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KuroTan
09-27-2007, 11:32 PM
I subscribed to the yookoso grammar a day thing and it came in the mail today. Could anyone explain what it is and how it's used? I'm confused by the examples in the message.

Ertai87
09-28-2007, 10:23 AM
OK, basically, this is how I understand "ga" (sorry, I don't have kana installed on this computer). You use "ga" when you are using a subclause or a specific subclause phrase. For example,

"My stomach hurts" = "Watashi wa onaka ga itai desu"

As you can see, "onaka ga itai" is a subclause which has a different subject from the main subject of the sentence.

You also use "ga" when the subject of your sentence is a question word ("who", "what", "when", "where"), for example:

"Dare ga ryorishite imasu ka?" = "Who is cooking?"

Or the grammar structure:

"A no naka de, nani ga ichiban B desu ka?" = "Within the realm of A, what is the most B item?"

You also use it when you are giving information that someone else probably doesn't know (although this last one is difficult to describe), for example when using the words "hoshii", "suki" and "kirai", which are heavily opinionated. However, when taking the negative of this sentence, you use the "subject in focus" particle "wa" instead. For example:

"Anata wa sushi ga suki desu ka?" ("sushi ga suki" subclause) = "Do you like sushi?"

"Iie, sushi wa suki dewa arimasen" = "No, I don't like sushi" (the implication being that I do like something other than sushi. If you just want to say "no" and leave it at that, you can leave out the "sushi wa", but adding the "sushi wa" implies that you want to continue talking about that subject)

Additionally, note that if you take out the "anata wa" in the first sentence, you do not change the "ga" in the subclause to a "wa" unless you want to change the meaning (I'm a little bit fishy on this, so correct me if I'm wrong, but...). If you change the "ga" to a "wa", I believe that would be like using the "subject in focus wa" (i.e. "I like sushi, but there's something I don't like"), which is not the way you would usually talk in English, and definitely not the way you would ask a question. Thus, you would still say "sushi ga suki desu ka?" because the "anata wa" is implied.

The exceptions to this rule are when you're quoting somebody. For example, you could say:

"Watashi wa anata wa sushi ga kirai da to kikimashita" = "I heard you don't like sushi"

Note the double use of "wa", as the subclause "you don't like sushi" is a standalone sentence on its own, so it needs it's own subject and verb.

Yeah, so I kind of went on for a long time, and I probably got half of it wrong, but that's how I understand it anyway.

KuroTan
09-28-2007, 10:06 PM
I think I get it. So you're saying "ga" is used to denote something? Like putting it in before a noun? I hope I got that right. And sorry if I oversimplified your explanation. I'm kinda new to the whole intricacies of the Japanese language.^^'

Ertai87
09-28-2007, 10:28 PM
Nono...が (I'm at home now so I can use Japanese text...my work computer doesn't have it installed) is used the same way as は, but it has a different meaning...it's hard to describe over the internet, but the way I understand it is that if you say, for example, すしが好きです it's like "I like sushi", whereas saying すしは好きです is like "I like sushi"...it's hard to explain without being able to say it and only being able to type...

shinnraiu
09-29-2007, 02:25 PM
すしは好きです
Literately translates to: "As for sushi, I like it"

Differences between は and が
は is literally translated to "as for..."

Also... when you're telling a story or something, you use が to introduce something.
For example... あの古い家には猫がいます。猫は黒いです。
In that old house there is a cat. The cat is black.
The second time you use は because you already introduced the cat and the listener knows what cat you're speaking of. (you're speaking of that particular cat and not any cat.)


が is also a word for "although..." but I think you aren't talking about that one.

Ertai87
09-30-2007, 02:13 AM
すしは好きです
Literately translates to: "As for sushi, I like it"

Differences between は and が
は is literally translated to "as for..."

Ah, makes a lot of sense. I kind of understood that implicitly, but couldn't quite say it, because the phrase "as for..." is almost never used in day-to-day English speech.


Also... when you're telling a story or something, you use が to introduce something.
For example... あの古い家には猫がいます。猫は黒いです。
In that old house there is a cat. The cat is black.
The second time you use は because you already introduced the cat and the listener knows what cat you're speaking of. (you're speaking of that particular cat and not any cat.)

Right. I wanted to say that except I didn't quite know how to say it (it was once explained to me as talking abouot new information that the other person doesn't know, but when I asked my teacher about that, she said that pretty much any information is new, otherwise you wouldn't be talking about it, so that definition makes no sense).

KuroTan
09-30-2007, 03:45 AM
Ah okay. I think I sorta get it now. Thanks very much.^^ Oh, and another "ga" came in the mail today but now I get it since the translation says "but". Random info.XD

mikadzuki
09-30-2007, 10:45 AM
ertai and shinnraiu already have expounded a lot on the subject... but i would like to help just the same. am still learning the language as well, and the site from which the link below comes from had been very helpful to me in shedding light to those "intricacies" you mentioned...:p

http://japanese.about.com/library/weekly/aa051301a.htm?nl=1

side note: "wa" is the romanji for the hiragana "ha" :p

Ertai87
09-30-2007, 12:12 PM
side note: "wa" is the romanji for the hiragana "ha" :p

Only the particle は. Other "wa" such as "wakaru" or "warui" are the regular わ, and in Katakana sometimes you'll see ウァ for "wa" (like in the name of the university I go to).

mikadzuki
10-01-2007, 12:12 PM
Only the particle は. Other "wa" such as "wakaru" or "warui" are the regular わ, and in Katakana sometimes you'll see ウァ for "wa" (like in the name of the university I go to).

you're right. but in the side note for baka_black, what i meant was:

Romanji: Watashi wa gakusei desu.Hiragana: 私は学生です。

the focus was on the particle "wa" ^.^

English Subtitle of the phrase: I am a student...^.^

bobbias
10-02-2007, 10:20 AM
Since most of these posts can be kind confusing, here's what I hope to be a simple, but in depth explanation of が (and は and を as well):

When you make a sentence like "I like to Rollerblade.", you're using 3 parts of the sentence: The Subject [The person, object, event, etc that is the main subject of the sentence], the Object [Usually the thing that the verb acts on] and the Verb [Self explanitory]

は is the Subject Clause Marker. It's something english doesn't have. It's job is to tell us what the Subject of the sentence is. が is an Object Clause Marker. It's job is to tell us what the Object that the verb acts on is.

Now, if we get a little advanced, we notice that を is also a Object Clause Marker. This is where things can be confusing, since we don't know which one to use. I'm not entirely clear on exactly when we use both, but I think this is how it works...

When you are saying you are doing something, such as eating bread (わたしはぱをたべる) you use o to indicate that the bread is the subject. が provides more emphasis on the subject, rather than the verb. For example, if someone asks "what do you like?" (なにわすきです) you are emphasizing what you like, so you'd reply "I like cats." (ねくがすきです).

Ertai87
10-02-2007, 04:24 PM
Since most of these posts can be kind confusing, here's what I hope to be a simple, but in depth explanation of が (and は and を as well):

When you make a sentence like "I like to Rollerblade.", you're using 3 parts of the sentence: The Subject [The person, object, event, etc that is the main subject of the sentence], the Object [Usually the thing that the verb acts on] and the Verb [Self explanitory]

は is the Subject Clause Marker. It's something english doesn't have. It's job is to tell us what the Subject of the sentence is. が is an Object Clause Marker. It's job is to tell us what the Object that the verb acts on is.

Now, if we get a little advanced, we notice that を is also a Object Clause Marker. This is where things can be confusing, since we don't know which one to use. I'm not entirely clear on exactly when we use both, but I think this is how it works...

When you are saying you are doing something, such as eating bread (わたしはぱをたべる) you use o to indicate that the bread is the subject. が provides more emphasis on the subject, rather than the verb. For example, if someone asks "what do you like?" (なにわすきです) you are emphasizing what you like, so you'd reply "I like cats." (ねくがすきです).

Mmm...ok, there are at least 4 things wrong with that:

1) "ga" (sorry, no hiragana on this pc :( ) is a subject marker, not an object marker. You can sometimes think of it as an object marker when you use it in a subordinate clause, but even then, it's still the subject marker of that clause. "ga" is never an object marker.

2) "wo" (or "o") is an object marker. It marks the object of the verb. However, and this is probably where your confusion comes from, when you are using an adjective as the verb (as is often the case with words like "suki", and I noticed your example phrase would be translated using "suki"), you have to form a subclause using "ga", and your verb (in the case of your example) would be "desu", which is basically the exception to every Japanese grammar rule (it's actually not a verb...I don't think it belongs to any part of speech, but you can think of it, if your sentence must have a verb, as the verb). Whenever you have an action verb (to eat, to do, to read), you always use "wo". When you have a movement verb like iku, kaeru, or kuru, you use "e" ("he") or "ni", as they take the equivalent of the English "towards" or "to".

3) You wouldn't say "nani wa suki desu ka" for at least 2 reasons (I can name 2, but someone more versed in Japanese can probably say more): First off, "nani" is a question word. You never everevereverevereverEVER use "wa" when you have a question word as the subject of the sentence. Same goes for "dare", "doko", etc. Additionally, if you were to phrase that sentence in the full form, you would have to add an "anata wa" or something similar to the front, making it "anata wa nani wa suki desu ka", which is a contradictory sentence because it has 2 distinct yet unrelated subjects ("you" and "what"). In this case, the "nani wa suki" is a subclause, so it would use "ga" instead of "wa".

4) Your explanation saying "neko ga suki desu" is correct, but for the wrong reasons. If you wanted to emphasize the fact that you like CATS, you would say "neko wa suki desu", to imply that there are other things you don't like. However, if you want to just say that there's something you like, you would say "neko ga suki desu". The "wa" puts more emphasis on the subject, while the "ga" puts more emphasis on the verb.

bobbias
10-03-2007, 06:48 AM
There's a lot I need to learn, and I haven't found too many places that explain grammar in a very straight forward manner, so most of my knowledge comes from a combination of reading and talking to a couple people, and I haven't gone over grammar in a long time, so thanks for correcting me. As I said, that's how I understood it anyway...

Ertai87
10-03-2007, 09:34 AM
No problems, if you hadn't posted that you wouldn't have learned right? :D

Vagrere
10-27-2007, 09:44 PM
There's a whole bunch of explanations that are here that, on the whole, are fairly good. I find, though, that it's a bit easier simply to say that は puts more emphasis on the subject than the rest of the sentence or clause, while が is neutral--neither emphasizing nor detracting from the subject.

Satisfactory summary, everyone?

Unknownymous
10-28-2007, 06:33 AM
が can be nicely replaced when translating into English sentences by "is" and forms of the verb "be". Note that it is not a translation, but the functions are very similar. Let's look at a simple sentence example.

あなたが好きです

In English, it's directly translated as:
"You are liked."

But in Japanese, あなた is not the subject. The subject is omitted from the full sentence, which would be
私はあなたが好きです

The 私は part is omitted even in a somewhat formal sentence like that because it's obvious. Japanese likes to omit words like that. Note that は marks the subject of the sentence here.

In direct comparison to the English translation, "You are liked", "You" would be the subject, though. This is where some people find it hard to understand, because they think that あなた is the subject in the Japanese sentence.

Direct translation of the full sentence
私はあなたが好きです
becomes:
"I like you"
all of a sudden.

I think it really helps to keep in mind that omitted words are a common thing in Japanese sentences.


Additional note, but I'm not sure if it's sound as a teaching tool. My Japanese friend told me years ago that there are some verbs where が is naturally better used than を. A few examples (dictionary forms) include:

知る
分かる
好き
嫌い

There were a few more but right now I can't remember particularly. I'd like to note personally that these particular verbs act like adjectives in the sentences that they're used after が.

それが知っている
Literally: "That is known."
Natural: "I know that."

英語が分かりません
Literally: "English is not understood."
Natural: "I don't understand English."

Note how the verbs are used in the literal English translations. They're not saying that "that" is knowing something. They're describing "that" as being known. They're not saying that English is not understanding. They're describing English as not being understood.

I think you get the picture. I hope this helps clear things up even more. :)

Ertai87
10-28-2007, 10:54 AM
Just a note: 好き is an adjective, not a verb. So is that other one whose Kanji I can't read. Verbs end in る always (at least the dictionary forms).

Unknownymous
10-28-2007, 02:07 PM
Right you are. Wasn't paying attention to my own words lol. :D The other word is "kirai", which is also an adjective.

There are other dictionary form endings for words (-ぶ [呼ぶ], -む [読む], -く [行く], -う[笑う], and maybe others that I can't think of right now), which is off topic but worth it to note.

Ertai87
10-29-2007, 12:16 AM
Right you are. Sorry, I meant verbs always end in the 3-dan of the various columns (the "u" one, like う, す, む, etc)