助詞「は」. Indicates the topic of a sentence or shows contrast in the universe of discourse.

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What's the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)?

When is it correct to use は but not が, and when is it correct to use が but not は? Are there any times when you can use either without changing the meaning of the sentence? How does switching change ...
26
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4answers
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What is the difference between “に” and “には”?

The title should be pretty self-explanatory. What meanings does each convey? And in what kinds of circumstances would one be used instead of the other? For example, what are the differences between ...
16
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2answers
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When asking 'What is your name?' or 'What is your job?', why is it 'は' not 'か'?

As per the title, when asking 'What is your name?' or 'What is your job?', why is it 'は' not 'か'? For example, we are taught this: おしごとは。 'What is your job?' But I don't understand why it ...
14
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1answer
436 views

Why is the topic marker often used in negative statements (ではない, ~とは思わない)?

What function does は provide in statements such as 本ではない or 本だとは思わない? I notice the は after と is often left out, at least if a Google search for 思わない is any indication, but there still seems to be a ...
12
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4answers
726 views

Is the “wa-particle” in katakana ワ or ハ?

Is the "wa-particle" in katakana ワ or ハ? (Just a quick question - I think I have seen both used, but if ワ is correct then I have just seen the results of a computer o/p automatically using ハ)
12
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3answers
440 views

私は猫が好き and 猫は私が好き

I'm an absolute beginner. I've learned Japanese in my spare time for less than two months. This is my first question here. Even though I think this question is potentially trivial, it's perhaps the ...
12
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1answer
337 views

What is the implication when a gruff old man ends a sentence with わ?

In this question, it seems to me it was clearly established that わ, at the end of a sentence, is decidedly feminine. There was talk of a kansai-ben わ with slightly different implications, but still ...
11
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When women use わ at the end of a sentence, is it different from よ?

My understanding of using わ at the end of a sentence is that it's essentially just for emphasis, just like using よ, and that only women can use it. However, as far as I know, women can, and often do, ...
10
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3answers
505 views

Problems with は and が

Consider: [A] 猫が好きだ To me this means [A']"I like cats." Contrast this to: [B] 猫は好きだ To me this means [B']"I like cats (among other animals)" I based my understanding of [B] from Derek ...
9
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2answers
459 views

What is the nuance when は directly follows a verb in plain form?

It seems like this is a remnant of (or reference to) older forms of Japanese. Is that all there is to it, or does it have special meaning? Examples from songs: 歌声 笑い声 満ちる大空 目指すは憧れ ...
9
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2answers
300 views

〜くはない vs 〜くない in adjective negations

As I spend more time in Japan, I pick up habits that I'm not sure are good or bad. My question here is about nuance / occasion of usage. In formal contexts, how does the impression differ between ...
9
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1answer
236 views

What is じゃ in じゃない?

Since there is possibility of "じゃありません" instead of "じゃないです" (which is logical, given "ありません" is polite "ない"), and it also seemed that I have seen "じゃ" used without "ない", I'd like to ask, what "じゃ" ...
8
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5answers
604 views

A は/が difference [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What’s the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)? I've been trying to wrap my head around the は/が differences, and I'm trying to figure out the differences between the ...
8
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2answers
213 views

What is this form : Verb + はせん?

I am currently trying to read Bleach in Japanese. So far I haven't ran into any difficulty that a good dictionary cannot overcome. However in this particular scene I am puzzled by a particular scene, ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Can we have two thematic は particles in a sentence?

Good afternoon all, From what I understand, there are two types of は-particle: The thematic-は (topic-marker) which is used to introduce things into the universe of discourse. The contrastive-は. ...
7
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3answers
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What does the “〜やしない” conjugation mean?

In episode 76 of Fairy Tail, Gildarts said this to Natsu: 本気でそう思ったら、止めやしないよ。 (honki de sou omottara, tomeyashinai yo) Which was translated in the subtitle as: If that's what you honestly ...
7
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4answers
3k views

What is the difference between は and のは?

The following sentence means "seeing all the different foreign people was interesting." This, according to my Japanese friends is incorrect: 色々な外国人を見ているは面白かった。 ... and this is correct: ...
7
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394 views

Analyzing sentences like 日本がピンチだ and 明日は雨だ

How are sentences like 日本がピンチだ (Japan is in a pinch) and 明日は雨だ (tomorrow it will rain) analyzed? Translating them trivially, as 日本がピンチだ Japan is a pinch 明日は雨だ Tomorrow is rain doesn't make ...
7
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3answers
467 views

AはB emphasizing B, rather than A

There are quite a few comments on another question discussing the sentence 彼が持っているのは二百円です, in which the emphasis apparently falls on 二百円. I posted a comment asking if this could be explained as the ...
7
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2answers
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Difference between って and は as topic marker

I often see って being used to mark a topic, such as in the sentence 新宿ってどこ? I'm aware that this is more colloquial compared to the topic marker は. Other than the formality aspect, are って and は ...
6
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4answers
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What's the difference between -ga and -o when they are used to designate a direct object?

During the past month I've been addicted to Japanese. I've listened to about 10 online tutorial video courses and read about as much printed lessons. I am determined to learn Japanese, but I am really ...
6
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4answers
236 views

Topic は vs. direct object を for “I have never X”

The sentence pattern for "I have never X" is covered in this question: Is there a form for "I have never heard of"? However, I'm confused on which particle to use for the noun in this ...
6
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2answers
168 views

What purpose does は serve after へ in this sentence?

ところで、今週末のゴルフ大会へは行くんですか。 I feel I have a decent understanding of both of those particles, but I'm wondering how the meaning of the sentence changes with and without the は after へ. Thanks in advance.
6
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1answer
135 views

朝ご飯は vs. 朝ご飯に - difference between these two sentences?

I wanted to ask my language partner what he ate for breakfast. However, I was unsure whether what I said was correct despite him telling me that it's good - I would just like some verification. I ...
5
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3answers
3k views

How do I say “I am the best” ? の,は or が and 私 or 俺?

I'm making a shirt for a (rather egotistical) friend of mine and so am trying to do something with the slogan "I am the best" for fun. I need something with four characters only, and would like to ask ...
5
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1answer
358 views

I have no idea what this is saying. Can you have two topics in a sentence?

白い箱はカウチの上に緑のランプは机の上にあります。 This sentence looks like it has two topics in it. But when I try to translate it, it doesn't make sense (to me obviously). My direct translation is: A white box on top of ...
5
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1answer
105 views

連用形+は+せん (殺しはせん。) meaning? [duplicate]

The line 「殺しはせん。」 is said by a character in anime. What is せん here (I assume it's somehow related to negative form of する)? Plain negative (I'm not killing you)? Volitional neg. (I'm not intending to ...
5
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2answers
255 views

Use of が with certain adjectives

Recently, the が particle has been a little iffy for me especially with adjectives. Some nouns when modified by an adjective can seemingly use が and は interchangeably while others cannot, is this ...
5
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2answers
265 views

How to rephrase sentences with an ambiguous は to indicate the contrastive or thematic / 「主題」と「対比」の解釈の余地のある、あいまいな「は」の言い換え方

First, some background. My question is kind of an extension of this previously-answered question about the difference between は and が. While I am fairly clear on the different usages of は as a ...
5
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2answers
220 views

根も葉も火種も — is it proverbial?

I suspect「根も葉も火種も」 is an allusion to something I do not recognize. To what does it refer? Consider this couplet from an amusing song released in March by IOSYS called 「ステマの女」(CD and promotional ...
5
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1answer
236 views

Why is が used here?

I still have trouble with the は and が particles. ほどなくして神様達はこの下界に住み付いた。多くの神様達が永住することを決めたらしい。 Why does が have to be used here? What difference would it make if it were replaced with は instead?
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Rosetta Stone uses は instead of わ

Just started learning japanese again. My college offers no class on this so I am learning on my own. I have been using Rosetta Stone on and off again for awhile now. One this I have noticed is that ...
4
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4answers
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Shouldn't there be a のは in this sentence?

This is a an example sentence from a JLPT textbook to explain the use of たらしめる: 想像力{そうぞうりょく}こそ作品{さくひん}を芸術{げいじゅつ}たらしめる要素{ようそ}である。 I understand the meaning, which is something like, "The key ...
4
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1answer
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What is this や in 大きすぎや?

Is this a contraction along the same lines of なければ → なきゃ? 反乱を抑えるためだけが目的だとしたらリスクが大きすぎやしないか Also, can you contract 言えば or あれば?
4
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1answer
180 views

Why can は and を sometimes be used interchangeably?

For example: 肉は食べますが、すしを食べません。
4
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2answers
168 views

What does the word 「ありゃしねえ」mean?

It is a situation which a salesperson announces to a group of people to attract them to buy his goods. Here is the full sentence. こんなお買【か】いどくはどこの世【せ】界【かい】へいったって ありゃしねえよ
4
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1answer
250 views

Particle は VS の when identifying ownership with the verb ある

Quick basic grammar question. With respect to expressing ownership of an item using ある. Am I correctly understanding the general meaning and particle use in the following sentences? 私の辞書がありません → ...
4
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3answers
343 views

What is the difference between は and が in this sentence?

This is an example sentence from a set of learning materials called Kanji Odyssey 2001: 北極にはシロクマなど陸上の動物がいる。南極には陸上の動物はいない。 My question is about the bold. I understand the には I think because it is ...
4
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1answer
136 views

「~てはいただけません」- Why the は?

こんなちなみを ・・ ・・ ユルしてはいただけませんの? I'm playing Ace Attorney 3 (逆転裁判3), and there's a girl in the dock (ちなみ) giving evidence. She's just been found to be lying about something and is asking for ...
4
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263 views

文章の話題語の変化はどう解釈されていますか?

日本語では、話題語がとても重要だと考えられていると思います。文章で話題語がなければ、ほとんどの人には不自然、もしくは不快に聞こえると思います。 しかし、文章が一文より長い場合、話題語の選択は私にはかなり難しくなります。話題語をいつ変えればいいかがいつもよく分かりません。普段、直感的に選びますが、母語話者じゃありませんので、かなり危険なやり方だと思います。したがって、ある種の指針を求めています。 ...
4
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1answer
107 views

What does the は in this sentence do?

力任せに壁面に罅{ひび}を刻んでは一つ、また一つと体のパーツを外気に晒{さら}していく。 What does は do here? Is it contrasting? Thanks!
4
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1answer
160 views

Can を be used when asking for how many of an object?

First Japanese Stack Exchange question :D I'm reading a Japanese book and one of the chapter got me thinking. The book wrote it like this: How many pencils are there ? えんぴつはなんぼんですか。 Can we not ...
4
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1answer
476 views

Why is は appropriate for てはいけない?

Why does てはいけない use は? I know it's a construction, but where did it come from? て form verbs are not nouns, it doesn't make sense to me that は could be used with them.
4
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1answer
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What's the difference between ことがある or ことはある?

In Tae Kim's guide, he wrote a few example sentences: 徹夜して、宿題することはある。 一人で行くことはありません。 パリに行ったことはありますか。 お寿司を食べたことがある。 そういうのを見たことがなかった。 In these examples, I don't really understand why some sentences ...
4
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2answers
323 views

は can mean “at least?”

Can は mean "at least" in some situations? For example, 10回は="at least 10 times?" How does this work? This is an example: ...
3
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2answers
143 views

What does the 'あ' do in this sentence 「そいつあけっこうだね」?

I am not sure if the 'あ' being used instead of 'は' or there is a meaning in the word 'そいつあ'. In addition, is it possible that the 'あ' is a kind of particle or suffix?
3
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2answers
336 views

What does the word 「してやせんっ」mean?

I have came across the word in a manga. It is said by a boy who was talking about the future plan of selling prizes awarded from playing Pachinko. Here is the sentence including the word: いつまでも ...
3
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1answer
221 views

Is saying 「XはYは…」 acceptable?

In いっすんぼうし, a very popular fairy tale, this line appears: だいじんは からだは ちいさいけれど げんきな いっすんぼうしを たいそう きにいり じぶんの いえで はたらかせることにしました。 Is 「だいじんは からだは」 grammatically correct? What would be done to make ...
3
votes
2answers
289 views

Is は used when asking if something already discussed exists?

If I've talked about a thing before, and want to ask whether or not it exists in another place (or time), would I use "は"? For example, if I said "In Sydney, I saw a ryokan. Are there ryokans in ...
3
votes
3answers
162 views

Does the lack of は change the sentence?

So I saw this sentence: きのう初めておすしをたべました。 And wondered if the は is just being left out. Does the sentence change any if は is added in? Like so: きのうは初めておすしをたべました。