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Question 'Noun を verb' vs 'Noun は verb'

Shachar

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Hey all.

I am trying to understand the difference between:
'Noun を verb' and 'Noun は verb'.

For instance:
映画を見ます and 映画は見ます

I read that turning the を into a は is to contrast the sentence, but since English is not my native language and I learned it, mostly, by watching TV, I have no idea what 'contrasting a sentence' means.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.
 
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Mike-san once told me an interesting "rule of thumb" for getting this right. It went something like this: when you use は, that brings attention to what comes after it, and when you use が or を, that brings attention to what comes before it. I think that's helped me understand better what particle to use at what time.

If English is not your native language, is there a particular reason you're using an English textbook? Is no good textbook available in your native language?
 

Toritoribe

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That's が vs. は for the subject, not を vs. は for the object. Unlike が vs. は, を is the most common for the object, so は mostly has a nuance of "contrastive marker", as the OP wrote.
Think about a situation where you are asked "Do you watch movies or TV dramas?". The answer 映画は見ます means "I watch movies", connoting "but don't watch TV dramas". This is the meaning of "contrasting".
 

Shachar

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@Toritoribe Thank you for the answer. So is it right to say that the only use of 'Noun は Verb' is to say that you perform an action while not performing a different one?

@Julie.chan Thanks for the が vs. は tip. I was really struggling with them as well, but since I read somewhere that its something a lot of beginners struggle with, I decided to put it away until I got better.

Also, sadly, there are no good sources for learning Japanese in my native language. I know English well enough to get by.
 

Toritoribe

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So is it right to say that the only use of 'Noun は Verb' is to say that you perform an action while not performing a different one?
Mostly, yes. It's the topicalization of the object, so it's also used for emphasis, just like "especially this one", though.
 
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