The difference between は and が particles

Hello everyone,

So I watched this video today: The Ultimate Guide To: は vs が (The ONLY lesson you need!) - YouTube

She explains the difference between は and が and I thought she did it quite well but I was wondering if other people here have watched it and what they think of it. Does she miss anything important or does her explanation match up with your understanding of these particles?


There are many books written on between ha and ga particles (sorry I can’t watch the vid right now), but I particularly like this explanation:

Someone also posted an explanation taken from “Unlocking Japanese: Making Japanese as Simple as it really is” on the forum, which I also that was really great, let me see if I can find it…

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Found it!


And here is another nice breakdown of the differences and various usages.

This is a tricky subject, but i honestly think a big part of the problem is related to how people get introduced to は and が. They are not really that similar once you understand the difference between “topic” and “subject” in a Japanese sentence and get use to the intentional absence of subjects in most sentences.

The trouble comes when new learners are introduced to these particles without a proper foundation in simple Japanese sentence structure and basic grammar. Unfortunately, since these are such fundamental particles, it is quite common for people to be given sentences like “watashi wa Mary desu” with an English translation of “My name is Mary” or “I am Mary” before they know what is really going on, grammatically. It is no surprise that this leads to some confusion later on when they are trying to figure out the difference between “watashi ga gakusei” and “watashi wa gakusei”.

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Even if you know the general concepts involved, using them naturally on the fly is a challenge that will never go away. You can avoid some constructions if you don’t understand them well, but because of how foundational they are, your understanding of these will be exposed every time you talk, basically.


@rmizuno , I’ve been studying grammar with a private teacher for over a year and that book has the best explanation for wa vs ga that I’ve ever read. I bought that book right away as I think the author deserves it for their very clean explanation.

To date I’ve had 3 Japanese teachers (two in classrooms), and not one could make wa vs ga very clear, they just said I’d get it in time as I practiced speaking and learning more grammar, but now I feel quite differently after reading that.

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HI, I am new to learning how to read Japanese, and I understand the difference between wa and ga, but can someone explain why, は、(ha) was written? in writing, is it used as a replacement for wa? (As I type this I am slowly figuring out that there is no wa… ) An offical explination would help please.

This stack exchange question addresses that. Long story short, there have been sound changes over time that led to inconsistent spellings. When spelling was reformed, some quirks remained, and this is one.

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Thanks for all the help everyone! These are some really good resources that I have now bookmarked!

This is amazing! My mind is blown how much better this explains it compared to the others I’ve seen, even if the Japanese Ammo video is nice and useful. I’m buying this book for my kindle right now. Thank you!

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