The meaning of sono (その、其の) in Japanese and how to use it

This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese word sono, including its Japanese definition and translation, example sentences, related expressions and more!

What does sono mean?

Sono (written その, or less commonly 其の) means that in Japanese. In this context, sono always precedes a noun. Therefore:

Sono neko (その猫) = That cat

Sono hito (その人) = That person

Also a filler

Sono also acts as a filler word similar to “err…” or “um…” in English. Japanese has a lot of other choices on this score (e.g., ano, etto)!

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at how to use sono in Japanese sentences.

To make it easier for you, I have written each sentence in full Japanese kanji on the first line, followed by roman letters (romaji), and hiragana, with the English meaning coming last.

Sono meaning 1: That

Sore is a useful word in Japanese which means "that"

Sono obasan wa dare dakke?
Who is that (older) woman, again?

Watashi wa yoku sono kouen ni iku.
I often go to that park.

Sono hi wa taisetsu na omoide desu.
That day is a precious memory.

Boku wa sono hito to hanashita koto ga nai.
I have not spoken with that person before.

Sore wa nani?

A similar term, sore (それ, 其れ; for pronunciation, think of the ‘r’ as being closer to an ‘l’ sound), also means that, but instead acts as a standalone word that is not followed by a noun (you often use sore when pointing at something nearby).

Sono meaning 2: “Err…”

Sore usually means "that" in Japanese, but it can also mean something like "hmm" or "err"

Sono can also be used as a filler like “err” or “hmm”. You’d be surprised how often you will hear Japanese people use this!

Sou desu ne… sono...nante ieba ii kana?
Let me see… should I put it?

Kinchou suru to “ano” toka “sono” mitai na kotoba wo itte shimau.
When I get nervous, I tend to say words like “ano” and “sono“.

Sono touri: That’s right

Sono touri (その通り、そのとおり)means that’s right or you’re correct. I recommend noting this one down as it’s a really useful phrase to know.

Masa ni sono touri!
Exactly so!