N5 Grammar – ここ and こちら

Welcome everyone, this is Mac with another N5 Grammar Lesson from JLPT Boot Camp. Last episode, we learned about our first two sets of こ, そ, あ, ど words. Today, we are going learn how to use a few more sets of these valuable words. We are going to look at a few, very short exchanges. Let’s give it a try.

Conversation 1 (0:25)

Matt and Yu are enjoying a meal at a nice restaurant. They are friends, so they will be using the casual form.

Yu:   ここは りょうりが おいしい。
           Kokowa   ryouriga        oishii.
           Here the cooking is delicious.

Matt: そうですね。
             Soudesune.
             Yeah it is.

Breaking that down, Yu says ここ, here, は, the topic marking particle, りょうり, cooking or food, が, subject marking particle, and finally おいしい, delicious. All together, she says “The food here is delicious”.

Matt responds with そうですね, and this is a phrase that you can use to agree politely.

Today, we are going over the こ, そ, あ, ど words for locations. Let’s go over them quickly. ここ – here, or a location near the speaker; そこ – there, or a location near the listener; あそこ – over there, or a location away from both speaker and listener. Let’s give it a try. Can you say “there is a restroom over there”? Remember that we use the に particle to mark the location of something. And the word for restroom in Japanese is トイレ.

トイレは あそこに あります。
Toirewa   asokoni      arimasu.
There is a toilet over there.

Let’s go over that quickly. トイレ, toilet, は, the topic marking particle, あそこ, over there, に, a particle used to mark a location or time, and finally あります, the polite non-past form of ある, to exist (for inanimate objects).

Conversation 2 (2:12)

Let’s go back to our friends at the restaurant.

Matt:   おかねが ない。ぎんこうは どこ。
               Okanega nai.  Ginkouwa doko.
              (I) don’t have money.  Where is the bank?

Yu:       あそこよ。はやく。
               Asokoyo.  Hayaku.
              Over there.  Hurry!

Sounds like Matt’s got some problems! Let’s break that down, おかね, money, が, the subject marking particle, ない, the casual non-past form of ある, to exist (for inanimate objects), then ぎんこう, bank, は, the topic marking particle, and finally どこ, where. All together, he says “(I) don’t have money. (lit., money doesn’t exist.) Where is the bank?”

Yu responds with あそこ, over there, よ, a particle used for emphasis. Next sentence, はやく, the adverb form of はやい, fast. All together, she says “over there. Hurry!” Although there isn’t a verb in Yu’s last sentence, it is implied that she wants him to do something fast because she used the adverb form of はやい, fast.

You can use どこto ask where. There are two common sentence patterns you can use with どこ. If you want to know the location of something we can use the following form:

Place + は + どこですか

For example, if you want to know where the post office is, you can ask:

ゆうびんきょくは どこですか。
Yuubinkyokuwa     dokodesuka.
Where is the post office?

You can also use it in the place of anywhere a location would go in a sentence. For example to ask where someone is going, you can ask:

どこに きますか。
Dokoni   ikimasuka.
Where are (you) going?

Or, where someone ate:

どこで べましたか。
Dokode  tabemashitaka.
Which do (you) want to eat?

Let’s give it a try. Can you ask “Where is the station?”

えきは どこですか。
Ekiwa  dokodesuka.
Where is the station?

Exactly!

Conversation 3 (4:38)

Let’s go back to our friend Matt and his quest to find the bank.

Matt:   ATMは どこですか。
                        Eetiiemu   dokodesuka.
                       Where is the ATM?

Clerk:           こちらへ どうぞ。
                         Kochirahe  douzo.
                        This way, please.

Breaking that down, Matt says ATM, ATM, は, the topic marking particle, どこ, where, です, the copula, and finally か, the question marking particle. All together, he is asking “Where is the ATM?”.

A clerk responds with こちら, this way, へ, a particle that marks the direction of movement, どうぞ, can mean here you go, but in this situation, you can think of it as ‘please’.So all together, the clerk is saying “This way please.”

Now, the clerk is using a slightly different set of こ, そ, あ, ど words. This set refers to directions and not locations. Since directions are generally more ambiguous and indirect than specific locations, these words are considered more polite. They can also be used to refer to people in a polite way. こちら can have the meaning of ‘here’, ‘I’, or ‘this direction’. そちら can have the meaning of ‘there’, ‘you (the listener)’, or ‘that direction’. And finally あちら can mean ‘over there’, or ‘over in that direction’. It is usually not used to refer to a person.

Let’s give it a try. Can you introduce your colleague named Mr.Tanaka? Hint: In English, you would say “This is Mr.Tanaka”.

こちらは 田中たなかさんです。
Kochirawa  Tanakasandesu.
This is Mr. Tanaka.

Let’s go over it quickly, こちら, this direction (referring to the person you are pointing your hand at), は, the topic marking particle, 田中たなかさん, Mr. Tanaka, and finally です, the copula.

Conversation 4 (6:55)

Now, Matt and Yu are leaving in a taxi.

Yu:         どちらへ。
                 Dochirahe.
                 Where to? (lit., In which direction?)

Matt:    大阪駅おおさかえき おねがいします。
                Oosakaeki onegaishimasu.
                Osaka Station, please.

The cab driver uses a common expression here – どちらへ. どちら means which direction, and へ is a particle that marks the direction of movement. All together he is literally asking “in which direction?”. However, this is really an indirect polite way to ask where someone wants to go.

Matt responds with 大阪駅, Osaka station, おねがいします, please. All together, Osaka station please.

Matt was using どちら, which way. This is very indirect and so is a very polite way to ask where, or actually which person. For example, if you would like to ask who is calling you can use the following:

どちらさま でしょうか。
Dochirasama  deshouka.
Who is (it)?

Going over that quickly, どちら, which way, さま, a polite suffix similar to Mr./Mrs., でしょう, is a very polite form of です, the copula, and finally か, the question marking particle.

どちら can be used in place of どこ (where) in a lot of situations to make the question a lot more formal. If you add の to the end of it, it can be used in place of どの to make a question more formal like below:

どちらの クレジットカードを つかいますか。
Dochirano    kurejittokaadowo       tsukaimasuka.
Which credit card are (you) going to use?

The following sentence means the same thing, but is slightly more casual:

どのクレジットカードを つかいますか。
Donokurejittokaadowo        tsukaimasuka.
Which credit card are (you) going to use?

There are also casual versions of こちら, そちら, あちら, どちら:

こっち = こちら
Kocchi = kochira
This way

そっち = そちら
Socchi = sochira
That way

あっち = あちら
Acchi = achira
Over there

どっち = どちら
Docchi = dochira
Which way?

These can be used in more casual conversations.

All right let’s check your understanding with a pop quiz.

Pop Quiz (9:12)

Can you tell me the following in Japanese?

The post office is over there. (polite)

Answer:

ゆうびんきょくは あそこです。
Yuubinkyokuwa        asokodesu.

For “the post office is over there”, you would say “ゆうびんきょくは あそこです” in Japanese. Breaking that down, ゆうびんきょく, post office, は, the topic marking particle, あそこ, over there, and finally です, the copula.

Where is the train station? (polite)

Answer:

えきは どこですか。
Ekiwa dokodesuka.

For “where is the train station?”, you would say “えきは どこですか” in Japanese. Breaking that down, えき, station, は, the topic marking particle, どこ, where, です, the copula, and finally か, the question marking particle.

This is Bob. (polite)

Answer:

こちらは ボブです。
Kochirawa bobudesu.

For “this is Bob”, you would say “こちらは ボッブです” in Japanese. Breaking that down, こちら, this way, は, the topic marking particle, ボッブ, Bob, and finally です, the copula.

Which do you like? (polite)

Answer:

どちらが すきですか。
Dochiraga   sukidesuka.

For “which do you like?”, you would say “どちらが すきですか” in Japanese. Breaking that down, どちら, which, が, the subject marking particle, すき, liked, です, the copula, and finally か, the question marking particle.

Review

Today, we went over two more sets of こ, そ, あ, ど. The first one is used for places. ここ – here, or a location near the speaker; そこ – there, or a location near the listener; あそこ – over there, or a location away from both speaker and listener. どこ – to ask where something is.

The other set is more polite and indirect. こちら can have the meaning of ‘here’, ‘I’, or ‘this direction’. そちら can have the meaning of ‘there’, ‘you (the listener)’, or ‘that direction’. And finally あちら can mean ‘over there’, or ‘over in that direction’. It is usually not used to refer to a person. どちら can be used in very polite situations to ask where or to ask which person. It can also be used with the の particle to have the same meaning as どの, but more polite.

There are also casual versions of こちら, そちら, あちら and どちら – こっち, そっち, あっち, and どっち.

That’s it for this episode. For notes and more practice with the grammar point, stop by the JLPT Boot Camp courses site. There you can find quizzes, study guides for this grammar point and every grammar point covered in the videos. You can also get all of your questions answered you might have. Just leave me a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Sarah October 15, 2019, 5:10 pm

    I think there is a little translation mistake in conversation 3 (Yu’s text definitely means something else, I think). 🙂

    • Clayton MacKnight October 15, 2019, 11:22 pm

      Oh boy, that was a glaring mistake. こちらへ どうぞ definitely doesn’t mean “But, that cake is a little big”. I most have been asleep when I was proofing this. Thanks!

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