Forum Rocket Japanese Japanese Grammar “There Is” and I “Have”

“There Is” and I “Have”



In lessons 2.9, it is written :

"To say “there is” something, we use います or あります with the particle が . "

But in lessons 2.4, Kenny uses は instead of が with います :


Why that ?



That's a good question, hmm. Maybe it's because が generally identifies concrete nouns, and “a person who can speak English” is rather a vague entity and could be anyone… or no one? I'm interested to know the answer too. ;)

It feels like using GA could make the sentence sound like “Does a person who can speak English exist?”, which would be awkward, but WA makes it “As for a person who can speak English, do you have (one)?” That's just my thought at this point.



こんにちは (Konnichiwa) GregV84 and EarleyGrave,

Good question!
Just as you say, normally we would use います (imasu) or あります (arimasu) with が  (ga); however, it is also correct to use は (wa).

The particle は (wa) is usually used with nouns and adjectives, but we can also use it with verbs when we want to show contrast.
By using は (wa) here instead of が (ga), we can contrast people that speak English, to people that don't. Basically, what it's really saying is this:

"Is there a person that speaks English (and not a person that speaks Japanese)."

A good example of when you might use は (wa) here instead of が (ga) would be if you're in Japan, where everyone speaks Japanese and were looking for an English speaker specifically. 

We have recently updated our Language and Culture lessons and have a new lesson on how you can use は (wa) to show contrast. You can check it out here, under the section "using は (wa) to contrast."

I hope this helped! Please let me know if you have any other questions.
べんきょう を がんばって ください! (Benkyō o ganbatte kudasai!)


Thanks Emma!



どうもありがとうエマ先生! :) 

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