japanese sentences. When asked to translate an English sentence into Japanese while practicing, you can write in the latin alphabet using this romanization.

English Japanese
It's a mountain. やまです。
yama desu.
It's a tree. です。
ki desu.
It's a person. ひとです。
hito desu.

The verb "To be"

The verb to be is です in Japanese. As you can see in the example sentences, verbs come at the end of the sentence. です is the neutral/formal form of to be. Later in this course, you will learn how to speak in a more casual way.

Omission of the subject

In Japanese, the subject is often omitted. In the Japanese translations, the English word it cannot be found.


Note that the word a is not translated into Japanese. Japanese does not have articles like the and a(n) in English.

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