Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have stumbled upon instances where "は + verb" is used in situations where I thought "を + verb" should be used. For example, recently I've seen

I was prepared for that

don't choose an easy road

Is there a difference? And if there is, what's the "rule" when to use は instead of を?

share|improve this question
It's a question of emphasis. "I am prepared for that." "Do not choose the easy way." – Zhen Lin Jul 15 '14 at 18:17
up vote 0 down vote accepted

は is normally used a subject marker, but its also used for emphasis by slightly subverting its standard usage. When used this way, it's usually to show contrast the object with some other object. In your example sentence (その覚悟はしてました), the speaker indicates that they're prepared for the eventuality that their conversation partner just mentioned, but maybe not some others.

share|improve this answer
Okay. Thanks for the answer! – RadonBust Jul 15 '14 at 19:33
は is often a topic marker not a subject marker, that is が. – Tim Jul 15 '14 at 21:46

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.