ko_ a_ so_ ko_ a_ so_ あ そ こ あ そ こ - edrdg

Using abstract k o _ そo _ a _ in conversations
Design : Masako Ban
While talking with a friend about a new sushiya (sushi restaurant) over the phone, we both began to feel like
eating sushi. He said, "jaa, ano sushiya de shichi-ji ni " over the phone, but when I went to the new sushi
place he didn't show up. I was worried so I called him. He then said, "Huh? Where are you, now? I'm waiting
for you at the sushiya!" When I told him I was at the new sushiya, he said, "itsumono ano sushiya desu
yo!" (I'm at the sushiya we usually go to!) On the phone, I had talked about the new sushiya, so I was sure
we were going to that one. Ms. Hirayama, why on earth did he go to the sushiya we usually go even though
he did not mention it by name?
◆"ko_, so_, a_" are used when abstract matters or things
that cannot be seen directly are discussed.◆
(Here I explain part of typical usage.)
Let's practice!
ano sakana
Talking about a time that A and B
experienced together
(あの時 ano toki)
★“a_” is used when you are
talking to yourself or writing in your
diary, etc.
(in diary) It has been one year since
(あれから1年... arekara ichi-nen...)
II) When the speaker is not familiar with the subject,
he uses "so_."
sono hito
? ?
Since both of them know the sushi restaurant, they know what
they are talking about without naming it.
昨日 (1)寿司屋に行きました。
kino- (1)sushiya ni ikimashita
When discussing a person whom the
speaker does not know (or who
cannot be seen), he uses "the
person" (その人 sono hito)
I went to the sushi restaurant
★When the speaker is not familiar
with the subject at first, but starts to
feel "as if he knows it" while talking
about it, he starts using "ko_."
speaker listener
その件 sono ken→ as if he knows
it → この件 kono ken
colleague :
You :
colleague :
You :
No, I don't. Where is it?
いいえ、 you は
know the place wa doko ni arimasu ka?
It's near the Kiyomizudera temple.
How can I get there?
(4)mise wa itsumo kondemasu
This restaurant is always crowded.
colleague :
You :
kino- sushi o tabemashita
■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
You :
I had sushi yesterday. This (that)
sushi restaurant serves delicious sushi.
(The speaker knows of the restaurant.)
When he feels that the subject becomes the main topic while discussing it, he starts to use "ko_."
(3)mise wa zasshi ni yoku norimasu
This restaurant has appeared in
magazines many times.
(1)kono (2)sono
は どんな所ですか?
wa donna tokoro desu ka?
(3)kono (4)kono
A few weeks later
■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
I went to the Gion last week.
It's a beautiful place, isn't it?
your colleague and
you know the place
(1) sushiya wa oishi desu yo
Is this restaurant famous?
What kind of place is it?
(4)mise wa yu-me- desu ka?
You can take a taxi from the train station.
you don't
know the place
(1)ano (2)ano (3)kono (4)kono
Let's practice! Either one of them is familiar with the subject
(2)mise wa doko ni arimasu ka?
には どのように行きますか?
niwa donoyo-ni ikimasu ka?
(3) mise wa yasui desu yo ne
This restaurant is cheap,
isn't it?
Do you know the Gion in Kyo-to?
you don't
know the place
When the subject becomes the main topic in the middle of conversation, "ko_" is used.
(The listener does not know it.)
A subject or issue that the speaker
knows but the listener does not is
"this matter," (この件 kono ken), "this
issue" (この問題 kono mondai)
The sushi restaurant serves
delicious sushi, doesn't it?
Where is the restaurant?
Visiting Kyo-to
(2)sushiya wa oishi desu yo ne
III) When the speaker is familiar with the subject but
the listener is not, he uses "ko_."
? ?
Put one proper pronoun in the box.
kono sakana
The problem you faced was probably caused by a misunderstanding of
the usage of "ko_, so_, a_" which are used for abstract matters or things that
cannot be seen directly. They may seem simple, but can be confusing in
Even advanced students become confused and cause
misunderstandings, and their Japanese sounds very poor when they get the
usage wrong. If you master this lesson, your Japanese sounds much better!
Both A and B know the subject
I) When both A and B know the subject, they use "a_".
5-minute Japanese Class by Hitomi Hirayama
は きれいないい所ですね。
wa kire- na ii tokoro desu ne
■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
talking to yourself
■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
I can't find my cell phone! I wonder if I dropped it that time?
携帯がない! that
ke- tai ga nai!
toki ni otoshita nokana ?
Or, maybe at that temple?
それとも 寺かな…?
tera kana.......?
(1) sore
(2) soko
(3) soko
(4) asoko (5) ano
(6) ano
With cooperation from Yasuhiro Koga
Copyright 2006 The Yomiuri Shimbun