は Vs が An Analysis And Practice Of The Difference Between The Two.

By Zizka · Jul 10, 2018 ·
  1. Hello everyone,
    It's been a few days since the last blog entry as I moving in my new apartment and had no internet.
    Today I will talk about 「は」 vs 「が」. This is probably not JLPT 5 level but it's come up multiple times in my reference books so might as well tackle it.
    Exercise and Comments
    Each question will be followed with comments.
    upload_2018-7-9_13-30-8.png
    Here I thought the right answer would be 「は」but I was wrong (I checked the answer key). In my mind, 「は」is the English equivalent of "about". So "about" the three apples, there are three of them. In my book it says:
    However in practical terms, it [は] often (but not always) comes after the subject of the sentence.

    upload_2018-7-9_13-36-57.png
    I saw the answer to this by accident in the answer key. I think the answer here is 「は」because some description is provided about 「あれ」: Identifies a topic which is then identified or explained.
    upload_2018-7-9_13-39-44.png

    Logically, if "if there are three apples" requires 「が」, the same can be said for "there are two students". I checked I was right about this one. I think it's safe to deduct that when "there is" something, we use 「が」instead of 「は」.
    *For the following questions, I'll be doing two at a time to avoid checking the answer key too often.
    upload_2018-7-9_13-43-6.png
    I picked 「は」because the topic is identified.
    upload_2018-7-9_13-49-9.png
    For this one, I think it's a classic case of the 「は+が」 construction where the former indicates the topic while the latter "about which an aspect is defined".
    I checked and I was right for both!
    upload_2018-7-9_13-52-27.png
    This is essentially the same thing as #5.
    upload_2018-7-9_13-53-53.png
    Same pattern again.
    I checked and I'm right again although to be fair that's pretty easy since it's always the same recognizable pattern.
    upload_2018-7-9_13-56-8.png
    In this case, I would pick 「が」because this is a case of the children doing something as opposed to just being described by adjectives. It has a more "dynamic" meaning than 「は」if that makes any sense.
    upload_2018-7-9_13-57-46.png
    Here, the boys are described so 「は」seems like the right choice.
    I checked and I'm right again.
    upload_2018-7-9_14-2-7.png

    I did three this time around for the same reasons as before (checking the answer key every time is impractical).
    #10: I hesitated about this one. I felt that the 今日 there a touch of descriptiveness. The "as for..." of the translation also gave me the impression that this was a case of 「は」.
    #11: Dynamic, 田中さん does the action of coming.
    #12: it's a description of the wind so 「は」

    So as it turns out I was wrong about #10. After checking 「が」in my book I found: "indicates the subject of a predicate." Seeing that 「です」is a predicate, I guess it explains why 「が」is the right choice then. More practice to understand the nuances is needed however.
    Still, not bad so far, 2 wrong out of 10.
    upload_2018-7-9_14-12-55.png
    #13: the rain does the action of falling, it's dynamic.
    #14: The big window is the subject of the predicate 「です」.
    #15: This goes back to the beginning the existence of something.
    I was wrong about #14. I'm honestly not sure why that is. There's definitely still come confusion about the predicative aspect of 「は」and 「が」.
    upload_2018-7-9_14-25-52.png
    #16: I think if I put 「が」there, it would mean the mountain sees something as opposed to "about the mountain, I see it".
    #17: This is the pattern as before ("as for you, where does it hurt").
    I was wrong about #16. Hmm! This is getting more difficult. This is probably because I'm not used to having the subject omitted in sentences which is specific to Japanese. Still, I'm not too sure about this one.
    upload_2018-7-9_14-32-52.png
    Ok that bunch was difficult.
    #18: I was right about this one. I hesitated and it turns out both 「は/が」were acceptable for the last answer. I know (2) was the "but"「が」, that's the answer I was certain of. I'm thinking (1) is because the rest of the sentence describes the mountain. Again, not too sure about this.
    #19: I was wrong here. I don't know why I used 「は」to be honest, I doubled-guessed myself.
    #20: I was right about this one. I used #16 as a reference.
    upload_2018-7-9_14-38-39.png
    #21: I picked 「が」because the flowers are blooming, i.e. they're doing the action of blooming and are therefore the subject.
    #22: "but"「が」
    #23: The "about" of the translation kind of gave it away. It would probably be better without translations to be honest.

    I was caught in a trap here. The thing with 「が」(I think) is that it means "but" when it's used in opposition with something else in the same sentence. I was too trigger happy and quickly picked 「が」as soon as I saw "but" which was a mistake.
    upload_2018-7-9_14-44-1.png
    #24: To express the existence of something (same thing as #1).
    #25: I was remembered this as a colloquial expression.

    I got #24 wrong. I don't understand why 「りんごが三つあります」is 「が」but it's
    「桜はありませんよ」. Isn't it fundamentally the exact same thing?
    upload_2018-7-9_14-50-50.png
    #26: emphatic particle
    #27: topic marker
    #28: emphatic particle

    #29: Same pattern as before 「は+が」.

    I was wrong about all 3 there. Since the subject was underlined, I figured it meant some kind of emphasis. Will need to get some help on this one.
    upload_2018-7-9_14-56-34.png
    #30: I'm wrong about the last two. Well, I really need to review this.

    So in total I got 19/30 which is 63%. Not great. Need to review more. In total, I got the following wrong:
    #1
    #10
    #14
    #16
    #19
    #22
    #24
    #26
    #27
    #28
    #30




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