I've just started learning Japanese. And these sentences from Minna No Nihongo N5 book lesson 3, are confusing me.

What's the name of your school?

Romanji: Gakku wa doko desu ka.

In my understanding, the statement is about asking "Where is the school?". Similarly;

What company do you work for?

Kaisha wa dochari desu ka (given as answer) should mean "Where is the company?"

  • 1
    Even in English if someone asks me where I go to school, I would answer with the name of the school, not its location...
    – By137
    Jan 8, 2021 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


You're right that "Gakkou wa doko desu ka" literally means where is the school, but in English if someone said "where did you go to school?" you wouldn't say "second on the left from the butcher's", you'd give the name. Same applies in Japanese.

The same applies to "Kaisha wa dochira desu ka". dochira has multiple meanings, but in this case it's just a politer form of doko.

Please note the following typos in your question. They may just be slips, but I'm pointing them out in case you are actively learning them incorrectly:

  1. romanji -> romaji
  2. gakku -> gakkou
  3. dochari -> dochira

Also, the sooner you make the switch from romaji to Japanese the better.

  • Thanks for the corrections. Yes, they were some slips. However, "where did you go to school?" and "Where is school?" are different. Would it be correct to say, "Where is (your) school?". But "your" is optional? Jan 8, 2021 at 11:03
  • Yes that would be a fair interpretation. You'll soon come to learn that Japanese tends to omit pronouns (such as 'your') when they are obvious from the context. Adding them when they are not needed will make your Japanese sound unnatural. Jan 8, 2021 at 11:17

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