Can anyone explain the difference between the three sentences below and also the use of the grammar?

  1. わたしのがっこう は 日本人の せんせい が います。

  2. わたしのがっこう に 日本人の せんせい が います。

  3. わたしのがっこう には 日本人の せんせい が います。


2 Answers 2


Simply speaking, for this example, は emphasizes the topic of the sentence, に emphasizes the concept of location, and には emphasizes the location as the topic.

Translating your three examples, which correspond to は, に, and には, we get:

  1. On the topic of my school (がっこう は), there is a Japanese teacher.
  2. At my school (がっこう に), there is a Japanese teacher.
  3. On the topic of (the location that is) at my school (がっこう には), there is a Japanese teacher.

All three are grammatically correct, but have slightly different nuances to them.

  • 2
    Actually, が is a subject marker. When the same noun phrase is semantically both topic and subject, the が is 'hidden' by convention. However I am not sure that is what is happening here. There is already a が marked subject 先生が and 学校 feels like 'just' a topic, not a topic + 2nd subject. Jul 23, 2016 at 6:31
  • 1
    @WeirdlyCheezy You are correct, I confused subject with topic. Editing answer to correct my mistake.
    – SSTTLL
    Jul 23, 2016 at 7:34

Grammatical explanation is this は in your sentence is a topic marker, this に is used as a postpositional particle which indicate place and this には is a compound word of に and は and this は is emphasis.

If you use は as a topic marker, the meaning of the sentence 1 and 2 is almost same but if you can use は as contrast and emphasis, the sentence 1 and 3 have the meaning.

  • には can be simply topicalization of に, in short this は can be still a topic marker.
    – user4092
    Jul 23, 2016 at 7:26
  • @user4092 The idea about this is always difference between I and you and we discussed about this before, so we don't need to discuss about this any more. And a dictionary say that. dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/167736/meaning/m0u/%E3%81%AB%E3%81%AF Jul 23, 2016 at 7:43
  • It looks like the information you are hoping to convey is useful, but the last sentence is a little confusing to me grammatically. Would you be willing to give me a Japanese version of that sentence so I can confirm my understanding? Jul 23, 2016 at 11:30
  • Yes. もし、"は"を話題の提示として使うなら、1と2の文はほぼ同じ意味となり、もし、"は"を対比と強調として使うなら、1と3の文は、その意味を持つ. Is my English wrong? Jul 23, 2016 at 12:03
  • @YuuichiTam I wrote it for other users to read.
    – user4092
    Jul 24, 2016 at 4:02

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