【Japanese Grammar】Particles

Vocabulary
Vocabulary
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Introduction

Particles are small words which usually consist of one or two Hiragana letters.

They are really important to make a perfect Japanese sentence although you might be able to make yourself understand without particles.

Quick reference chart

ParticleFunction
after a subject, no meaning
after a subject, no meaning
after an object, no meaning
in, on, at (time) / to (place)
to (place)
and / with (person, animal)
and
also, too
in (language) / with (tool) / by (transport) / at (place)
?
of, ‘s

は Function

Subject (or topic) marking particle

は is a subject marking particle.

It needs to be placed after the subject of a sentence.

は is ‘ha’ when you read it, but it needs to be ‘wa’ when は is used as a subject marking particle.

It does not have a meaning on its own.

が Function

Subject (or topic) marking particle

が is a subject marking particle too.

It does not have a meaning on its own.

を Function

Object marking particle

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 Function

Destination marking particle

へ is a destination marking particle.

Its pronunciation is ‘e’ when へ is used as a particle.

It is the same as ‘to’ in English.

へ is often used with ‘go’ or ‘come’.

Example

私は日本行きます。

I go to Japan.

がんばる子
がんばる子

There is another destination marking particle, which is .

に Function 1

Location marking particle

に is used with following Japanese verbs: live(すむ), stay(とまる)etc.

Example

父は日本すんでいます。

My father lives in Japan.

Example

私はきのうホテルとまりました。

I stayed at a hotel yesterday.

に Function 2

Time marking particle

に is also placed after ‘time’.

Example
  • 八月in August
  • 月曜日on Monday
  • 九時at 9 o’clock
に Function 3

Destination marking particle

に is a destination marking particle as well.

It is the same as ‘to’ in English.

に is often used with ‘go’ or ‘come’.

Example

私は日本行きます。

I go to Japan.

がんばる子
がんばる子

There is another destination marking particle, which is .

で Function 1

Location marking particle

で is placed after ‘place’.

Example
  • at a shop
  • 学校at school
  • アメリカin U.S.A.
できる子
できる子

can also be a location marking particle.

で Function 2

Transport marking particle

で is also placed after transport.

It is the same as ‘by’ in English.

Example
  • by car
  • バスby bus
で Function 3

Tool marking particle

で is placed after tool as well.

Example
  • はしwith chopsticks
  • でんわで → on the phone

と Function 1

Joining nouns

と is used to join nouns.

Example
  • 猫(ねこ) → dogs and cats
  • 私 → my older brother and I
  • 日本インド → Japan and India
と Function 2

with (somebody)

と is also used to talk about who you do something with.

Example
  • with my father
  • 友だちwith friends

や Function

joining nouns

や is used to join nouns.

Example
  • 猫(ねこ) → dogs and cats
  • 私 → my older brother and I
  • 日本インド → Japan and India

の Function 1

Possessive Particle (of / ‘s)

の indicates who has what.

Example
  • ともだちかばん → friend‘s bag
  • くるま → my father‘s car
  • ぼうし → my mother‘s cap
の Function 2

Make a sentence sound soft

の can be placed at the end of a sentence by girls and children.

In this case, の has to follow Verb Plain Form or Adjective Plain Form.

Example

テレビをよく見る

  • Do you often watch TV? (the intonation rises at the end)
  • I often watch TV. (the intonation does not rise at the end)
Example

やさいはおいしい

  • Are vegetables yummy? (the intonation rises at the end)
  • Vegetables are yummy. (the intonation does not rise at the end)

か Function

Question mark (?)

か is equivalent to a question mark if you have it at the end of a sentence.

Example

Do you eat apples?

りんごを食べます

Women 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

Men just use Verb Plain Form or Adjective Plain Form.

Example

Women say: 私は学校に行く

Men say: 私は学校に行く。

Both mean ‘I go to school.’

Exercise

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。
  • 私(の)名前(は)トーマスです。
  • きのう父(と)こうえん(を)さんぽしました。
  • 日本で会った友だち(に)日本語(で)手紙(を)書くつもりです。
  • オーストラリア(に)行ったことがありますか。Note: へ is correct too.
  • はし(で)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(も)上手です。
  • 今年学校で数学(や)英語(や)日本語を勉強します。Note: と is correct too.
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