How to distinguish two postpositions ‘は’ and ‘が’ for the topic in noun sentence?

Which one?

How to distinguish two postpositions ‘は’ and ‘が’for the noun sentence?

As studying Japanese language, you might face on the question like ‘ why there is two postpositions は and が for the noun sentence?’

( when you are looking at a picture of group of friends including Mr. Tanaka)

Your friend would talk about the picture, and says…

1)これ たなかさん です ( This is Mr. Tanaka)


2)これ たなかさん です ( THIS is Mr.Tanaka)

Are they different meaning?

Yes, slightly…

By using は or が with the subject for the noun sentence, the part where speaker emphasis is to be different.

When you are looking at a picture and get a question like ‘WHICH ONE is Mr. Tanaka?’, in Japanese the question word comes first like ‘どれ たなかさんですか?’ Of-course the answer is using ‘が’ like ‘これ たなかさんです’

The situation is that you already have an information there is Mr. Tanaka(information1) inside that picture after hearing これは たなかさん です. However you didn’t get exactly which one was Mr. Tanaka yet, maybe because your friend has answered very roughly. So you would ask more specific question about Mr. Tanaka (information 1). WHICH ONE???…so the answer as ‘THIS’ (information 2) is more important information to get. In this case, we use ‘が’ for the emphasizing topic.

(When looking at a picture)

A: 1)これは たなかさん です (This is Mr. Tanaka)

B:たなかさんが パーティに きたんですね。でも どれ たなかさんですか。(Mr.Tanaka was in the party! but which one is Mr. Tanaka?)

A:すみません、これこれ。2) これ たなかさん です (Sorry, here. THIS is Mr. Tanaka)

Clear? Here is a question for you, when Steve Jobs launches a new product, what would he say?

1)これ iPhone です。(This is iPhone.) information 1)


2) これ iPhone です。( THIS is iPhone) information 2)

Yes, as you already has answered, people are waiting for how the new product iPhone(information 1) looks like in this situation. And now there is! As long as my memory is correct, Steve jobs has showed off and shouted like ‘THIS is iPhone !!’ to the public!

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