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Japanese Lesson 31: Verbs Part 3


Want: Hoshii: ほしい: 欲しい*

Like: Suki: すき: 好き*

Pay: Harau: はらう: 払う

Go: Iku: いく: 行く

Play: Asobu: あそぶ: 遊ぶ

Use: Tsukau: つかう: 使う

Love: Ai suru: あい する: 愛する

Fall: Furu: ふる: 降る

Rain: Ame: あめ: 雨

  • Before we begin I want to warn you about Hoshii and Suki. They're not actually a verbs! They're adjectives! So for Hoshii and Suki sentences you need to have "desu" with them... (or I guess in some cases you can just leave "hoshii" and "suki" at the end of your sentence alone)

Also. Hoshii 「欲しい」(want) sounds a lot like Hoshi 「星」 (star) So be careful!


So, today in the world of Japanese Grammar we'll be going over the particle "ga" 「が」

The particle "ga" has many many uses, but today we'll just focus on its meaning as an object marker.

The difference is you use "o" 「を」when an object has had something directly done to it. (if you know your grammar these are called transitive verbs)

The cat opened the door
Neko ha doa o akemashita.

She drank the water
Kanojo wa mizu o nomimashita.

I read the book.
Watashi wa hon o yomimashita.

and you want to use "ga" for verbs that happen without a direct cause. (if you're good with the grammar jargon, these are called intransitive verbs)

We aren't going to be extensively covering intransitive right now... but we DO have one intransitive verb in our vocabulary list today!

Fall: Furu: ふる: 降る

The reverse tree vocabulary word is actually "raining" but "raining" "snowing" any sort of weather-ing has "furu" attached to it!

Ame ga furu
あめ が ふる

Raining (ame ga furu) gets "ga" because nothing is actually MAKING the rain fall. It's falling by itself without a causative force. (for the scientists out there... just don't think about it)

The other time you use "ga" ... or as I have explained it in the past... are for things you can't control. You can't really control what you like, dislike, and want. So that qualifies them for the use of "ga".

I want cake.
Watashi wa ke-ki ga hoshii desu.

She like cats.
Kanojo wa neko ga suki desu.

... or at least that's a good way to remember to use "ga" instead of "wo"

(because I guess that doesn't really work for love "ai suru")

:3 Make sense?


He goes
Kare wa ikimasu.
かれ は いきます。   彼は行きます

She pays
Kanojo wa haraimasu
かのじょ は はらいます。

They pay.
Karera wa haraimasu.
かれら は はらいます。   彼らは払います。

I like dogs.
Watashi wa inu ga suki desu. わたし は いぬ が すき です。

She likes coffee.
Kanojo wa ko-hi- ga suki desu.
かのじょ は コーヒー が すき です。

I want you.
Watashi wa anata ga hoshii desu.
わたし は あなた が ほしい です。

stop that giggling

She wants the cheese.
Kanojo wa chi-zu ga hoshii desu.
かのじょ は チーズ が ほしい です。 彼女はチーズが欲しいです。

NOTE: Before we continue. It's typical to put a stand alone 「ん」 between "hoshii" and "desu" to make the statement "softer" so to speak. Less blunt... you know?

So it'd be:

I want cake.
Watashi wa ke-ki ga hoshii n desu.

But Duolingo won't accept "hoshii n desu" as an answer.

They play.
Karera wa asobimasu.
かれら は あそびます。

She plays.
Kanojo wa asobimasu.
かのじょ は あそびます。

It rains.
Ame ga furimasu.
あめ が ふります。

I love cats.
Watashi wa neko o aishimasu.
わたし は ねこ を あいします。

- Watashi wa neko o aishiteimasu.
  わたし は ねこ を あいしています。

I use sugar.
Watashi wa satou o tsukaimasu.
わたし は さとう を つかいます。

She loves me.
Kanojo wa watashi o aishiteimasu.
かのじょ は わたし を あいしています。

He goes.
Kare wa ikimasu.
かれ は いきます。

We go.
Watashitachi wa ikimasu.

WHEW! :3 We actually made it through TWO reverse tree lesson parts today! ^_^

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May 9, 2015



Just... I'm a bit confused...

The particle "ga" has many many uses, but today we'll just focus on its meaning as an object marker.

Do you mean subject marker?

The difference is you use "o" 「を」when someone/something has directly done an action to an object. (if you know your grammar these are called transitive verbs)

Do you mean has directly had an action done to it?

Ame ga furu
あめ が ふる

Raining (ame ga furu) gets "ga" because nothing is actually MAKING the rain fall. It's falling by itself without a causative force. (for the scientists out there... just don't think about it)

So, yeah, I thought 「が」 was the subject marker and 「を」 the object marker, and so in this example it's not that nothing is making the rain fall, it's that the rain, as the subject of the sentence, is falling.

The other time you use "ga" ... or as I have explained it in the past... are for things you can't control. You can't really control what you like, dislike, and want. So that qualifies them for the use of "ga".

I want cake.
Watashi wa ke-ki ga hoshii desu.

Similarly here. I wouldn't think of it as something you can't control but that a transliteration would be something like

As for me 「私は」 the cake (as the subject of the sentence) 「ケーキが」 is what I like 「欲しいです」

or something like that.


This is where I gently throw up my hands and say I have a very very very very very very very basic understanding of Grammar terms. Which is why I explain things without them... even in the cases that I do know them.

Do you mean subject marker?

After a quick google search... yes... but here's why I don't use it as such:

We already know that "o" is an "object marker" It marks an object that is having a verb done to it.

We already know that "wa" is a "subject marker" this is... a tough subject... I remember it as the person/place/thing in the sentence that isn't having a verb happen to it. (not including is/am/are/exist)

So just by that logic me saying "ga is a subject marker" might make someone think to put it where "wa" goes... which in the case of "ame ga furu" (after thinking about it a bit) that isn't totally wrong... but my perception of that sentence we'll get to in a second...

But "ga", for the most part, replaces the particle "o" not the particle "wa" In fact... in the sentence examples you even find "wa" and "ga" in the same sentence... so it's like "WACHA! We have two subject markers!!" Which isn't a lie, but it's hellishly confusing.

So, in short. I call it an object marker for the sake of simplicity. "Ga and wo mark the objects that are about to have a verb done to them. One marks [intransitive verbs] the other marks [transitive verbs])

Do you mean has directly had an action done to it?

Yeah okay I'll flip my wording around... that would make it less... wordy...

Ame Ga Furu

You're not wrong. This is primarily a problem with how I perceive the sentence... which also ties into me thinking "ga" is an object marker.

The way I gramatically see this sentence is "the rain is having falling done to it." ... early on I used to write "raining" as "ame o furu" Then I learned that when there's not a direct cause for the verb.... or in short... when the verb is an intransitive verb... you use "ga" before whatever the (insert grammar term here) noun is.

So basically... I go "Nothing causes things to fall... so I replace 'o' with 'ga'... ame GA furu!"
rather than thinking "Okay, we're using an intransitive verb... so the object now becomes a subject and in those cases we use ga... ame ga furu." ... and TBH I had to have a drawn out conversation with my English Major mother on that subject because the concept makes absolutely no sense to me... I also got a brief history of how "you're not allowed to verb a noun. and you can't verb an adjective either" ... and I just don't get it... so moving on.

As for me 「私は」 the cake (as the subject of the sentence) 「ケーキが」 is what I like 「欲しいです」

Call it personal preference... I have never been able to see "wa" as "as for me"... it works for some people, not for others... XD Me being one of the others I don't use it. So being as I don't understand it as "as for me" and I suck at Grammar and grammar terminology as a whole I basically go "wa follows the part of the sentence that we are talking about... but isn't having an action done to it..."

TL;DR I understand the function of the particles and how the sentence should flow... but I don't know the grammatical terms for much of anything... and find the way standard grammar explains the functions and usages of the parts of speech to be overly convoluted... which I suspect was opposite of their original intention.

XD But I warned everyone about my super vague understanding about grammar (as it's explained with all the terms and stuff) way in the beginning.


Cool, that's all good. I see where you're coming from now. :)

I thought I might just expand on how I think about the relationship between 「は」, 「が」, and 「を」 because you also apparently think of 「は」 differently to the way I do.

So the way I think of things is that

  • 「が」 is the subject marker,
  • 「を」 is the object marker,
  • 「に」is (among other things) the indirect object marker,
  • 「は」 is the topic marker, and replaces 「が」 and 「を」 and is placed after 「に」 when one of those things is the topic.

In this way you don't get into the trouble, that I actually do clearly remember having when I was first learning Japanese a decade and a half ago :P, of both 「は」 and 「が」 being subject markers.


Oh yeah THAT'S what it's called... topic marker... I knew that at one point.

XD It's a lot for someone like me to keep track of... and I guess I tend to understand these things in a strange way.

Bahaha! And since I automatically classified 「が」 as an object marker I never got it confused with 「は」

That being said... some compound sentences now make more sense. XD

eeeyup that's me the Queen of Wonky Grammar. (best if used with absolutely no prior grammar knowledge)(warning: do not use by an open flame)(or if you want a good grade for properly explaining parts of speech)(may cause bloating)


Don't even talk to me about compound sentences! My wife, who is a Kiwi but spent a year living in Japan, often mocks my inability to cope with them. :P


Oddly enough, my favorite compound sentences are the ones where you stick the second half of the clause into the middle of the first clause!

I read while I eat.
I, as I eat, read.


That's the general rule, yes. Once you are ready for the other uses of particles, refer back to this post. Since you are interested in "ga," this is from my notes (I'll have to confirm the book I got the examples from later. I don't have it anymore).


  1. Phenomenon

太陽が昇る。 = The sun rises

  1. Existence of a nonspecific person or thing

街角に警官がいます。= There is a policeman at the corner

  1. Interrogatives used as subjects

誰が社長ですか?= Who's the president?

  1. (Object) for adjectives describing subjective feelings

私は水が欲しいです。 = I want water.

  1. (complement) in sentence patterns

内の犬は日本語が分かります。 = Our dog understands Japanese.

  1. (subject) in the subordinate sentence

真鍮(しんちゅう)が銅(どう)と亜鉛(あえん)の合金だとは知りませんでした。 = I did not know that brass was an alloy of copper and zinc.

  1. の equivalent

我が子。= my child (instead of 我の子)

  1. Conjunctive

その映画を見たが、大変面白かった。= I saw the movie, and it was interesting.

What you will notice with most of these uses is that "ga" helps indicate non-specific things. Like in 2, it's not saying that there was THE policeman, as if it's one certain man that everyone should know; it's ominous. Although articles like "the" and "a/an" do not technically exist in Japanese, I like to use these in translations to express the difference between "ga" and "wa" in this case.

Now 1 had it labeled as "phenomenon." I don't like this title, but I haven't seen any others. Basically "wa" puts focus on the action of the sentence, while "ga" puts focus on the subject to the action.

Here's an example from JGram, which is perfect.

あなたは日本語を話しますか? = Do you speak Japanese?

あなたは日本語が話しますか?= Can you speak Japanese?

Now 6 may initially be confusing, but I think it's only because of the missing pronoun. If we added the pronoun in there, it would be 私は真鍮が銅と亜鉛の合金....

This is where "wa" and "ga" is most essential. If you say しんちゅうは in this case, it would completely change the meaning of the sentence, and it would not make sense:

A brass did not know it was copper and zinc.

Something like that. "ga" helps clarify that it is not the main topic of the sentence. Basically, keep using your pronouns if you are not ready to drop them yet. It'll help clarify things. Personally, this was the hardest rule for me to learn, but unfortunately you just have to practice.

I can find easier examples if you need it, especially if you have trouble with grammatical terms (which you seem to be fine with). If you need me to further explain, I can. Sorry for the long post.


Completely off topic... but I can finally watch my Japanese copy of Lilo and Stitch... and the translations are BRUTAL.

English: ... and get disciplined? (disciplined?) yeah! She disciplines me real good! Sometimes 5 times a day!...

Japanese: ... and get beat up? (beat up?) yeah she beats me often. Sometimes 5 times a day!

English: -puts hula spoons in jar- ... my friends need to be punished...

Japanese: -puts hula spoons in jar- ... I'm trying to kill my friends...


Hahaha! Gotta love translations! Thank you for the lessons!


Where do you get copies of Japanese dubs? I'm assuming amazon, but even so it must be expensive right?

And yeah, it's pretty common to not get the right translation. In general, there is no such thing as a "literal" translation, so it may vary a lot. Surprisingly enough though, I'm always disappointed with Japanese dubs and translations for Disney for some reason. The best ones I have ever known are non-animated, big franchises or MLP. (BTW, MLP is a great way to learn a lot of vocabulary as it is a children's show.)


I got my Japanese Lilo and Stitch at Yes Asia.com They also have Chinese and Korean media, so make absolutely sure you're buying in the right language. :)

I don't really mind dubs of anything. If anything I'm getting more and more disappointed in subs as my fluency increases. Japanese MLP sounds fun :D


The subs seem to try to get as close to the English meaning as possible while also keeping a character limit on words, leaving a lot of information left out. I agree with you on that. In that aspect, the dubs are almost always better.

It is really fun. It's a kids show, yet I still do not know some words (and I've been learning Japanese for a full decade).

A little off topic, but the Easy Languages is also a good channel to subscribe to. The Easy Japanese may be your particular interest, but they have a lot of other languages too. I recommend looking at those series as well.


Are you posting Japanese lessons for English speakers because we don't have a course yet?


Pretty much. Yes. I'm essentially translating the reverse tree lessons.


OMG! you are so awesome! thank you! I wanted to learn Japanese on here and my friend told me there was no English to Japanese Version and I was so upset, I was going to try the reverse tree but I couldn't do anything so I had to learn the Kanji for English so I could get back XD


Well that's certainly a good first kanji to know. XD I'm glad I can be of service. ^_^


雨が降る/Raining, I think it's odd that you need が in order to say something like "Raining". Guess I still have a hard time using が in sentences when I try to think of sentences off the top of my head.

Don't understand why there aren't any kanji characters for using ケーキ though.


Yeah I used to have a real big problem with it too. I'd always write it 雨を降る.

Hmm... yeah it's kind of strange huh.


Still...theirs kanji for candy/飴 "あめ" toffee/有平糖 "あるへとう"(I think that's introduced in JLPT N5). Been ages since I've studied N5 kanji extensively.

At times, who ever is responsible in the J Govt when it comes to revising kanji used by the public doesn't make sense to me.


Like: Suki: すき: 好き*

Can you explain me what is 好き* is it the kanji one?


Yes 好き is the Kanji one.


Can you use "hoshii" when you want someone else to do something?

How would you say: "I want you to go to Tokyo." ?


Actually, in that sense I think you would use the ~tai ending for the verb. So "I want you to go to Tokyo" would be "watashi wa anata ga Tokyo ni ikitai"


Thanks Kiyomi! Much appreciated!

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