"I do not like water."
Wa puts emphasis in a different way than Ga. A literal translation for 水は好きじゃない would be "as for water, I dont like it." which begs the question, what would you like? Its all about context of the conversation. I wouldnt worry about はvsが for now. even if you use one where the other would work best, native speakers will still understand.
So, I think the grammatical answer is: a subject is followed by ga a topic is followed by ha(wa) Also if a subject has an interrogative pronoun, use ga. i.e. Dare ga - Ga is also used with non action verb objects.
Now if I only knew my parts of speech, that answer would help me.
I find the explanation of が denoting subject to be misleading. It (sometimes) denotes "subject" in the sense of the internal logic of the Japanese language, but this often doesn't correspond to what we think of as a subject in English.
For example in a sentence like this one, in English, with "I do not like water.", "water" is the direct object and "like" is a verb. But in Japanese, 水 is the "subject" of the sentence and 好き is an adverb. It corresponds to a construction a bit like "Water is liked/likeable (by me)" where (by me) is implied by the fact that you're the one speaking.
Is it a "subject"? Keep in mind, the whole idea of the "subject" of a sentence is one that was created in the context of Western languages.
I'd rather not analyze it in this way, and instead work with the language and understand its own internal logic, which doesn't always fit into the boxes created by our Western ideologies.
Very nice response. It is actually important to know that the verbs that we use an English do not always translate directly to Japanese. Whereas sometimes it is actually an adverb / adjective that needs to be modified to fit the sentence. Kind of like how certain colors in Japanese are adjectives but other colors are nouns that need to be modified to describe...but more on that later
Native english speaker here. I think of this as a half sentence. When you're first learning and don't rely on the context so much, you'd say something like 私は水が好きです in this sense, the ga now 'feels' more right because you've aleady got your wa. I'm only a few months in though so this is probably a very basic pattern!
I'm pretty sure it should 水が好きじゃない. I was always taught that when using 好き、嫌い、and 好きじゃない you have to use が and I've never heard it any differently. Like Mariano said, water is the topic. You dont dislike water over something else, this sentence states that the thing you dislike is water. It's like saying "WATER, i hate that." が Puts emphasis on the fact that its water we're talking about. Wa is a little but more flexible. Like 私は is just kind of like about you. It puts emphasis on what is happening to you as opposed to putting emphasis on you. I dont know if that makes sense.
This is kind of tricky. を connects a direct object and a verb (みずをのみます - I drink water) but in japanese "to like" (好き) is not a verb, it is an adjective (I know, weird, right?). Because of that, を cannot be used with 好き.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but by using は instead of が, it means that you emphasize the fact that you don't like water. So by using は, it's is a response to "Do you like water?" You would answer "No, I DON'T like water."
If you used が, it would answer to "What do you dislike?" You would essentually be answering "WATER. I dislike it."
what differences are there between janai desu, de wa nai desu, ja arimasen, and de wa arimasen? I get that ja is a kind of truncated form of de wa, but what are the differences between arimasen vs. janai desu? Is the 'desu' to make it sound more like a 'masu' ending or what?