Grammar Doubt 2!

Okay I’m back already and I have a question :slight_smile: I want to know which of the following sentences is the most appropriate and in which context.

わたし の じてんしゃ が 30000 えん でした

わたし わ じてんしゃ が 30000 えん でした

Thanks in advance!

1 Like

I’d go for わたしのじてんしゃ 30000えんでした, though I couldn’t tell you exactly why.

This is a basic statement about about your bicycle…“my bicycle was 30000 yen”

There might be a situation you can use this, but I’m struggling to think of one…it feels like one of those deceptive sentences that takes a moment to parse properly (like the infamous "time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana).

I’d just stick to using the first one unless you come across the second in real life.


The first one! But even better: わたし の じてんしゃ は さんまんえん でした。(As for my bike, it was 30000 yen).
The particle wa is written は, by the way.

The second one, the は…が… statement is more for properties of a thing, like: わたしは かみが ながいです。My hair is long (as for me, the hair is long.)


Watashino means ‘my’. Watashi wa (written ha) means ‘as for me’. In this case you are talking about ‘my bicycle’ and so need to use watashino. The topic of the sentence is the bicycle not you so you use wa after the bicycle. I could try to explain why you should use wa rather than ga but I think it is better to follow this link to tofugu who explain it far better than I ever could:


ah yes I copy pasted the sentence from a Japanese keyboard website so I forgot to change the ha to wa. thanks!
@Rob80Harrison thanks I’ll check the link

Also Genki says that the ga particle is used before arimas/arimasen. is that true or are there some basic exceptions? if so do you know them?

Yes, this is true in the sense that those verbs don’t take direct objects. But you can still use は for emphasis. For example: シャツがありません means I don’t have a shirt. シャツはありません means I don’t have the shirt. (Maybe the one we were just talking about?) In English the shirt is the direct object. In Japanese it’s the subject. The thing that exists.

1 Like

okay so in general if we want to say something is there, then we can use ga, otherwise if we want to talk about something in relation to the context we can use wa, right?

1 Like

Yes, that sounds right.

1 Like

perfect thank you so much!

wait isn’t this the other way around? シャツは means you’re talking about shirts in general, シャツが means you’re talking about a specific shirt, right?

e.g. 赤いシャツはありますか is asking if you have red shirts, but 赤いシャツがありますか is asking if you have a specific red shirt


Side note, I’d probably write 3万円 rather than 30000円.


Questions have a different feel, I think.

Are there red shirts?
We have red shirts (but don’t ask about other colours). (As for red shirts, they exist)

Do you have the red shirt?
There is a red shirt. (Red shirts exist.)

1 Like

it’s hard to work out what’s going on without context isn’t it…

what about

ある町で車があります vs ある町で車はあります

with the first one we’re talking about a specific car that was in a town, with the second we’re saying the town had cars in it, right?

If we followed it with 車は赤いです, in the first case, we’d be saying that the car we mentioned in the sentence before is red, in the second we’d be saying the cars in the town are red

1 Like

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