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When do you use が or は to indicate a subject?

So when you say "先(せん)生(せい)は成(なり)績(いさお)を出(しゅつ)した” why do you use は and not が? Btw very new to learning Japanese so if you could help me out in any way that would be nice.

December 7, 2017



が or は are pretty complicated for many English native speakers to get a firm grasp on. Some have managed it, I have not. I posted the question up some time ago and got a lot of replies. You can read them by clicking Japanese particles: が vs は?. These days, I've stopped panicking so much about not memorizing the rules for it. I'm focusing on getting familiar with situations in which they're being used in the course instead and reading the comment threads in the sentence discussions. Now, sometimes I just have a gut feeling about which one to use, and it's generally right. So, I recommend reading through the feedback in the discussion I linked, but also getting familiar with the contexts in which you encounter their usage. That's what I've done with English. I am not good with knowing the "rules" of English. But, I'm a fluent native speaker of it because I'm familiar with how people are using English.

A few resources I recommend, however:
All About Particles (Book)
Genki I and II (Textbook. I recommend the 2011 edition. I have both that and the previous edition and 2011 was significantly improved. However these books are expensive. I know for a fact there are free copies of the previous edition floating around online. I can't link to them because it is prohibited by Duolingo's Terms of Service. If you want to purchase it, the older edition is also far less expensive and still a very good book. (Well, 2 books).

There are other resources too. But, I believe they are mentioned in the discussion I linked above. ^_^

Edited: PS, I recommend when using Kanji in a question or answer in the forums, you include the hiragana translation as well. There are people with a good grasp of grammar but not such a solid grasp of kanji. So, you don't want to miss out on their comments on accident. ^_^)


Same here. I have started putting (T) for "topic" and (S) for, you guessed it, "subject" as hints into my flashcards so that I do not continually mess up when going E to Jap. The hope is that one day inserting the correct particle will become automatic.


Ok I'll try to put the hiragana translate for kanji, I learned some kanji before I started this. Thank you for your answer and I looked at the books, I think I might buy them.


Hitsujiobarodo I discovered a very useful guide since I posted my reply to you. You can find it Here. I think it could be very helpful, and also free!

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