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Difference between ことはできる and ことができる ?

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How does
どの子供でもそんなことができる。
differ from
どの子供でもそんなことはできる。
When would I use ことはできる as opposed to ことができる?

Thank you!
 
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I think it's just the usual は vs が difference. In addition to being the topic marker, は is sometimes used in a "contrastive" sense, i.e., if you want to make a statement about something and show contrast with other things, you would use は. ことはできる could imply something like "(don't know about other things), but (someone) can do this thing". This is why a topic presented with は can often be literally translated as "as for...". When it shows contrast, it would be something like - 私はできる= "(I don't know about other people, but) As for me, (I) can do it". On the other hand が is the subject marker and can put emphasis on the whatever it is marking. ことができる can imply "(something) is the thing that (someone) can do", emphasis on こと. When marking a subject like 私ができる it could be literally translated as "(not someone else, but) I am the one that can do (something)".

Another way I've seen it compared is that in sentences with は, the focus is on what comes after it, while in sentences with が, the focus is on what comes before it.
Underline=focus
ことはできる
こと
ができる

In your example, you'd want to write どの子供でもそんなことできる if you want to put some emphasis on そんなこと. In the other version, は is just a normal topic marker and it can imply contrast.
 
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Toritoribe

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How does
どの子供でもそんなことができる。
differ from
どの子供でもそんなことはできる。
When would I use ことはできる as opposed to ことができる?

Thank you!
Just for confirmation, did you see the former sentence somewhere? Isn't that a part of a sentence, not a complete sentence, or did you make it as in your previous post?
 

Toritoribe

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どの子供でもそんなことができる。 doesn't make muche sense as a stand alone sentence, as same as 私は考えていて。 you made in your previous post. Do you have a textbook?
 
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I'm just wondering, why どの子供でもそんなことができる。 is invalid as a standalone sentence? Does it need to be marked with は because of the main predicate? While が would be used in a relative clause, etc.?
 

Toritoribe

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The combination of the words でも, そんなこと and できる is the key. For instance, 戦略を練れば、どの子供でも大人に勝つことができる is valid. どの子供でもそんなことができるとは思わない, as well.

@ the OP, "は vs が" is one of the hardest to grasp concepts in Japanese grammar for non-native learners. I strongly recommend referring to grammar textbooks about the difference between them.
 
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