Looking to learn some Japanese particles?
Here is a quick guide of 27+ most common particles. And if you’re wondering how many Japanese particles are there… well, over 180. A lot have different uses. Should you know them all? You will…
But as a beginner, it’s good to start with the most common stuff. So, that’s where this guide comes in.
1) は (wa) – “is” or “am”
は (wa) is usually used after the topic of the sentence. It’s followed by a description of that topic.
- I am busy.
- He is strong.
2) ね (ne) – “isn’t it?”
ね(ne) is used at the end of sentences to make them into rhetorical questions like “isn’t it?”. It is used to get the other person to agree with you or to also talk about the topic.
- You’re tough, aren’t you?
3) と (to) – “with” or “and”
This particle can be used to link sentences together and to say “with”. It’s most commonly used between two nouns to link them together.
- I like meat and fish.
4) も (mo) – “also” or “too”
If you want to say that you or someone “also” wants to do something, you can use this one. It’s usually placed after the object and before an action or description phrase.
- I’m also busy.
5) を (wo) – links objects with verbs
There are no direct translations into English of を(wo), but it is a necessary particle to link objects with verbs. They are used after the subject and object of the sentence, but before the verb.
- I saw a dog.
6) まで (made) – “until” or “by”
This indicates that something happens “until” a certain time. It’s usually added after the time until the event happened or happens.
- I went driving around with my girlfriend until 7 o’clock.
7) や (ya) – “and”
や (ya) is useful when you want to describe a list of things. Unlike と(to) it is used when you’re describing a list of objects that are not all-inclusive.
- I bought some meat and vegetables from the supermarket.
- I like blue and purple (among other colors).
8) か (ka) – makes sentences questions
This is a useful particle that can convert sentences into questions. It’s used at the very end of the sentence like a question mark.
- Do you like apples?
9) に (ni) – “to”, “at”, or “from”
に (ni) can be used to indicate locations, to show somewhere you’re going, and when something is received. It’s used in a variety of ways and it’s placed before verbs such as “to go”, “to do”, or “to be”.
- Let’s meet at 3 o’clock.
- I’m living in Tokyo now.
10) へ (e) – “to”
This works similarly to に (ni) but it is usually directed at people and in letters. If you want to write a letter to someone, the particle is followed after the person’s name.
- Tomorrow, I’ll go to her house.
11) よ (yo) – adds conviction
よ (yo) is used when you want to put more emphasis on a phrase. This particle is placed at the end of sentences and you can also use it when making suggestions.
- I’ll eat it!
12) から (kara) – “from”
This particle indicates the starting point of something. It’s often placed after a time or place, and followed by phrases using まで(made) or “until”.
- How long does it take you to get home from school?
13) くらい (kurai) – “about” or “around”
In English we often say “ish” when we want to approximate. This works in a similar way and it is usually added after numbers or time.
- About a hundred people gathered together.
14) で (de) – “at”
This is used when you want to make the location of the event clear. It’s placed after the location and before the verb.
- I read books at home.
15) が (ga) – Indicates subject or means “but”
が(ga) is used after the subject and it can also be used in between phrases to mean “but”.
- I like dogs.
16) より (yori) – Shows preference
With this particle, you can show that you prefer something over another. You should put より (yori) after the noun which you don’t prefer as much, followed by your main preference.
- Today is more hot than yesterday.
Also, if you want a cheat sheet of this guide…
17) の (no) – Shows possession or “of”
This can make nouns show possession or modify them. You should use it after the noun to show a correlation between two things.
- My apple.
18) ても (temo) – “even if”
You can use this one when you want to make a sentence with “even if”. Make sure to place the particle in between two phrases.
- “Even if you’re tired, please call.”
19) ながら (nagara) – “while”
This can connect two phrases that are happening at the same time. It should be placed in between the phrases.
- Some runners drink water as they are running.
20) たら (tara) – “if”
たら (tara) works in similar ways to English in “if” statements. The particle will go after the phrase that you want as the “if” phrase.
- But for water, no living thing could survive.
21) ね (ne) – confirms phrases and softens requests
This is an ending that’s used to make sentences have a unique nuance. It will confirm the phrase or soften requests that you make.
- Cute, isn’t it?
22) こそ (koso) – adds emphasis to words
If you want to add some extra emphasis you can add this after words. Be careful not to use it too much, as it’s normally only placed once in a sentence.
- This is the very thing [just the thing] I wanted.
23) のみ (nomi) – “only”
This is commonly seen after numbers to indicate that there is “only” that amount. It’s especially common to see it when showing a maximum capacity for something like in restaurants or limited items.
- Adults only
24) のに (noni) – “although,” “even though” or “would have”
のに (noni) is usually placed in between phrases to show “although”. It can also be used at the end of a phrase to indicate something that would have been done.
- He went out, (even) though it was raining.
25) ところ (tokoro) – Something that just took place
This can describe when something is about to happen, is happening or just happened. You can place it at the end of a phrase after a verb.
- I just woke up.
- I am about to start cooking.
- I’m in the middle of studying Japanese at home.
26) て (te) – “and then”
て (te) can be used in a wide range of situations but it is common to see it used to connect sequences of action. It is placed in between phrases to show the order that things occurred.
27) など (nado) – “et cetera” “such as” or “things like”
“Nado” has 2 uses.
1) This can be used at the end when you’re listing things. It shows some of the things that may be included in a list but is not exhaustive. Kind of like saying, “Yea, I ate an apple, a pear and some other stuff,” where you don’t go into listing the other stuff.
- Would you like tea or something?
- Two, four, six, etc. are even numbers.
2) When you want to lessen the value of the word before “nado.” That you don’t care much for it.
- No one wants to listen to my opinions.
- I don’t have a care in the world.
Don’t Forget These Particles
Want to remember them forever? Then you’ll want this Japanese particles PDF cheat sheet.
The Main Lingua Junkie