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63

は and が are a bit complex because they have several meanings, and some of the shades of meaning of wa and ga are a bit hard to distinguish casually. The best coverage of this that I have read is "The Structure of the Japanese Language" by Susumu Kuno(written in English). I'm going to attempt to synthesize some of that here, but Kuno's explanation is much ...


13

There is a class of Japanese verbs (and more generally, predicates) whose subjects and objects take が.[1] For example: あの学生がその本が要る。(Ano gakusei ga sono hon ga iru. "That student needs your book.") 猫が魚が好きだ。(Neko ga sakana ga suki da. "Cats like fish.") 私が日本語が分かる。 (Watashi ga nihongo ga wakaru. "I understand Japanese.") (Of couse, these がs can be replaced ...


12

If you already speak a little Japanese, compare these: Aiko-chan ga suki desu I like (love) Aiko. Aiko-chan wa suki desu Aiko likes it. I read a lot about this, theory about subjects and objects, but for some reason, this simple example (heard once I'd had a few months in Japan) most helped me to "get it".


12

In the が + potential construction, the focus is on the noun. 新聞が読める (what I am able to read is newspapers [as opposed to other written media]) ここで切符が買えますか (is this where tickets [as opposed to other items for sale] can be bought?) In the を + potential construction, the focus is on the entire phrase. 新聞を読める (what I am able to do is read ...


9

As @Flaw flawlessly explains, Japanese sentences can have clausal predicates. This is what causes what is commonly known as double-subject constructions, although I believe "clausal predicates" really illustrates the structure better. I assume you have heard constructions like 彼は髪が長い He has long hair Some teachers/textbooks might explain this away by ...


8

In my opinion, it is a bit of a mistake to think of は as being in opposition to が. There are times where は marks things that have nothing to do with the subject of the sentence. There are times where you have to choose between は and を for example. 今はどうしようかな? = What should I do now? Sometimes the は will be left off, but が could never be used here because ...


8

後ろに山が has been coordinated with 前に海が: 町の [ 後ろに 山が、 ]    [ 前に  海が  ] あって、素敵な町です。 One possible way to describe it is like this: Start with the following: [ 町の後ろに 山があって、 ]    [ 町の前に  海があって、 ]     素敵な町です。 Pull out 町の from the left side: 町の [ __後ろに 山があって、 ]    [ __前に  海があって、 ]     素敵な町です。 Pull out あって from the right ...


7

Here's the English equivalents for the IPA: [ɡ] = the 'g' in 'get' [ŋ] = the 'ng' in 'sing' The main difference is that [ŋ] is a nasal consonant, whereas [ɡ] is not. If you try plugging your nose and pronouncing [ŋ], you'll realize that it's not possible. That's because air must flow through the nasal passage, but not the oral passage, for [ŋ]. The ...


7

I mostly agree with YOU in that it is personal preference and perhaps more of a broad preference that may be more prevalent in different parts of Japan. I've also noticed that the "nga" pronunciation seems more common when が is spoken in places such as ですが where it often sounds something like desu-nga. In terms of a slightly more formal reference the English ...


7

A late answer, but I thought I'd throw it in anyway. As the others have said, they are allophones and mostly interchangeable. When I moved to Tokyo, I immediately noticed this sound. The strange thing was that getting other Japanese people to hear the difference was very difficult and it took some effort to find out what was going on. Apparently most are ...


7

I think this is how: Consider first Clause1: 家賃が安い. The structure is Subject1+が+Predicate1. Subject1: 家賃 Predicate1: 安い Now consider Clause2: (都心より)郊外のほうが家賃が安い. The structure is Subject2+が+Predicate2, where Predicate2 is Clause1. Subject2: 郊外のほう Predicate2: 家賃が安い Predicate: The part of a sentence or clause saying something about the subject


7

When you use "say" or "言う", the content of the speech is the most important. The existence of the physical sound/voice is not usually important, nor necessary. Dictionaries say so. 彼はブログで、そう言っていた。(≒彼のブログに、そう書いてあった。) On the other hand, when we use "声が出る" (intransitive) or "声を出す" (transitive), the existence of the physical sound is the most ...


6

This is a great question, and one of which I'm not sure I fully understand the nuances. But here goes: What I learned in my first Japanese class was the は/が for basic things like this: あの人は日本語がわかる → That guy understands Japanese. 友達は子供が3人います → My friend has 3 children. だれがこれが出来るか → Who can do this? Then I heard some people start using に and ...


6

Because 分かる is an intransitive verb meaning "to be understood". If you wanted to keep the structure as close as possible to the original, you could literally translate 私は日本語がわかります as "regarding me, Japanese is understood". But, as you may have noticed, English and Japanese seldom share the same sentence structure; in English the same concept is expressed by ...


6

"Ga" and "Nga" are same in Japanese, just a personal difference. Some used to say that old Japanese people used "Nga" more frequently than "Ga"


6

(The question was already essentially answered in comments by Chocolate and me, but I am posting an answer as an answer.) To answer the question literally, 試験に受かる (to pass an examination) is grammatical, but 試験が受かる is not grammatical, as Chocolate stated in her comment. But a more interesting part comes from your logic based on which you thought that ...


6

Particles have multiple uses or meanings. が can be used to mark the subject. However 好き【すき】 is an adjective not a verb. In this case が marks the target of 好き【すき】 which is cats. 1) 私は猫が好き 2) 猫は私が好き The pattern of these sentences is: Topic は target of adjective が adjective I(topic) like(adjective) cats(target of adjective). Cats(topic) ...


5

Perhaps part of the solution is the dropping of words assumed from context? 明日は雨だ → 明日(の天気)は雨だ You could consider this as a type of sentence known as "ウナギ文". http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/~ts/language/unagi.html - has a nice explanation (in Japanese), exemplified by the exchange (ordering in a restaurant): 甲: 僕は天丼にするよ。 乙: 僕はうなぎだ。 Here the second speaker ...


5

が simply marks a subject of a sentence, but your question is not really about the use of が. Note that 決定する has two usages: 〈人〉が〈事〉を決定する (transitive) and 〈事〉が決定する (intransitive). The former usage is similar to 決める, whereas the latter usage is similar to 決まる. When we say something was decided without a focus on who did it, it is more natural to use 決定する ...


5

It depends not only on the verb, but on the form of the verb. The general rule is that static verbs and adjectives take "ga" and "action verbs" take "o" on the direct object. piano-o hiku play the piano piano-ga hikeru can play the piano Here, playing the piano is an action, thus "o" is used. Being able to play the piano is a state, thus "ga" ...


5

In both cases, the natural particle choice would be 「は」. The speaker simply does not have enough reason to use「が」 in either of the two. You need a good reason to use 「が」 but J-learners tend to over-use it. "In Sydney, I saw a ryokan. Are there ryokans in Melbourne?" In this situation, the speaker does not know whether or not there are ryokan in ...


5

The nominalisation occurs with just の. を and が are case markers and the choice between them depends on the other part of the sentence; whether a verb that assigns a を argument is used, or a verbal nominal adjective (such as 好き that takes が for object marking1), or a stative clause. Verb: 宿題をするのを忘れた Verbal Nominal Adjective: 水を飲むのが好きです Stative verb: ...


5

Flaw's answer is of course correct, but here's another way to look at it. Start with a simple sentence like this: 犬{いぬ}が好{す}きだ。 "I like dogs." Since the predicate is a na-adjective, 好きだ, the object (犬) needs to be marked by が. (Your second sentence is ungrammatical for this reason, btw.) Then, if you want to say something like "I like running.", ...


5

Sentence 1) is easy — it clearly means "I like cats." Sentence 2) is more difficult, and has already generated complicated discussions about grammar elsewhere on this site. It's an unusual-looking sentence, and it's certainly not a normal way of saying "Cats like me." It could mean "I like cats." and I think that this is the most natural ...


4

I'd say using が particle with negative verbs is not unusual at all especially if it is exhaustive が usage. Consider if the question was: "I think you said before that your house doesn't have this one electrical appliances I've forgotten which one was it, was it TV, fridge or microwave?" To answer this question, you need to say something that say TV, out of ...


4

Since it doesn't teach "noun ga arimasen/imasen", I'm wondering if it's because that's not gramatically correct. It is correct. For example, どうしてさみしいですか? (Why are you sad?) 彼氏がいないので、さみしいです。 (I'm sad because I don't have a boyfriend) or 最近忙しくて、友達に会う時間がない。 (I've been too busy recently to see my mates) However, very often, when you state your ...


4

This is not as much of a newbie question as you might think. dainichi gave a good general rule-of-thumb, but at the risk of confusing you, I'd like to point out that there are many cases when を and が are actually interchangeable. For example, the sentence "I can play the piano" can be written either ピアノが弾【ひ】ける piano ga hikeru or ピアノを弾【ひ】ける ...



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