Particle が (ga)


The Japanese particle が – ga

FUNCTION OF THE が – GA PARTICLE

The particle が – GA indicates  the subject of a sentence when it is new information for the listener or when subject is emphasized. The particle が GA can also be used to express a question.

HOW TO USE THE PARTICLE が – GA

[subject noun + [が/GA] + rest of the sentence

Example sentence – が / GA to introduce a new subject

Kanji 建物あります。
Furigana たてものあります。
Romaji tatemono ga arimasu.
English There is a building.

Kanji 寝ています。
Furigana ははねています。
Romaji haha ga nete imasu.
English Mother is sleeping.

Kanji 咲いています。花きれいです。
Furigana はなさいています。はなきれいです。
Romaji hana ga saite imasu. hana wa kirei desu.
English The flowers are blossoming. The flowers are beautiful.

In the first sentence the flowers are a newly introduced subject and GA is used. As the subject is not new information anymore in the second sentence WA is used.

EXAMPLE SENTENCE – が / GA TO EMPHASIZE A SUBJECT

Kanji この方先生です。
Furigana このかたせんせいです。
Romaji kono kata ga sensei desu.
English This person over there is the teacher.

Kanji 行きます。
Furigana わたしいきます。
Romaji watashi ga ikimasu.
English I am the one who goes.

EXAMPLE SENTENCE – が / GA TO EXPRESS A QUESTION

Kanji 来ましたか?
Furigana だれきましたか?
Romaji dare ga kimashita ka?
English Did anybody come?

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Comments

  1. I am still confusing on GA and WA. Is there any other examples showing the differences between GA and WA?

  2. When you use “Wa”, you want the listeners to pay attention to the part after “Wa”. But when you use “Ga”, it turns to the part before “Ga”.

  3. Patricia Ross says:

    Thank you a very helpful exercise which has eased my confusion.

  4. The way I was kind of taught was that “wa” describes something eternal while “ga” describes something that you observe.

    魚が食べる = the fish eats (it is the fish that eats)

    母が寝ています = my mother is sleeping (it is my mother that is doing the sleeping)

    みちこがくれたペン = The pen that Michiko gave me (IT IS Michiko that did the action of giving me the pen)

    花が咲いています = it is THE flowers that are DOING the action of blooming.

    Notice the nuance of emphasis as well.

    この方が先生ですか = IS THAT person THE teacher? (This is something that is observable)

    If I say: この方は先生ですか? It sounds as if Im saying “As for that person, is he a teacher”? He may be A teacher but he is not THE teacher. Remember when I said above that は can be something eternal? Well, he is A teacher because it’s something “eternal” (the fact that he’s a teacher) but if it is が you are observing that he is THE teacher. Meaning that out of everyone in general, he is THE teacher. As for は he is a teacher but not THE teacher.

    Notice in the sentences on this website, が comes before a verb. In such case, it’s like THE fish is the one doing the action of eating. The noun is doing the action.

    Compare with 魚を食べる which sounds like SOMETHING is eating the fish. So if I said: 私は魚を食べる

    It is this (私) that does that (食べる), to this (魚) In other words, it’s the 私 that does the 食べる to the 魚

    It all depends on the context.

  5. I found a fun and useful explanation of wa and ga here:
    http://www.turningjapanese.org/2014/06/what-is-difference-between-wa-and-ga-in.html

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