The difference between 「は」and 「が」-part1-


Today’s Japanese lesson is about something Japanese learners always struggle with.
I’d like to explain the difference between 「は」and 「が」.
Honestly It’s quite difficult, but let’s learn together!

How to read
は→ (Wa), Not (Ha) this time.
が→ (Ga)

The difference between 「は」and 「が」-basic-

The difference between 「は」and 「が」-part1-


First of all, what I want you guys to remember is…
When you use 「は」, after「は」is what you want to say or what you want to emphasize.
When you use 「が」, before「が」is what you want to say or what you want to emphasize.

Here is an example.

  1. わたし (Watashi) は (wa) あやの (Ayano) です (desu)
  2. わたし (Watashi) が (ga) あやの (Ayano) です (desu)

Do you understand the difference??
Alright, here is another example.

When you use「は」

A teacher: What’s your name?
なまえ は なんですか?
(Namae wa nandesuka?)

What the teacher wants to know is my name right? That’s why I say…

Me: I’m Ayano.
わたし あやの です。
(Watashi wa Ayano desu.)

When you use 「が」

A teacher: Is there an Ayano around?
このなか に あやのさん は いますか?
(Kononaka ni Ayano-san wa imasuka?)

Me: It’s me.
わたし あやの です。
(Watashi ga Ayano desu.)

What the teacher wants know is which person Ayano is, so I say “Watashi ga Ayano desu”, Because before「が」is important.

This is a basic knowledge of the difference.

Then let’s have a look at another example.



「が」 When you want to emphasize “Who” or “Where”.

Example 1 -Who-

A: Wait…my chocolate is gone, Did someone eat it?
まって、わたし の チョコレート なくなってる。だれか たべた?
(Matte, watashi no chocolate naku natte iru, dare ka tabeta?)

 B: Oh..Ayano ate that.
あ、それ あやの たべたよ。
(A, sore Ayano ga tabetayo.)

The emphasis is  “Ayano”, so in this case, “Ayano” is what B wants to say.


Example 2 -Where-

A: Which country do you like?
どこ の くに すき ですか?
(Doko no kuni ga suki desuka?)

B: I like Japan.
にほん すき です。
(Nihon ga suki desu.)

In this case also what B wants to say is “Japan”, so its emphasis is “Japan”.

「が」when you experience / feeling

Example 1 -experience-

A: I went for a run, but I ran too much, so my legs hurt today.
きょう はしり に いったん だけど はしりすぎて あし いたい。
(Kyou hashiri ni ittan dakedo hashirisugite ashi ga itai.

Hurting legs is what A experienced, that’s why its gonna be “Ashi ga itai”.

Example 2 -feeling-

A: I wasn’t able to have dinner last night, so now I’m starving!
さくばん ばんごはん を たべれなかったから いま めちゃ おなか すいた!
(Sakuban bangohan wo taberenakatta kara ima mettcha onaka ga suita!)

Its a feeling that A is starving now, so its gonna be “Onaka ga suita.”

Do you know a little bit about the difference between them??

In the next article, we will learn “the difference between OOが suki and OOはsuki”.

Please DM me if you have any questions!

Thank you for reading.