Featured-img-faq

Japanese particle が

Particles are very important in Japanese since they indicate the relations of words within a sentence! Today we’re gonna learn one of the three most basic particles! Which is particle は, を and が.

Quick links to the other two particles lessons: Particle は | Particle を

Particle が

This particle bring much confusion to people learning Japanese. One of the reason because it is being taught as subject marker. The same case as を, you will encounter many confusions if you think of が as marker for subject equivalent in English…
It’s better to just remember the common usage explained below to avoid any confusions with は.

Basic usage of particle が

…………………………………………

1. Introduction of something the hearer might not know of yet.

japanese-particle

In Japanese, when talking about something that the speaker/hearer already know or can understand, we mark it as a topic with particle は. In some case that we want to talk about something that the speaker/hearer doesn’t know of or cannot perceive with their sense/smell/touch/etc, it cannot be a topic, so we use particle が instead!

  Related   Characteristic of a topic

…………………………………………

Example A: Introducing character in a storybook

むかしむかしひとりのおじさんがすんでいました。
Mukashimukashi, hitori no oji-san GA sunde imashita. 

A long time ago, there lived an old man.

>> When introducing a character in a story, the old man. The hearer doesn’t know and cannot perceive the character with any sense, therefore it cannot be a topic yet.



おじさんはとてもびんぼうでした。
Ojisan WA totemo binboudeshita
The old man was very poor.

>> In the next sentence, we already know about the old man, therefore it can be a topic and marked as は

…………………………………………

Example B: Introducing anything which only the speakers knows about.

きのう、花いました。
Kinou, hana GA imashita.

Yesterday, there was a flower.

>> A flower is a generic noun, but the speaker is talking about the specific flower he saw which the hearer doesn’t know about. In the next sentence, the flower can become a topic which use は

花はとても美しいです。
Hana WA totemo utsukushii desu.
The flower is very beautiful!

…………………………………………

2.Used after questions words

japanese-particle

Questions words such as what/when/why/etc will always be mark with が. Simply because a questions words cannot be a topic! 😀

なにほしいですか
Nani GA hoshii desuka
What is it that you want?

  Related    Particle か that marks questions & all about questions!  *coming very soon*

…………………………………………

3. To be used with intransitive verbs which actions happened naturally / by itself

Intransitive verbs is actions that is just happened by itself/naturally. No action is being done to anything so we cannot use を. In this case, we use が instead!

japanese-particle

  Important    Note that there are more particles that can be used with verbs other than が and を. For intransitive verbs which action is ‘moving into some direction/destination’ like IKU “to go” or KAERU “to go home” , we use particle に or へ. There are more samples using other particles but it’s better to not think about it to much. As you learn, you will be introduced by the other particle one by one and increase your knowledge about what particle you need to use in a specific sentence.

…………………………………………

4. Particle が to connect contrasting sentence

japanese-particle

It somehow works like “but” in English. For example:

すずき は きました が たなか は きませんでした.
Suzuki wa kimashita GA Tanaka wa kimasendeshita.
Suzuki came but Tanaka did not (come).

  Useful notes    Japanese likes to be polite, so sometimes if they don’t want to tell the contrasting sentence , they stop at が.

For example, let’s say that Suzuki and Tanaka promised to come for a meeting and only Suzuki shows up. When their boss asked their colleague about it, he might say…

すずき は きました が …
Suzuki wa kimashita GA

Suzuki came, but

He thought it was kind of rude to say Tanaka didn’t come so he stop at but…

…………………………………………

Confusions with は and が

japanese-particle

Many people might confuse for the usage of particle は and が. But here are some tips. In a way which they are very similar in usage, you shouldn’t worry because people might dismissed it anyway even though you might be wrong.

Since the truth is… even native people themselves will not be able to tell you what is the difference between particle は and が. And there’s a whole book created just for the sake of this material. To truly differentiate it will require advanced grammar knowledge and a lot of experience. The difference in meaning is somewhat vague and if you’re using them wrongly it will still be understandable. So don’t overthink it! 😀

Anyway, later on we will try to create a post which might help to understand the vague difference of particle は and が. Follow our blog so you will get noticed as soon as the post is being uploaded!

…………………………………………

Move on to next particle!

Quick links to the other two particles lessons: Particle は | Particle を

 


• Back to top

• Back to Lessons Index

 


You May Also Like To Read:

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *