In my book, they translated it in to:

Konbini no hidari ushiro ni honya ga arimasu.

But from earlier examples of the book it should switch konbini with honya

honya no ... Konbini ga... .

the previus example is:

There is chair in front of the desk.

tsukue no mae ni isu ga arimasu.

Sorry if its a trivial question, but I can't wrap my head around it

  • 5
    Hmm? In your book they translate "There is a convenience store behind the bookstore on the left" to "Konbini no hidari ushiro ni honya ga arimasu" ? Shouldn't it be more like "Honya no hidari ushiro ni konbini ga arimasu" ?
    – Chocolate
    Jul 9, 2019 at 2:41
  • 1
    I just learned how to say "hidari ushiro" in English :D Jul 9, 2019 at 9:43
  • I am not an English native, therefore, or despite that fact ;-) I am having a hard time figuring out what the original English phrase means, esp as to the "on the left". If you are standing on "Main Street" and pointing at a book store being on left side of Main St as seen from you, would you use it to tell that the convenience store is further down Main Street (next to the book store), or, not along Main Street, but with the book store and the convenience store properties sharing a border on the back yard side of the book store. I guess in the latter case you would use うら(がわ) instead of うしろ.
    – Tuomo
    Jul 9, 2019 at 13:54
  • @Tuomo The sentence is ambiguous, so it's not surprising you're having a hard time. Behind could mean further down the street, but I think that is very unlikely. To me, 'behind' means that if I enter the bookstore at the front entrance and then exit at the back I will now be 'behind' the bookstore. The sentence could then mean that I will see the convenience store on my left. The sentence could equally well mean that I'm walking down Main street and see a bookstore on my left. If I then walk through the store and out of the back entrance I will see the convenience store directly ... Jul 11, 2019 at 7:32
  • ... in front of me. Does 左後 refer to the first of these cases? I've never seen this word used before. Jul 11, 2019 at 7:33

1 Answer 1


That reads funny to me. I should stress I'm not a native speaker, but my parsing for the textbook example goes as such:

Konbini no hidari ushiro ni [honya] ga arimasu.

...where the noun in brackets is the subject. In this case, a described 本屋{ほんや}(honya) is the subject, which isn't equivalent to the given English. As such, the example sentence of "There is a convenience store behind the bookstore on the left." doesn't align with the sample.

My crack at a sentence like this, to translate the English, would be:

Hidari ni aru honya no ushiro ni KONBINI ga arimasu.
There is a convenience store behind the bookstore on the left.

Explaining how I got there:

KONBINI ga arimasu.
There is a convenience store.

honya no ushiro ni KONBINI ga arimasu.
There is a convenience store behind the bookstore.

hidari ni aru honya
The bookstore on the left (noun phrase)

Then, replacing the simple 本屋{ほんや}(honya) noun with the noun phrase 左{ひだり}にある本屋{ほんや}(hidari ni aru honya) should give us our desired result.

  • thank you very much. I only learned using aru as arimasu for replacing desu in some cases, but I like this translation better
    – Ciff
    Jul 8, 2019 at 19:10
  • @Ciff This ある is the same, but you use the ます form at the end of the sentence. In this case, you can think of it like this: ひだりにあります -> "it is on the left"; ひだりにある -> "it is on the left"; ひだりにあるほんや -> "it is on the left" bookstore -> the bookstore on the left
    – psosuna
    Jul 8, 2019 at 19:51
  • 2
    I'd love to know what the down vote is for. This looks fine to me. "behind the bookstore on the left" is an ambiguous phrase, and you've chosen the other meaning, but I can't see why that would be a problem. Jul 9, 2019 at 7:20
  • @user3856370, we (and other Stack Overflow sites) suffer from certain users who appear to enjoy downvoting for no apparent reason. I agree that psosuna's answer appears to be both correct and relevant to the question, and that no downvote seems appropriate here. Jul 9, 2019 at 15:32
  • 1
    @psosuna (while not spelling it out, and while being new and naive on this site) I think that it is good that you can vote anonymously. While saying this, of course I also think of the risks of using bots "a la curl" to mess things up. Of course, the chance of sending a comment would not work on bots (at least in the way we wish).
    – Tuomo
    Jul 13, 2019 at 6:31

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