The は of Contrast

We'll make this short and sweet.

We've seen how can be used to add context to a sentence. For this reason, it is often referred to as a "topic marker."

Another possible use of the particle , however, is to contrast various things. We're actually going to cover this in more detail once we get to our N5 lessons. I think it's worth taking a look at here, however, as well.

 

This may seem off topic, but do you know how to say "I like pizza" in Japanese?

That would be:

私はピザが好きです。
わたし は ピザ が すき です。
I like pizza.
Literally: "I + は + pizza + が + liked + です."



With a bit of context making it clear that you're talking about your own personal liking for pizza, we can drop that first bit:

ピザが好きです。
ピザ が すき です。
I like pizza.
Literally: "pizza + が + liked + です."



And in a casual, spoken sentence, we can put nothing after 好き (すき) (although your textbook may very well tell you to put 好きだ [すきだ]), an issue we talked about back in this lesson:

ピザが好き。
ピザ が すき。
I like pizza.
Literally: "pizza + が + liked."



And if you don't necessarily need to add emphasis that you're explicitly pointing out the food you like, it would be fine to drop the , as well, which is common in informal speech:

ピザ好き。
ピザ すき。
I like pizza.
Literally: "pizza + liked."


 



If you're a nerd like me, you may find it interesting that in Japanese we use a na-adjective, 好き (すき), which we could directly translated as "liked," "favored," etc., when saying "I like."

Since this is a na-adjective, do you know how we would write it when it comes directly before a noun? Well, if you remember this lesson, you would know that we add to the end of it!

好き食べ物はピザです。
すきな たべもの は ピザ です。
I like pizza. // Pizza is (one of) my favorite food(s).
Literally: "liked + food + は + pizza + です."



With me so far? I hope that you are because things are going to get slightly more complicated.

How would we say, "I like pizza, but I don't like pasta"…?

Initially, let's make a formal spoken sentence, so we'll use the copula です and the contrastive conjunction .

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And the answer is…

(私は)ピザは好きですが、パスタは好きではありません。
(わたし は) ピザ は すき です が、 パスタ は すき ではありません。
(As for me,) I like pizza, but I do not like pasta.
Literally: "(I + は) + pizza + は + liked + です + が (=but), + pasta + は + liked + is not (=ではありません)."



We also would have accepted other forms of ではありません:

(私は)ピザは好きですが、パスタは好きじゃないです。
(わたし は) ピザ は すき です が、 パスタ は すき じゃない です。
(As for me,) I like pizza, but I don't like pasta.
Literally: "(I + は) + pizza + は + liked + です + が (=but), + pasta + は + liked + isn't  (=じゃない) + です."



B, but/が not-B.

A = pizza
B = liked
C = pasta

pizza liked, but/が pasta not liked.


Tricky, maybe? No worries, if so. We'll talk about it more in our N5 lessons.

Before that, though, I have another question for you: How would we say the above sentence using casual language?

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Hint #1: Let's use a different contrastive conjunction than .
Hint #2: For the sake of simplicity, let's leave out 私は, also.

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Answer:

ピザは好きだけど、パスタは好きじゃない。
ピザ は すき だ けど、 パスタ は すき じゃない。
I like pizza, but I don't like pasta.
Literally: "pizza + は + liked + だ + けど (=but), + pasta + は + liked + isn't."



Did you get it right?

If not, no worries. Blame me for not making the question clearer. ^_^




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