kore, sore, are (これ、それ、あれ) Explained

These are grammatical words that seems to confuse people sometimes who study Japanese. It is different from English because you don’t need to refer objects in the same way. Let us try explain to you in the most basic and easiest way possible, because this isn’t actually a difficult thing at all in Japanese grammar. In fact, very easy. Basicly what I think the secret is to do, is just see it like ordinary words for your vocabulary and not something complex grammar that needs thinking all the time. Even if you get it wrong sometimes, you can get or correct yourself at the spot. What do we have? We got kore, sore, are. これ、それ、あれ。

The all are used to refer to an object when you are speaking about something. It doesn’t need to be a object per say, it can also be used for abstract meaning, which is very common as well. These are demonstrative pronouns for the speaker to use when talking about an objects position.

Meaning Kana Romaji
This これ kore
That それ sore
That (over there) あれ are

これ means this and should be used whenever you talk about something that is close to you.

それ means that. Further away from you and closer to a listener.

あれ means that also, but used when object is further away from both you and the listener.


Just like in English you can use this and that for abstract meanings such as when you talk about “this” when you mean the current; weather maybe, or your feelings for example. Maybe you want to express how great this is, so you comment: “this (これ) is awesome!” In Japanese, これは最高です!. To use that (それ), you could for example respond to someone that just said “this is awesome” with “that is not true” (それはうそです). What is more interesting is how あれ is used. Down below is a very helpful yet simple picture to put this words into imagination.

Kore Sore Are explanation