Topics vs subjects

So I just read all the stuff that Bunpro has you read for the particle は. I thought I knew what a topic was by the end of it, but then when I tried to figure out the difference was between that and a subject, I realized I actually had no idea. Does anybody have like a simple explanation? If you repeat what was said in the Imabi page, I’m probably still not going to get it.

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This video does a good explanation.

EDIT: at differentiating the use of the particles because it can get a bit messy (at times).


It’s helpful to look at examples in which the topic is not the subject.

Such as:

I like bananas.
In which “I” is the topic and “banana” is the subject. In a very literal translation, “As for me, bananas are likeable”.

Today I’m going to eat bananas.
“Today” is the topic, because you’re talking about what you are going to do today, but it is not the subject. The subject is ommited (it is presumably “I”). Literal translation: As for today, will eat bananas.

Regarding the Japanese language, kanji are difficult.


In short: The topic is what everyone is talking about. The subject is what is carrying out the action (the verb).

Also see above


Yeah, watch this @BurgerMeanie. Misa is always :top: in her video explanations. I checked the first 15 minutes yesterday and she really does a good job.

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This article helped me a lot:

I think tofugu posted it once too

This helped shed some light on the matter for me. I couldn’t really understand at all when I was reading about it in textbooks and such.は_and_が_for_you/

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That was a long video :sweat_smile: but it certainly helped! I appreciate the link, and I think I have a better understanding now

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I feel like maybe we should add a section to the resource list just for links to は vs が explanations.


I think that’s a good idea, but the resource thread is so large that pointing people that specific part can be a little tricky. Perhaps we could create a thread that has all the gathered resources until now and make that link in the resource thread. That way it’s not adding unnecessary bulk to the resource list but it leads to a place where people can browse the various resources people have come across over time.

To add to this, we could do this for all of the often asked about topics such as じん and にん, “Where I should go when I travel to Japan”, etc.


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