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So, I think that I'm not alone when it comes to being confused about when は and が are supposed to be used, but here I would like to ask about a specific example

浅野君は(私に)かわいい手袋を編んでくれた
 x
浅野君が(私に)かわいい手袋を編んでくれた

Is there a difference in both phrases? As far as I know (please correct me if I'm wrong), は is used to talk about already mentioned topics, while が is used to talk about new topics.

  • The second sentence isn't necessarily wrong, it just depends on what you're trying to convey. The first sentence is simply stating a fact, whereas the second sentence adds some nuance, perhaps that you're really happy that Asano knitted a pair of gloves for you. – JansthcirlU Jul 6 at 8:20
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A proper noun like 浅野君 is usually considered always in the discourse (i.e., there is no "an 浅野君"), but there are times when you have to use が for such a noun.

This type of が used in the second sentence is called neutral-description ga. It is used to report something as a newly observed event.

What's the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)?

Sentences of neutral description present an objectively observable action, existence, or temporary state as a new event.

On the other hand, は is used to describe a generic fact and to describe an event as a known fact.

In your case, 浅野君手袋を編んでくれた is preferred when you're writing a diary or you're recalling this as a past event. 浅野君手袋を編んでくれた must be used when you tell this news to your friend immediately after you received the gloves.

Lastly, This は/が distinction is not directly related to the ~てくれる construction.

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