「は」 of the Japanese Language

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Jan 27, 2011 22:01 Japanese_language partial_negation 「は」 「が」 助詞 partial_negation
A short memo about ‘は’.

Sample 1

そんなに短くは書けない。
I can write, but cannot write so short. This is a partial negation. The only ‘so short’ is denied. ‘は’ shows the position of the word(s) to be denied. Without ‘は’, people could not understand or could with great difficulty where is denied.

Like this, ‘は’ points particular word(s) in the sentence.


Sample 2

デートに行く時は、おしゃれをする。
Only when I go on a date, do I dress up, but I usually do not dress up.

デートに行く時に、おしゃれをする。
When I go on a date, I dress up. This does not say anything about how you are at ordinary times. The upper implies the contrast to the lower. (You can also understand the reverse of partial negation. Not A, but/except B. = Only B, not A. ‘は’ shows B.)

‘は’ is difficult, so I show only 2 samples of the core of ‘は’.


Other samples:

日本語が上達するまでは、方言まで分かろうとするのは無理だと思います。
The words ‘try to understand dialect’ is denied by ‘無理’.

みんながとてもいい映画だと言っているので、私もぜひ見たかった。
As all the people say it is a good film, indeed I wanted to see it, too.

みんなはとてもいい映画だと言っているので、私もぜひ見たかった。
As all the people say it is a good film, but I do not think so, I wanted to see it, too. This is nonsense.

これは冗談です。読者の皆さんは腹を立てないように。
This is contrast between those who will get angry and wise readers, who will not get angry. This writing usually don't let readers be offended. Of course, context depended.

これは冗談です。読者の皆さんが腹を立てないように。
But this writing usually let readers be offended. This means only that those who will get angry are silly. That is, the subjects on the surface are the same in the both (読者の皆さん), but the composition above has actually the subject ‘wise readers’, whereas one below has ‘those who are silly’. The subjects are different. The below says, “Did you get angry? You are silly.”