My question is kinda simple (I hope).

When somebody asks you, for example:


Can you answer:


Or do you use:


Can you also explain why that is, because I'm a little bit confused. Does the same thing happen with で->では, へ->へは?

  • Please remember that not everyone here is a native English speaker. I've updated your wording to make it more reader friendly. Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 16:39
  • See here, here, and here. There are probably more.
    – BJCUAI
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 20:46

1 Answer 1


Both work fine, but the focus of the answer would be different.


I think this answer would be more "direct". The question is "Is there a TV in the dorm?". A direct answer for this question would be "はい、テレビ台所にあります。", or simply "台所にあります。" with テレビ as the implied topic. After directly answering the question, 部屋にはありません follows, which is an optional piece of information.


This answer sounds like you have already noticed that the questioner actually wants a TV in his personal room. By adding the contrastive-wa in the first half of the sentence, you signal that "there is a TV in the kitchen, but that's probably not what you want". As a consequence, (テレビは)部屋にはありません gets more focused.

More simply put, 台所にあります sufficiently works as a straight answer to the question, whereas 台所にあります sounds like "Yes, there is, at least in the kitchen".

Note that those explicit は after 台所に/部屋に are all contrastive-wa. The implied topic is always テレビ(は) throughout the conversation. In different contexts, は directly after ~に can safely work as a topic marker. See: は、には、に。。。what is the difference between them?


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