Grammar Info

N5 Lesson 2: 1/12

Subject marking particle, Identification particle

が emphasizes what comes before it, while は emphasizes what comes after it

Structure

Subject +

Details

  • Part of Speech

    Particle

  • Word Type

    Case Marking Particle

  • Register

    Standard

  • 品詞

    助詞

  • 単語の種類

    格助詞

  • 使用域

    一般

About が

is considered to be the subject marker in Japanese. This means that it marks someone or something that is performing an action, or it identifies someone or something as having a specific feature (this is usually a feature that the listener is not aware of).

In both of these sentences, puts focus on the person as being 'the one' who is performing an action/existing in some way (as opposed to any other person). Because of this, is usually said to highlight what comes before it, while highlights what comes after it.

always shows the 'target' of a statement, when other targets also exist. This is why is used to describe situations that are happening 'in the moment'.

Because the event in this sentence is only one short moment out of many possible 'points in time' that could be described, will be used.

Caution

is not usually used to describe something about yourself, unless you are intentionally describing yourself compared to other people. If you want to talk about yourself 'in general terms', will sound more natural (there are exceptions).

Examples

--:--

  • (ちゃ)(つめ)たいです

    The tea is cold.

    • (なに)いい

      What is good? (What would you like?)

      • それいいです

        That is good. (That is what I would like)

        • カレー(から)

          The curry is spicy. (The curry is the thing that is spicy)

          • ()(たか)

            The tree is tall. (The tree is the thing that is tall)

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            が – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (4 in total)

            • matt_in_mito

              matt_in_mito

              Even now I make mistakes on this semi-regularly. Thanks!

            • Solista

              Solista

              I don’t get why ga can be used to describe things that you are experiencing in the moment while wa can’t. Help?

            • nekoyama

              nekoyama

              I think the idea is that when you’re experiencing something with your five senses and you want to tell someone else about it, it’s often going to be new information, and は can’t be used to introduce it.

              But on the whole I don’t like this statement either because it seems it would apply to a statement like ここは寒い which sounds weird with が. It’s probably not what it’s intended to mean, but IMHO the English description (actually the other two orange lines too) is way too simplistic for this topic and it would be better to not have anything at all and make people read up on the details in a more comprehensive source.

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