"My head does not hurt."
Lest this becomes a debate that I doubt anyone is waiting for, let me just post the source that gave me my understanding about the copula:
This is the rule: use は if you are answering a question on the right-hand side of the sentence; and use が if the question is on the left-hand side.
頭 _ 痛い？痛くない？ so 頭は痛い or 頭は痛くない。
頭？胃？おなか？ _ 痛い so 頭が痛い or おなかが痛い。
As we can see using は or が depends on whether the options are on the left side or the right side.
This is the ultimate guide in Japanese: http://kato.chobi.net/haga/index.html
I ended up using the word-bank & picked the provided translation, but I wanted to know whether the following was an acceptable translation, and what the difference was between いません & ないです in this case.
Edit: Ok, I had a look online for a bit, and my translation seems incorrect. Could anyone explain what it would actually "mean", even though it's not a normal translation?
Ah, ok, I think I get it. Correct me if I'm wrong, ok? Assuming the sentence was "My head hurts":
If I wanted to use いたい, as in 頭は痛い..., since it's an adjective I'd have to then end the sentence with either です or だ.
The sentence can end in ます however, if rather than using an adjective, the intransitive verb 痛みますis used instead, as only nouns or i-adjectives are followed by です.
Incidentally, similar to, "My head hurts" assuming the adjective came before the noun, could I have written something like?
Which, I think would mean, more or less, "I have a hurt head".
Thanks for the reply Keith. I'm still branching out into other resources for learning Japanese in my spare time. I've mostly only used Duo-Lingo, but given it's lack of more formally taught sections, there are still a lot of areas, even in the basics, where I'm shaky. Comments & feedback like yours are super helpful.
Also, these were 2 links I looked at that helped me with this question: http://www.punipunijapan.com/japanese-grammar-adjectives/ https://en.m.wikibooks.org/wiki/Japanese/Existence_and_Copula
Hey Ben, knowing how to google around is the first step of self-learning. Great job, keep it up!
And yes for a different copula when dealing with nouns, i-adjectives, na-adjectives and verbs. Just one thing that, unlike nouns and na-adjectives, we do not use だ with i-adjectives. So either いたいです (polite form) or いたい (colloquial form).
And 痛い頭があります is grammatically correct but nobody says it. It translates to "There is a painful head" which is equally unnatural in English. A better sentence will be 頭痛（ずつう）がします (I have a headache.)