Grammar (1) for Lessons 1-5: Identifying People and Things

<< Sentence Syntax: Identifying People and Things >> 構文(こうぶん)1(肯定文(こうていぶん)):名詞(めいし)1+は+名詞(めいし)2+です。((れい)(わたし)太郎(たろう)です。=I am Tarou.)
構文(こうぶん)2(疑問文(ぎもんぶん)):名詞(めいし)1+は+名詞(めいし)2+です+か。((れい):あなたは太郎(たろう)さんですか=Are you Mr. Tarou?)
Present Form Past Form
aff. neg. aff. neg.
です では(/じゃ)ありません でした では(/じゃ)ありませんでした
is is not was was not
<< 助詞(じょし)[は]:Topic marker >> 「は(wa)」 follows noun-1 indicating that it is the topic under discussion. Noun-2 is then identified and the phrase is concluded with 「です」. The topic is often the same as the subject, but not necessarily. It is also possible for the object to be the topic. The ... は ... です structure is not affected by person or number.
<< 助詞(じょし)[か]:Question marker >> The formation of question in Japanese is easy. Put 「か」 at the end of a sentence and it becomes a question. No change in word order is required even when the question contains interrogative words such as who, what, when, etc. Intonation normally rises on the particle か only, i.e. 「... ですか」.[↑]
<< 「はい」と「いいえ」 >> 「はい」 is virtually the same as "yes." 「いいえ」 is virtually the same as "no." It is better, however, to think of 「はい」 as meaning, "That's right," and 「いいえ」 as meaning, "That's wrong." Otherwise negative questions can be a problem. I.e., to the question, 「じゃ、バナナがありませんか」, "So you have no bananas?" the reply is 「はい、ありません」, "That's right, we have none." Or 「いいえ、あります」, "That's wrong, we have some."
<< Omission of topic(名詞(めいし)1) >> When it is obvious to the other person what the topic is, it is generally omitted.
(れい):((わたし)は)スミスです。"(As for me) I'm Smith."
But when it is necessary to make the topic clear, it is not omitted.
(れい):こちらはスミスさんです。"This is Mr. Smith."
<< ではありません/じゃありません >> 「ではありません」 is negative form of です. 「じゃ−」is more informal than 「では−」.