I saw someone getting corrected for using が in a ことがある sentence, and I was wondering why using が in sentences specifically like 私がplaceに行ったことがある is wrong, I can't seem to wrap my head around it.

I was thinking of some things like 私があそこに行ったこと which seem to be correct (in my mind). But I'm confused as to why it was considered wrong?

Edit: Changing が with の seems to reveal how it's wrong, I think because the は that is used in the relative clause is the topic and not the subject that does the verb, is this understanding correct in any way?

  • 3
    on my cell phone. but there are numerous postings here about は vs が. in this context わたしが sounds like you’re saying “i’m the one who went there” as if no one else has that experience.
    – A.Ellett
    Sep 15, 2021 at 21:37
  • 1
    Now that I reread your question, we need more context. 私がplaceに行ったことがある is grammatical, but how was it used?
    – Nameless
    Sep 15, 2021 at 22:57
  • 2
    Whether it’s 私は or 私が, it’s outside of the relative clause.
    – aguijonazo
    Sep 16, 2021 at 1:15

1 Answer 1


I have been to Japan.

In this sentence, 私 is the topic of the entire sentence, and it's not in any relative clause. (Very literally: "As for me, a having-gone-to-Japan [fact] exists.") Structurally, this is yet another "double-subject" sentence (Aは + Bが + predicate) such as 彼は背が高い, 今日は仕事がある or このレストランは料理が美味しい. Naturally, 私 must be marked with は.

If が is used instead of は, it would work as an exhaustive-listing が ("It's me who has been to Japan"). This is still grammatical but makes sense only in a special context.

When you wrap this entire sentence in a subordinate clause...

He does not know [that I have been to Japan].

Now, you must say 私が because 私 is in a subordinate noun clause (marked with the square brackets) and the topic of the main (outermost) clause is 彼.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .