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は, が and を what's the difference between the following sentences?

blippy

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1. いぬ ぱん たべています
2. ぱん いぬ たべています
3. いぬ ぱん たべています
All mean "dog is eating bread", but could someone explain the differences in nuance between the three?
 

Toritoribe

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1)いぬ is already mentioned before, or は acts as a contrastive marker.
犬[いぬ]が一匹[いっぴき]公園[こうえん]にいます。犬はパンを食[た]べています。
犬はパンを食べています。猫[ねこ]は魚[さかな]を食べています。

2)パン is already mentioned before, or は acts as a contrastive marker.
床[ゆか]の上[うえ]にパンとチーズが置[お]いてあります。パンは、犬が食べています。チーズは、ネズミが食べています。

3)simple statement


You can ask multiple questions in the same thread in this forum.;-)
 
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blippy

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Toritoribe thanks for the quick response. Much appreciated.


OK, here I go again with my asking for clarification lol:

SIMPLE statements use the "subject+が object+を verb" construction? In such a statement, no emphasis is placed anywhere really, but が is merely used to state (as in the case of my example) that a dog is doing something, which happens to be eating an object (bread)? Previously I was thinking that は, not が, would be used in simple statements such as that one.

I think I'm beginning to understand it, graaaaaaaaadually. Baby steps lol, baby steps. ^^;
 

Glenn

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Baby steps indeed. Don't worry about this coming gradually to you. It's so different from how we deal with information in English that it's like learning to write with your feet. This is perhaps the hardest part about Japanese for English speakers (Koreans are lucky from what I understand: they have the exact same structure, although slightly more complicated). I feel like I went over a year without starting to have a grasp on it, maybe even more.
 

blippy

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Thank you Glenn for the encouragement.

By the way, here are another sentence triplet to go with the first one, just in case anyone can answer.


1. 私 は それ を します
2. 私 が それ を します
3. 私 が それ は します which I am guessing could be rephrased as それ は, 私 が します ??

And my guess as to their meaning is the first one seems like a flat statement (but I'm probably wrong), the second emphasizes that I am the one who will do "that", and the third...well it translates literally to "as for that, I will do it", but I'm not sure if it uses が to emphasize that I will do "that" or whether it's simply used because it's part of a subordinate clause :?

Hope I'm not frustrating anyone :D
 

Toritoribe

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Previously I was thinking that は, not が, would be used in simple statements such as that one.
In some cases, that's correct. For instance, when the subject is 私, あなた, これ/それ/あれ, "この/その/あの + noun" or like that, は is used for simple statement. Similarly, は is also used when the sentence has a nuance of "generally".
e.g.
私はそれをします。
あなたはこれをしてください。
この猫は魚を食べません。
犬は肉[にく]を食べます。

These nouns/phrases act as a thing which is already known between the speaker and the listener, even if they weren't mentioned before. Furthermore, when が is used for these cases, the subject is emphasized, as you understand correctly in 私がそれを します. Thus, the example sentence 弟が日本に来たら、私日光に連れて行きたい in another thread connotes "I, not anyone else, want to take him to Nikko".
 

Glenn

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What if you were to say 弟が日本に来たら、私日光に連れて行きたい? How would that be different? I'm sure it puts some sort of emphasis on 私, because the sentence is perfectly fine and understandable without it; I just don't know how it would be too much different than 私.
 

Toritoribe

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Hmm, interesting. I didn't notice that.:p Yeah, 私 is also emphasized in 私は日光に連れて行きたい, but it acts more likely as a contrastive marker.

"Someone might want to take him to somewhere else, but I take him to Nikko."
 
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Glenn

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OK, so 私が is "I'll be the one to take him" (emphasis on the subject), and 私は is "it's Nikko where I'll be taking him" or "it's Nikko where I'll be taking him" (emphasis on either the actor as contrast and the destination or just the destination)? Does that seem right?

This is part of the reason it's hard to get a good understanding -- I don't even know how to talk about it clearly.
 

blippy

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My continued thanks to Toritoribe and Glenn for your contribution here.

I think Toritoribe's analysis of the variations of the sentence 弟(が/は)日本に来たら、(私は/が)日光に連れて行きたい makes sense.

Glenn, I know what you mean about it being difficult to get a good understanding. It's virtually impossible to talk about anything clearly if you aren't equipped to do so, given the general absence of proper grammatical explanations in my opinion. Even if you have grasped the grammatical points, there's so much confusion flying around that you don't know where to begin.
 

Toritoribe

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OK, so 私が is "I'll be the one to take him" (emphasis on the subject), and 私は "it's Nikko where I'll be taking him" or "it's Nikko where I'll be taking him" (emphasis on either the actor as contrast and the destination or just the destination)? Does that seem right?
Yeah, that's right. As you know, the emphasis is put on the noun/phrase/clause preceding が and the one following は. So 弟が日本に来たら、私(彼を)日光に連れて行きたい can also mean as below.

弟が日本に来たら、私は日光に連れて行きたい
Someone may not want to take him to Nikko, but I want.
Someone may want to let him go alone, but I want to take him.

弟が日本に来たら、私は彼を日光に連れて行きたい。
Someone may want to take someone else than my brother(family members, friends, etc.) to Nikko, but I want to take him.
 

Glenn

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I see. I'm going to have to let this digest a bit. I think I'm also going to have to dig up those grammar books and read them again, because I'm feeling fairly lost at this juncture. :mad:
 

blippy

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Yeah, that's right. As you know, the emphasis is put on the noun/phrase/clause preceding が and the one following は. So 弟が日本に来たら、私(彼を)日光に連れて行きたい can also mean as below.
弟が日本に来たら、私は日光に連れて行きたい
Someone may not want to take him to Nikko, but I want.
Someone may want to let him go alone, but I want to take him.
弟が日本に来たら、私は彼を日光に連れて行きたい。
Someone may want to take someone else than my brother(family members, friends, etc.) to Nikko, but I want to take him.
I'm assuming then that the context would make the meaning clear?

Also, in the first example, 弟 went from being the subject to the object. That throws me a bit, to be honest. Perhaps that's one facet I've been missing this whole time, but I was under the misinterpretation that a subject could not also be an object? Or is this only possible because there are two clauses in those sentences?
 

Toritoribe

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I'm assuming then that the context would make the meaning clear?
Exactly!:thumbsup:

Also, in the first example,弟 went from being the subject to the object. That throws me a bit, to be honest. Perhaps that's one facet I've been missing this whole time, but I was under the misinterpretation that a subject could not also be an object? Or is this only possible because there are two clauses in those sentences?
It's more likely to say "whether the subject or object, two simple sentences or one compound sentence, when it's obvious from the context, the word can be omitted".


彼女の弟が日本に来たら、(彼女は彼を)日光に連れて行きたいそうだ

(私が私の)妹の家[いえ]に行ったとき、(彼女は私に)コーヒーを出してくれた

彼女は泣[な]いていた。私は(彼女に)ハンカチを渡[わた]した。
 
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