371 - が (but)

We're looking at が in this lesson, a particle with many uses.

Specifically, we're looking at its usage as a contradictory conjunction. That's a really cool way to say it's used like "but" or "however" in English.

The conjunction が only appears at the end of a clause.

In other words, you'll often see it coming after a verb or です.

Our first example:

わたし の そふ は ひゃく さい を すぎています が、 とても げんき です。
My grandfather is over 100 years old, but he is still very fit.
Literally: "I + の + grandfather + は + 100 years old + を + is being past + が + very + healthy / lively + です"

が is linking the first and second halves of the sentence.

You can see that both of these clauses, the one in front of が and the one behind it, can be said on their own. The first just states that your grandpa is over a hundred years old. The second one describe him as being very healthy, without referring to his age (the subject, "grandfather," is implied here).

Most of this explanation is the same for the English "but." so long explanations might be superfluous as it's already well ingrained in your language dexterity. Let's look at less English and more Japanese:

ロンドン は べんり です が、 やちん が たかい です。
London is convenient, but the rent is expensive.
Literally: "London + は + convenient + です + が + rent + が + high / expensive + です"

おとうと に クリスマス プレゼント を あげた が、 あまり よろこばれなかった。
I gave my younger brother a Christmas present, but he didn't seem very excited about it.
Literally: "younger brother + に + Christmas present + を + gave + が + not really + was not pleased."

Note: Note that the verb at the end of this sentence, 喜ぶ (よろこぶ // to be please; to be delighted) is in the passive tense, so a strange literal translation would have been, "I did not have him get pleased at me." We'll see passive verb forms in an N4 lesson sometime in the future.

ここ に すむ ひとびと は とても まずしい せいかつ を している が、 みんな しあわせそうな かお を している。
The people of this area are leading a very poor lifestyle, but everyone looks happy nonetheless.
Literally: "here + に + live + people + は + very + poor + living + を + are doing + が + everyone + happy-looking + な + face + を + are doing."

This lesson was written by Dennis, a guest contributor:

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