I really don't get why I usually see that people use は instead of を in this case. The reason why I do not understand it is this sentence:


I have seen people using this sentence without は. Then, my question is: Why , in this specific case, with the verb 選ぶ people use を but with 止める people use は?

  • 1
    What verb were you thinking of with 止める, since you feel that the specific verb is important? 止める could be とめる or やめる. – Leebo Jul 15 at 22:25

は replaces を (or が, or follows after other particles) when the information after the は is more important (or "new to the listener") than the information before it. That is clearly the case with 〜止めた方がいい - the speaker and the listener are both familiar with whatever is being referred to before that point; it's the "you'd better quit that!" part that is the main purpose of the sentence, so は is used to emphasize that latter part of the sentence.

Meanwhile, 〜を選んだ方がいい is more neutral in terms of "which side of the sentence is important", and using は would imply that the thing being chosen is already understood as the topic of conversation - it's the fact of choosing it that is new - and that's just not a common scenario.

I frequently like to consider, when choosing whether or not "to は", what kind of question the sentence could be in answer to, as that dictates whether or not は is appropriate. If it could answer a question where a question word occurs in the part of the sentence before the particle, then you don't use は, otherwise you probably should.

これは何ですか? → これはペンです

だれがいますか? → 山田さんがいます

これは、どうしよう? → それは[止]{や}めた方がいいよ

どの道を選んだ方がいい? → 右の道を選んだ方がいい

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  • 3
    しようよ? is never a question. – user4092 Jul 16 at 6:40
  • @user4092 AIUI the よ is used to mean something like "...is what I wanna know, yeah?" in such cases. Same with 「どこへ行こうよ」 – Micah Cowan Jul 16 at 18:29
  • alternatively, adding a flavor of exasperation – Micah Cowan Jul 16 at 19:01
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    Let me edit your examples to sound more natural. 「よ」をつけて exasperation を表すなら、「どうするんだよ!?」「どうすんだよ!?」「どうすんのよ!?」「どこ行くんだよ!?」「どこ行くのよ!?」とかね・・ – Chocolate Jul 17 at 0:45

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