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Take the following sentence. 人は魚が好きだ. I thought this meant "Person is likable fish" (I'm new at this) I was told it meant "People like fish" Why?

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AはBが好き/嫌いだ means A likes/dislikes B.

は indicates the theme and が indicate the subject, it litteraly means "About A : B is liked".

There are many adjectives that follow this pattern in which what would be the direct object in english is the subject in japanese.

私は彼が羨ましい。

I envy him. "To me, he is enviable."

Not strictly an answer to your question but the AはBが + adjective structure is also used in many cases where the verb "to have" would be used in english.

あの女の子は背が高い。

That girl is tall. "That girl has a tall height (back)", "About that girl, her height is tall."

犬は鼻が長い。

Dogs have long noses.

  • Thanks. Can now differentiate between wa and ga as well. – Jeffery Opoku-Mensah Feb 17 '15 at 14:19

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