"では" I'm confused

これはぺんではない

What I don’t understand is why だ can become で. I thought you could only put verbs into the て form. And why is the は particle after で?I thought the topic was already established as これ.

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In this instance, は isn’t acting as the topic marker, it’s just part of the grammar term ではない

Same way that で isn’t acting as the “in/at/on” particle.

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Any idea why she says で is だ in its て form?

You can think of the copula as a verb since it conjugate like that, but really the copula is a special case.

In English we use “to be” or “is” as both a copula and the verb for existence. Japanese separates these into distinct things.

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This is a really weird explanation to me. I’d recommend just memorizing ではない (and it’s shortened version じゃない) as the way to negate nouns. Breaking it down like this isn’t useful in my opinion.

It is useful to recognize that there are て forms for things other than verbs, and it is the case that the て form of だ is で. I just don’t think it’s worth thinking about in this situation.

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The copula isn’t a verb exactly, but it functions sort of like one.

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Something to add that might help here, even though it is somewhat unrelated to the overall topic.

If you look at the plain past form of a verb/adjective, they end in た or だ, so if we take the following verb examples:

のんだ to have drunk
のんで is the て form

This makes more sense when we look at a verb that has た in the past form because the て form actually shows a “て”:

かいた to have written
かいて the て form

If you go to Jisho.org and find a verb or adjective, you’ll see a link called “show inflections” sitting below the record. It is useful for seeing how words conjugate in this way. Apologies if you’ve already covered this in your studies.

And this website is very useful for conjugation practice: https://steven-kraft.com/projects/japanese/

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Good point! It’s just the way she explained it that made me want to fully understand it, but I guess there really isn’t any point in doing so.

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I think it comes down to whether etymology interests you. It doesn’t matter what the で and は in ではない are if you know how to use it as a whole. Some people just like to know for knowledge’s sake. There’s nothing wrong with that either. (I just found the explanation confusing and would rather say “meh who cares” in this case!)

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You can put everything into the て form.

大きい > 大きくて
賑やか > 賑やかで
大学生 > 大学生で

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I’m struggling to find a way to explain the は particle here. では is covered in more detail in a later lesson but it relies on some concepts not introduced at this point.

For now you can think of it as “as for that (thing marked by で)”, it is not.

The lesson that covers it is here, but it might be a bit advanced for you at this point:

Also if you have questions you can comment on the video itself and sensei will usually respond, even for old videos. She can explain it much better than we can :upside_down_face:

は often appears in negative sentences, mostly because of the nuance of contrast it infuses, so ではない is more common than でない. That’s just a thing in Japanese. I’m sure someone has written a thesis on it, but I’m not sure it’s necessary to dig that deep into it for most learners.

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It’s because は has a limiting function. When we use it as a topic marker, it limits the comment to a specific topic. ではない is sort of like “even as little as that, it’s not true”.

You meet it again in てはいけない. Even as little as that, it won’t do.

I see! Thanks a lot!

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