Basic Expression Course

Admin bar avatar
JLPT Basic, JLPT Course
  • 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!


I’m a student.

Mr.Tanaka is not a student.

He is Mr.Nakamura.
My father is a teacher.

My father is not a teacher.
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.


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