Lingual Ninja! - Japanese Lessons Online

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Aug 6, 2018

は and が 2

Hello! I am Kosuke!

In the previous article, I wrote about the difference between 'は' and 'が'!
  'は' and 'が' 1 >>

Today, I will explain in further detail about it!

In the previous article, I said:

 - If the predicate is a verb, we use 'が'.
 - If the predicate is not a verb, we use 'は'.

Do you remember?

But actually, it is not impossible to use 'が' for the sentence whose predicate is not a verb. And vice versa!

Let's check the basic sentences we studied yesterday.

Examples of normal sentences:

1. じゃ
Sa su ke wa ni n ja de su

     Meaning :  "Sasuke is a Ninja."

sa su ke wa bu ki yo u de su

     Meaning :  "Sasuke is clumsy."

sa su ke ga o chi ta

     Meaning :  "Sasuke fell."

Three sentences above are the ones we checked in the previous article.

Let's see what will happen if we exchange 'は' and 'が' in the sentences!

Examples of exchanging 'は' and 'が':

1. じゃ
Sa su ke ga ni n ja de su

     Meaning :  "Sasuke is a Ninja. (and other people are not Ninjas.)"

If you don't know the word 'です(desu)', please check the article below:
  です(desu) and ます(masu) >>

Because 'は' was changed to 'が' in this sentence, it means that only Sasuke is a Ninja.

Regarding all three examples above, when 'は' and 'が' are exchanged, it includes the meaning that 'the others are not'.

Probably this sentence is used when someone asks:
 "Who is a Ninja?"

If you know Sasuke is a Ninja, you can reply:
 "さすけ が にんじゃ です!"

However, even if you know who is a Ninja, I don't recommend you to reveal it.

Probably he is on a secret mission.
You shouldn't reveal it to someone even if you do meet a Ninja in Japan.

sa su ke ga bu ki yo u de su

     Meaning :  "Sasuke is clumsy. (and the other people are not clumsy.)"

Because 'は' was changed to 'が' in this sentence, it means that only Sasuke is clumsy.

Probably this sentence is replying to the question, 'Who is clumsy?'

Or, if your friend says, "You are clumsy" to you, you can say "あなた が ぶきよう です".
It means: "You are clumsy, and I am not."

sa su ke wa o chi ta

     Meaning :  "Sasuke fell. (and the other people didn't fall.)"

This sentence is opposite from the two examples above because the predicate is a verb.

Because 'が' was changed to 'は' in this sentence, it sounds like "Sasuke fell, but others did not".

Especially, if you pronounce 'は' strongly, it emphasize "only" Sasuke fell.

Like the examples above, if you exchange 'は' and 'が', those sentences include the meaning of exclusion.

'わたし は にんじゃ です' just means 'I am a Ninja'.

However, 'わたし  にんじゃ です' means 'I am a Ninja, but others are not a Ninja'.

'さすけ が おちた' just means 'Sasuke fell'.

However, 'さすけ おちた' means 'Sasuke fell, and other people didn't fall'.

Did you understand?

Like we studied in the previous article, the basic rule is:
  - If the predicate is a verb, we use 'が'.
  - If the predicate is not a verb, we use 'は'.

However, if we exchange 'は' and 'が', it includes the meaning of exclusion!

Actually, maybe native Japanese people don't know this grammar.
They use these sentences without thinking.

If you think about grammar too much, it will disturb natural speech.
I wrote how to get used to a foreign language from my experience:
  Listening or Reading >>

Also, even Japanese language experts are still discussing the topic about 'は' and 'が'.
So I wrote the basic part of this topic in this blog.

I hope this article helps you study Japanese!
Thank you!

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