Apprentice Ninja Level

What are particles ?

Case 1They are similar to "prepositions" (to, on, at, for...) in English. But in Japanese, they are placed after the related word.

Examples

くるま

by car

The particle indicates that the preceding word is the "means of transportation". So, you can translate it as "by".

かぞく

with family

The particle indicates accompaniment. So you can translate it as "with" someone.

3 じ

at 3 o'clock

One particle could have several meanings. For example, the particle could indicate "time and date" or "destination"... It depends on the context of the sentence.

にほん

to Japan

Case 2The particles indicate what role the preceding word plays in a sentence.

This function does not exist in English ! That means there is NO direct translation in English for this use of particle.

Examples :

のりこ  は  

せんせい

です

Noriko is a teacher.

This is a very commonly used particle. It indicates that the preceding word is the "Subject / Topic" of the sentence.

More specifically, the particle は(wa) indicates "the topic" of the sentence. It may be translated as "Regarding..." or "Concerning..." in English. However, "the topic" of Japanese sentences could often correspond to the "subject" in the English translation. Click here for examples.

Examples :

わたし

おんがく    を    

ききます

I listen to the music.

This particle indicates the direct object of the sentence. Again, there is NO direct translation in English for this use of particle.

Rhythm of speaking

Tip ! When you are speaking, add a small pause after every particle. It makes the sentence flow and sound more natural !

わたし

ともだち

レストラン

すし     を    

たべました

I ate sushi with friends in a restaurant.

List of frequently used particles

particles

Meanings / Examples

de

1 - Tools or means of transportation, language, etc.

でんしゃ

いきます

I go by train.

ペン

かきます

I write with a pen.

にほんご

はなします

I speak in Japanese.

2 - Place of action : "in", "at" - Click here for more.

こうえん

ほん

よみます

I read a book in a park.

ぎんこう

はたらきます

I work in a bank.

e

Destination (more formal than the particle ), direction.

オーストラリア

いきました

I went to Australia.

ga

1 - Subject

えいが

はじまります

The movie starts.

2 - Object of preference, skills/ability, desire etc - Click here for more.

チョコレート

すきです

I like chocolate.

3 - "Even though" "but " - Click here for more.

なつです

すずしいです

It's summer, but it's cool.

kara

から

1 - Starting point : "from"

ここから

 5ふん  かかります

It takes 5 minutes from here.

9じから

テレビ

みます

I watch TV from 9 o'clock.

2 - Reason : "because" - Click here for more.

やすい ですから

かいます

Because it's cheap, I buy it.

びょうき でした から 

Because I was sick.

made

まで

Ending point : "until", "to"

5じまで

はたらきます

I work until 5 o'clock.

うちから

がっこうまで

あるきました

I walked from my place to the school.

mo

"too", "also"

わたし

にほんじん です

I am Japanese too.

ne

"right ?", "isn't it ?" (Fix at the end of the sentence)

きょう

あつい です  ね  

Today is hot, isn't it ?

ni

1 - Hours, date : "at", "on"

6じはん

はじまります

It starts at 6:30.

2 - Indirect Object : "to" someone, "from" someone

つま

はな

あげました

I gave flowers to my wife.

スーザン

おかね

かりました

I borrowed money from Susan.

3 - Location (use with verbs あります / います) - Click here for more.

にわ

いぬ

います

There is a dog in the yard.

4 - Destination, direction, space you reach : "into", "to","towards" - Click here for more.

とうきょう

いきます

I go to Tokyo.

くるま

のります

I get into a car.

no

"of" - Click here for more.

これ

わたし カメラ です

This is my camera (camera of me).

o

Direct Object - Click here for more.

コーヒー

のみました

I drank a coffee.

to

1 - Accompaniment : "with" someone (or animal)

かぞく

たべました

I had a meal with my family.

2 - Complete list of nouns : "and" - Click here for more.

りんご と バナナ

かいました

I bought apples and bananas.

toka

とか

Incomplete list : "and… etc." More casual than - Click here for more.

りんごとかバナナ

かいました

I bought apples and bananas etc.

ya

Incomplete list of nouns : "and… etc." - Click here for more.

りんご や バナナ

かいました

I bought apples and bananas etc.

yo

"you know…", "I tell you" (Fix at the end of the sentence)

これ

おいしい です   よ   

This is delicious, you know.

wa

1 - Subject

G.ワシントン

ゆうめい です

George Washington is famous.

2 - Topic

この くるま  は  

きょねん かいました

Regarding this car, I bought it last year.

3 - Emphasize the contrast

いぬ

すき です

ねこ

きらい です

I like dogs, on the other hand, I don't like cats.

How to use the particle ?

The particle の(no) is a very frequently used particle. の(no) placed between two nouns links those two nouns. It functions like "of" in English.

A B

But the translation would be B of A, not A of B

You should always translate the second noun first !

トヨタしゃちょう

President of Toyota

にほんごがっこう

School of Japanese language

→ Japanese language school

If の(no) is preceded by human (or animal...), it indicates "ownership" or "belonging to".

わたしくるま

car of me → my car

  あに   むすめ 

daughter of my brother

→ my brother's daughter

If you want to say just "mine", "yours" or "Noriko's"...., omit the second noun.

わたし

B of me → mine

あなた

B of you → yours

のりこ

B of Noriko → Noriko's

Put the words in order.

Q1 - French wine

フランス

ワイン

フランス ワイン

Answer
click here

Q2 - My parents

りょうしん

わたし

わたし りょうしん

Answer
click here

Q3 - TV remote

リモコン

テレビ

テレビ リモコン

Answer
click here

Q4 - Friend's home

うち

ともだち

ともだち うち

Answer
click here

Try again
Example sentences using the particle

のりこ

にほんごせんせい

です

Noriko is a Japanese teacher.

わたしなまえ

のりこ です

My name is Noriko.

マイク

ニンテンドーゲーム

すき です

Mike likes the game of Nintendo.

これ

わたし

です

This is mine.

In which case do you use or for the location ?

Case 1

Destination / direction. The place you go to. When using a verb that describes moving towards something (go, come, enter, get into, etc...)

Case 2When indicating the location in a sentence with the verb, あります or います.

Example sentences using the particle

にほん

いきます

go (verb of moving) to Japan.

うち

かえります

go back (verb of moving) to home.

うち

コンピューター あります

There is (verb ari-masu) a computer at home.

Case 1

When it is not the destination. When using a verb that describes not moving towards something (eat, study, read, sing, speak, etc...)

Case 2When indicating the location of the event in a sentence using the verb あります.

Example sentences using the particle

うち

テレビ みます

I watch (not a verb of moving) TV at home.

にほん

にほんご べんきょうします

I study (not a verb of moving) Japanese in Japan.

シカゴ

じこ ありました

There was an accident (an event) in Chicago.

シドニー

コンサート あります

There is a concert (an event) in Sydney.

Please choose or in the blanks.

Q1 - I go to the school.

がっこう  いきます

ni ? de ?
click here

Because がっこう(gakko) is the destination of the verb, いきます(iki-masu).

Q2 - I take a break in the room.

へや  やすみます

ni ? de ?
click here

Because やすみます(yasumi-masu) is not a verb of moving. へや(heya) is not the destination.

Q3 - There is a cat in the yard.

にわ  ねこ います

ni ? de ?
click here

Because when the verb います(i-masu) is used, the place is indicated with に(ni).

Q4 - I go back to home.

うち  かえります

ni ? de ?
click here

Because うち(ie) is the destination of the verb かえります(kaeri-masu).

Q5 - I play in a park.

こうえん  あそびます

ni ? de ?
click here

Because あそびます(asobi-masu) is not a verb of moving. こうえん(kōen) is not the destination.

Q6 - There is a cake in the fridge.

れいぞうこ  ケーキ あります

ni ? de ?
click here

When the verb あります(ari-masu) is used, the location is indicated with に(ni).

Q7 - There was a earthquake in Japan.

にほん  じしん ありました

ni ? de ?
click here

で(de) is used because it talks about an event, じしん(jishin).

Try again

Difference between and when listing nouns

    

When you want to list nouns (not verbs or adjectives !), use the particle と(to) or や(ya).と(to) is used when listing everything, while や(ya) is used when listing only part of things. In a daily conversation, とか(toka) is often used instead of や(ya). とか(toka) is more casual than や(ya).

Example sentences using the particle and

あそこ

ペン ほん

あります

There is a pen and a book over there.

あそこ

ペン ほん など

あります

There is a pen and a book etc. over there.

など(nado) can be added after listing things using や(ya). など(nado) means "etc." but や(ya) already carries the nuance of "etc." Therefore, adding など(nado) is optional.

1 - When you want to list verbs or adjectives, you can not use the particle と(to). You have to use て(te) form of verbs or adjectives to list them.
2 - You can not start a sentece with the particle と(to) in order to mean "And...". For this purpose, you should use a linking word such as そして(soshite) or それから(sorekara).

Difference between and (direct object)

What is the direct object ?

The direct object is the word which answers the question "What?" or "Who?" in the sentence. Generally, it comes after the verb without a preposition.

Examples

1 - I watch TV at home.
What do I watch ? → TV
So, "TV" is the direct object of this sentence.

2 - Dennis saw Jennifer yesterday.
Who did Dennis see ? → Jennifer
So, "Jennifer" is the direct object of this sentence.

    

Normally, the particle を(o) is used to indicate the direct object in the sentence. But, in some cases, you should use the particle が instead of を(o). Let's learn here 3 main cases as follows:

Case 1When you talk about the preference.

いぬ

すきです

I like dogs.

やさい

きらいです

I don't like vegetables. 

→ talking about the preference

Case 2When you talk about the skill, ability, possibility.

ピアノ

じょうずです

I play well the piano. (I am good at piano.)

→ talking about the skill

でんわ

よやく

できますか

Is it possible to make a reservation by phone ?

→ talking about the possibility

ドイツご

わかります

I understand German.

→ talking about the ability

Case 3When you talk about the the desire, hope (The Japanese word for
"I want..." and "I would like..." is the same)
.

くるま

ほしいです

I want to have a car.

すし

たべたいです

I want to have a car.

With this expression « verb + tai desu », both を(o) and が(ga) can be used for the direct object.

→ talking about the desire

This rule only applies to the particle を(o). All other particles (に(ni), で(de), と(to) etc.)don't change.

にほん

いきたいです

I want to go to Japan.

It is about the "desire", but the particle に(ni) don't change !

Please choose the correct particles in the sentences below.

Q1 - I like Japanese food.

わたし にほんりょうり すきです

すき(suki) is talking about the preference. Therefore が(ga) replaces the particle を(o).

Q2 - Kim read a newspaper.

キム しんぶん よみます

よみます(yomi-masu) is not talking about the preference, nor the skill nor the desire. Therefore, you do not need replace the particle を(o) by が(ga).

Q3 - Kate is good at cooking.

ケイト りょうり じょうずです

じょうず(jōzu) is talking about the skill. Therefore が(ga) replaces the particle を(o).

Q4 - Do you understand English ?

あなた えいご わかりますか

わかります(wakari-masu) is talking about the ability. Therefore が(ga) replaces the particle を(o).

Q5 - I want to study in Japan.

わたし にほん べんきょうしたいです

べんきょうしたいです(benkyōshi-tai desu) is talking about the desire. However, "in Japan" is not the direct object of the sentence, but the location. So, use the particle of the location で(de).

Q6 - I would like to have a girlfriend.

わたし かのじょ ほしいです

ほしい(hoshii) is talking about the desire. Therefore が(ga) replaces the particle を(o).

Try again

Let's practice some more!

Please choose the correct particles in the sentences below.

Q1 - I work from Monday to Friday.

わたし げつようび から きんようび まで はたらきます

Q2 - The company is located in the city.

かいしゃ まち あります

Q3 - My job is interesting.

わたし しごと おもしろいです

Q4 - Sometimes, I go to a bar with colleagues.

ときどきわたし どうりょう バー いきます

Q5 - I often drink a beer at the bar.

よくバー ビール のみます

Q6 - I like Irish beer.

アイルランド ビール すきです

Try again

We are finished with particles !
Now, let's take a look at adjectives !

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