One of the usages of が is to describe something that is happening in front of the speaker's eyes. I have read many example sentences in books and online, they are often used with 自動詞 with ている and with あの, その... like Example 1.

Example 1,


However, I wonder whether 他動詞 can be used also. And also can we add articles before the noun? And do we have to use ている?

Example 2,


Example 3,


Example 4,


And Finally, does it have to be something happening in front of the eyes?

Example 5,


1 Answer 1


Simply put,

  1. Can 他動詞 be used?

Yes. All of 1-5 are grammatically correct.

  1. Must it be used with ている?

No. It depends on the meaning (which applies to cases of 自動詞).

  1. Does it have to be real?

No. It can be imaginary.

I don't know too well about birds, but my image of worm-eating birds is that a bird flies down from above and picks up a worm, so it is an instantaneous action. According to this preconception, 3 sounds more natural (or likely) than 2, in the sense that 3 describes an instantaneous action. Sentence 2 sounds more like a bird chewing a worm (or keeping pecking lots of them) in front of you. Sentence 4 is fine just as 2, but simply specific about which bird and worm.

For comparison, 牛が草を食べている sounds more common than 牛が草を食べる. The latter sounds The cow is about to eat grass.

Grammatically sentence 5 is fine but sounds a bit strange mostly because of its meaning. Environmentalists often say things like 地球が泣いている, so it does not have to be real.

  • Is this "弟がスーパーに行って、日常用品を買って、家に帰った。" also neutral が? Does this sentence mean "My younger brother went to the supermarket, bought daily necessities, and went back home"?
    – vincentlin
    May 14, 2022 at 8:03
  • 1
    @vincentlin The meaning would be more or less the same with が or は. The が in 弟が can be understood neutral or exhaustive (e.g. followed by another sentence 妹が...). Possibly this helps.
    – sundowner
    May 14, 2022 at 9:12

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