770 - は~が~ (as for... has...)

JLPT N4: ~は~が (as for... has...)

I have no idea why this is considered an N4 grammar point.

Since my grammar books treat it as such, though, I'll write a lesson on it.

Apparently they will test you on the usage of and in the JLPT N4 test. I'm not entirely sure how they'd format a question testing your knowledge of these particles, but I can give you a little test of my own...


💀 TEST 💀

Both and will be inserted into the following sentences.

Please determine where to put the particles.


キリン______長いです。
キリン ___ くび ___ ながい です。
Giraffes have long necks.
Literally: “giraffe + ___ + neck + ___ + long + です.”

このシャンプー___匂い___ちょっときついです。
この シャンプー ___ におい ___ ちょっと きつい です。
This shampoo has kind of a strong smell to it.
Literally: “this + shampoo + ___ + smell + ___ + a little bit + intense / strong + です.”

お姉ちゃん___、歌___上手でいいなあ。
おねえちゃん ___、 うた ___ じょうず で いい なあ。
It must be nice to be so good at singing. // I wish I could sing as well as you. // I’m jealous that my (older) sister is so good at singing.
Literally: “older sister + ___, + song + ___ + skilled + で + good + なあ.”

ニュージーランド______とても多いです。
ニュージーランド ___ ひつじ ___ とても おおい です。
There are a lot of sheep in New Zealand.
Literally: “New Zealand + ___ + sheep + ___ + very + many / a lot of + です.”


I can see why Japanese educators like testing people on particles. They're very test-friendly.

That said, I think testing people on these particles is mostly a waste of time... But since we're having fun, I suppose it's all right for us to do. (Wait, am I the only person having fun?)

Tell me the answers already!

OK, geez. Sorry.

The order in every sentence above is first , then .

Why?


As you may have heard, people like to call the topic-marking particle. , on the other hand, tends to be called the subject-marking particle.

We talk about this at length in the Bunkai Beast grammar course.

It may help to think of a "topic" as an item on a platter. Then the subject is something about that item on the platter.



Or we can quote the oh-so-poetic grammar book I'm looking at right now: "Takes up a topic N1; describes condition or nature of N2 that is part of or belongs to N1."

(Note: "N1" is the NOUN right before . "N2" is the NOUN right before .)

In the sentence below, N1 is giraffes, and N2 is necks. So you could imagine that the speaker is holding up a platter with a giraffe (or giraffes) on it. Then we talk about the giraffe — it's neck, specifically.

N1 (giraffes) → N2 (necks)


キリン長いです。
キリン は くび が ながい です。
Giraffes have long necks.
Literally: “giraffe + は + neck + が + long + です.”


In case you missed it, the construction is:

NOUN 1NOUN 2
as for NOUN 1, (it) has NOUN 2


The other sentences we saw:


このシャンプー匂いちょっときついです。
この シャンプー は におい が ちょっと きつい です。
This shampoo has kind of a strong smell to it.
Literally: “this + shampoo + は + smell + が + a little bit + intense / strong + です.”


お姉ちゃん上手でいいなあ。
おねえちゃん は、 うた が じょうず で いい なあ。
It must be nice to be so good at singing. // I wish I could sing as well as you. // I’m jealous that my (older) sister is so good at singing.
Literally: “older sister + は, + song + が + skilled + で + good + なあ.”

ニュージーランドとても多いです。
ニュージーランド は ひつじ が とても おおい です。
There are a lot of sheep in New Zealand.
Literally: “New Zealand + は + sheep + が + very + many / a lot of + です.”


I mention this every time we talk about and , but I really don't think you need to worry about this topic too much.

Reading lessons like this helps. Ultimately, though, the key to understanding particles is getting a feel for them as you get massive exposure to the language.




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