For some reason I cannot seem to internalize は no matter what I do.
I received a great explanation 4-5 days ago on this site but I don't know why I can't internalize it no matter what.
While reading today I found と言えば and a question came into my mind.
If I used と言えば would the sentence change in meaning?


あいつは 相手が強ければ強いほど 負けまいとして

は somehow throws me off.

If I said:

あいつと言えば 相手が強ければ強いほど 負けまいとして

Would the meaning change?
Could I just use と言えば in my mind until は becomes natural or that would be a big mistake?

  • 1
    What is it that confuses you?
    – ishikun
    Oct 6, 2016 at 17:07
  • I am not sure to be honest. I "feel" it more natural if I use と言えば to specify the topic instead of は and I was asking if there is any difference at all or it would be ok if I kept using と言えば in my mind whenever I find は until it gets more natural to me.
    – Splikie
    Oct 6, 2016 at 17:09
  • I totally get that.. out of curiousity, how would you translate the sentence into English?? Maybe that would help in ironing it out
    – ishikun
    Oct 6, 2016 at 17:12
  • I am not sure how would I translate it literally since I kind of understand it how it is, but I would say something like:"The stronger the enemy the more he does not want to lose. That strenght is now backfiring at him". Is this correct?
    – Splikie
    Oct 6, 2016 at 17:16
  • Combination of any pronouns and …といえば may be pointless a little bit because it's like "Oh yeah it's xxx, when I hear that name, blah blah ...". What you really wanted could be (あいつ)と来たら… or something.
    – user4092
    Oct 6, 2016 at 23:52

1 Answer 1


If it helps you in understanding it then by all means! I usually think of は as "IS" in English but I can see why it can be confusing as a topic marker. For me, と言えば has the feeling of "speaking of someone, he is blah blah", but I don't think it really changes the meaning though.

This link also explains は as "As for subject", maybe that helps? Under that assumption then it is similar to と言えば.

  • と言えば has the feeling of "speaking of"; Tht is exactly how it feels to me too, but は does not. Maybe is because most of the times I find it "as a subject" and now it's hard to see it differently. Could you tell me more about how you se it as "IS"?
    – Splikie
    Oct 6, 2016 at 17:14
  • Let's talk in chat?? I don't really know how to explain it with references lol
    – ishikun
    Oct 6, 2016 at 17:17
  • Ok, how do we do that?
    – Splikie
    Oct 6, 2016 at 17:17

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