I know が and は have been done to death, (like this What's the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)?) but i recently read a line a it got me kind of confused.

It was 「なんで大人はいるの?」

So, I believe は emphasizes what comes after, and が emphasizes what comes before. (is this true?) 

So my guesses are は is like, why are THERE adults, (out of all places, why here)

And が is something like, why are there ADULTS, (out of kids and adults, why adults)

But they still both mean the same thing? So I'm kinda confused? What does the sentence truly mean?

(Also, could this sentence mean, why are adults here, or would that have to be なんで大人はここにいるの?) Even after reading so many explnations, は vs が for these type of sentences still make no sense :) Like if I said, マクドナルドがあります vs マクドナルドはあります, they both mean the same thing.


  • 1
    Without context I would understand that sentence as asking why adults in general exist in this world, but I’m sure that’s not what is supposed to mean. Can you provide the context? Was the speaker told kids shouldn’t be there or something like that before they said that line?
    – aguijonazo
    May 12 at 0:38
  • it was an adult came to a kid, and then the kid said that
    – Infernoboy
    May 12 at 1:50
  • 1
    In that case, the sentence must be "なんで大人がいるの? (Why is an adult here?)". It's a mere typo, or maybe you are still hiding some context. (And マクドナルドはあります and マクドナルドがあります are very different...)
    – naruto
    May 12 at 3:17


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