Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 1: 3/12
As for... (highlights sentence topic) は can be also used to contrast several things
Structure
Sentence topic +
Pronounced "わ"
Details
Part of Speech Particle
Word Type Linking Particle
Register Standard
品詞 助詞
単語の種類 係助詞
使用域 一般
Information
(pronounced わ) is often considered to be one of the most difficult particles to master in Japanese, alongside . marks the topic of the sentence, and describes the whole sentence broadly. However, primarily marks single actions or statements. We will explore this distinction in more detail when coving .
  • 田中さん先生です
    Tanaka-san is a teacher. (Broadly speaking, not compared to anything)
  • トムです
    I am Tom. (Broadly speaking, not compared to anything)
In many sentences (especially short ones), either or would be considered perfectly natural.
  • カレー辛(から)い。
    Curry is spicy. (Broadly speaking, not compared to anything)
  • 私(わたし)、ワインが嫌(きら)い。
    I dislike wine. (Specifically wine)
In the first sentence, broadly describes what the sentence is about. In the second sentence, again describes the whole sentence, but highlights one specific piece of information.
Caution - cannot be used to describe things that you are seeing or experiencing ‘in the moment’ (right now). This is due to ‘in the moment’ events being considered part of a larger experience (your whole day for example).
  • 今(いま)テスト。
    I have a test now. (Slightly unnatural, as the test is happening ‘right now’)
  • 今日(きょう)、雨(あめ)。
    It will rain today. (Natural, as rain is a fairly broad event)
Caution - has 2 main functions. The first marks the topic of the sentence, the second is used for contrast or making comparisons. Although there are no ‘strict’ rules for this, when is used toward (or after) the middle of a sentence, it will usually have the nuance of contrast.
  • 私(わたし)、金曜日(きんようび)好(す)き。
    I like Fridays. (Focus is on Friday)
  • 私(わたし)、金曜日(きんようび)好(す)き。
    I like Fridays. (Focus is on the comparison to other days)
In the second sentence, will give the listener the impression that there is a comparison being made.
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私(わたし)トムです
I (as the topic of this sentence) am Tom. | As for me, I am Tom.
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Books
Genki I 2nd Edition
Page 42 & 93
みんなの日本語 I
Page 14 [CH 1]
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 21, 516 & 521
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 33