How does one refer to 'it' in Japanese? Is there an equivalent word?

I've seen a few different terms used in place of 'it' - sore (それ) - suki (すき)

My context is for saying things such as:

'It's cold.'

'What is it?

'How long will it be?'

'It's very pretty.

I want to be able to refer to things without having to extend my sentences - rather than saying 'the weather is cold', 'the tree is very pretty', etc.



1 Answer 1


There is no word for 'it'. Japanese is a very contextual language and the 'it' will be inferred from context.

To take some of your examples, if you are walking down the street and you say "it's cold" your friend will know what you mean without talking about weather. The 'it' adds absolutely no new/useful information. Similarly, if you say 寒{さむ}いですね your Japanese friend will equally understand.

If you say "it's pretty" in English that means nothing to anyone. You must have established a context in your conversation before this sentence makes sense, e.g. "Look at that flower. It's pretty". In this context you can just say きれいだ and it will make sense. These are complete sentences in Japanese.

BTW すき means 'like'. It isn't a pronoun.

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