1

こんにちは!

I'm having some trouble understanding why は is used in the following response, instead of が. If someone could please help, I'd really appreciate it.

おさけ を のんだ こと  あります か / O sake o nonda koto ga arimasu ka? Have you ever tried sake?

いいえ, おさけ を のんだ こと  あり ません / iie, o sake o nonda koto wa arimasen No, I've never drunk sake.

Several people have pointed out that two previously similar questions answer my question, but to me they don't. I'm still confused as to why が cannot be used in the second sentence. Here, は is not used as contrastive, but neutral so I now understand why it is used based on Naruto's response. But I still don't understand why using が would be incorrect.

I have only learned hiragana and katakana so far, as I'm a newbie, so if responses could take that into account, I'd really appreciate it.

ありがとうございます!

marked as duplicate by user3856370, Blavius, naruto grammar Jun 20 at 1:16

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.

  • Are you familiar with the contrastive function of は? – user3856370 Jun 19 at 18:33
  • Hello, Yes, I'm familiar with informal ない vs. formal ありません. Not sure what you mean when you say: Possible duplicate of たform+こと が/は(particle) ない? I've been studying for about 4 months now (using Rocket Japanese). My question is from a module where it doesn't clearly explain why one particle is used instead of the other in the sentence. – イ リ ニ Jun 19 at 19:00
  • Ok, so the link was really helpful as I didn't know about the contrastive function. Thanks so much for that as it's expanded my understanding of は. I'm still confused about: のんだ こと は あり ません / no, I've never drank as the sentence doesn't really show contrast. Why would it then use は? – イ リ ニ Jun 19 at 19:11
  • Well のんだことがありますか is a strange thing to ask anyway; everyone drinks, otherwise they die. If we take ちゃをのんだことがありますか as the question, then the answer のんだことはありません translates as "I've never drunk tea but ..." with an implication that they have drunk something else e.g. coffee. – user3856370 Jun 19 at 19:31
  • 1
    Naruto... ok, so in my example, は seems to be a neutral choice so that's why it was used. That explains things more clearly for me. But I guess that still doesn't really explain why が couldn't be used instead. – イ リ ニ Jun 20 at 16:16