A particle is a small word which usually consists of one or two Hiragana letters. Particles are really important to make a perfect Japanese sentence although you might be able to make yourself understand without particles in some situations.
- Quick reference chart
Quick reference chart
|は：after a subject, no meaning|
|が：after a subject, no meaning|
|を：after an object, no meaning|
|に：after a time word, to (place)|
|と：and, with (person, animal)|
|で：in (language), with (tool), by (transport), at (place)|
|の：of (or ‘s)|
は: Subject (or topic) marking particle
は is a subject marking particle. It needs to be placed after the subject of a sentence. It is は (ha), but you need to read it as ‘wa’ when は is a subject marking particle. It does not have a meaning on its own.
が: Subject (or topic) marking particle
が is a subject marking particle too. It does not have a meaning on its own.
を is an object marking particle. It needs to be placed after an object. A verb comes after を. It does not have a meaning on its own.
へ is a destination marking particle. Its pronunciation is ‘e’ when へ is used as a particle. It means ‘to’ in English. へ is often used with ‘go’ or ‘come’.
There is another destination marking particle, which is に.
I go to Japan.
に： Location marking particle
に is used with following Japanese verbs: live（住む）, stay（とまる）etc.
- 父は日本に住んでいます。（My father lives in Japan.）
- 私はきのうホテルにとまりました。（I stayed at a hotel yesterday.）
に：placed after a ‘time’ word
に is often placed after ‘time’.
- 八月に → in August
- 月曜日に → on Monday
- 九時に → at 9 o’clock
に：placed after a ‘destination’ word
に is a destination marking particle. It means ‘to’ in English. に is often used with ‘go’ or ‘come’.
There is another destination marking particle, which is へ.
I go to Japan.
で: Location marking particle
で is often placed after ‘place’.
店で → at a shop
学校で → at school
アメリカで → in U.S.A.
に can also be a location marking particle.
で: Transport or tool marking particle
で also needs to be placed after transport or tool.
Example for transport
車で → by car
バスで → by bus
Example for tool
はしで → with chopsticks
と: joining nouns
と is used to join nouns.
- 犬と猫（ねこ） → dogs and cats
- 兄と私 → my older brother and I
- 日本とインド → Japan and India
と: with (somebody)
父と → with my father
友だちと → with friends
や: joining nouns
や is also used to join nouns.
- 犬や猫（ねこ） → dogs and cats
- 兄や私 → my older brother and I
- 日本やインド → Japan and India
の: of / ‘s
の can be a question mark if you have の at the end of a sentence. It is used by girls and kids more than men.
In this case, の has to follow Verb Plain Form or Adjective Plain Form. Also, the intonation goes up at the end.
If it doesn’t, that is just an affirmative sentence.
Do you often watch TV? (If the intonation rises at the end)
I often watch TV. (If the intonation does not rise at the end)
か is equivalent to a question mark if you have it at the end of a sentence.
Do you eat apples?
Female put わ at the end of a sentence. It does not mean anything. In this case, わ has to follow Verb Plain Form or Adjective Plain Form.
Male just use Verb Plain Form or Adjective Plain Form.
Female say: 私は学校に行くわ。
Male say: 私は学校に行く。
Both means ‘I go to school.’
Task: Fill in the brackets with correct particles.
- 私（ ）名前（ ）トーマスです。
- きのう父（ ）こうえん（ ）さんぽしました。
- 日本で会った友だち（ ）日本語（ ）手紙（ ）書くつもりです。
- オーストラリア（ ）行ったことがありますか。
- はし（ ）食事するのはむずかしいです。
- 母はテニスだけでなくバスケットボール（ ）上手です。
- 今年学校で数学（ ）英語（ ）日本語を勉強します。