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:

A:けんさんは彼女がいますか。
B:友達ならいますが、彼女はいません。

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

Thanks!

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.

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This is the contrastive は.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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, https://www.amazon.com/All-About-Particles-Handbook-Japanese/dp/1568364199

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

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