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Japanese particles, joshi (助詞) or tenioha (てにをは), are suffixes or short words in Japanese grammar that immediately follow the modified noun, verb, adjective, or sentence. Their grammatical range can indicate various meanings and functions, such as speaker affect and assertiveness.
Orthography and diction
Japanese particles are written in hiragana in modern Japanese, though some of them also have kanji forms (弖 or 天 for te て; 爾 for ni に; 乎 or 遠 for o を; and 波 for wa は). Particles follow the same rules of phonetic transcription as all Japanese words, with the exception of は (written ha, pronounced wa as a particle), へ (written he, pronounced e) and を (written using a hiragana character with no other use in modern Japanese, originally assigned as wo, now usually pronounced o, though some speakers render it as wo). These exceptions are a relic of historical kana usage.
Types of particles
There are eight types of particles, depending on what function they serve.
Case markers (格助詞, kaku-joshi)
Parallel markers (並立助詞, heiritsu-joshi)
- か, の, や, に, と, やら, なり, だの
- ka, no, ya, ni, to, yara, nari, dano
Sentence ending particles (終助詞, shū-joshi)
- か, の, や, な, わ, とも, かしら
- ka, no, ya, na, wa, tomo, kashira
Interjectory particles (間投助詞, kantō-joshi)
- さ, よ, ね
- sa, yo, ne
Adverbial particles (副助詞, fuku-joshi)
- ばかり, まで, だけ, ほど, くらい, など, なり, やら
- bakari, made, dake, hodo, kurai, nado, nari, yara
Binding particles (係助詞, kakari-joshi)
- は, も, こそ, でも, しか, さえ, だに
- wa,[a] mo, koso, demo, shika, sae, dani
Conjunctive particles (接続助詞, setsuzoku-joshi)
- ば, や, が, て, のに, ので, から, ところが, けれども, くせに
- ba, ya, ga, te, noni, node, kara, tokoroga, keredomo, kuseni
Phrasal particles (準体助詞, juntai-joshi)
- の, から
- no, kara
Note that some particles appear in two types. For example, kara is called a "case marker" where it describes where something is from or what happens after something; when it describes a cause it is called a "conjunctive particle".
- ^ a b c The particles pronounced o, e, and wa are written with the hiragana を (wo), へ (he), and は (ha). See Orthography and diction above.
List of particles
- bakari ka
- da no
- de mo
- dokoro ka
- ka na
- ka shira
- made ni
- mono de
- mono ka/mon-ka
- mono nara
- mono o
- na and naa
- ni te
- ni wa
- no de
- no ni
- de sae
- to ka
- to mo
Meaning and usage
|Preceding syntactic element||Example sentence||Translation|
|Translates to: "just, only, full of"|
Colloquially: ばっかり bakkari, ばっか bakka
|Noun||Tōkyō wa hito bakari da.
|Tokyo is just full of people.|
|Verbs (ta form)||Tabeta bakari da.
|I just ate.|
|Verb (te form)||Kare wa tabete bakari iru.
|He's always eating.|
bakari kaばかりか (許りか)
|Translates to: "not only". |
Accompanied by さえ sae ("but also") indicates something unusual or unexpected.
Etymology: bakari + ka
|Nouns||Sofu bakari ka, sōsofu sae ikite iru.
|Not only is my grandfather living, but so is my great-grandfather.|
|bakashi is another form of bakari.|
|Translates to: "only"; limit.|
Dake functions as a noun.
Kanji form 丈 is less commonly used.
|Nouns||rōmaji dake no jisho
|a rōmaji-only dictionary|
|Verbs (volitional)||Netai dake nereba ii.
|You can sleep as much as you want [to sleep].|
|Translates to: "and, things like".|
Etymology: da (copula) + no.
This particle is used far less frequently than to ka.
Often has negative connotations.
|Nouns, adjectives, verbs||Nattō da no, shīfūdo da no, wasabi da no—nihonshoku ga nigate da.
|Natto, seafood, wasabi—Japanese food isn't my thing.|
|Etymology: Originally an alteration of ni te, later treated as a conjugation of the copula da. de can be used as "at" or "by means of". When serving as the continuative TE form of a subordinate clause, de substitutes for da/desu, carries the meaning "is, and so...", and takes on the tense of the final verb of the sentence.|
|Nouns: instrument||Jitensha de ikimashō.
|Let's go by bicycle.|
|Nouns: location||Koko de yasumitai.
|I want to rest here.|
|Nouns: language||Nihongo de tegami o kaita.
|I wrote the letter in Japanese.|
|TE form of copula: "is, and so..."|| kimi ga suki de yokatta
君 が 好き で よかった。
|You are loved (and so) I am glad. / I am glad that I love you.|
|Translates to: "even; or; but, however; also in"|
Etymology: de + mo
|Nouns, particles: "even"||Uchū kara de mo Banri-no-Chōjō ga mieru.
|Even from space you can see the Great Wall of China.|
|Noun: "or something"||Ocha de mo, ikaga?
|Would you like tea or something?|
|Noun: "also in"||Nihon de mo eigo o benkyō suru
|In Japan also, we study English.|
|Beginning of phrase: "but, however, even so"||De mo, watashi wa sō omowanai
|But I don't think so.|
dokoro kaどころか (所か)
|Translates to: "anything but, far from"|
Etymology: dokoro (tokoro: place) + ka
|Nouns||Kare wa keisatsukan dokoro ka, hanzaisha da.
|He's anything but a policeman; he's a criminal.|
|Translates to: "to, in"; direction|
E is written with へ rather than え, reflecting old kana usage.
|Nouns: direction||Nihon e yōkoso!
|Welcome to Japan!|
|Functions as: identifier (identifies something unspecified), conjunction ("but"). Not to be confused with the particle は.
Ga (が or ヶ): Historical possessive used to connect nouns, most often seen in place names as ヶ
|Nouns: Subject Marker (answers a silent or asked question)||Neko ga esa o tabeta.
|The cat ate the catfood. [Answers: "What ate the catfood?"]|
|Inu ga suki.
|I like dogs. [Answers: What do you like?]|
|Noun: noun connector||wa ga kuni
|my/our [collective] country|
|Fujimi ga Oka
|Fuji View Hill|
|Seki ga hara
|Gateway Plains (site of the Battle of Sekigahara)|
|Phrases: conjunction (but...)||Inu wa suki da ga, neko wa kirai da.
|I like dogs but I hate cats.|
|Translates to: "as much as"; upper limit|
|Nouns||Kare hodo nihongo ga umakunai.
|My Japanese isn't as good as his.|
|Adjectives*||Hayai hodo ii.
|The sooner, the better.|
|Verb||Aitsu o koroshitai hodo kirai da.
|I hate him enough to want to kill him.|
|Functions as: question denominator, alternative item conjunction, quotation expressing doubt; "whether", especially when used with dō ka ("or not").|
|Nouns, verbs: listing alternatives||Kore ka, sore ka, dotchika erande yo.
|This or that, choose one of them.|
|Noun, verbs: "whether (or not)"||Iku ka [dō ka] wakaranai.
|I don't know [whether or not / if] he'll go.|
|Adverbs (interrogative): uncertainty||Dokoka de mita koto ga aru.
|I think I've seen you somewhere before. (You look familiar)|
|Phrases: question (formal)||Wakarimasu ka?
|Do you understand? (formal)|
|Phrases: question, rhetorical||Eigo nante wakarimasu ka!
|Why the heck would I understand English? (formal)|
|Phrases: question, invitation||Sate, dekake yō ka?
|Right then, shall we leave?|
|Phrase: quotation expressing doubt||Iku ka to omoimasu ga...
|I think he'll go (but I'm not sure)...|
|kai is a gentler and masculine variant of the question marker ka.|
|Translates to: "I wonder" (Note: "Ka na" implies having mostly made up one's mind. Drawing out the "na" [ka naa] implies less certainty.)|
|Phrases||Kare wa ayashii hito ka na.
|I wonder if he's a suspicious person.|
|Translates to: "from, after, because"|
Kara may be followed by no to link two nouns.
|Nouns: "from, out of"||Tōkyō kara kaetta.
|He returned from Tokyo.|
|zutto mae kara no hanashi
|a conversation from way back|
|Verb (te form): "after"||Owatte kara, kite kudasai.
|Please come by after finishing (after you've finished).|
|Adjectives, Verbs: "because"||Niku o tabenai kara, raamen wa dame da
|Because he doesn't eat meat, ramen is bad (a bad idea).|
|Ka shira is like ka na, but is used more by women. See also Gender differences in spoken Japanese.
Etymology: ka + shira, the irrealis form (i.e. negative form minus the -nai) of shiru "to know"
|Phrases||Kare wa ayashii hito ka shira.
|I wonder if he's a suspicious person.|
|Translates to: "although, but"|
Etymology: kedo is a shortened version of formal keredomo. It also appears semi-abbreviated and semi-formally as keredo or kedomo.
|Adjectives, verbs||Kanojo wa hen da kedo kirei da.
|She is strange but pretty|
|Translates to: "just, only"|
Kiri is more rarely used than dake, functions as a noun and may be followed by no.
|Nouns||futari kiri no o-mise
|a shop with just two people [who work there]|
|Translates to: "Similar to ka but in an attempt to recall forgotten information."|
Etymology: kke originates from the auxiliary verb of Old Japanese "keri".
|Nouns||Nani wo iou to shitetan da kke
|What were you trying to say, again?|
|Translates to: "around, about, approximately"|
Koro functions as a noun and may be followed by no.
|Nouns||San-ji goro ni aimashō.
|Let's meet around 3 o'clock.|
|Functions as: Emphasis marker.
There is no direct translation, but roughly analogous to "precisely" or "exactly", as in examples below.
|Phrases||Kyō koso, yaru zo!
|Today, I'm going to do it!|
|Kimi ga suki da kara koso kore dake ganbatte iru n da yo.
|It's precisely because I like you that I'm working this hard.|
|Kochira koso, yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
|Nice to meet you, too. (Emphasizes this side or me too)|
|Translates to: "about, approximately"|
Kurai functions as a noun and may be followed by no.
|Nouns||Juppun kurai kakaru
|It takes about 10 minutes.|
|Translates to: "up to, until, as far as"|
Indicates a time or place as a limit.
|Nouns (specifically places or times)||Kono densha wa, Shimonoseki made ikimasu.
|This train goes as far as Shimonoseki.|
|Verb||Kaeru made matte ru.
|I'll wait until you come home.|
made niまでに (迄に)
|Translates to: "by (a certain time)"|
|Nouns, verbs||Ku-ji made ni kaeru.
|I'll come back by nine o'clock.|
|me (目 only): ordinal particle|
me (め only): "Damn..."; abusive/pejorative
|Classifier nouns: ordinal||Amerika wa nikai me desu.
|This is my second time to America.|
|Noun: abusive "damn..."||Orokamono me!
|[You] damn fool!|
|Translates to: "also"|
Mo always replaces wa and ga, but may follow other particles.
|Nouns, phrases||Watashi ni mo kureta.
|I was given (something), too.|
|Verb + mono (物) : creates a noun from the verb (only applies to certain verbs) |
もの/もん at the end of a sentence: casual feminine sentence ender like の; もん is very feminine and a bit cheeky.
|At the end of a sentence||"Doushite konakatta no?" "Jugyō ga attanda mono."
|"Why didn't you come?" "I had class."|
|"Doushite konakatta no?" "Jugyō ga attanda mon."
|"Why didn't you come?" "I had class, hah."|
|Similar meaning as ので.|
|Put at the end of sentences to strongly decline. (More gently : もの/もんですか)|
|At the end of sentences||Makeru-monka!
|I will not surrender!|
|Dare ga anna tokoro-ni nido to iku-mondesuka!
|Who would dare to go to a place like that for a second time!?|
mono naraものなら (物なら)
|if (I/we/etc.) could|
|Used in phrases to show deplore feelings about not doing something they should do.|
|Phrases||"Sukida" to hito koto itte kure-sae shi-tara kekkon deki-ta mono o...
|If you had said "I like you", we would have gotten married...|
na and naaな(and なる)・なあ・なぁ
|Na (な only): used with a class of adjectives which behave grammatically like nouns (see na-adjectives). A more archaic form of this na is naru (なる), which is used in the same way. If na follows a dictionary form verb, it is a negative command ("Don't... "). However, if used with a verb stem, it implies the opposite: "Do..." as a short form of nasai (なさい). It is also used to modify general nouns before other particles which cannot directly follow nouns (e.g. no de).|
Etymology: The na used with nouns (including na-adjectives) is a form of the copula. Na or naa at the end of a sentence is a variant of ne, implying more reflection.
|Verb (plain non-future)||Suru-na
|Don't do (something).|
食べな (short form of 食べなさい)
|Do eat / Please eat.|
|Na-adjectives||hen na hito
|a strange person|
|Phrases||Hen da na!
|Translates to: "for example, things like, such as, etc., and so on"|
Functions as a noun and may be followed by no.
|Nouns||Nattō ya kabuki nado wa Nihon dake ni aru.
|Things like natto and kabuki are only in Japan.|
|Functions to: emphasize disgust, contempt, or otherwise negative feelings of the speaker.|
Nante is slightly more formal than nanka.
|Nouns||Jogen nanka iranai.
|I don't need any (damn) advice.|
|Verb||Oyogu nante dekinai.
|I can't swim.|
|Adjectives||Ōkiku nanka nai kedo, kirei da.
|It's not big [or anything], but it's clean.|
|Translates to: "if"; conditional|
Hypothetical (仮定形) or conditional form of the copula da. Related to the more formal naraba.
|Nouns, adjectives, verbs, phrases||Atsui nara, eakon o tsukete
|If you're hot, turn on the air conditioner.|
|Translates to: "eh"; interjection, tag question|
Similar to English "hey", "eh?", French "non?" and Spanish "no?" Asks or shows agreement and reflection at phrase-end, also used before sentences to catch listener's attention (informal).
|Phrases||Kimi wa kashikoi yo ne.
|You're pretty smart, aren't you.|
|Kakkō ii desu ne.
|That's pretty neat, eh?|
|Ne, ima nanji?
|Hey, what time is it?|
|Translates to: "to, in, at, by"; indirect object, direction; following a na-adjective, it creates an adverb|
|Noun: location||Gakkō ni iru.
|I'm at/in school.|
|Noun: direction||Gakkō ni iku.
|I'm going to school.|
|Noun: indirect object||Ore ni kaese.
|Give it back to me.|
|Noun: passive agent||Ka ni sasareta.
|I was bitten by a mosquito.|
|Noun, verbs (stem only): purpose, intent||Eiga o mi ni iku.
|I'm going to see a movie.|
|Adjective: forms adverb||teinei, teinei ni
|Formal version of de, functions in exactly the same way.
Etymology: Case particle ni + conjunctive particle te (cf. te form of Japanese verbs)
|Translates to: "for; in, to; in order to";|
Etymology: ni + wa (always written は)
The wa part is the topic particle.
|Nouns: "for"||Shichimi wa, watashi ni wa kara-sugiru.
|Shichimi is too spicy for me. (i.e., "you might like it, but I'm not touching it.")|
|Noun: "in, to"||Kyōto ni wa hana ga aru.
|There are flowers in Kyōto.
(Lit.: As for in Kyōto, there are flowers.)
|Verb: "in order to"||Mizu o mitsukeru ni wa
|In order to find water|
|Functions as: possession indicator, noun link, topic marker (subordinate clauses), nominalization
When nominalizing whole phrases, the no may function either as emphasis or as a question, depending on tone of voice. Similar to English, a falling tone denotes a statement, and a rising tone a question. Its use to mark statements tends to be more typical of feminine speech. See also Gender differences in spoken Japanese.
|Nouns: possession ex. a||sensei no kuruma
|the teacher's car|
|Noun: possession ex. b||watashi no konpyuuta
|Noun: possession ex. c||anata no shukudai
|Noun: linking||kuruma no Toyota
|Toyota the car [company]|
|Noun: subject marker in subordinate clauses (see also: ga)||Kare no tsukutta kēki wa oishikatta.
|The cake that he made was tasty.|
|i-adjectives: nominalization||Yasui no wa, kore.
|This is the cheap[er] one.|
|Verb: nominalization||Taberu no ga daisuki.
|I love eating.|
|Phrases: nominalization, question||Mō, tabeta no?
|Have you eaten yet?|
|Kuruma na no?
|Is it a car?|
|Kare ni mō ageta no yo!
|I already gave it to him!|
|Translates to: "because"|
Etymology: no + de
Colloquially, no de is often shortened to n de.
|Phrases||Tesuto ga aru no de, ikenai.
|Because I have a test, I can't go.|
|Gakkō na no de, kin'en da.
|Because this is a school it's no smoking.|
|Translates to: "only, just"|
Nomi is more formal and far less common than dake. Unlike dake, its only meaning is that of small quantity or singleness of frequency.
|Nouns||Tō-ten de wa, Nihon en nomi go-riyō itadakemasu.
|This store accepts Japanese Yen only.|
|Translates to: "despite, although, even though; would have; in order to"|
Etymology: no + ni
Nouns and na-adjectives must be followed by na before using this particle.
No ni has a stronger meaning than kedo when used to mean "although", and conveys regret when used to mean "would have".
|Adjectives, verbs: "although"||Benkyō shiten no ni, eigo ga hanasenai.
|Although I'm studying, I can't speak English.|
|Adjectives (conditional), verbs (conditional): "would have"||Kaette kitara, yokatta no ni.
|It would have been nice if you had come home.|
|Verb (plain form): "in order to"||Hikkosu no ni torakku ga hitsuyō da.
|(In order) to move, you need a truck.|
|Functions as: direct object|
Translates to: "through, from, past (motion verbs only)"
This is unrelated to the honorific prefix o, written お or 御.
|Nouns: direct object||Neko ga esa o tabeta.
|The cat ate the food.|
|Noun: through, etc. (motion)||Sora o tobu
|fly through the sky|
|Functions as: Masculine sentence/phrase final particle, indicating explanation of obvious facts. It is softer than yo.|
Saa: Feminine sentence/phrase final particle, used like ne, but often more frequently as extremely colloquial filler.
|Phrases: masculine sa||Kanojo ga inai kara, dansu niwa ikanai sa.
|I don't have a girlfriend, so I'm not going to the dance.|
|Phrases: saa||Kinō saa, gakkō de saa, sensei ni saa, chūi sarete saa, chō mukatsuita.
|Like, yesterday, in, like, school, I, like, got fussed at by, like, some teacher, and it totally made me sick.|
Note the meaning overlaps with mo. Sae implies (usually) positive emphasis that the evident extent of something is greater than initially expected. Can be followed by mo for additional emphasis. Contrast this with sura.
|Nouns||Kanji sae kakeru.
|He can even write kanji.|
|Translates to: "even"|
Etymology: de + sae
De sae replaces wa and ga, like de mo above.
|Nouns||Sonna koto wa saru de sae dekiru.
|Even a monkey can do that.|
|Function: sae followed by a verb in the conditional means "if only".|
|Nouns||Kore sae nomeba, futsukayoi ga naoru yo.
|If you would just drink this, your hangover would get better.|
|Translates to: "and what's more" (conjunction)|
|Adjectives, verbs||Kirei da shi, hiroi shi, ii ne, kono apaato!
|It's clean, it's spacious; this apartment is nice, isn't it!|
|Translates to: "only, just"|
Shika must be followed by a negative verb.
Shika may be compounded as dakeshika, kirishika, and nomishika (plus the negative verb) to stress an extremely limited quantity or frequency.
|Nouns||Ichi en dama shika nai.
|I have just a one-yen coin.|
|Verb||Yūbin-kyoku ni iku shika nai.
|The only thing [to do] is to go to the post office.|
|Translates to: "even"
Note the meaning overlaps with mo. Sura implies (usually) negative emphasis that the evident extent of something is less than initially expected. Contrast this with sae.
|Nouns||Kanji sura kakenai.
|He can't even write kanji.|
|Translates to: "and" (conjunction); "with" or "as with" (preposition); "if"; quotation.|
|Nouns: conjunction||sore to kore
|that and this|
|Nouns: conjunction||sore to kore to
それ と これ と
|that or this|
|Verbs: transition/state change||taiyōkei dasshutsu e to chikazuite itta
太陽系 脱出 へ と 近づいて 行った｡
|They were getting close to the point of leaving the Solar System.|
|Noun: preposition||Boku to ikitai?
|Do you want to go with me?|
|Verb, adjectives: "if"||Benkyō suru to wakaru.
|If you study, you'll understand.|
|Any phrase: quotation||Umi made! to sakenda.
|"To the sea!" he cried.|
|Functions as: A listing particle used like nado. Often used with the question word nani (what) in the form nantoka ("something or other").|
Etymology: to + ka
|Nouns||Kani to ka, hotate to ka, zenbu tabeta yo.
|We had crab, scallops, [other stuff,] we ate them all.|
to moとも (共)
|Tomo (共): "both, all of the"
To mo (no kanji): "even if, even though; at the ...-est; whether; [emphasis]"
|Counted nouns||Watashi wa, aitsura ga futari tomo kirai da.
|I hate the both of those guys.|
|Zannen nagara, sono kuruma wa san dai tomo irimasen.
|Unfortunately, we need none of those three cars.|
|Volitional verbs||Dō shiyō to mo amari susumanai.
|No matter how we try [to do something], we don't make much progress.|
|Adverbial (continuative) form of i-adjectives||Sukunaku to mo go-jū mairu aruite kita.
|We walked at least fifty miles [to get here].|
|Osoku to mo itte miyō yo.
|Even if it's late, let's go and check it out.|
|Verb (paired with same verb in negative)||Kau to mo kawanai to mo hakkiri shite imasen.
|It isn't clear whether they're going to buy or not.|
||Waratte ii to mo.
|It's okay to laugh.|
|Ikimasen to mo.
|As if I would go.|
|Written as って in hiragana, this is another form of to. It is a shortened version of toiu (という), the present progressive form of the verb iu (言う), "to say"; it functions as a type of verbal quotation mark. It is sometimes used for a direct quote, sometimes for an indirect quote, and sometimes simply to emphasize a word or concept.
tte is casual, and (because it can be a direct quote) the politeness level of the quoted material does not necessarily reflect on the speaker. If you wish to be assuredly formal, use to iimasu instead of tte.
|Any phrase||Sugu kimasu tte
|Could be, "He said he'll come soon" (more politely) or, "He said, 'I'll come soon.'" (less so).|
|Arabiago tte, muzukashikunai?
|"Arabic─isn't it difficult?"|
(Emphasizing a word; used instead of というものは or は)
|Functions as:'strong emphasis marker, especially when the speaker has grown impatient.|
Etymology: te + ba
|Any phrase: quotation||kōhī datteba !
|I said "coffee"!|
|は wa is a topic marker. It is written with the hiragana は ha, rather than the hiragana わ, wa. Not to be confused with the particle が.|
|わ wa is used at the end of the sentence to establish an emotional connection. It is used by both genders when it is pronounced with a falling intonation especially in dialects of Kansai, Nagoya and elsewhere, but with a rising intonation, it is generally used by females. This also conveys a certain deference to the speaker's wishes and emotions.|
|Ya is used to make incomplete lists of things (usually nouns). To make an exhaustive list, the particle to is used instead.|
|Watashi no suki na tabemono wa okashi ya pan ya mikan nado desu
|"I like snacks, bread and tangerines."|
|Denotes either uncertainty or listing.|
|Yo comes at the end of the sentence, and is used to make assertions. Compare zo and ze below.
Yo is also sometimes used after nouns, and functions as a vocative marker. This is especially used in older speech, poetry, and songs.
|"I'm going home!"|
|Saraba, tomo yo
|"Farewell, oh friend!"|
|Yori can mean "from", and is also used to make comparisons. Yori is usually written より in hiragana.|
|Kono densha-wa, Kashiwa-yori saki wa kaku eki-ni tomarimasu
|"This train will stop at every station after Kashiwa".|
|Dare-yori-mo kanemochi-ni naritai
|"I want to become richer than anyone (else)".|
|ze indicates assertion. Used mostly by men, it is never considered polite. Compare yo and zo.|
|zo indicates assertion. Used mainly by men, it is considered somewhat less forceful and more positive than ze. Compare yo and ze above.|
|Zutsu denotes an equal or gradual distribution of quantity like "at a time" in "one at a time", "by" in "one by one", or "each" in "one each". It usually follows counted nouns, and is written with hiragana as ずつ.|
|Noun: counted||Chokorēto-o ni-ko-zutsu tabemashita
|Either "I ate two pieces of chocolate on each (countable) times." or "Each one ate (=shared) two pieces of chocolate (from larger amount)."|
は wa and が ga
に ni and で de
Ni and de can both be used to show location, corresponding to the prepositions "in" or "at" in English. Their uses are mutually exclusive.
Ni, when used to show location, is used only with stative verbs such as iru, "to be, exist;" aru, "to be, exist, have;" and sumu, "to live, inhabit."
- 日本に住んでいる。 (Nihon-ni sunde iru. "I live in Japan.")
- 学校にいる。 (Gakkō-ni iru. "I am in school.")
De is used with action verbs to convey the place of action, as opposed to location of being.
- 学校で寝る。 (Gakkō-de neru. "I sleep in/at school.")
- *Gakkō-ni neru. *"I sleep to school," is not usually used.
に ni and へ e
- 学校に行く。 (Gakkō ni iku. "I'm going to school"), where 学校 gakkō, "school," is the destination of 行く iku, "go."
- Gakkō e iku. "I'm going to school," where gakkō, "school," is the destination of iku, "go."
- 学校にいる。 (Gakkō ni iru. "I'm at school"), where 学校 gakkō, "school," is the location of いる iru, "be;" not a destination.
- Gakkō e iru. *"I'm to school," is not a possible construction since "be" is not a verb of motion.
- 友達に会う。 (Tomodachi ni au "I'll meet my friends") where 友達 tomodachi, "friends," is the indirect object of 会う au, "meet;" not a destination.
- Tomodachi e au *"I'll meet to my friends," which is impossible because "meet" is not a verb of motion.
- 本を買いに行った。 (Hon o kai ni itta "I went to buy a book"), where 買いに kai ni, "to buy," shows purpose or intent, and is a verbal adverb; not destination.
- Hon o kai e itta *"I went towards buying a book," is not possible because kai, "buying," cannot be a destination.
Indicating direction, using e instead of ni is preferred when ni is used non-directionally in proximity:
- 友達に会いに京都へ行った。 (Tomodachi ni ai ni Kyōto e itta. "I went to Kyoto to meet my friends.")
Ni can not be replaced by e in all uses. It must be used with days of the week as in 日曜日に京都にいきます (Nichiyoubi ni Kyoto ni ikimasu "I will go to Kyoto on Sunday".) where ni is used both to mark the day of the week (日曜日) and the goal of the movement (京都). It is also required with numerical times (but not relative times). For example, ni must be used in the sentence 十一時に寝ます (Juu ichi ji ni nemasu "I will go to sleep at 11 o'clock") to mark the numerical time (十一時) but it is not used with the relative time words like tomorrow (明日), yesterday (昨日), today (今日), last week (先週), next month (来月), etc. For example, in the sentence 私は昨日仕事に行きませんでした (watashi wa kinou shigoto ni ikimasen deshita "I did not go to work yesterday") no particle is needed for "yesterday" (昨日), but ni is used to mark the goal of movement (仕事に).
が ga and を o
In some cases, ga and o are interchangeable. For example, with the tai form, meaning "want to", it is possible to say either of the following:
- ご飯が食べたい。 (Gohan ga tabetai. "I want to eat rice.")
- ご飯を食べたい。 (Gohan o tabetai. "I want to eat rice.")
Similarly, 好き suki, a na adjective meaning "liked", can take either ga or o:
- 君が好きだ。 (Kimi ga suki da "I like you")
- 君を好きでよかった (Kimi o suki de yokatta "I'm glad I like you") (words from a popular song)
に ni and と to
Ni and to are sometimes interchangeable in forms like になる ni naru and となる to naru. The ni naru form suggests a natural change, whereas to naru suggests change to a final stage.
や ya and と to
Ya is used for incomplete lists, whereas to is used for complete ones.
い i was used in Old Japanese and kanbun works. Its meaning is still debated, but has traditionally been considered emphatic.
Differences from English prepositions
Many Japanese particles fill the role of prepositions in English, but they are unlike prepositions in many ways. Japanese does not have equivalents of prepositions like "on" or "about", and often uses particles along with verbs and nouns to modify another word where English might use prepositions. For example, ue is a noun meaning "top/up"; and ni tsuite is a fixed verbal expression meaning "concerning":
テーブルの 上に ある。
Tēburu-no -ue-ni aru.
Table-OF top/up-AT exists.
"It's on the table."
あの 人は、 ギターに ついて 何でも わかる。
Ano hito-wa, gitā-ni tsuite nandemo wakaru.
That person-TOPIC guitar-TO concerning anything knows.
"That person knows everything about guitars."
- Chinese particles
- Okinawan particles
- Korean particles
- Japanese counter words
- Japanese grammar: particles
- Japanese verb conjugations
- Sentence-final particle
- Particles of the Kagoshima dialects
- ^ Nanka/nante is usually followed by a verb which conveys some kind of undervalue, lacking, or dislike, often in the negative.
- ^ Can immediately follow i-adjectives, using the adjective's ku form if followed by the negative, or if the adjective is followed by no. Na-adjectives require the copula da or no before nante or nanka.
- ^ Phrases ending in a noun or na-adjective require the na form of the copula before the nominalizing no.
- ^ Title of a Japanese TV programme hosted by Tamori.
- ^ Frellesvig, Bjark (2010). A History of the Japanese Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 131. ISBN 9780521653206.
- Chino, Naoko. How to Tell the Difference Between Japanese Particles. Tokyo; New York: Kodansha International, 2005. ISBN 4-7700-2200-X.
- Makino, Seiichi, and Michio Tsutsui. A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar. Tokyo: Japan Times, 1986. ISBN 4-7890-0454-6.
- Makino, Seiichi, and Michio Tsutsui. A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar. Tokyo: Japan Times, 1997. ISBN 4-7890-0775-8.
- Martin, Samuel E. A Reference Grammar of Japanese. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1975. ISBN 0-300-01813-4.
- McClain, Yoko Matsuoka. A Handbook of Modern Japanese Grammar: Including Lists of Words and Expressions with English Equivalents for Reading Aid. Tokyo: Hokuseido Press, 1981. ISBN 4-590-00570-0, ISBN 0-89346-149-0.
- The dictionary definition of Category:Japanese particles at Wiktionary