my grandparents were Japanese


Senior Member

My grandparents are japanese = Ojiichan to obaachan wa nihonjin desu , right?

But I want to say My grandparents were japanese (´cause they´ve passed away). I want to know if it´s ok to say,

Ojiichan to obaachan wa nihonjin deshita ? :confused: It sounds a little rough for me.

What do you think? Thanks!
  • s_a_n_t_i

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Argentina)
    Yes is correct, but when you talk about YOUR grandparents, you must use 祖父 (sofu) for Grandfather and 祖母 (sobo) for Grandmother, or 祖父母 (sofubo) for both, replacing the 「私の」.

    So, it would be...
    sofu to sobo wa nihonjin deshita
    sofubo wa nihonjin deshita

    Best regards,

    pink dragon

    Hi westpia, your examples are both OK.

    In my opinion, "desu" is also OK , because it is considered in Japanese that passing away doesn't change your nationality.
    If you want to clarify that they have passed away, you could say "Ojiichan to obaachan wa nihonjin desu, mou nakunarimashitakedo (although they have passed away.)" :)

    As for s a n t i's comment...
    If you are an adult and talking formally, you should say "sofu to sobo" or "sofubo" instead of "ojiichan to obaachan".
    "Sofu to sobo" or "sofubo" is a formal way to say "ojiichan to obaachan".:)

    You can add or omit "watashino (my)" in both cases, although it sounds natural without "watasino" unless you want to clarify they are yours.


    Senior Member
    Sofu and sobo... yes, I was trying to remember this words :) Just a few years ago I was capable of a very decent conversation, but now... I can´t even name family members!

    Thanks s a n t i and pink dragon!


    Senior Member
    français Clodoaldien
    Santi is right .
    Ojiichan to obaachan will literally mean : Grand-dad and grandma, because of the chan (child-like) ending.Ojiisan to obaasan will be (my) grand-father and grand-mother.