1

Person A: どんな ときに しゅくだいを する ことが できませんか?

Person B: きょうしつで とか かいしゃでは できません。

I understand what 「で」is doing (indicating the place) but what about 'wa' in this case?

thanks in advance

marked as duplicate by Chocolate, l'électeur, macraf, Dono, Earthliŋ Dec 4 '17 at 11:20

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

-1

Indicating the topic. 会社では as for at the company, I can't study.

Why do I need to input 30 characters?

-1

Like Fireheart said, は is indicating the topic, but I'd like to expand a little bit to explain why it's there.

First, let's go back to the question that was asked:

どんな ときに しゅくだいを する ことが できませんか?

Though there isn't a は in the sentence, the gist of the question can be understood as "When/In what situations can you not do your homework?" As Speaker B (and presumably you) understand, the answer to the question is going to primarily consist of times/places - they will be the topic of the answer. As such, Speaker B replies:

きょうしつで とか かいしゃでは できません。

とか here is acting like や to indicate an incomplete list of situations, so for simplicity's sake let's think of きょうしつで とか かいしゃでは as one unit (I'll use かいしゃでは), but remember that you generally need to add で to the end of each entry.

かいしゃでは できません。"When you're at work you can't do [your homework]."

Is what we end up with. It might seem like は isn't doing a ton here, but consider the nuance of the alternative:

かいしゃで できません。 "You can't do [your homework] at work."

Though this isn't wrong per se, it's not responding directly to the question that was asked ("When can't you do your homework?") by marking the answer's salient information.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.