Wild Nihongo!
が (Conjunction) / でも / しかし / だが / だけど

が (Conjunction) / でも / しかし / だが / だけど

が (Conjunction) / でも / しかし / だが / だけど Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Conjunction

Essential Meaning: But / However

Construction: Sentence 1 が Sentence 2


  • が (Conjunction) is similar to the English conjunctions “But” or “However” in the sense that it joins two independent clauses that express contrasting ideas. However, が (Conjunction) differs from the English words “But” and “However” in three key ways:
    • (1) が (Conjunction) connects to Sentence 1 rather than to Sentence 2. Therefore, it is inappropriate to place a comma before が or to begin a sentence with が.
      • E.g. *ジョンはた、がメアリーはなかった。[As for John, he came, but, as for Mary, she did not come.] が belongs at the end of Sentence 1, not at the beginning of Sentence 2.
      • E.g. *ジョンはた。がメアリーはなかった。[As for John, he came. But, as for Mary, she did not come.] A sentence can not begin with が (Conjunction).
    • (2) が (Conjunction) conveys a weaker sense of contrast than its English equivalents do. In some cases, が (Conjunction) expresses NO contrast whatsoever and is simply used for stylistic purposes. For example, が is sometimes used to connect two closely related sentences, similarly to the semicolon in English.
      • E.g. パーティーをしますがませんか。[We’re having a party; would you like to come?]
      • E.g. 田中たなかさんはわたしのうちにもときどきますが面白おもしろひとですね。[Mr. Tanaka comes to my house too sometimes. He’s an interesting person, isn’t he?]
    • (3) In the structure Sentence 1 が Sentence 2, Sentence 2 can be omitted if it is clear from context what the speaker intends to say. This omission can make the structure less direct or more polite.
      • E.g. 大丈夫だいじょうぶおもいますが… [I think it’s OK, but…]
      • E.g. トムはよく勉強べんきょうするんですが… [Tom studies hard, but…]
      • E.g. えききたいんですが… [I want to go to the station, but…]
  • In the structure Sentence 1 が Sentence 2, the two sentences must be parallel with respect to formality level (i.e. both formal or both informal).
    • E.g. *太郎たろうおよぎましたが次郎じろうおよがなかった。[Taro swam, but Jiro didn’t swim.] This example is strange and incorrect because Sentence 1 uses a formal predicate and Sentence 2 uses an informal predicate.
    • E.g. 太郎たろうおよぎましたが次郎じろうおよぎませんでした。[Taro swam, but Jiro didn’t swim.] This example is OK because both Sentence 1 and Sentence 2 use formal predicates.
  • When Sentence 1 and Sentence 2 express contrasting ideas, the topics of the two sentences tend to take the contrastive particle.
    • E.g. わたしはビールはむがさけまない。[I drink beer, but I don’t drink sake.]
  • だが, だけど, でも, しかし, and けれども all have the same contrastive meaning as が (Conjunction), but there are some slight differences.
    • (1) だが, だけど, でも, and しかし are all used at the beginning of sentences, while が (Conjunction) is used at the end of sentences. Consequently, a comma or period can precede だが, だけど, でも, and しかし.
      • E.g. アニメがき。しかし、鬼滅きめつやいばたことがない。[I like anime. However, I haven’t seen Demon Slayer.] In this case, しかし appears at the beginning of Sentence 2 and not at the end of sentence 1.
    • (2) けれども is a subordinating conjunction with a similar meaning to the English subordinators “Though” or “Although“. In the structure Sentence 1 けれども Sentence 2, Sentence 1 is a subordinate clause and Sentence 2 is the main clause. With が (Conjunction), both sentences are independent clauses.
      • E.g. かれみずしいけれども幸運こううんだ。[Though he is poor, he is fortunate.] In this case, かれみずしいけれども is a subordinate clause, and 幸運こううんだ is the main clause.

Example Sentences:

ジョンはたがメアリーはなかった。[John came, but Mary did not come.]

旅行りょこうをしたいがおかねがない。[I want to travel, but I don’t have money.]

わたしはビールはむがさけまない。[I drink beer, but I don’t drink sake.]

WILD Examples:

At 0:18, listen for this line: かなりきびしいはなしもするおれ本音ほんねいておけ [I’m going to tell you something quite severe, but please listen to my true feelings.]
At 0:50, listen for this line: だけどおおきくなってもすずめはすずめ [However, even when they grow up, a sparrow is just a sparrow.] The idea behind this verse is that the kids are speculating what the baby sparrows will become when they grow up, and the kids conclude that even when the sparrows get big they’ll still just be sparrows.
Listen for this line at 0:40: でもだれよりだれよりもっている [However, I know it better than anyone else.]
Listen to this line at 2:26: 風呂場ふろばなんてない。でもシンクはめっちゃでかい [There’s no bath area. But the sink is huge]
The opening line of this song goes like this: カラスがえたからころします、さらにさるえたからへららします、でもパンダは減ったから増やします [The crows have increased in number, so we’ll kill them. Moreover, the monkeys have increased in number so we’ll diminish them. But the pandas have decreased in number, so we’ll increase them.]
Listen for this line at 0:53: おれ欲張よくばり。でもまえらに褒美ほうびはとらせるぜ [I’m greedy, but I will ensure that you all are rewarded]
This song begins with the following line: やすいお弁当べんとうえらんでってみても¥490。でも味噌汁みそしるかない [If I buy a cheap bento it’s only 490 yen. But it does’t come with miso soup]

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