So, you learned a few Japanese words, some phrases…
But, how do you make sentences in Japanese? People speak in sentences. Books are written in sentences. Dangit, we’re going to need sentences over here!
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If you’re an English speaker, you know that English’s basic sentence structure is….SVO: Subject + Verb + Object I + am + A Potato
Japanese, however, follows a slightly different structure.SOV: Subject + Object + Verb I + A Potato + Am
So, that’s where grammar comes in, my friend. In order to create Japanese sentences, you need to know grammar rules and the following below…
- particles (click here to learn about Japanese particles)
- proper sentence patterns
- a whole lot of vocab to piece sentences together
- verbs and their conjugations
- adjectives, nouns, pronouns, adverbs
- You need a dictionary for this. Use jisho.org
…And yadda-yadda, yawn, okay, let’s teach you the basic Japanese sentences.
A はBです。 The first and most basic Japanese sentence pattern you need is saying that (something) is (something). A typical factual statement. Like, “I am Linguajunkie, Language is easy” and so on.
- English structure: A is B.
- Japanese structure: A はBです。
- Pronunciation: A wa B desu.
It’s that simple. This is the most basic and important sentence structure that everything else you’ll learn will be based on. What you should know about the Japanese used in this pattern is…
- は: is an object marker. It’s meant to point at the object of the sentence. Loosely, it can be used as “is” though, not in this case.
- です: Desu also has no “real” English meaning. It’s copula verb (meaning it connects A to B) which means “to be”, “it is”, “those are”, “I am”, etc. It’s not really something you can translate in English.
- Desu can also be dropped in casual situations and the meaning will stay the same. So, A はB, can be said as A is B, hence why I say that は may take on the “is” translation.
Let’s try examples.
- これはブロッグです。Kore wa buroggu desu. This is a blog.
- それはくるまです。Sore wa kuruma desu. That is a car.
- 私はLinguaJunkieです。Watashi wa Linguajunkie desu. I am Linguajunkie.
- 授業はつまらないです。Jugyou wa tsumaranai desu. Class is boring.
Remember how to introduce yourself in Japanese?(click) It follows the same pattern.
Bです。It is B, or giving short statements.
It’s yellow. It’s hot. It’s fast. It sucks! Basically, pattern #2 is a condensed version of pattern #1, where you don’t need the subject A, and you just want to make an exclamation or answer a question in 2 words or less.
- あついです。Atsui desu. It’s hot.
- こわいです。Kowai desu. It’s scary.
- あかるいです。Akarui desu. It’s bright.
- あしたです。Ashita desu. It’s tomorrow.
- げつようびです。Getsuyoubi desu. It’s Monday.
A はBですか. Creating questions in Japanese.
So, Japanese language doesn’t have question marks. That’s where the particle か (ka) comes in, to help you ask questions. Add this か to any sentence and it becomes a question.
- これはブロッグですか。 Kore wa buroggu desu ka? Is this a blog?
- それはくるまですか。 Sore wa kuruma desu ka? Is that a car?
- 私はLinguaJunkieですか。Am I Linguajunkie?
- 授業はつまらないですか。Is class boring?
Similarly to pattern #2, you can also add the か and ask a quick question.
- あついですか。Atsui desu ka. Is it hot?
- こわいですか。Kowai desu ka. Is it scary?
- あかるいですか。Akarui desu ka. Is it bright?
- あしたですか。Ashita desu ka. Is it tomorrow?
A はBをVerb. Making sentences with all kinds of verbs.
Remember, Japanese is a SOV: Subject + Object + Verb language. In AはBをVerb, A is the subject, B is the object and you end with a verb. In English, it’d sound like…
- I apple eat.
- I in morning wake up.
- I train ride.
You know that は is a topic marker and in this context can take on the definition “is” or “to be.”
Then, there’s the particle を…
- をis merely used between a verb and a noun that receives the action of the verb. You need to use it before verbs to correctly use verbs, as well as to point to the recipient of the action. So, for example, if we were to use a crazy Japanese/English combination, it’d look like this…
- Iはappleをeat. (in Japanese: 私はりんごをたべます。)
- Iはtrainをride. (in Japanese: 私はでんしゃをのります。)
Of course, you’d need to know some proper nouns and adjectives to fully have fun with this pattern. Here are some examples of this pattern in action:
- 私はリンゴを食べる。Watashi wa ringo o taberu. I will eat an apple.
- 私はこの記事を書いてます。Watashi wa kono kiji wo kaiteimasu. I’m writing this article.
- 彼が日本語を勉強する。Kare ga nihongo wo benkyou suru. He will study Japanese.
- あなたはロームにきますか。Anata wa Ro-mu ni kimasu ka? Are you coming to Rome?
- Oh, see what I did there? I turned that into a question with か, as well as changed the particle up in accordance with the action being taken. This is why you’ll need particles.
And such are the 4 basic ways of making Japanese sentences. It’s not too hard, is it? Leave me a comment if you think I should add more, and I will. Also, leave a comment with an example sentence as well.
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