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Particle Errors in Japanese Course

I started the Japanese course yesterday and tested out of about eighteen skills. As I was taking the placement test, I noticed some misuses of the particles を,は , and が.

I am by no means fluent or an expert in Japanese but I did take a couple classes at college level within the past year.

I can't remember specific sentences but I do remember that instead of を or が, は was used instead leading to sentences similar to 犬は好きです。or 水は飲みます.

If anyone else has noticed this, please let me know so we can figure out what to do from here. Will these kinds of things be fixed in the future with the upcoming web release?

August 8, 2017



I think the particle is dependent on whether the sentence is positive or negative. So if you're using 好き, it would be

犬が好きです。(I like dogs) but

犬は 好きじゃないです。(I don't like dogs.)

I hadn't been aware of that distinction before I took the duolingo course, so I too was puzzled at first. (Disclaimer: My knowledge of Japanese is limited, so please correct me if I'm wrong.)


Isn't it you was taught more advance forms in which particles change to は, and you messed up about this examples? Basics stuff like 'I like dogs' and 'I drink water' don't change the particle so it should be 犬が好きです and 水を飲みます.

Particles change for example in potential form. And it changes from を to は or が. 水は飲めます. 山がのぼれた.


I have noticed these different articles as well. I think they may actually be correct though. I suggest asking the question in the comments section of these sentences and seeing the responses from native japanese speakers, that way we can all learn when we see these things that seem contrary to the beginner rules we were taught.


When Krillin and Goku meet for the very first time in the anime Dragon Ball (towards the end of episode 14)...

Krillin: 君は何だ? = "Who are you?"

Goku: オラ 孫 悟空だ。 = "I am Son Goku."

Krillin: 武道をやるとは思えないがね。 = "I wouldn't think you're involved in martial arts."

Goku: オラ ぶどう好きだ。 = "I like grapes."

  • 武道(ぶどう)= martial arts
  • 葡萄(ぶどう)= grapes

Hopefully this example gives an idea of when は could be used instead of が in 犬は好きです.

If Goku was simply telling Krillin what it is that he likes, then he would use が; if Goku wanted to randomly tell Krillin that he likes dogs, he would say「犬好きです。」

However, what Goku is instead doing in this dialogue is different, and this is why は is used instead. Goku hears Krillin mention ぶどう, which Goku thinks is the word meaning "grapes" (even though what Krillin is talking about is "martial arts"). The は particle is used to refer to something already mentioned in the conversation (ぶどう) so that he can say something about it (好きです).

好きです。The が focusses attention on what it is that you like. You are specifying to someone what the thing you like is... "dogs" (犬).

好きです。The は focusses attention on what it is you are saying about dogs... "I like them" (好きです).


ha, I actually remember that conversation in the show, goku usually tries to go with the flow but sometimes he doesn't understand things, tries to be polite and come off as rude. Child Goku is best Goku.

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