149

は and が are a bit complex because they have several meanings, and some of the shades of meaning of wa and ga are a bit hard to distinguish casually. The best coverage of this that I have read is "The Structure of the Japanese Language" by Susumu Kuno(written in English). I'm going to attempt to synthesize some of that here, but Kuno's explanation is much ...


89

This is really no different than the normal use of the scope/topic particle は, except that with には (and では, とは, and any other combination), the scope of the sentence expands to include the particle itself. (I will use "scope" to mean "topic" here; personally I prefer the former, but most people are used to the latter.) The example sentences you chose might ...


30

If you already speak a little Japanese, compare these: Aiko-chan ga suki desu I like (love) Aiko. Aiko-chan wa suki desu Aiko likes it. I read a lot about this, theory about subjects and objects, but for some reason, this simple example (heard once I'd had a few months in Japan) most helped me to "get it".


27

To answer that, I think we first have to look at one of the more important roles of topic markers (in any language that has them): marking contrast. The topic marker as a marker of contrast Look at this conversation for instance: A: 一番好きな中華料理か? たぶん麻婆豆腐だと思う。 My favorite Chinese dish? Probably Mapo Doufu, I guess. B: そうか。俺はちょっと辛いのが苦手なんだ。 I see....


22

In my opinion, it is a bit of a mistake to think of は as being in opposition to が. There are times where は marks things that have nothing to do with the subject of the sentence. There are times where you have to choose between は and を for example. 今はどうしようかな? = What should I do now? Sometimes the は will be left off, but が could never be used here because it'...


22

ハ for the topic particle. There's no difference from hiragana.


22

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/creation as a teacher/expert/senior/etc. When the creator/performer is not present, 悪く(は)ない tends to be more often used. (For example it's usually safe to say ...


20

お仕事は? Oshigoto wa? is basically short for お仕事は何ですか? Oshigoto wa nan desu ka? あなたは仕事ですか? Anata wa shigoto desu ka? means "Are you work?" and is nonsensical†. は wa (not わ BTW) is the topic marker.* Just asking 〜は basically means "About ~..." and only hints at the actual question. Leaving things unspoken is a very typical thing in Japanese. "About (your) work....


18

When being used as a grammatical particle ([助詞]{じょし}), は is pronounced わ (wa), を is pronounced お (o), and へ (which you may not have come across yet) is pronounced え (e). I've never used Rosetta Stone but it seems quite strange that it would not mention this... Information as to the historical reason for this difference between spelling and pronunciation ...


16

This construct was common in classical Japanese, but now it is archaic or poetic. In classical Japanese, the attributive form of conjugating words can be directly followed by particles which attach to nouns (without inserting の). 目指すは would become 目指すのは in modern Japanese, 吹きやまぬは would become 吹きやまぬのは or 吹きやまないのは, and so on.


16

The basic answer is that は is written ハ in katakana. However, I think it depends on why it's written in katakana. One reason you might write something in katakana is to communicate pronunciation, and in this case the particle は would be written ワ: spelling pronunciation おはよう オハヨー こんにちは コンニチワ You can see this sort of use of ...


15

I would have no choice but to say that there is a difference. Little particles do have that kind of power and influence over much bigger words than themselves. You would sound like you are a little more satisfied with your job if you said 「[今]{いま}の[仕事]{しごと}は[悪]{わる}くないです。」 than when you said 「今の仕事は悪くはないです。」. This is a prime example of the contrastive は. ...


15

「悪{わる}く(は)ない。」, contrary to what you seem to believe, does not really mean "It is not bad.". At least, that is not what the phrase means all the time. "It is not bad." is only the dictionary or machine translation of 「悪{わる}く(は)ない。」. It fails to include the nuance of the Japanese phrase. When native speakers such as myself say 「悪{わる}く(は)ない。」, they often ...


14

This is not as much of a newbie question as you might think. dainichi gave a good general rule-of-thumb, but at the risk of confusing you, I'd like to point out that there are many cases when を and が are actually interchangeable. For example, the sentence "I can play the piano" can be written either ピアノが弾【ひ】ける piano ga hikeru or ピアノを弾【ひ】ける piano ...


14

Native Japanese speaker here. Your friend's scenario makes no sense, period. Your own understanding of 「は」 indeed makes far more sense. The contrastive 「は」 works like this: Let us suppose you have recently been to three new restaurants and you have a different impression of each. You might say: 「Restaurant A はとてもよかった。B はまあまあだった。でも C はよくなかった。」 ...


14

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. In general, ~がダメだ can mean "to be not good at ~" or "not to like ~". For example you can say サッカーはダメです, 彼は英語がダメです, etc.


14

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 the sentence. お寺は公園の隣です。 The temple is next to the park. (This is a known fact to you.) 鳥は飛べます。 Birds can fly. (This is a general fact.) Note ...


13

こんばんは is correct, according to that page in Japanese. My gut feeling is the same - 今晩は -> こんばんは. That said, a cursory Google of こんばんは yielded 13M hits, whereas こんばんわ yielded 26M.


13

こんばんは is correct. The former is mostly a stylistic/emphatic usage.


12

As others have said, this is probably really ~やしない, which is transmutation of ~はしない. What this suffix does is usually one of two things: It makes the verb a topic (with は) and then negate it. This is used to bring up the event described by the verb and then saying it won't happen (or isn't happening, have never happened - you get the point). From the ...


12

You are asking what や in 大きすぎやしないか is. I think that it is a colloquial deformation of は, as is explained in this entry in Daijirin. According to this explanation, it was originally 大きすぎはしないか, in which particle は was used to emphasize the part 大きすぎ. When attached to certain verbs, it is often further contracted as in わかりやしない → わかりゃしない, 聞きやしない → 聞きゃしない. ...


12

You can see it's ハ as what the old MS office assistant F1 said You can also see the usage of ヲ in the above sentence As a side note the text above isn't a translation of the English version Unfortunately F1 is the only one who talks in Katakana. Here are the other Japanese assistants and English assistants


12

As ssb and fefe wrote, the sentence consists of two clauses which share the main verb あります. In this particular case, it would be easier to read if the author put a 読点 (“、”) in the sentence: 白い箱はカウチの上に、緑のランプは机の上にあります。 However, unlike commas in English, 読点 in Japanese is rarely (if ever) grammatically required. Authors are free to use 読点 wherever they ...


12

It depends not only on the verb, but on the form of the verb. The general rule is that static verbs and adjectives take "ga" and "action verbs" take "o" on the direct object. piano-o hiku play the piano piano-ga hikeru can play the piano Here, playing the piano is an action, thus "o" is used. Being able to play the piano is a state, thus "ga" ...


12

It is a little remnant of [美文調]{びぶんちょう}, the ornate writing style that was popular for a decade or two in Meiji Era in the literary circle. The style has largely, if not completely, died out in literature but has remained alive in [浪曲]{ろうきょく}, which is a recitation of stories that sounds like a mixture of singing and speaking. (Please go to YouTube if ...


12

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, you don't use 悪い to say you're not good at something. Instead, I recommend saying: 私は日本語が[下手]{へた}です。(Lit. As for me, Japanese is poor/unskillful.) 私は日本語が[上手]...


12

Your friend is correct in his/her understanding. A : この電車は東京へ行きますか。 B : いいえ、行きません。次の「普通」ですよ。 In A's question, "this train" is surely the subject. It is explicitly mentioned. When B replies, however, s/he utters two short sentences with a different (and unmentioned) subject for each. That is the Japanese language; It is all about context. A: "...


12

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 particle (対比の「は」). You might also say the latter when responding to a question... "What did you often do in your childhood?" -- "In my childhood, I often ...


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