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 ...
31
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4answers
9k views

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 ...
19
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1answer
505 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 ...
17
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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 ...
13
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3answers
3k views

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, ...
13
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3answers
525 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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4answers
891 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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1answer
356 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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2answers
498 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 ...
10
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3answers
535 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
400 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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5answers
669 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 ...
9
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1answer
246 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" ...
9
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2answers
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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. ...
8
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2answers
190 views

Combinatorical relative clauses

I have 3 sentences, each with relative clause as follows. By considering the English translation, is my understanding correct? A: 私が好きな女性はたばこを吸わない。 A': The woman who likes me does not smoke. ...
8
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2answers
249 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, ...
7
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4answers
5k 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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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
418 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
480 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
359 views

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
356 views

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 ...
6
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4answers
254 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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4answers
5k views

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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2answers
173 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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2answers
231 views

When do you mark きょう or other similar relative time expressions with は

I've been trying to make proper sentences using the word きょう when I realized that I'm not really actually sure when I'm suppose to mark it with は. I know relative time expressions tend to stand alone ...
6
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1answer
147 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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2answers
586 views

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 ...
5
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3answers
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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
369 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
120 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
224 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
5
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2answers
295 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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1answer
329 views

Does “私は山田さんが描きました。” make sense in Japanese?

Is this sentence put together correctly? I'm trying to say "I drew (name on person)" formally. Drew as in "drew a picture of". In this case I will be using Yamada-san as an example. 私は山田さんが描きました。 ...
5
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1answer
110 views

えらかない - strange conjugation of えらい

I understand that えらい is an adjective which means distinguished/famous etc. Then I came across this conversation 「おいらよりマシかぁ、なぁんだ、じゃあえらいなぁ。」 「別にえらかァないよ...」 "Preferable to me!? What! Well, ...
5
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2answers
316 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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1answer
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「私の緊張のあまり」 vs.「私は緊張のあまり」in this sentence?

sentence #1: 自分{じぶん}の番{ばん}が近{ちか}づいてきたとき、私{わたし}は緊張{きんちょう}のあまり頭{あたま}の中{なか}が真{ま}っ白{しろ}になってしまった。 sentence #2: 自分の番が近づいてきたとき、緊張のあまり、私は頭の中が真っ白になってしまった。 sentence #3: ...
5
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1answer
119 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!
5
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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
253 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?
4
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1answer
131 views

Grammatical construction「placeはsubplace、story」 as an introduction

In old stories I often find the following structure: general place は specific place 、 story unfolds for example: ① 江戸は芝、増上寺門前町で (例: ◯◯人が歩いた) ② 東海道は宮宿、ただいま名古屋市の熱田神宮辺で (例: ◯◯浪人の二人が出会った) I ...
4
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1answer
172 views

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
194 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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1answer
295 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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1answer
58 views

Grammar behind adverbs + は

This is the sentence in question: 寂しくはあったけれど... My impression is that it means "There was loneliness but" or "He/She/It was lonely but". However I don't understand the grammar behind it. It looks to ...
4
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2answers
250 views

Grammar behind a train transfer announcement

An example of a regular announcement on a train: 次は本町 本町 中央線 御堂筋線 は お乗り換えです My main concern here is the second は (in bold). It does not seem to be a topic marker, it does not seem to be a ...
4
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3answers
386 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
138 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
votes
1answer
268 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
votes
1answer
187 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 ...