June 14, 2021
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27+ Japanese Particles: Big Fat List for Beginners

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.

  • 私は忙しい
  • I am busy.
  • 彼は強い。
  • 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.

  • タフだよ
  • 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.

  • 肉と魚が好きです。
  • 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.

  • 私も忙しい
  • 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.

  • 犬を見た。
  • 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.

  • 彼女と7時までドライブしました。
  • 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.

  • スーパーで肉や野菜を買いました。
  • I bought some meat and vegetables from the supermarket.
  • 青色や紫が好きです。
  • 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.

  • りんごが好きですか。
  • 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”.

  • 三時に会いましょう。
  • Let’s meet at 3 o’clock.
  • 今、東京に住んでいます。
  • 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.

  • 明日彼女の家へ行きます。
  • 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.

  • 食べますよ!
  • 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”.

  • 学校から家までどれくらいかかりますか。
  • 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.

  • 百人くらい集まりました。
  • 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.

  • 私は家で本を読みます。
  • 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”.

  • 犬が好きです。
  • 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.

  • 今日は昨日より暑いです。
  • 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.

  • 私のリンゴ
  • 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.

  • つかれていても電話をください
  • “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.

  • 走者の中には走りながら水を飲む者もいる。
  • 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.

  • 水がなかったら、生物は生き残れないだろう。
  • 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.

  • かわいいね。
  • 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.

  • これこそ僕が求めていたものだ
  • 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.

  • 大人のみ
  • 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.

  • 雨が降っているのに出かけて行った.
  • 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.

  • 今起きたところです。
    • I just woke up.
  • これから料理を作るところです。
    • I am about to start cooking.
  • 家で日本語を勉強しているところです。
    • 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.

  • お茶などいかがでしょう。
    • Would you like tea or something?
  • 2、4、6などは偶数です。
    • 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.

  • 誰も僕の意見など聞きたがらない 
    • No one wants to listen to my opinions.
  • 私には悩みなど何もい。
    • 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

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