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Particles (Quick Review)

Particles are very important in the Japanese language and without them nothing would make sense. Although Japanese is read without any spaces I am going to use spaces between words here for you to easier see what I'm trying to learn you here.
To get you up to speed with words we use here you will find a translation of every word so that you can keep up with us without wondering which word is which. If you want to learn more words you can use the dictionary shown in both "Links" and "Learning Japanese" the home section for the material we have here.

= this
sore/sono = that
are/ano = that (over there)
desu = is
rajio = radio
watashi = I, me
namae = name
jisho = dictionary

nihon = Japan
ikimasu (iku) = to go
ima = now
gakkou = school
uchi = home, house (one's own)
kaerimasu (kaeru) = to return, to go home, to go back
tsukue = desk
ue = on, on top of
hon = book
arimasu (aru) = is, being (inanimate things i.e. books, buildings, tree etc.)
doyoubi = Saturday
toukyou = Tokyo (City name)
juuichi-ji = 11 o'clock
nemasu (neru) = to sleep, to go to bed
kyonen = last year
12-gatsu = December
kimasu (kuru) = to come, to arrive, to approach
soshite = and then
rainen = next year
sueden = Sweden

higashi = east
ashita = tomorrow
asatte = day after tomorrow
koko = here, this place
shinjuku = Shinjuku (It's one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo, it's surrounding the Shinjuku train station)

basu = bus
kinou = yesterday
eigo = English
dekimasu (dekiru) = to be able to do, to be good at, to be completed
dare/donata = who
nikawa = glue
tabemasu (taberu) = to eat
maiasa = every morning
koohii = coffee
nomimasu (nomu) = to drink
nanimo = nothing (with negative verb)
tomodachi = friend
denwa wo shimasu (denwa wo suru) = telephone (someone), to call (someone), to make a phone call
imasu (iru) = is, being (animate things i.e. people, animals, insects etc.)

ototoi = day before yesterday
kyou = today
eikoku = England
nihongo = Japanese
nishi = west
kita = north
minami = south
hidari = left
migi = right


Wa/Ha (は)

Wa/Ha (は) - Topic marker. Indicates topic or theme of sentence. (It's spelled like ha but pronounced like wa)

1. Sore wa rajio desu. (それ  らじお です。)
2. Watashi no namae wa Seijiro desu. (わたし の なまえ  せいじろ です。)
3. Kore wa jisho desu. Are mo jisho desu. (これ  じしょ です。 あれ も じしょ です。)

1. "That is a radio." This one indicates that 'that' is a radio, so 'that' is the topic here.
2. "My name is Seijiro." Here it is the 'name' that is the topic.
3. "This is a dictionary. That (over there) is also a dictionary."

Ni (に)

1) Ni (に) - Ni indicates position/location of object. Also goal toward which things move, ni can also be translated as "on/in".

1. Nihon ni ikimasu. (にほん  いきます。)
2. Watashi wa ima gakkou ni ikimasu. (わたし は いま がっこう  いきます。)
3. Watashi wa uchi ni kaerimasu. (わたし は うち  かえります。)
4. Tsukue no ue ni hon ga arimasu. (つくえ の うえ  ほん が あります。)

1. "I'm going to Japan."
2. "I'm going to school now."
3. "I'm going back home / I'm returning to home."
4. "There is a book on the desk."

2) Ni (に) - Time which an event takes place. We will only focus on the "time" here, but keep in mind that the other ni used here applies to part one (above) explained just recently. This is why only the ni explaining this part is chosen (bold).

5. Doyoubi ni Tokyo ni ikimasu. (どようび  とうきょう に いきます。)
6. Juuichi-ji ni nemasu. (じゅういち じ  ねます。)
7. Kyonen no 12-gatsu ni Nihon ni kimashita, soshite rainen Sueden ni kaerimasu. (きょねん の 12がつ  にほん に きました、そして らいねん すえでん に かえります。)

5. "I'm going to Tokyo on Saturday." As you can see in this example "ni" is used twice, the first "ni" after Saturday which indicates time, then the second which indicates the place, Tokyo.
6. "I'm going to bed at 11 o'clock."
7. "I came to Japan in December last year, and I'm returning to Sweden next year."

E/He (へ)

E/He (へ) - E (It's spelled he but pronounced like e, otherwise it would be the character for e, ) indicates direction or goal of movement, can be used instead of ni. A rule one can follow is to use e when the place is general and not a specific location (i.e. a city, a street, a direction etc.), but of course this doesn't have to apply at all and in some cases one cannot use e.

1. Higashi e ikimasu. (ひがし  いきます。)
2. Watashi wa uchi e kaerimasu. (わたし は うち  かえります。)
3. Ashita wa Tokyo e ikimasu, soshite asatte koko e kaerimasu. (あした は とうきょう  いきます、 そして あさって ここ  帰ります。)
4. Seijiro-san wa Shinjuku e kimashita. (せいじろさん は しんじゅく  きました。)

1. "I'm going towards east."
2. "I'm going back home / I'm returning home."
3. "I'm going to Tokyo tomorrow and the day after tomorrow I'm returning here."
4. "Mr. Seijiro returned from Shinjuku."


Ga (が)

1) Ga (が) - Subject marker. Indicates grammatical subject. When the subject is introduced for the first time, or when the speaker believes the information to be new to the listener, the subject marker ga is used after the noun.

1. Basu ga kimasu. (ばす  きます。)
2. Kinou Seijiro-san ga kimashita. (きのう せいじろさん  きました。)

1. "The bus is coming."
2. "Mr. Seijiro came yesterday."

2) Ga (が) - Is also used when the subject is unknown, i.e. with question words like "who" and "what", and such used back in the reply.

3. Eigo ga dekimasu ka? (えいご  できます か?)
4. Dare ga sono nikawa wa tabemashita ka? (だれ  その にかわ は たべました か?)
5. Kenshou-san ga tabemashita. (あいくん  たばました。)

3. "Do you speak English?" (Lit. Are you good at English?).
4. "Who ate that glue?"
5. "Mr. Kenshou ate it." As you can see here ga was used in the question so then naturally it is used in the answer too.

3) Ga (が) - Ga can also mean "but" and connect sentences.

6. Moufa-san wa maiasa koohii wo nomimasu ga, nanimo tabemasen. (もうふぁさん は まいあさ コーヒーを のみます 、なにも たべなせん。)
7. Kuroto-san no tomodachi ni denwa wo shimashita ga, Kuroto-san wa imasendeshita. (くろとさん の ともだち に でんわ を しました 、 くろとさん は いませんでした。)

6. Mr. Morfar drinks coffee every morning, but he doesn't eat anything.
7. I telephoned Mr. Kuroto's friend, but Mr. Kuroto wasn't there.


Ka (か)

Ka (か) - Question marker, indicates a question.

No (の)

No (の) - Equivalent to the English "'s" (not always)

De (で)

De (で) - Indicates where the event described by the verb takes place.

O/Wo (を)

O/Wo (を) - Object marker. Indicates object of verb.

Yo (よ)

Yo (よ) - Is placed in the end of a sentence to call attention to information the speaker thinks the other person does not know.

Updated 2008-09-27 20:01:10