One thing that I still don't exactly understand is when to use は when talking about doing things on a certain day.

For example,




Should the は be included or excluded from these sentences? Is there a specific situation where it should be included (besides emitting particles in a casual situation)?








  • thinking of は as "as for" can be helpful oftentimes Apr 27, 2015 at 16:45

4 Answers 4


Student who skip classes often uses 明日は学校に行く...

  • 明日学校に行きます I will go to school tomorrow.
  • 明日学校に行きます I will go to school tomorrow too.
  • 明日学校に行きます I will go to school at least tomorrow.

I think は in that sentence implies something.

  • (少なくとも)明日は
  • (今日はできなかったけど)明日は
  • (気が変わったので)明日は
  • ...

Also, it is often used to compare with other day (e.g. today).


We went to the movie theater today, so let's go the museum tomorrow.

You can omit は if you don't need other nuance or emphasis.


wa is often used to state a difference between 2 cases.
Example sakana ga suki desu. niku ha amari suki ja arimasen.

here you don't use niku ga , because you're stating a difference.

in your question, when you say kyou ha, you implicity compare to a different time period , let's say kinou.

so it's implicitly : Kinou , nanika wo shimashita. kyou wa ... It's like : But today I ...
I hope this clears this up to you. Cheers.


It's not different from general wa/ga problems.

  1. If you simply swear an idea of going to school tomorrow, it's (私は)明日学校へ行く.
  2. When you reply to the question "What will you do tomorrow?", then 明日は….
  3. When you want to limit the scope you are referring to, 明日は…
  4. You can't add は to a noun or an adverb in a conditional clause except adverbs that represent amount or number. So, "If you go tomorrow" should be 明日行けば.
  • for reply to "What will you do tomorrow?", "明日は" is often omitted because asker knows it well.
    – unarist
    Apr 28, 2015 at 12:28
  • Would you say that having は is more natural in the case of negative predicates? e.g.,「明日は学校に行かない。」. (There is also 「明日学校には行かない。」, but I think that sounds contrastive to me... maybe 「明日は学校には行かない。」 is the best. Confused :-) Apr 28, 2015 at 18:14
  • @unarist: Yes, nice follow-up.
    – user4092
    Apr 29, 2015 at 3:05
  • @Darius: Yes, kind of. Negative predicates are often accompanied with は, and that's, for the most part, a quirk. Without it, it's nothing.
    – user4092
    Apr 29, 2015 at 3:06

It depends when you are speaking about something with someone. When you often introduce a new topic or a base to speak about, you use は else you don't use it.

When you use は, you don't have to use it again as the listener already knows about the topic. You can speak about something related to the topic. When you change the subject, the subject marker が is used.

One thing to keep in mind about は, is to assume it as the English equivalent of 'as for' so when you say 明日は学校に行く, it translates to 'As for school, I will go tomorrow' or easily 'I will go to school tomorrow'. As you are talking about tomorrow, you can talk about meeting friends, or having lunch somewhere or anything which you will be doing tomorrow with the one you are speaking to, the listener knows you are talking about tomorrow, so you don't have to use は again.

  • The problem with the "as for" suggestion is that it is not natural English. No-one, ever, says "As for tomorrow, I will go to school". (I think your example is backwards, by the way, being more like 学校は、明日行く.) The は particle is a topic marker, and I think it is easier to learn it as such, rather than think of an awkward attempt at literal translation. Apr 28, 2015 at 8:56
  • You wrote "When you change the subject, the subject marker が is used", but that's not really true.
    – user4092
    Apr 28, 2015 at 9:50
  • @user4092 Actually, I wanted to say that 'you use the subject marker when you specify the subject, and while changing the subject, you can use it again for different subject'. How come?
    – moefetish
    Apr 28, 2015 at 13:24
  • @BrianChandler I agree with you, however the topic can be anything if you look at it that way. I didn't wanted to literally translate it but to give an idea to beginners as I myself learned it that way. I know one shouldn't rely on it but someone starts learning Japanese, it is very confusing to grasp the topic and subject marker. It is the most basic yet difficult grammar to get used to, as Japanese is very flexible due to particles.
    – moefetish
    Apr 28, 2015 at 13:29

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