Basic Expression Course

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Basic Course
  • 8 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。[Noun 1] is [Noun 2].
[Noun 1] + wa/が + [Noun 2] + でwaありません。[Noun 1] is not [Noun 2].

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 the sentence above, 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!

Example Sentences:

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.

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