A Lesson of が and は (ビールは美味しかった)

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Jun 22, 2011 18:31 Japanese_language 「が」 「は」 助詞
I know many learners of Japanese are worried about how to use は and が properly. I do not have a special trick, but I can give you some step by step clues.

ビールが美味しかった。 The beer was excellent.
彼が好きだ(好きです)。 I like/love him.

If you use は instead, the meaning will change. The reason is very easy. 美味しい and 好き are regularly used with “が”, not “は”. (collocation) You have to learn what each word is usually used with, similar to how English learners study in English. (Of course, there must be a specific rule, but it is for advanced learners.)

Nevertheless, if you use は against the regular pattern, it means you intend something irregular. The usage of は in such irregular one is a contrast to something.

ビールは美味しかった。
Though it depends on the context, usually, this sentence sounds like, "all the food was bad except for the beer."

彼は好きだ(好きです)。
Similar, it usually sounds like:
“Although I like/love him, I do not agree with him.” This is a contrast between “the fact that I like/love him” and “I do not agree with him.”
Or
“I like/love him, but I do not like/love others.”

See also:
http://lang-8.com/satoshi/journals/943013/ (は can include が)
http://lang-8.com/satoshi/journals/783794/
http://lang-8.com/satoshi/journals/986387/ (ほとんどスイカを食べません)
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