21 votes
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Why does 悪く(は)ない give a condescending feeling?

I think it may sound condescending because it sounds like you have the right to say something is clearly bad. Typically, you can directly say 悪く(は)ない to someone when you judge their performance/...
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16 votes
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Why is this sentence ungrammatical? 「お寺が公園のとなりです。」

In this case, が is incorrect because you are conveying a known piece of information. When you describe a known or general fact about a subject (お寺), you have to mark it with は, making it the topic of ...
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15 votes
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What could a phrase like アルコールはダメなんだ possibly mean?

It means "I'm not good with alcohol" or "I don't like alcohol". Of course it can also mean "Alcohol is not good (for your health)" and "Alcohol is prohibited (in this event)", depending on the context....
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14 votes
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"Te-form" versus "masu-stem + して" (消しているうちに versus 消ししているうちに)

A (te-form) + は + B (masu-form) is a common pattern that describes someone repeatedly/habitually does B right after A as a paired action. See: 〜しては is this a grammar pattern? This set is often ...
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12 votes
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Does は mean 'at least' in this sentence?

You're correct, this kind of は means "at least". 3個は食べられる。 I can eat at least three. ここに3人はいる。 There are at least three people here. 3時間は待つ必要がある。 We have to wait at least for three hours. Of course ...
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12 votes
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Why say "〜、皆には出来る。" instead of " 〜、皆は出来る。" in this context?

The に form is the "base" sentence here, and the は is added for emphasis. One key to understanding how できる happens grammatically is that できる is often describing the thing that can be done, instead of ...
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11 votes

私は猫が好き and 猫は私が好き

It may help to understand the nature of: the は particle (topic marker), the nature of the が particle (subject marker), and the fact that 好き is an adjective, not a verb. Japanese is what is known as a ...
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10 votes
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When do you mark きょう or other similar relative time expressions with は

1) 今日は、京都に行きます。 2) 今日、京都に行きます。/ 京都には、今日行きます。 I would use #1, with a stress on 京都, as a reply to "Where will you go today?" or "What will you do today?", and #2, with a stress on 今日, as a reply to "...
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10 votes

は and を or の and わ

I think you probably meant to write: 私は日本語が悪いです。(Lit. As for me, Japanese is bad.) 私の日本語は悪いです。(Lit. My Japanese is bad.) The word 悪い is a literal translation of the English 'bad'. In Japanese, ...
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10 votes

Why is "konnichi wa" written with は and not わ?

There are some lingering question marks in the initial post and in the other answers regarding why は is read as /wa/ in こんにちは. Other posters have already noted that this は is the topic particle -- ...
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10 votes

次の「普通」What does it mean?

B is is saying: It's the next (local) train that you need to take / is going to Tokyo. There is no explicit topic in this sentence. The person replied to A's question with いいえ、行きません。 and added a ...
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10 votes
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The difference between 時 and 時は

子供の時、よく海で泳ぎました。 子供の時は、よく海で泳ぎました。 You might say the latter to imply... "I used to swim in the sea in my childhood (but now I don't anymore)." Here, the は is functioning as the contrastive ...
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9 votes
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Combinatorical relative clauses

A can have two meanings. One is the meaning of A', the other is of B'. Actually, I took A as the same meaning as B' when I read at first. When you say "歌{うた}が好{す}きな彼{かれ}が...", I understand that ...
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  • 2,045
9 votes

Why say "〜、皆には出来る。" instead of " 〜、皆は出来る。" in this context?

Reason for using「は」 The「は」provides contrast. It provides an unspoken (in English) and contrasting parenthetical context as shown below. 日本語の読み書きは皆にはできません。 Not everyone can read and write ...
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  • 7,251
9 votes
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When sentences have several clauses with several subjects/topics, do they use more than one "ga" or "wa"?

Where do you have to set the topic or subject markers "wa" and "ga" in sentences with several clauses? Somewhere before the predicate the subject corresponds to. To put it very simply, Japanese ...
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8 votes
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Why can は and を sometimes be used interchangeably?

は and を can be interchangeable when it is put after object, but there are some exceptions. The most typical usage of を indicate the word is object. すしを食べません。 means 私はすしを食べません。 which can be translated ...
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  • 1,846
8 votes
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私は猫が好き and 猫は私が好き

Particles have multiple uses or meanings. が can be used to mark the subject. However 好き【すき】 is an adjective not a verb. In this case が marks the target of 好き【すき】 which is cats. 1) 私は猫が好き 2) ...
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  • 206
8 votes
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連用形+は+せん (殺しはせん。) meaning?

せん(=せぬ) is the classical version of しない, 'do not'. せ = the imperfective form (未然形) of the verb す, 'do' (す = classical version of する) ん = the negative auxiliary ぬ << derived from the classical ...
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