It can be quite confusing for beginners to distinguish the differences between「は (Wa)」and「が (Ga)」. I have summarised some points for those who are new to 「は」and「が」 to start. Firstly, let’s have a look at the English grammar on how a complete sentence constructs with the order as below:
For example: She watches TV.
Definitions in English
Subject (noun: person, name, place; the one that performs the action): She
Verb (or predicate: identifies an action): watches
Object (receives the action): TV
Let’s look at the basic Japanese sentecne consutruction as below with 「は」:
For example: 彼女（かのじょ）はテレビを見（み）ます。
Topic/ Subject + T.M. + Object + D.O.M. + Verb。
Topic/ Subject: 彼女（かのじょ）
Topic Marker (T.M.): は
Direct Object Marker (D.O.M.): を
- In Japanese, a topic indicates a topic of discussion. This means the content that the person would like to talk about.
- A topic can also be the subject as in English but covers broader content than the subject.
Subject Marker (S.M.): 「が」marks the subject that performs the action.
Topic/ Subject + S.M. + Object + D.O.M. + Verb。
- The topic marker「は」focuses on the action of the sentence.
- The subject marker「が」focuses on the subject of the action.
Examples of Different Focuses
- 貴方（あなた）は 優（やさ）しいです。You are kind. (Not only you.)
- 貴方（あなた）が 優（やさ）しいです。You are kind. (You are the only kind one.)
- 私は学生（がくせい）です。I’m a student.
- 私が学生（がくせい）です。I’m the student.