Forum Rocket Japanese Japanese Grammar "~imasu" and singularity/plurality (re: Lesson 1.7)

"~imasu" and singularity/plurality (re: Lesson 1.7)



Konnichi wa.

In lesson 1.7, under the "~imasu" section, there are two examples:

Nihon jin imasu ka?
Is there a Japanese person?

Neko imasu ka?
Are there cats?

Why are the given translations in singular and plural, respectively? Couldn't they also be translated in reverse?

Said differently, suppose I, an English-speaker from the US, were to be invited somewhere in Japan and I want to know if other Americans will be there. Would I ask "Amerika jin imasu ka"? I feel uncomfortable as a foreigner so I want to know if there will be many Americans there. But my question doesn't clarify that even though, theoretically, it seems, based on the above two examples, my question could be interpreted that way. When the one inviting me responds by simply saying "Hai," without asking for clarification, how would I ever know that there will be one other American or many Americans?

Arigato gozaimasu.


Japanese nouns do not have separate singular and plural forms. You need to use adjectives,  adverbs or counters to indicate how many.

One way to ask if there will be a large number of people is to say:
大勢 の アメリカ人が います か。
おおぜい の アメリカじん が います か。
oozei no amerikajin ga imasu ka?
Will there be a large number of Americans?

You can also use たくさん / takusan in place of おおぜい / oozei .

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