Translation:The water is cold.
My answer "Water is cold" wasn't accepted. It said it had to be 'THE water'. So what part of this japanese sentence represents the article 'the'? I'd really like to know, because I was thinking that there is no specified article in Japanese , so it shouldn't make a difference if you say just "water" or "the water"...
Since が is a subject marker, it kind of implies both speaker and listener know what water you're talking about (whether it's the pool, the sea, the bottled water, etc), making it "the water is cold".
If it was は -a more general topic marker- it could have been a broad statement like "water is cold". (that could also be "the", mind you, but it depends on context)
I've seen it explained on other discussions, that ga is used when talking about a specific water. Wo is used when talking about water in general. So, "Water is wet" would be translated into Japanese with wo, and when you were talking about your drink at a restaurant "The water is dirty!" would be translated with ga.
If I'm not correct, please comment. I'm just learning too.
So from what I understand, は is used to introduce the topic of discussion. Something that maybe referenced in multiple sentences of a single discussion. が however, is used to highlight/emphasise a particular noun. In English, we usually make this distinction with intonation.
E.g. "おちゃはつめたいです" = "the tea is COLD."
But "おちゃがつめたいです" = "the TEA is cold".
You would use が if you had to distinguish the subject from something else.
E.g. あさごはんがつめたいですか? Is BREAKFAST cold?
いいえ、おちゃがつめたいですね。 No, the TEA is cold. (Not the breakfast)
the topic (noun+は) can span multiple sentences so it is usually omitted, but this depends on context. In my first example (おちゃはつめたいです) you could simply say "つめたいです" if the tea has already been referenced or it is understood from context.
Please note however, there are certain constructions that require は or が.
Noun+は+negative verb E.g. あさごはんはありません。
Noun+が+ 好き/きらい+です E.g. おちゃが好きです。
This is just a basic understanding, but i hope it helps. :)
Please do not make these two the same: "It is cold water" and "The water is cold." "It is cold water" is saying that "it" is "water" not something else, and "The water is cold" is saying the stuff is already known as water and it is adding new information about the cold property.
No, definite articles (can) actually make a difference in English. "Water is cold" is a generalizing statement, like "rocks are hard". There is no 'maybe' in that situation. However, water isn't necessarily cold; it can easily be warm or hot too. "The water is cold" indicates you're refering to a specific quantity of water, such as the water in your glass, or a bath, a lake, the sea, etc.