Up to now I've come to understand the meaning of these verbs. I understand when you are saying something exists somewhere you use the particle に to indicate where it exists, or someone having something.

In a recent question I asked about having something on your body, and now have come to understand you say something like: 「私には翼がある」(i have wings). After seeing this i feel how I've been using these verbs wrong when using them to mean 'have' in English.

To mark what would be the subject in an English sentence, would you have to use に?



I understand the implication of は and how it works with other particles. If it helps i'll make this a little more general. I've come to understand that は takes another part of the sentence and marks it as the 'topic' or 'scope' of the sentence. But something that has always confused me is when using phrases like: 数学が上手です、花があります and チョコレットが好きです。 Becase they mean: i am good at maths, there is a flower and i like chocolate. But when you are specifically introducing, who likes chocolate, who has the flower and who is good at maths because you are no longer the subject i've come to understand that in this case you use は and only は. I'm asking in the case of ある is it supposed to be に. becuase that intuitivelly makes sence for me:


because it is basically saying there is a pencil, on me. or maybe can be stretched to mean in my possession.

  • 1
    I feel like this is a duplicate. Have you tried searching? If so, please include your attempts.
    – binom
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 22:05
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    Possible duplicate of What is the difference between "に" and "には"?
    – user4032
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 1:35
  • does not answer my question. I'm not asking about the difference between に and には. I'm asking whether when you are talking about having, say, a pencil, and you want to specifically say 'Jhonny has a pencil'. Do you say ジョニーには or ジョニーは. Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 4:03
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    @Idunnowhattocallmyself It's very difficult to suggest a natural expression without detailed context.
    – user4092
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 10:03

1 Answer 1


[Edited to clarify answer]

は is the topic marker so you have been using it correctly.

If you use には、you are emphasizing what is the case for the particular subject of this sentence, but this might not apply to others. It implies a contrasting element by 'pointing' at the subject. Like saying "I have wings (but other people don't)". It stresses the fact that it is I who has wings. Without the に、it's a simple statement describing that fact without any other implications.

私はパソコンがある。I have a computer. (simple statement of fact)
私にはパソコンがある。I have a computer. (statement of fact+implying this isn't the case for someone else)

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    I'm a bit confused. Are you sure that it is に that introduces a contrast and not は? Maybe you mean the other way around? That is "without the it's a simple statement describing [...]"
    – Tommy
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 1:41
  • I thought you can never drop に? unless you change it depending on context. Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 4:56
  • I didn't mean that に introduces contrast. Think of には as a set phrase which has a different meaning to either は or に on their own. It implies that what is the case for the subject may not be the case for others.
    – kandyman
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 10:04

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