Basic Expression Course

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Marshall
JLPT Basic, JLPT Course
Free
  • 7 lessons
  • 0 quizzes
  • 96 week duration

Basic Expression Course

Lesson 2: NounはNounです

In this lesson, I will teach you how to express “Noun 1 is Noun 2” in Japanese.

Noun 1 wa/がNoun 2です/でwaありません

は vs が

Both は and が are particles. は is topic marker. and が is subject marker.
【Noun 1 + は】 means that Noun 1 is the topic of this sentence, and 【Noun 1 + が】means that Noun 1 is the subject of this sentence.

When は is a particle, it’s read as “wa”.
は: emphasizes the noun after it.
が: emphasizes the noun before it.

For example, わたしトムです。 I’m Tom. 
In this sentence, は emphasizes “Tom”. So you can drop the “私は” too. If you say “トムです”, it means “I’m Tom.”, It’s just less formal.

わたしがトムです。I’m Tom.
In this sentence, が emphasizes “私”. This sentence is often used to answer a question: “Who is Tom?”
So you will answer him: I’m Tom. (It’s not everyone else, It’s me!)
So it will be weird to drop the 私が. 

Usually, は is way more often used. 
But if you do want to emphasize the subject, feel free to use が, it’s correct too!

Examples:

わたし学生がくせいです。
I’m a student.

なかさんは学生がくせいではありません。
Mr.Tanaka is not a student.

かれ中村なかむらさんです。
He is Mr.Nakamura.
 
ちち先生せんせいです。
My father is a teacher.

ちち先生せんせいではありません。
My father is not a teacher.
 
やまさんがしゅです。
Mr.Yamada is a singer.

 Note: さん is added to the end of other people’s names to address them more politely, you can’t use it on your own name.

Patron-only:

You can make sentences using what you have learned in this lesson by clicking the button below, and I will check for you! 

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