I have some troubles understanding those particles 【では】、【には】、【とは】 etc.

I completely understand and can use 【での】、【のに】 etc., but when 【は】 follows one other, I can't figure out how to use it and how to fully understand it.

Just now, I heard in the anime called "Fate/stay night UBW":


The context is : A fight between 2 people that have already fought in the past, so they've already encountered each other's techniques and spells and know most of them. There is a spell that "B" knows about and "A" uses an updated version of it against "B", so he's like what the hell? And he says:


At that moment, I didn't have any problem understanding the sentence, and I felt like saying 【とは】 was like a shortcut, that it was like saying:


So if I'm right, it's exactly the same for 【では】 and 【には】 right?

I have a Japanese friend who I often talk to, and I often use these double particles but without really thinking, and here is an example conversation:

彼女 : このバンドは日本に人気だよ!
彼女 : フランスには人気なの?
俺 : フランスには超人気!

Seems to be a boring talk but whatever lol, she says that this band is popular in Japan, then to avoid repeating herself, and add some contrast, she says:

As for in France, are they popular 

Is what I'm saying correct?

And also, I have another question, if for example I want to tell the state of something, like "In France it's normal", what could I say? I would not be able to choose between:


I don't see the difference, can someone help me out please, thank you!

  • I guess "俺の知ってるとは違う!" should read "俺の知ってるのとは違う!", "このバンドは日本に人気だよ" should read "このバンドは日本では人気だよ" , "フランスには人気なの?" should read "フランスでは人気なの?" and "フランスには超人気!" should read "フランスでは超人気!".
    – eltonjohn
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 11:34
  • I know neither of the anime and her, but I think I'd only say 俺の知ってるとは違う and フランスは人気なの. Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 11:36
  • Thanks I kind of understand why you would say so. So actually 【では】 and 【には】 are just used exactly the same way as 【で】 and 【に】 with the contrastive particle 【は】? Or are there some exceptions? And if I said : 【フランスで人気だ】 would it be correct to say "it's popular in france"? So with states we only use 【で】...
    – Tchang
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 11:44
  • I wrote an lang-8 article about it. lang-8.com/1258954/journals/… If it will help...
    – user4092
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 2:54
  • 1
    Perhaps she said 日本には人気だよ
    – Yang Muye
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 7:39

2 Answers 2



Here, the particle と needs to follow a 体言, such as の (nominalizer), もの, 魔法, etc., so you can say:

or 俺の知ってる魔法とは違う!

The は is the "contrastive は" (取り立て助詞), not the subject particle. The subject for the 違う is not 俺の知ってる魔法(the spell that I know) but "the spell that you just used", i.e. "an updated version of it". It's saying 「(その魔法が/は*)俺の知ってるものとは違う」, "It (=the spell you just used) is different from the one I know." (*が = the subject particle, は = the topic particle)

彼女 : このバンドは日本に人気だよ!
彼女 : フランスには人気なの?
俺 : フランスには超人気!

You would normally say them this way:

彼女 : このバンドは日本人気だよ!(This band is popular in Japan.)
彼女 : フランスでは人気なの? (As for in France, it is popular?)
俺 : フランスでは/でも超人気!(As for in France, / Also in France, ...)

「~人気だ」「~有名だ」「~知られている」 can mean "is popular/famous/known in (place)" (as in the conversation above) and "is popular/famous/known for (reason)", e.g. 「浜名湖はウナギ有名だ」「カリフォルニアはフルーツの生産知られている」

「~人気だ」「~知られている」 normally mean "is popular among (people)" "is known to (people)", e.g. 「アニメは若者人気だ」「その作品は世界中の人知られている」

For "In France it's normal":


I would say the former.

Roughly speaking, で indicates the location where an action takes place (eg. フランスで勉強する) and に indicates the direction of an action (eg. フランスに行く), but there are exceptions such as ~にある、~にいる、~に住む etc.


は is a subject marker and emphasises what one is talking about. However, there is no requirement that the subject that preceds the は need be noun. It can also be a prepositional phrase.

彼女 : フランスには人気なの?
俺 : フランスには超人気!

Taking your example. フランスには、is marking the subject of the phrase. It would be similar to the difference between these two phrases.

In France, this is a very popular band. 
This band is very popular in France.

In English (similar to Japanese) what comes first (or in Japanese before the は) is given more focus to the reader/listener.

Hope this helps!

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