Easy? or Difficult? The difference between は and が

You might think the difference between はand がis extremely difficult. 


Well, it can be really difficult especially for you though it`s not for us. However, when starting to explain the difference, I noticed that it`s not that easy to do so. 


So,this time, let`s study it. 


Take these sentences as an example. 





What do you think the difference is? Do you think they differ from each other? or not? 


Before answering that, please remember this point. 



What comes after は is more important than before は, and what comes before が is more important than after が.



Notice there is は in the sentence and what`s more important in this sentence is たつや. In other words, what the speaker wants to emphasize is not わたし but たつや.



Waht is your name? →わたしはたつやです。


Since たつや was asked what his name is, of course he has to provide his name.We can say the name たつや is the most important information is the sentence. In other words, わたしは is less important in it. That`s why we often omit わたしは. Instead we often say たつやです。 when we were asked for our name. 


You understood は,right? Let`s move on to が. 


わたしがたつやです。Notice there is が in the sentence. As you already know, what`s important in the sentence is before が, so it`s わたし instead of たつや.




Let`s imagine that you and I know each other since we were language partners in Italki, but we never met before. This time, you decided to come to Japan, but since you don`t know much about Japan, you asked me to pick you up. We planed on meeting up at Kansai International airport on April 14. 


On the said day, you arrived there and started to find me to meet up. Suddenly, you thought that you could find me out but you are not 100% sure of whether the guy you thought たつや is really たつや or not, so you would say "Are you たつや?" and I woulld say "わたし”が”たつやです。” 


Noticed? what you are asking for is not the name, たつや,right? since we know each other in Italki. In other words, the name,たつや is less important. That`s why I used が to make たつや less emphasized. Instead I wanted to emphasize ”わたしが”(It`s me.) by using が.


In conclusion, は and が is different from each other basically. The reason why I said basically is that there are some exceptions. As for them, you just have to know them by practicing. 


I`ll prepare those soon. Please wait till then! 


Thank you 




Apr 14, 2014 4:16 AM
Comments · 4

Hi Elisan, rjcorrayasan, and Jonathansan, 


I was having difficulty explaining this to my students, so I decided to go over this. I hope that I could help some of you. 


Thank you for reading! 




April 14, 2014

Well written. わ and が are the first potential barriers that we come across in japanese. It's nice to see that you can explain it so efficiently. Keep up the good work!

April 14, 2014

That was really helpful to read, thanks a lot!

April 14, 2014

This is a very nice explanation!!! 

April 14, 2014