Clarification on sentence structure

i am working my way through the genki 1 workbook and translated the phrase

“At two o’clock yesterday, Takeshi was playing tennis with a friend” as


whereas the textbook gave the answer as


can someone explain where i went wrong or whether this is just a style choice or nuance i am missing

thank you


Welcome to the site!

Both positions of は are grammatically correct, but since は is a topic marker, they place the emphasis of the sentence in different places.

The Genki version indicates that Takeshi is the topic of the sentence. Your sentence makes yesterday the topic (there are other possible interpretations as well, but you probably haven’t learned other uses of は yet so it’s not worth worrying about yet).

Where you put the は in a real conversation would depend on the way the conversation was flowing (was the discussion before this about Takeshi or yesterday?), so it’s not possible to say from just this one sentence that yours was wrong.

EDIT: missed the grammar mistake in the second half, edited my post to clarify I was just talking about the position of は.


thank you very much

so it depends on the context of the situation, if we were talking about Takeshi then the Genki translation is more appropriate. if it was a new topic would が also work in its place ?

Also, たけしさんと友達テニスをしていました
is not grammatical, imo.

たけしさんと is “with Takeshi-san” then 友達 is just left there.

友達とテニスをしていました is “was playing tennis with a friend”


Yeah, I actually didn’t look closely at the second half of the sentence because the question wasn’t about it. My bad.


Thank you I checked it back in the book and it was my bad

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If you want to say ‘my friend Takeshi’ you can say 友達のたけし

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