"I eat rice."
ごはんを食べません isn’t wrong, but in most cases it’s more natural to use -は with the negation. It places the focus of what you’re negating on the noun: “I’m not eating rice (but I do eat other things).”
Compare this to “I don’t eat rice (I just cook it),” where the focus would be on the verb (and presumably it would be more natural to use -を here to prevent the noun from being in the focus).
The emphasis when using は would be on the noun, but if you're using を in this sentence it would mean not that you "don't eat rice," but rather that you won't in this situation. ごはんは食べます > In general (as for...), rice I eat. ごはんは食べません > In general (as for...), rice I don't eat. ごはんを食べます > I'm going to eat rice (either in a second or sometime soon) ごはんを食べません > I'm not going to eat rice (right now or in the immediate future, even though there's the chance of it later).
There's a stark distinction to be made between the use of は as an emphasis/topic marker and the use of を as an object marker. The way Duolingo has this set up, it seems as though they have no distinction between "in general" and "specific instances."
As mentioned a few times already in this same comment chain
は usually replaces を in negative sentences to stress the negation/show contrast.
肉と魚は食べません - I do not eat meat or fish [As for meat and fish] [I do not eat]
Replacing を with は in a positive sentence is grammatically fine but it adds contrast to it
ご飯を食べます - I eat rice - this is a pretty neutral sentence saying you eat rice
ご飯は食べます - I eat rice (as for rice, I eat it) - has an implication that there are other things that you don't eat that you are contrasting "rice" with. It puts more emphasis on the verb "eat".
I will try explaining what I think is correct. I would recommend everyone having a problem with は and を to read the course information that will come up when clicking the lightbulb icon of this lesson.
は and を both are object markers. When talking about a topic in general は is used to point out that the word which has this hiragana after it is the topic that you are talking about.
を (action received and topic) When this word which is the topic, also RECEIVES ACTION you use を instead.
は (no action received, just topic) When you are NEGATING THE ACTION, there is no action implied, because you are denying it in your sentence, this is why we go back to the general topic marker は for negated actions.
I hope this will clear stuff up for someone.
I would like to clear some things up for you if you don't mind. While you are generally correct and you will find that this logic applies rather well for Duo sentences, there is more to it in general.
は and を both are object markers
In this case the only object marker is を。「は」is a contextual particle, this is not a grammatical case, it doesn't mark a "be-er", "do-er", "objects", nothing in particular. は is used for context, and it marks a topic (this is the best translation).
は can mark anything I mentioned above, but it does it with the objective of giving context, it doesn't show you anything about the logical structure of a sentence. When this particle happen to mark the same noun as を should be marking, the は supersedes it, this is often done to use the contrastive property of は。
When talking about a topic in general は is used to point out that the word which has this hiragana after it is the topic that you are talking about.
Not sure if I read your sentence correctly. But anyways, the particle always marks the word to the left, in this case if you say ご飯は、the は particle marks ご飯 as the topic.
When you are NEGATING THE ACTION, there is no action implied, because you are denying it in your sentence, this is why we go back to the general topic marker は for negated actions.
While this is a good logic, it doesn't work for all sentences, you can say「すしを食べません」"I will not eat sushi" which has a negative and you still have を there.
The は in negative sentences is used to stress the negation and make a soft contrast, but is not a hard rule. That stress come from a property of は that can be explained as "は is not important". Whenever you mark something with は、the important part is what you are saying about this thing marked as topic, not the topic itself. A listener hears 〇〇は and his mind goes "what about 〇〇?".
The contrast part is another function of は、when you use は and something else is expected you end up with a contrast. For example if you say「すしを食べません」"I will not eat sushi" this is a neutral sentence, but if you say「すしは食べません」then you are making a contrast and saying that you don't eat sushi in particular (but you might eat another kind of food). Using は in negative sentence sounds more natural and less direct for Japanese people because of this, that's why people say that is better to use は for general things.
No, it has nothing to do with the subject. The-ます ending expresses respect towards the listener. Its function is somewhat similar to the t-v distinction that many European languages make in their pronouns: French tu vs. vous (these are where the term "t-v distinction" comes from), Spanish tú vs usted, Italian tu vs. lei, Welsh ti vs chi etc. Only in Japanese you have to put a special ending on the verb, which means you always have to mark politeness, regardless of whether or not the pronoun "you" appears in the sentence (and there are some cultural differences in the definition of "person of respect" of course).
Btw, the informal ending doesn't have to be -る; it's simply the plain verb as you would find it in the dictionary. So for example "I drink tea" in plain speech is: おちゃをのむ。 (のむ being the dictionary form of "to drink". With the -ます ending it becomes のみます).
there is nothing wrong with ご飯は食べます but it implies another context. You are placing unnecessary stress on the ご飯は part since を is expected, by doing so, you are contrasting between ご飯 and other things. You usually use は with negative sentences because of their nature, like you might not eat cooked rice but you might eat something else?
ご飯を食べます "I eat rice"
ご飯は食べます "I eat rice (in contrast with other things I could be eating)"
ご飯は食べません "as for rice, I don't eat (it)"
the 私は can be skipped, and duo also accepts it without it.
-です is used after nouns or adjectives. You can think of it as “am/are/is”. -ます is a verb ending. Both indicate polite speech (keigo 敬語, roughly equivalent to using polite “Sie/vous/Lei” in German/French/Italian, but social customs do vary somewhat). The verb ending also incorporates non-past (i.e. present or future) tense.
For the informal equivalent you can use either nothing or -だ for nouns and na-adjectives (no ending for -i adjectives though), and the dictionary form (the one that ends in -u) for verbs:
- noun: 学生です “am/is/are a student/students” --> 学生(だ)
- i-adjective: いいです “am/is/are good” --> いい
- na-adjective: 好きです “am/is/are likable” (= [someone] likes…) --> すき(だ)
- Ichidan (“ru”) verb: 食べます “see(s)” --> 食べる
- Godan (“-u”) verb: 行きます “go(es)” --> 行く
I advise you use the polite forms unless the person you’re talking to is significantly younger. If you use polite form too much you might earn a bit of a chuckle, but that’s much, much better than offending people ;)
Yep, that’s one of the many food puns in DB character names ;) They started with Goku’s name (which happens to be one of the few that is not a pun; it’s simply 孫悟空 [そんごくう], the name of the mythical Monkey King that he is based off of (the Mandarin form is Sūn Wùkōng)), and then changed the last syllable to 飯 [はん], so it sounds like ご飯 “rice” (but they left the first character untouched, so Gohan’s name is spelt 悟飯 instead of ご飯 (or 御飯 if you want to be traditional)) in Kanji.
The -て form is not a sentence-final ending, instead it links the clause to a following one. It is rather unspecified though; often English “and” is a good first guess, but in the right context it can also correspond to “if”. Or it might simply link the main verb to a following auxiliary, so it remains untranslated. In any case, it needs something following.
There is one big exception: -て can also mark the plain (non-polite) imperative:
- これを食べて。 (Eat this.)
This is because in this case it’s actually an abbreviation: There is an implied くれ “do!” (the plain equivalent to polite ください) after it.
For sentence endings (in the affirmative) you use either the -ます ending (when speaking politely), or the dictionary form of the verb (the one ending in -u; in this case 食べる) when not being polite.
it literally just asked me what "o cha ha nomi masu" means. Which the answer was "i drink tea" (i imagine in the sense of "i often do, i like it" not in the sense "i drink it right now", because that would be "o nomi masu"). So if "o cha HA nomi masu" can mean "i drink tea" why cant "gohan wa tabe masu" mean "i eat rice" in that same way from the last exercise?
Both ご飯を食べます and ご飯は食べます should be accepted. If one of them is not, it was simply forgotten, so feel free to report it to the contributors using the flag button.
The difference is, if you say ご飯は, the rice is the topic of your sentence – the central thing you’re talking about. If you say ご飯を, it’s not the topic, which in this case would mean that probably the implied subject is the topic.
You can also think about this in terms of the implied question that is answered. The topic always has to be “old information”, meaning that if you think about the question that is answered, the topic has to be part of that question. So:
- ご飯を食べます would answer questions like “What are you eating?” or “What are you doing?”
- ご飯は食べます would answer the question “Do you eat rice (in general)?” or “Are you eating the rice (the specific one offered at this occasion)?”
Dulingo you taught that saying for example "gohan wa tabe mus" (no access to a japanese keyboard) means i eat apple but now your contrudicting it by saying i have to add watashi wa NOT OK FIX IT or if your not sure please consult a person who does speak japanese or better yet take a servuy of howm many people would agree to put watashi wa before the sentence BUT FIX IT