Every example I see with だれ and a copula has だれ placed at the end (あの方はだれですか。) Will changing the order to だれがあの方ですか。be acceptable or mean something else?

Also, how do I write "Who has A car?" I want to say だれがくるまがありますか but it looks odd having 2 が particles.

  • 1
    I would use どなた instead of だれ to go with the polite あの方. – l'électeur Nov 27 '13 at 2:41

I am a native Japanese speaker lived in Japan for 27 years but have never heard anyone saying だれがあの方ですか.  Let's say you and your listener have talked about a specific person "A" before and there are many people in front of you including the person "A." you want to know which one is A and then maybe you would say だれが”あの方” ですか referring the person A(=あの方) to ask? In that case, だれが例の方ですか is usually used though.

hope my English and explanation make sense...(^^;;;;

Whenever you are pointing one person and want to know who that person is, just use あの方はだれですか.

  • This IS the correct answer. – l'électeur Nov 25 '13 at 0:16

For the first question, no, you cannot reverse the word order. It becomes ungrammatical.

As for "Who has a car?", だれがくるまがありますか is fine even though this makes two s. Note that you can replace the first with if having two s bothers you.

だれくるまがありますか → "Unto whom is there a car" / Who has a car?

See this post for info on replacing with .

  • I don't think that it becomes ungrammatical. – user18597 Feb 18 '13 at 23:02
  • Same, it seems the meaning changes, like 例のあの人はこの人達の中でだれ – ssb Feb 18 '13 at 23:34
  • だれがあの方ですか is not ungrammatical, it just means something different. Granted, I can't think of a context where だれがあの方ですか would make sense, but that's not the same as being gramatically incorrect. – AmericanUmlaut Feb 20 '13 at 12:28

■ あの方はだれですか。
For example, you don't know the man. And you asked someone about it.

Who is that man? => あの方は、だれですか?
Who is he(she)? => 彼(彼女)は、だれですか?
What name is the man? => その方は、なんという名前ですか?

■ だれがあの方ですか。
For example, you know the man. But you've never met the man. And you asked someone about it.

Which man is John? => どの方が、Johnですか?
Which man is the man? => どの方が、その方ですか?
Where is the man? => その方は、どこですか?

■ だれがくるまがありますか
I think this is little wrong. But i can guess what you want to say.

だれがくるまをもっていますか? => Who has a car?


Will changing the order to だれがあの方ですか。be acceptable or mean something else?

Yes, it is OK to put "dare" like that. I think the meaning change can be translated like this:

誰がボスか。= who is the boss? (which one of these people is the boss?)

ボスは誰か。= who is the boss? (what is the identity of the boss?)

  • Wow, upvotes for complete bogus! – l'électeur Nov 25 '13 at 0:13

First of all, as you probably know question words like 誰、どこ、どれ、何、なぜ etc cannot be part of a topic (cannot come before は).


あの方 is your "topic" because you are moving the conversation topic to them when you are asking who they are.



While 誰があの人ですか is not technically grammatically incorrect, it is not properly worded because あの方 is your topic, and saying 誰があの方ですか sounds as if you're trying to say 誰はあの方ですか and remembered to change it back to が at the last minute.


Not technically grammatically incorrect, but here you would usually say 誰か、車がありますか?/誰かに車がありますか, because you're looking for a person who has a car, not the person who has the car.

Now, say you're looking down a car that is double parked and are angry. 誰の車ですか!Now this would be a little strange, but say you are in an isolated situation where there is a car and you are trying to figure out whose car it is and it can only be one of the four people sitting in front of you.

だれに車がありますか?"Who is it that has a car?"
だれかに車がありますか?"Who has a car?"

That's the nuance/difference there.

As for an example that uses 誰が... (unless you're using it in place of の - 誰がために働いていますか - "For whom are you working for?") - it would be hard to think of, as the topic is always the person you are asking about. If you insist on having 誰 come first: 誰ですかあの方は? but this really does make you sound angry because of the stress it puts on the 誰 ^o^;

  • "looking for a person who has a car, not the person who has the car" - are you emphasizing the "a person" vs "the person"? If so, please mark them with bold font. I'm not native english-speaker and I've noticed it only after third reading. It really looked like "looking for ABC, not ABC" :) – quetzalcoatl Nov 27 '13 at 22:27

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