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


If it's は, does omitting は change the meaning in verb-te~はいる? And also, could you talk about what いる is doing?

If it's はいる, in what sense would you describe はいる's usage?

Also, as I googled for more examples, I noticed there was a general pattern of てはいる[が・けど・ものの]、... Is there something to this?

share|improve this question
up vote 8 down vote accepted

It's the 助詞 "は". I'll leave it to the linguists for a technical description, but the practical effect is to emphasize the verb. "Although I do know cigarettes are bad for my body, I pretty much can't quit."

share|improve this answer
This は is contrastive topic. 'As for understanding that cigarettes are bad for health, I do understand, but (for practicing that), I cannot quit it.' – user458 Sep 22 '11 at 5:35
@sawa - Thanks, sawa. I don't quite understand what you mean by "(for practicing that)". Could you put it in different words? Also, is there a grammatical term in Japanese for "contrastive topic は"? – rdb Sep 22 '11 at 6:22
Will 'putting it to practice' be understandable? I am not sure how 'contrastive topic' will be translated to Japanese, but a straightforward one will be '対比的主題'. – user458 Sep 22 '11 at 6:31
@sawa - Thanks, I see what you mean now. The phrase would be "putting it in(to) practice". It's idiomatic. – rdb Sep 22 '11 at 7:02

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.