I first learnt Ga as always attached to Arimasen so still trying to grasp the nuances when changed to a Wa.

From my understanding of Wa vs Ga differences, it's just simply a matter of topic vs subject marker but I find it pretty interchangeable. Sometimes they use Wa and sometimes Ga without any particular important distinction to make were they to use the other. Eg. 俺を逆らう力はない。

It feels like one of those things similar to desu node vs desu kara where one is supposedly focused on subject/topic when in reality people just focus on the formal/informal aspects and screw the subject/topic marker part for the most part.

  • 2
    There are more uses than just topic vs. subject japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/22/…
    – Leebo
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 21:30
  • I'm asking specifically for this combination where i find it to be interchangeable and would like clarification. I have no need for wa vs ga lists or how to use them in combination. What I ask is Wa and Ga used in isolation specific to this specific combination.
    – shoryuu
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 21:33
  • 1
    They are not interchangeable in the sense that the meaning wouldn't change.
    – Leebo
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 21:52
  • I realized I worded that a little ambiguously. I meant to say that they are not interchangeable, because the meaning would change if you replaced one for the other. So if one intends to retain the meaning, they cannot just switch to the other.
    – Leebo
    Commented Jul 5, 2019 at 2:38
  • 1
    You can't grasp the nuance of wa and ga only looking at a single sentence, because the grammar is for handling discourse flow. It's up to what you've said before and what you're going to say next. (What I can say for sure is that you must have one or more wa-marked item for the whole what you want to say.) Commented Jul 5, 2019 at 2:51

1 Answer 1


Since what you asked is when wa and ga followed by nai then the difference is in the nuances, I prefer to go with topic vs identifier particle.

The "ga" particle identifies a specific property of something while the "wa" particle is used only to bring up a new topic of conversation. So you can think that "ga" particle always answering a silent question. So its like

●okane ga nai(money is the thing that does not exist.)

●okane wa nai(as for money, does not exist.)

And about node and kara it almost interchangeable but like always they are exist thus the difference persist. "kara" explicitly states that the sentence preceding is the reason for something while "node" is merely putting two sentences together, the first with an explanatory tone. This is something called causation where "x" happened, therefore "y" happened. This is slightly different from "kara" where "y" happened explicitly because "x" happened. This difference tends to make "node" sound softer and slightly more polite and it is favored over "kara" when explaining a reason for doing something that is considered discourteous.

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