I was thinking, and I can't express the word "some" in Japanese.


  • There were some fruits on the table. (I would say "テーブルの上に果物があった)

Maybe 少しあった - but then I would translate as "there were few fruits".

  • There are some people here I know, and some I've never seen!

  • I still have some things to buy for that trip.

  • some of those CDs were broken.

  • we will have some news soon, just wait some minutes.

Yoroshiku! Thanks

  • I think there might be a little English grammar problem above. Particularly on your second example ("there are some people"): depending on what you are trying to say, 'some' might not be the proper word for it here.
    – Dave
    Jun 24, 2011 at 6:00
  • i dugged around and found these 2 words, though i'm not sure if they are widely used / suitable for this context: 若干, 多少. if someone could comment on them that'd be great!
    – Pacerier
    Jun 24, 2011 at 6:06
  • please try to format your question properly. Shorthand speak and cap-less English is OK for comments, but the questions are better to be readable if you want people to answer them. It doesn't take a lot of effort to hit the shift key a few times, and you'll save the nice people here helping you a lot of eyeaches. :)
    – Boaz Yaniv
    Jun 24, 2011 at 14:09

4 Answers 4


Basically, you don't say it, it would be the default situation. You would insist if there were only one, or a lot, by saying "部屋に人が一人います" or "テーブルの上に果物がたくさんあります。"

You may still say "いくつか" to mean "some", but it would even rather sound like "several": "テーブルの上に果物がいくつかある。"

So, to sum up: you don't have to emphasize it, it's already implied!

  • なるほどね~  Maybe there isnt a exact translation.. it depends on the context isnt it? ///thnks for ur comment! xDDD Jun 24, 2011 at 2:34
  • btw regarding いくつか is it true that it can only be used when it is several? in other words if our some is in the thousands we couldn't use いくつか ?
    – Pacerier
    Jun 24, 2011 at 5:44
  • @Pacerier: I don't know a grammar rule for it, but I would definitely agree. To say "there are hundreds of cats", I'd naturally say "猫が何百匹がいる"。Even just saying "人が何人もいる" would sound to me clearly more than just "there are some/a few people".
    – Axioplase
    Jun 24, 2011 at 6:57
  • @Axioplase what if someone asks you "are all of the movies on sale?" and you want to say "no, SOME of them are." how would you say this? maybe "no, not all of them are" or maybe "no, suuhon dake" or something like that? any ideas?
    – Axe
    May 29, 2013 at 17:09
  • @ogicu8abruok: I'd say "not all of them", or "ある映画だけ" or maybe "いいえ、違います。これとこれだけ" or something like that...
    – Axioplase
    Jun 20, 2013 at 20:06

The main (and most common) answer is: You don't say it. The same way there is no definite article in Japanese, indefinite (and by extension, vague quantifiers like 'some') can be omitted. Some verbal forms might help emphasise the idea of existence/quantity ('ある' instead of 'です' etc).

From your examples, though, it sounds like you are really trying to express "a few", rather than "some". In that case, you can sometimes use: 数【すう】(literally "a number of...") in front of the word. It does not work with everything, so be careful.

Typical uses of 数 include people (人) or units of time (日, 週, 年 etc.):

彼女には数人のペンフレンドがいる  "She has a few pen pals."

私はもう数週間滞在しています。 "I am staying for a few more weeks."

数分後に電話が鳴った。 "A few minutes later, the telephone rang."
  • i dugged around and found these two words: 若干, 多少. i was wondering are they ok to represent "some" ?
    – Pacerier
    Jun 24, 2011 at 6:07
  • @Pacerier: to quote Master Axioplase: use the context, young padawan. There's no way to tell if these words (that mean "a few"/"some" in some very specific contexts) would be OK for what you want. Rule of thumb is that they are probably not needed unless you know they are.
    – Dave
    Jun 24, 2011 at 11:44
  • ok noted.
    – Pacerier
    Jun 24, 2011 at 11:52

One option would be いくつか、何個か、何人か.



  • oh. got it! xD. thnks for ur comment! ^^ Jun 24, 2011 at 2:34
  • i dugged around and found these two words: 若干, 多少. i was wondering are they ok to represent "some" ?
    – Pacerier
    Jun 24, 2011 at 6:07
  • 若干 can contextually mean "quite (a lot)". 多少 is literally "more or less", that is, well, "some" or "a few", yes.
    – Axioplase
    Jun 24, 2011 at 6:59
  • Best answer. Simplest explanation. Used a lot.
    – istrasci
    Jun 24, 2011 at 14:18

This may be the case where there isn't a direct translation for "some".

for instance "I still have some things to buy for that trip." becomes 「旅行のためにまだ買うものが残っています。」

  • ah. そうですね~ わかった。 ・・・・でも、 「ちょっと」 は Ok? ~ちょっとマンガ持ってる。~ (あってるか?)I have some manga の意味 ・・・・・・・コメントありがとう~ Jun 24, 2011 at 2:12
  • "I would guess that the meaning of Some in english is included in the まだ part of the statement." I disagree with this. The presence of まだ does not imply any particular number of things.
    – Amanda S
    Jun 24, 2011 at 2:34
  • after thinking about it some more, ちょっとdoesn't really work. And you are right amanda, it is not まだ part that has the understanding of "some" but the sentence as a hole as axio pointed out. Post edited to remove these two points. Jun 24, 2011 at 2:48
  • i understood what u said about まだ. probably in this case, the meaning of "some" doesnt have a strong meaning - cuz if i said "i still have things to buy for that trip", ~some~ could be ommitted without much problem . so we dont need to say "some things" in japanese, cuz the strong word is まだ (in this case). Jun 24, 2011 at 2:56
  • yes, that's certainly one way to look at it daniel. Jun 24, 2011 at 3:25

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