Language | WELL SAID

Speaking of that, 'sore' and 'kore' can come in very handy

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Contributing Writers

Karutago-tte iu resutoran ni itta-n-da kedo, sono mise, sugoku yokatta-n-da. (I went to a restaurant called Carthago and it was really good.)

Situation 1: Ms. Gray is telling her colleague, Ms. Tamachi, about a great restaurant that she went to.

グレイ: この前、カルタゴっていうレストランに行ったんだけど、その店、すごくよかったんだ。今度一緒に行こうよ。

田町: へえ、行ってみたい。それ、どこにあるの?

Gurei: Kono mae, Karutago-tte iu resutoran ni itta-n-da kedo, sono mise, sugoku yokatta-n-da. Kondo issho ni ikō yo.

Tamachi: Hee, itte-mitai. Sore, doko ni aru no?

Gray: I went to a restaurant called Carthago some time ago and it was really good. Let’s go together next time.

Tamachi: Ehh, I’d like to try going. Where is it (that)?

While we previously looked at demonstratives that begin with “あ” (あれ/あの/あんな), the “そ” and “こ” demonstratives also indicate things and people in a conversation. それ and その are used to refer to something that only one person in the conversation, the speaker or the listener, knows about. In this case, あれ and あの cannot be used.

In Ms. Gray’s remarks, she assumes that Ms. Tamachi does not know the restaurant and therefore refers to it as その店 (that store) on second reference. Since Ms. Tamachi indeed does not know what store Ms. Gray is referring to, when she responds she uses それ (that), not これ or あれ.

「高校生(こうこうせい)のころ、大阪(おおさか)に住(す)んでいたんだ。」 (“I lived in Osaka when I was a high school student.”) 「へえ、その話(はなし)、初(はじ)めて聞(き)いた。」 “Really? It’s the first time I’ve heard that [story].”)

これ and この can also refer to something mentioned by the speaker, but they’re used when the thing or person being talked about is emotionally close to the speaker. In other words, それ sounds objective while これ sounds subjective:

最近(さいきん)、近所(きんじょ)にコンビニができて、これがなかなか便利(べんり)なんです。 (A new convenience store opened in my neighborhood recently and it’s quite convenient.)

Situation 2: Takako, a junior high school student, is chatting with her classmate Yui.

ゆい: この話、先輩から聞いたんだけど、この学校には不思議な場所があるんだって。

たか子: ええっ、やだ!それ、こわい話でしょう?

Yui: Kono hanashi, senpai kara kiita-n-da kedo, kono gakkō ni wa fushigina basho ga aru-n-da-tte.

Takako: Ee, yada! Sore, kowai hanashi deshō?

Yui: I heard this story from a senior, though. She said there’s a mysterious spot in this school.

Takako: Oh no! That’s like a scary story, isn’t it?

これ and この can also indicate that the speaker is about to talk about something or someone, like when Yui sets up what she’s about to tell Takako by saying この話 (this story). You can also set something up by using このこと (this thing):

このことは秘密(ひみつ)にしてほしいんだけど、来月(らいげつ)、山田(やまだ)さんが会社(かいしゃ)を辞(や)めるんだ。 (I want you to keep this a secret, but Mr. Yamada is going to quit the company next month.)

Bonus Dialogue: Ms. Tamachi and Ms. Gray are gossiping about their co-worker, Ms. Hashimoto, who seems to have started a relationship with Mr. Mita.

田町(たまち): ねえ、これはここだけの話なんだけど、営業2部(えいぎょうにぶ)の橋本(はしもと)さん、三田(みた)さんとつきあっているんですって。

グレイ: ええっ、それ、ほんと?あんなにすてきな人(ひと)が三田さんと?きっかけは何(なん)なの?

田町: それは、よくわからないんだけど。グレイさん、何だと思(おも)う?

グレイ: うーん、SNSかな。最近、三田さん、自分(じぶん)がテニスをしているところをアップしているの。その写真(しゃしん)だけ見(み)ると、ちょっと錦織圭(にしこりけい)に似(に)ているところがあって。

田町: へえ、きっとそれだ。

グレイ: でも、つきあっているうちに、すぐにばれちゃうと思う。

田町: そうねえ。今度(こんど)もだめか。

Tamachi: Hey, this goes no further than here, but I heard Ms. Hashimoto from the No. 2 sales department is going out with Mr. Mita.

Gray: What! (That,) really? A nice person like that is with Mr. Mita? How’d they meet?

Tamachi: I don’t really know about that, though. Can you figure it out, Ms. Gray?

Gray: Hmm, perhaps SNS. Recently, Mr. Mita uploaded photos of himself playing tennis. When you look at just the pictures, he looks a little like Kei Nishikori at points.

Tamachi: Oh, that must be it.

Gray: However, in the time they’re going out together, I think he’ll totally reveal who he really is.

Tamachi: That’s right. This one’s gonna be no good, too.

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