Forum Rocket Japanese Japanese Grammar わたし は sometimes used, sometimes not?

わたし は sometimes used, sometimes not?

イ リ ニ

イ リ ニ


I've noticed that in some of the lessons when referring to "I" that sometimes わたし は is used and sometimes it isn't.  Is this a case where it's not used in conversation that is more casual?

E.g. n lesson 3.7 it is used in the 1st example, but not in the second:
わたし は アメリカ と カナダ と オーストラリア に いった こと が あります
Watashi wa amerika to kanada to ōsutoraria ni itta koto ga arimasu / I've been to America, Canada, and Australia

ヨーロッパ は いった こと が ありません
Yōroppa wa itta koto ga arimasen / I haven't been to Europe

Thank you in advance!


Looking at the group of sentences (hiragana on top/kanji on bottom):
みなさん は にほん に いった こと が あります か?
皆さん      は 日本      に 行った こと が ありますか?

わたし は アメリカ と カナダ と オーストラリア に いった こと が あります。
私          は アメリカ と  カナダ と オーストラリア に  行った ことがあります。

ヨーロッパ は いった こと が ありません。
ヨーロッパ は  行った こと が ありません。

いきたい です ね!
行きたい です ね!

わたし/I is omitted because it's understood.
This is how I read the conversation:
Everyone (みなさん), have  you been to Japan?
I (わたし) have been to America, Canada and Australia.
(I) have not been to Europe.
(I) want to go.

I'm curious about the は in this sentence: ヨーロッパ は いった こと が ありません
Why not use に or へ?


Yes it is fairly common in Japanese for them to omit watashi.

There may be other terms used such as ore even though publications say that Japanese do not use ore, the terms are actually used by Japanese people regularly.


That publication sounds very outdated. ^^; I hear the term in dramas and anime, and read it in manga all the time. I thought it was strictly masculine, but do women use it now?

I'm still curious about the use of は in this sentence instead of に or へ : 
ヨーロッパ いった こと が ありません


Women seem to use the term ore. I have heard songs by AKB48 where they use that term for themselves.
イ リ ニ

イ リ ニ

As usual, thanks so much to both of you!! :-)
toru e

toru e

@夫婦茶碗, this is because は is a topic maker particle, which may or may not be the subject of the sentence. It's rough usage would be "As for..."

Ex: みなさん は にほん に いった こと が あります か?
=As for everyone [everyone=topic], Japan to + went "experience" [いく -> いった, the past tense verb of "to go" turned to noun with こと -> いったこと]  + is there/have you [there/you=subject, implied but not stated]?

"As for everyone, have you..." sounds redundant, so we just translate it as: "Have you ever been to Japan?"

So, in the statement: ヨーロッパ は いった こと が ありません, the breakdown is:
As for Europe {Europe is the topic, not the subject of the sentence} + went "experience" + there/I (or other pronoun) {subject, implied but not stated} + is not/don't have.

=As for Europe, there is not/I don't have the experience of having gone. {Notice that translated this way, "to" (に) doesn't appear.

So even though "I've never been to Europe" has the same gist, the earlier translation breaks down the grammar a little clearer in my opinion.
イ リ ニ

イ リ ニ

Oh, that gives me a bit of new insight, thank you toru e!


@toru e
Thank you for the detailed explanation. I had to read it a few times, but now it feels like it has really sunk in and that I understand the grammar.
toru e

toru e

No problem! By the way, I found this blog post on "wa" vs. "ga" on 80/20 Japanese  that may help explain the grammar better. I like that he immediately says that the question should really be, "what is the purpose of 'wa'?". I read his e-book and it really helped me nail down the particles. I like the way he explains grammar.

"Wa" vs. "ga":


Thank you for the link!

Did you find his e-book worth the $39? The price seems steep for a book that cannot be previewed but if he explains grammar the way he does in his blog posts then it's probably worth the investment.
toru e

toru e

Good question. For me, it was worth the investment when it got to the chapters of noun phrases. Genki I doesn't really do a good job of explaining how fundamental (or useful) these noun phrases are in Japanese.

I was on the fence about it too, so I did the freebie chapter previews.  I was already almost finished with Genki II at that point so the first couple of chapters seemed pretty basic. I ended up buying it anyway because, like you mentioned, I like the way he explains grammar. I found that it was still quite useful for the later chapters.  I also like that there's a section on transitive/intransitive forms with respect to the particles, because I was always screwing those up. :(

Anyway, I think it's really useful for upper beginners because it helps solidify knowledge you already have.

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