I am reading this article, however, I am not sure if I've already grasped that article correctly or not, so I really need someone to confirm whether my understanding is correct or not.

First question

  • Suppose I want to tell everyone a pen belongs to me by saying "これは私のペンです." so just in case I lost it somewhere and someone found it, he will know that pen is mine.

  • Suppose there are 2 pens on the floor and then I pick mine and say "これがわたしのペンです."

Did I grasp it correctly?

Second question

In that linked article there is an example "日本語が上手ですね!" Can I change it using は as in "あなたの日本語は上手ですね!" without changing the meaning?

  • Did I grasp it correctly? As you can tell from the length of the answers on the duplicate question, there can be no way to tell from two sentences whether you understood everything about は vs. が. Could you maybe try to ask a more concise question? For example, in which case が would be chosen over は to say that "this pen" rather than "that other pen" is "mine".
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 12:44
  • the problem is i am not sure whether i already understand it correctly or not. i had read that tread to be honest before I created this one. pardon me if i created wrong thread.
    – Kakashi
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 21:23
  • No, no problem. It's not a wrong thread. At the moment, I just don't see how it is different from the existing question. If you edit it to be different, we can reopen it.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 22:40
  • I just wanted someone can confirm my understanding after reading that tutorial so basically it's one step further after "looking explanation about the difference between ha and ga" since I am learning by myself and not taking class. not to mention there are something called "listener's expression" in each particles that made me need confirmation whether i already grasp it correctly or not. but if guys say it's duplicate so it's ok :)
    – Kakashi
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 6:13

1 Answer 1


The は can be used for comparing.
For example, saying あなたの日本語は上手ですね! means that your JAPANESE is good, unlike all your other languages. So the meaning is quite different.

To push it to the extreme, a girl might slap you if you say あなたの目はきれいです。Because in a way it implies that the rest of her body is not.

  • 1
    people keep telling が emphasize the subject really messing up my mind cause I understand it これがわたしのペンです it emphasize THAT pen is mine.
    – Kakashi
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 9:38
  • "If someone shows you 2 pens and ask you which one is yours, you would probably say これは私のペンです." but the article says "これがわたしのペンです。(showing which one is my pen.)". which one is better for that case? ga or wa?
    – Kakashi
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 9:47
  • for the most part, ga will be good. Unless you feel the need to compare it to another pen. I think if someone showed you 1 pen and ask you if this is your pen, you could say いいえ、これは私のペンではないです。 Then you would take out your own pen from your pocket, show it to him and say これは私のペンです! Therefor doing a comparison. Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 9:53
  • Really? "は" in あなたの日本語は上手ですね seems to be a topic maker, not comparing. It is no problem if we say あなたの日本語は上手ですね or あなたの目はきれいです. But, note that, if you emphasize "は", as like あなたの日本語“は”上手ですね, it changes into comparing, just as stack reader says. Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 11:50
  • The topic is あなた. if you use は before an adjective, it really feels like you emphasize on a comparison. Of course like you said, if you don't stress the は while talking then it won't feel like it, but if you don't stress it, there is pretty much no reason to use it... because it is not supposed to be the topic... I might be wrong but... that's what I was taught a long time ago. Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 12:17

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