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<< ha | ha-3 >>

〜は [〜は] (ha-2)
    Meaning: 'ha (wa)' used to indicate contrast
    Example: I don't eat /meat/ (but I do eat fish).
    JLPT Level: 3
    Category: grammar
    Author: Amatuka

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ex #765   私は食べない。 
I don't eat / meat / . (but I eat fish)  
ex #767   「セリーナをみせて!」「心配は要らない。いきている、いきて。」 
"Show me Serena!" "No need to worry. She's / alive / . Alive (but _not_ well)."  
ex #4987   いや、でも野球を見に行くの好きだけどね。 
No, but I like * going to baseball.  
ex #4988   私は、足し算好きだけど、引き算嫌いだ。 
I like * addition but * subtraction.  
ex #6004   彼は上海で住んでいたので、戦争は彼と全く関係のないところで行われていた. 
Because he was living in Shang-hai, the war was being fought (lit. performed) in places that did not have a connection with him at all.  
ex #7834   食べますが、肉は食べません。さかなはたべますが、にくはたべません。 
I eat * fish, but I don't eat meat.  

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  See Also:  
  • ha    (Note use of は to indicate contrast vs. indicating the topic of a sentence.) [Amatuka]
[ Add a See Also ]
AmatukaThe 'normal' negative sentence would be 私は肉を食べない。'I don't eat fish'.
With the object marker を overridden by は this implies that not eating meat is in contrast to eating something else (for example fish).
Note: When Japanese refer to meat (肉) they generally would not understand that as including fish (魚).
AmatukaThis contrastative は can fit in places that you might not expect. Take 生きている '(she's) alive.' vs. 生きてはいる '(she's) alive (but not well).'. 
AmatukaP.S. How's the Hero / Villain / Hostage example? 
Kana-chanVery helpful :) 
khyronIn your comment, you said "私は肉を食べない。'I don't eat fish'”, but obviously you meant to say 'I don't eat meat'. I also liked the hostage example! :-) 

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