I'm aware that I can say "お茶を飲みます。" (with the particle "を") to convey the meaning "I drink tea." in the sense of indicating that an action is taking place.

However, I'd like to know if I can also say "お茶は飲みます。" (with the particle "は") to convey "I drink tea." in the sense of "Drinking tea is something I generally do." If not, what would I say to distinguish between the two meanings?

(This question was inspired by the Duolingo exercise at https://www.duolingo.com/comment/26545844. Surprisingly, I can't find any articles directly comparing "を" and "は".)


2 Answers 2


To say "drinking tea is something I generally do", you can use 普段 with お茶を飲みます: (私は)普段お茶を飲みます. This is perfectly natural.

However, if you instead use は, like (普段)お茶は飲みます, it strongly implies that you like tea but hate some of others. Because of the reason, a sentence like お茶はのみます is often used with another sentence that explains what the others. For example, you can say "お茶は飲みますがコーヒーは嫌いです" and "お茶は飲みますが、家で飲むのはそれだけですね".


You theoretically could say お茶は飲みます, but in practice it’s almost always just 飲みます, because the は and everything before it got dropped.

If you’re ever in a situation where you’re not sure if you could use は don’t and just use を

  • 1
    You're telling me that to say "Drinking tea is something I generally do." is normally stated as "I drink." without further qualification. Sorry, but I can't buy into this answer. May 10, 2018 at 6:08
  • No. I was just talking about the sentence structure, not the translation of it. But yes, it’s a real possibility that I drink tea gets shortened to 飲みます May 10, 2018 at 6:27

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