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I read this Is it correct to say 私は二人のお兄さんがいる?

Yoichi Oishi: With the expression – “私は二人のおにいさんがいる,” your friend is right. “私は兄がいる” sounds somewhat awkward, and “私には兄がいる” sounds perfect.

and it says it's unnatural if you don't use には. But a lot of native speakers corrected my incorrect sentence of

彼に兄弟がいます。

to

①彼は兄弟がいます

Is there actually a に that is omitted in the corrected sentence so it is actually

②彼(に)は兄弟がいます

Native speaker told me

Either is natural. Strictly, ② is grammatically correct, I think, but ① is also commonly used. 🙂

So am I right to assume that ① is just used in casual settings?

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From goo辞書,

① 時・場所・対象、比較の基準など、格助詞「に」で示されるものに、特にとりたてる気持ちを表す係助詞「は」の意味が加えられる。

And, I prepare

-「僕(に/には/は)兄弟がいません、でも彼(に/には/は)二人兄弟がいます。」 : "I do not have any brothers, but he has two brothers."

This sentence basically comparing one's siblings status. I think all of に, には and は are interchangeable because it can imply comparison and also topic.

I mean repeating 「に」 twice sounds the sentence talks "comparison" and repeating 「は」 twice sounds the sentence talks "topic" and using 「には」 twice sounds the sentence talks topicalizing comparison. ( I think 僕は兄弟がいません、でも彼に二人兄弟がいます。is awkward. So, probably not repeating and mixing each (に/には/は) in the sentence makes it awkward without knowing the context. )

But, saying「彼に兄弟がいます」as stand-alone is a bit awkward since it should be used in a comparative structure.

Probably「彼は兄弟がいます」is bit abrupt to the native speaker's ear if you do not know what you are taking about.

I agree with 「彼には兄弟がいます」is natural since it can be start-point of comparison and topic.


We learn No1 as「早口{はやくち}言葉{ことば}」: "Tongue-twister". That's why I guess using「には」 sound natural.

  1. 「庭{にわ}には二羽{にわ}鶏{にわとり}がいる。」: "There are two chickens in the backyard."

  2. 「庭{にわ}二羽{にわ}鶏{にわとり}がいる。」: "Almost same as above."

  3. 「庭{にわ}二羽{にわ}鶏{にわとり}がいる。」: "Awkward without context, i.e why you are taking about the existence of two chickens."

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  • As far as I know 「は」 also means comparison (like here japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/46946/…), why is 「に」 also needed to mean comparison? – Mauro Apr 29 '20 at 8:26
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    @Mauro Thanks for the question. I'm bit confused, but I think「彼には兄弟がいます。」sounds natural when you want to start conversation if there is no context yet. So, at first you want to specify about who you want to talk. Using 「に」makes object(彼) more obvious at first. The particle 「に」tends to point out an object. I think that's why 「には」is more easier to use than 「は」. – kimi Tanaka Apr 29 '20 at 9:04

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