Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Japanese Grammar Tips ~The Particles~ (6)

At last, I'm writing the final part of the tips about the particles!! :)
Thank you guys for following me, and welcome if you're new to my blog!

Here's the list I've written about the Japanese particles.
(1) Xは = The theme of the sentence is X
 - We Usually use は to describe things. So <AはB> is often translated as <A is B>. 
 - が is used to emphasize the subject. <AがB> can also be translated as <B is A>.
 - When we answer the questions like "who is...?" or "what is...?", it is natural to use が.
 - が has an exclusive meaning. If we say Aが, it implies that not B, C, or D, but A.
(2) が describes objectively what has happened
 - In this case, you are just a spectator who describes the situation objectively.
 - If you use は to describe happenings, then it focuses on "what someone/something did".
 - When we talk about the actions of the first and the second person, tip(1) applies.
(3) When the subject changes in one sentence, we should use が
 - が can implies the subject of the sentence would be changed.
 - On the contrary, は can't imply omitted subject.
(4) Can't we repeat は in one sentence? 
 -は and が can be used in one sentence, but usually は comes before が. <AはBがC>
 - は shows the topic of the sentence and が specifies its subject.
 - It sounds incomplete if you change the latter が into は. It imply you have something more to say,
    or you compare it(B) with something else. <AはBはC>
(5) Some Japanese verbs take が to mark the direct object
 - It is common to use を to show the direct object of a verb. [OBJECT] を [VERB]
 - Some English verbs which show one's want or preference, change into adjectives in
    Japanese language, and in this case we should use が instead of を.
 - We also use が when we talk about possibility or one's ability.
(6) は can be attached to another particle

(6) は can be attached to another particle

Today I'm going to talk mainly about some other particles: で/de/ and に/ni/.
Maybe you've seen them before, haven't you? Then maybe you also have seen では/dewa/ and には/niwa/.
The meanings of and では are very similar. So the other pairs are. I'm not sure these pairs are the different particles respectively or the combined form like で+は. But I'm going to explain it from a point of view that they're the combined form, since では seems to have both feature of and . Maybe it would be easier to understand them.

Now let's see the slight difference between them.

Ⅰ. で/de/ and では/dewa/

simply indicates the location that something takes place.

I read books in a library everyday.

A man is running in the park.

It's not always the actual place like a park, hospital or a gym.

How do you practice in a language exchange?

I review what I learnt in the class.

can also indicate tools, method, or instruments.

Let's talk in English.

I go to school by bike.

では sounds limited. Or, we say では instead of to emphasize the word before it.

[1] 部屋(へや)  で  音楽(おんがく)を聞(き)く。
[2] 部屋(へや) では 音楽(おんがく)を聞(き)く。
Both sentences can be translated as "I listen to the music in my room."
If I mentioned 部屋では, I limit the range of the topic to the place 部屋. The following sentence only apply in that place. In other words, [2] focuses on the first part of the sentence (words before では), while [1] just gives additional information about the place.

Do you listen to the music on your way to school?
Nope, but I do in my room.

Ⅱ. に/ni/ and には/niwa/

に/ni/ usually points the directions of the action.

I need to go to a hospital right now.

My dog welcomes me when I go back home.

Please don't talk to me.

Or it indicates the location of existence.

My father isn't at home.

There's a cat under the desk.

It seems a bit confusing because both and indicate the location. But remember, is for the location of existence, while is for the location that something takes place.

can be used in many cases! To point the specific time, to indicate the purpose, or to mention about the agent of the passive.

Let's meet at 8 o'clock.

I went to a restaurant to have supper.

My wallet was stolen by a pickpocket.

And には, same as では, it emphasizes the word before it. It changes the focus of the sentence. Or it limit the range of the topic.

妹(いもうと): あれ?お母(かあ)さんどこいるの?
Sister: Oh, where's mom?
兄(あに): にはいないみたい。
Brother: I think she isn't at home.
It can also be translated as "As for inside this house, she isn't here." It's mentioned within the limits (inside the house).

Aで/Aに just indicate the location, but Aでは/Aには imply that we define A as the range of the topic. You know, indicates the topic of the sentence, so Aは can be translated as "speaking of A" or "as for A". In other words, shows the range of the topic. Do you get what I want to say...?

Let's recap!
 - is attached to the other particles to emphasize or focuse on the words before it.
 - Or it limits the range of the topic.

The previous post's <QUIZ> answer

>日本語の「は」と「が」の使い方 [ ] 分かってきた。
I began to understand the usage of は and が better.

>ようやく宿題 [ ] 提出すること [ ] 出来る。
After all, I can hand in my homework.

Wow, it took 2 months to finish writing all of these tips. XD The particles in Japanese are confusing, indeed. But I hope I could be of any help! Your comments or questions are always welcomed! :)

Thank you for reading!


  1. お疲れ様でした!
    very nice package of posts about particles, thank you very much.
    I just have a question (like always), in fact I used to have a native Japanese teacher and once she said that:
    is a correct sentence. but she couldn't explain it well (I hope she never reads this blog :D). I think according to post number 4 it can be right (like when comparing steak with other food, for example saying I like steak, but I don't like sushi) but according to post number 5 which says we should use が with 好きit doesn't sound right. and I ended up being confused!

    1. Thank you arman!! ありがとう!! XD
      Haha, I wish I also had an Iranian teacher who lives in Taiwan!

      If you simply want to say "I like stakes" then you should say 私はステーキが好きです, since 好き usually takes が to mark the direct object. ( Yup, as I said in tip no.5)

      So 私はステーキは好きです isn't a NORMAL sentence.
      Here, tip no.4 applies!! =) She uses は before 好き ON PURPOSE to imply that she compares stakes with other food, or she has more things to say.

      You like stakes, don't you? Why don't we go to eat it together?
      I like stakes, but...

      In this case, maybe this woman doesn't want to go with him. XD


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