What's Included

When you go to a restaurant, you can choose virtually any of the main dishes and turn it into a complete meal by saying Teishoku onegai shimasu. The side dishes will probably include a bowl of rice (say oomori, kudasai if you want a big helping), tsukemono (Japanese-style pickles), and miso shiru (soybean paste soup) or a clear soup. Salads often come with orders of spaghetti or curry. Coffee or tea is sometimes included, or can be tacked on for an extra hyaku en or so.

You will want to know what is included with your meal, so please ask:

Ebi furai ni wa nani ga tsukimasu ka.

What is included with the fried shrimp?

Or, if you want to know if a specific item comes with your meal, you can say, for example:

Karee ni wa sarada ga tsukimasu ka.

Does the curry come with a salad?

Some circumstances may move you to make special requests:

Koohii o tsukereba, o-ikura ni narimasu ka.

How much would it cost to add a coffee?

These examples are filled with particles, so let's review a little. The very definition of the verb tsuku requires the presence of ni, because it is referring to something being included or added. The “job” of ni is to identify that which is being attached.

When is it appropriate to replace wa with ga?

Good question. The two are often interchangeable, but there are some instances where one is preferred over the other. For example, if you request an item that is not on the menu, the reply will be: Sore wa arimasen. If you request an item that is on the menu, but isn't available, the reply will be: Sore ga arimasen.

In the first example, the fried shrimp is followed by two different particles: ni and wa. Ni pinpoints the object to which something will be attached, while wa isolates the sentence subject (in both cases, “fried shrimp”). The same goes for karee in the second example: ni labels what is being attached and wa points out the subject.

The particle ga also wears many different hats. Notice how it follows nani (“what”) in the first sentence and sarada (“salad”) in the second. The role being played in these two examples is to identify the indirect object:that which is being attached, or in this case, what comes with the meal.

Ga can also take the place of wa in situations where the subject is being scrutinized. Its role, in that case, becomes that of the subject identifier:

Omuraisu ga oishisoo desu.

The rice omelet looks delicious.

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