My first post in 2013 is about two confusing particles. I am sure there are many people wondering what the difference is between “wa”and “ga”. Today I will explain it simply to you. Before that, I have a question for all of you.
Watashi wa sushi ga suki desu. (I like sushi.)There are two nouns in this sentence: watashi, and sushi. Which word do you think is more important, “watashi” or “sushi”?
The answer is sushi because it is usually obvious that you are talking about yourself, so the fact that you like “sushi” is the information you would like to relay. Keep this while we look at the previous example again.
Watashi wa sushi ga suki desu.A noun preceding “wa” (in this case, “watashi”) is not so important. A noun following “wa” and preceding “ga” (in this case, “sushi”) is the most important. Make sure to remember this rule.
Yamada san wa eigo ga jozu desu. (Yamada is good at speaking English.)Here “eigo” is more important information than “Yamada”.
Yamada san wa kami ga nagai desu. (Yamada's hair is long.)Also here, “kami” is the important information.
Then what is the difference between “watashi wa Minako desu” and “watashi ga Minako desu” ?
Watashi wa Minako desu.According to the rule of “wa” and “ga”, “Minako” following “wa” is more important than “watashi” in front of “wa”. Therefore, this sentence is used when you want to tell the name “Minako”. When the other party hasn’t heard my name before, I say it like this.
Watashi ga Minako desu.On the other hand, this example is used in the following situation. For instance, there are ten women in a room. Mr. A has a list of the ten women’s names, but he doesn’t know who has which name. Then, Mr. A asks “Dono hito ga Minako san desu ka?” (Which person is Minako?) I would raise my hand and say, “Watashi ga Minako desu” (I am Minako).
It is more important to emphasize “watashi” here than to say the name “Minako”, so “watashi” takes “ga”. Saying “Minako wa watashi des” is also all right because it follows the rule.
So, here is some homework for you. Please consider “wa” and “ga” in the following model sentences and also think about which situation they are used in. Those who can’t figure out the answers, please post your comment here.
1) Disneyland wa doko ni arimasu ka?
2) nani ga table no ue ni arimasu ka?
*Watch the video, too!