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Lesson 174: Using は to indicate possession instead of の

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One way to express the sentence Yuko's eyes are big in Japanese would beゆこさんのおおきいです, which is perfectly acceptable. However, using the particle , we could write the sentence without the possessive particle like this: ゆこさんはおおきいです.

In the latter sentence, which sounds more natural in Japanese, we do not have to directly specify that the big eyes are Yuko's. It is inferred that they belong to her because she is the topic of the sentence.

The table below includes more examples of this pattern using instead of .

EnglishJapanese
Yuko's eyes are big.ゆこ さん の  は おおきい です。
yuko san no me ha ookii desu.
Yuko has big eyes.ゆこ さん は  が おおきい です。
yuko san ha me ga ookii desu.
Her father is a teacher.かのじょ は おとうさん が せんせい です。
kanozyo ha otousan ga sensei desu.
Her new paintings are really beautiful.かのじょ は あたらしい  が とても きれい です。
kanozyo ha atarasii e ga totemo kirei desu.
Jon's house is old and near the park.ジョン さん は いえ が ふるくて、 こうえん の ちかく です。
zyon san ha ie ga hurukute, kouen no tikaku desu.
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