it happens a lot that I'm not sure which of the two is the more correct one. を marks the object and が the subject, I know that. still I get them wrong because it's not that simple, maybe there some specific grammar rules that could help to understand better their usage?

  • 2
    In my experience of learning Japanese, there is no hard-and-fast grammar rule that will help you learn when to use each one. They don't directly map to English subjects and objects, either, because of how a lot of verbs are structured.
    – Cat
    Mar 21, 2015 at 23:39

1 Answer 1


を is put right after object, and が is put right after subject, and they are not exchangeable, or the meaning will be changed.

This kind of stuff is really confusing at first, but the most important thing you should remember is the most common character you should put right after subject is "は", and the one right after object is "を".

[私]{わたし}[車]{くるま}を[運]{うん}[転]{てん}します。 I drive a car.

You can use が, instead of は, if the subject is the only answer. Say, if someone ask you who drive this car, and you want answer it is you. You can say,

[私]{わたし}この[車]{くるま}を[運]{うん}[転]{てん}します。 I drive this car.

In this case, が is proper but は. If you use は in this case, it sounds like the car is shared by many people and you are one of them who drive it.

Here is another example, if you want introduce yourself as an manager. You can say,

[私]{わたし}マネージャーです。 I am an manager.

But if you are asked by a person "who is the manager here?" And you are the manager you should answer

[私]{わたし}マネージャーです。 I am the manager.

You should use が in this case because [私]{わたし} is the only answer the person want.

I'm not sure why you think you can use を instead of が, but I guess it is because Japanese can omit subject, verb, or object when it is clear.

If you are asked if you play tennis like this:

あなたはテニスをしますか? Do you play tennis?

All the following answer is correct:

  1. [私]{わたし}はテニスをします。 (no words are omitted)
  2. [私]{わたし}はします。 (object テニスを is omitted)
  3. テニスをします。 (subject [私]{わたし}は is omitted)
  4. します。 (subject [私]{わたし}は and object テニスを are omitted)

You even can omit both subject and object because it is clear they are talking about if you do tennis or not. The most important thing is that if you omit something, it is assumed that you are talking about the same subject and/or object.

If you want to answer you don't play tennis, but he does, you can answer:

私はしません。[彼]{かれ}がします。 I don't play. He does.

Note that テニスを was omitted in above sentences. The full sentences will be: 私はテニスをしません。[彼]{かれ}がテニスをします。You can omit テニスを because the object haven't changed.

If you want to answer you don't play tennis but baseball, you can answer,

テニスをしません。[野]{や}[球]{きゅう}をします。 I don't play tennis, I play baseball.

Note that 私は is omitted in above sentences. The full sentences will be: 私はテニスをしません。[私]{わたし}は[野]{や}[球]{きゅう}をします。You can omit subject [私]{わたし}は because the subject haven't changed here.

If you answer [彼]{かれ}します。, instead of [彼]{かれ}します。, the meaning changed into like "I play him." It sounds like there is a sports called [彼]{かれ} and you play it. Here is why:

[彼]{かれ} is an object because there is を right after [彼]{かれ}, and します is a verb. So there is no subject, and it will assumed there is the same subject as the question. So the subject automatically become "[私]{わたし}は", and the complete sentence will be [私]は[彼]{かれ}します。(I play him.)

And if you answer [野]{や}[球]{きゅう}します。, instead of [野]{や}[球]{きゅう}します。, the meaning will change to "Baseball play tennis." It sounds like there is a person that his/her name is [野]{や}[球]{きゅう}, and he/she play tennis. Here is why:

[野]{や}[球]{きゅう} is the a subject because there is が right after it, and します is a verb. So object is omitted, and it will assumed that there is the same object as question. So the object automatically become "テニスが", and the complete sentence will be [野]{や}[球]{きゅう}がテニスをします。(Baseball play tennis.)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .