Generic statement of は

I was studying on the website Imabi when I came across an usage for は, the generic statement. It is stated on the website that generic statement implies, “I know about X is Y, but I don’t know about Z.” If the sentence is "XはYです。”
My question is, instead of interpreting like above, can I imply, “I think X is Y, but I don’t know what other people think.”?
ex: 空は青いです。
Imabi’s interpretation: I know that the sky here is blue, but I don’t know about the sky elsewhere
My interpretation: I think that the sky is blue, but I don’t know what other people think
Here is the link to that lesson on Imabi: http://www.imabi.net/theparticlewai.htm

1 Like

With a sentence like this, は can imply shared knowledge between you and the listener. This is why it can be used to convey factual (read: generic) information. So with a sentence like this, you probably can’t get the listener to interpret this as your opinion. You can use the contrastive properties of は, which Imabi refers to with these “I know X, but not z” kind of sentences. You just have to use yourself as the topic.

私は空が青いと思います

This implies that you believe the sky is blue, but others may think otherwise.

Hopefully that answers your question

[Edit: formatting of the post for clarity]

4 Likes

You’re right! Nice catch!

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.