I'm beginning my study of Japanese grammar and am unclear as to the difference between the following interrogative structures. Is one more correct than the other in asking where something specific is? Sorry if this is a dumb question, I'm learning on my own... >< Help appreciated!

  1. いしかわさんのうちはどこですか
  2. いしかわさんのうちはどこにありますか
  • @Alice28 Please write answers in the answer box.
    – user1478
    May 31, 2016 at 8:38
  • @snail plane there is already accepted answer :) It's just additional comments for a more simplified version. And i wasn't sure but i saw many people write answers on comments... So i follow it...
    – Alice28
    May 31, 2016 at 12:33

1 Answer 1


Well, basically there is no difference. A subtle difference could be that one sentence is a nominal construction (名詞文{めいしぶん}) and the other a verb construction (動詞文{どうしぶん}).

For example:

  1. いしかわさんのうちはどこですか。

Answer: いしかわさんのうちはそこです。

This is a nominal construction. Even the question is nominal in this case. On the other hand

  1. いしかわさんのうちはどこにありますか。

Answer: いしかわさんのうちはそこにあります。

「ある」here is the verb, and hence this is a verb construction (as well as the question is).

Notice that one key here is to know that 「です」 is the polite version of the auxiliary verb「だ」and is actually not a verb.

Another difference could be the following. In case 1. who is asking probably knows that there is such a house somewhere and wants to know where it is exactly. In the second case he might not know whether such house exists or not and is asking where he can find one. (Since we are talking about a private house here maybe this makes little sense, but if you think about the same sentence with a Macdonald instead Ishikawa's house, this difference might be easier to grasp).

There are similar answers and more info here as well.

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