Using particle は with います

Hello guys. Just until recently, I thought that います could only be used with particle が , but then I came across this sentence:


Could anybody explain this use of particle は with います?


が marks the subject of the verb, は marks the topic of the sentence. は also marks contrast with other elements, which is what’s happening here. Often the topic IS the subject, in which case は replaces が.

You can’t use を with います, mind. For the “exists” います, that is.


This is the contrastive は.


I’d say this is probably the contrasting は. Basically this is saying something along the lines of “As for friends I don’t have any, but I do have a girlfriend”. There’d be more emphasis on the second part of the sentence.

1 Like

Other way around. Has friends, no girlfriend.

I think you flipped it.

Yep my bad, I’d edit it now but it’s too late, now I have to live with it, oh the shame.

Leave your gun and badge on the way out.


Thank you guys for all your answers :grin:. I didn’t know about this contrastive use of は.

If you happen to have a copy of the Genki I textbook, you can refer to page 257 for use of は in negative sentences.


I think in Genki they wrote about this in culture notes. The Japanese prefer to use は in place ofが when the いる verb is in the negative past or present

A nice source for similar questions is the kindle version of this book,

Great! I do have Genki, but totally missed this.Thanks!

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