Particle question (が)


Wouldn’t the meaning be closer to “As for Tom, coffee is what he wants to drink.”?

As for Tom, (he) wants to drink coffee.

Is a perfectly good translation, that does good at emphasizing grammar points while maintaining a somewhat natural sounding English sentence.

As for Tom, coffee is what he wants to drink.

Is more of an attempt to directly translate word for word, and sounds less natural.

Tom wants to drink coffee.

Is what I would say in a normal conversation if someone asked me what the sentence meant in English.


I really don’t care about it sounding unnatural, word for word translations help me out a lot. Unfortunately not many teaching sites/programs/textbooks seem to use direct translations :frowning:

Japanese doesn’t directly translate into English very well, and in many cases not at all.

Learning the correct sentence structure is very important when learning any language, it however is one of the reasons Japanese is so difficult for native English speakers to learn.


Alright yeah so my translations would match the phrase more correctly

Also I’m really confused on this one. image

Shouldn’t it say “Maybe someone asked ‘what came off’”?

If you decide the meaning of “correct” to mean “literal”. But it’s a matter of opinion.

Isn’t the clip the new information because of が?

correct doesn’t necessarily mean “literally”, but it helps a lot to understand the sentence from a Japanese point of view.

You used it that way just now.

が is a subject marker, so that translation is perfectly fine too. I don’t know where these examples are coming from so I can’t say what is new or not.

Try reading Introduction to Particles – Learn Japanese for more info on が

It’s from Tofugu’s offical particle guide.

I did not. I said my phrase would fit it more correctly. Which is correct.

Just because it also happens to be more literal is coincidental. You’re getting caught up in semantics instead of actually helping me figure out what I’m confused about.


It shouldn’t say “What came off” because the person asking the question already knew it was a clip that came off.

が is used when talking about something specifically, in this case the clip.

Your translation is only more correct if the standard is whether it’s literal or not. To any native speaker, the original translation is better English.

I don’t see how asserting whether your translation is more correct is less petty (the point of this topic in the first place, no?)

And I mean, I’m sure we can come up with even less natural sentences that are even more tightly bound to the Japanese grammar. So I guess we haven’t found the pinnacle of correctness yet.

As for Tom, coffee is what he wants to drink.

Would not translate back into


It would translate into something like


So its not a “correct” translation.


So far it’s been confirmed in this thread that “correct” is understood differently by different people.


Correct vs “Technically correct”!

if you really want to go for a literal translation, maybe think about translating i-adjectives (which the 〜たい form actually is) as an adjective, too:

As for Tom, coffee is drink-wanted

If it helps, think of it like the suffix -able in English which says something “is possible to do”, just substitute the meaning “being able to” with “being wished for”.