Particles

Particle WA (は)


1. 

は (WA) introduces the topic of the sentence (the main information, what we will talk about.)

(わたし)アメリカ(じん)です
Watashi wa amerikajin desu.
I’m American.

WA identifies the topic of the sentence (the main information we'll focus on) when talking about a general, commonly shared truth.

子犬(こいぬ)かわいいです
Koinu wa kawaii desu.
Puppies are cute.

Please note: the hiragana character は is usually pronounced HA. But when it's used as a particle, the character is pronounced WA!

2. 

は (WA) is used to give more information about something that was previously talked about in the conversation.

()ありますその()(おお)きいです
Ki ga arimasu. Sono ki wa ookii desu.
There’s a tree. The tree is big.

3. 

In the structure "noun 1 + は (WA) + noun 2 + が (GA)," noun 1 is the topic (identified by は), and noun 2 (identified by が) is a piece of information that is a property of noun 1.

(わたし)いとこ()(たか)です
Watashi no itoko wa se ga takai desu.
My cousin is tall.

4. 

Used to compare two ideas. In that case, は (WA) can appear twice in the same sentence. Only one idea can be mentioned, but the comparison to the implied idea is still the same.

和食(わしょく)()です生魚(なまざかな)(きら)です
Washoku wa suki desu ga, namazakana wa kirai desu.
I love Japanese cuisine, but I don’t like raw fish.

5. 

The particle は (WA) can add emphasis on verbal structures such as "-te WA iru/imasu."

ダイエットしていますなかなかやせません
Daietto o shite wa imasu ga, nakanaka yasemasen.
I’m on a diet, but I can’t really lose weight.

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