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Lesson 5: When Is Your Birthday?


  1. Affirmative (yes) and negative (no) sentences
    You have already learned how to make a sentence with desu (to be):

    Watashi wa Lucy Kent desu.
    I am Lucy Kent.
    But the negative form of desu is a little different from the negative verbs you learned in Lesson 4. Let's take a look at how to make the negative form of the sentence, "I am 13 years old":

    Juusansai desu.
    [I] am 13 years old.

    Juusansai dewa arimasen.
    [I] am not 13 years old.

    Here are some more examples of sentences that use desu, and their negative forms:

    Kyoo wa getsuyoobi desu.
    Today is Monday.

    Kayoobi dewa arimasen.
    [It] is not Tuesday.

    Ashita wa kinyoobi desu ka.
    Is tomorrow Friday?

    Iie, kayoobi desu.
    No, [it] is Tuesday.

    Kyoo wa yasumi desu.
    Today is a holiday.
  2. Days and dates
    Saying a date in Japanese is much like saying it in English: You just put the day of the month after the month itself. For instance, if today's date were November 11, you would say:

    Kyoo wa juuichigatsu juuichinichi desu.
    As you have already learned, it's easy to make a question out of the sentence by adding a :

    Kyoo wa juuichigatsu juuichinichi desu ka?
    Kyoo wa juuichigatsu juuichinichi desu ka?

    If you want to ask today's date, or what day of the week it is, you use the word [nan, the alternate form of the word "what"] and add either [nichi], if you want to know the date, or [yobi] if you would like to find the day of the week:
    Kyoo wa nannichi desu ka.
    Kyoo wa nanyoobi desu ka.
    Kyoo wa nanyoobi desu ka?
  3. Asking people's ages
    [sai] is a counter for age-you add it to a number to express how many years old someone is. Like the words in 3-2, you can add "what" to this word to ask how old a person is: [nansai].

    Nansai desu ka.
    How old are you?

    Lucy wa juusansai desu.
    Lucy is 13 years old.
  4. When?
    In Lesson 2 you learned how to ask someone's name: Namae wa nan desu ka. Now let's take a look at how to ask someone's birthday using the word [itsu], "when":

    Tanjoobi wa itsu desu ka?
    When is [your] birthday?

    Hachigatsu yokka desu.
    August fourth.
  5. time particle [ni]
    [ni ] has a function similar to in, on, or at in English. If you do something at a certain time, or on a certain day, you put [ni] after the time or day to express that.

    Nichiyoobi ni tenisu o shimashita.
    I played tennis on Sunday.