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Particles

Particles are probably one of the most difficult and confusing aspects of Japanese sentences. A particle (joshi) is a word that shows the relationship of a word, a phrase, or a clause to the rest of the sentence. Some particles have English equivalents. Others have functions similar to English prepositions, but since they always follow the word or words they mark, they are post-positions. There are also particles that have a peculiar usage which is not found in English. Most particles are multi-functional.

Wa VS Ga

Frequently Asked Questions

Particles are probably one of the most difficult and confusing aspects of Japanese sentences. Among particles, the question I am often asked is about the use of "wa(は)" and "ga(が)." They seems to make many people confused, but don't be intimidated by them! Let's have a look at the functions of these particles.


Topic Marker and Subject Marker

Roughly speaking, "wa" is a topic marker, and "ga" is a subject marker. The topic is often the same as the subject, but not necessary. The topic can be anything that a speaker wants to talk about (It can be an object, location or any other grammatical element). In this sense, it is similar to the English expressions, "As for ~" or "Speaking of ~."



Basic Differences Between Ga and Wa

"Wa" is used to mark something that has already been introduced into the conversation, or is familiar with both a speaker and a listener. (proper nouns, genetic names etc.) "Ga" is used when a situation or happening is just noticed or newly introduced. See the following example.



In the first sentence, "ojii-san" is introduced for the first time. It is the subject, not the topic. The second sentence describes about "ojii-san" that is previously mentioned. "Ojii-san" is now the topic, and is marked with "wa" instead of "ga."

Wa as Contrast

Beside being a topic marker, "wa" is used to show contrast or to emphasize the subject.




The thing being contrasted may or may not stated, but with this usage, the contrast is implied.



Particles such as "ni(に)," "de(で)," "kara(から)" and "made(まで)" can be combined with "wa" (double particles) to show contrast.




Whether "wa" indicates a topic or a contrast, it depends on the context or the intonation.

Ga with Question Words

When a question word such as "who" and "what" is the subject of a sentence, it is always followed by "ga," never by "wa." To answer the question, it also has to be followed by "ga."



Ga as Emphasis

"Ga" is used for emphasis, to distinguish a person or thing from all others. If a topic is marked with "wa," the comment is the most important part of the sentence. On the other hand, if a subject is marked with "ga," the subject is the most important part of the sentence. In English, these differences are sometimes expressed in tone of voice. Compare these sentences.



Ga in a Special Circumstance

The object of the sentence is usually marked by the particle "o," but some verbs and adjectives (expressing like/dislike, desire, potential, necessity, fear, envy etc.) take "ga" instead of "o."



Ga in Subordinate Clauses

The subject of a subordinate clause normally takes "ga" to show that the subjects of the subordinate and main clauses are different.



Review

Now let's review the rules about "wa" and "ga."

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Particles: O and No

What are particles?

Particles are probably one of the most difficult and confusing aspects of Japanese sentences. A particle (joshi) is a word that shows the relationship of a word, a phrase, or a clause to the rest of the sentence. Some particles have English equivalents. Others have functions similar to English prepositions, but since they always follow the word or words they mark, they are post-positions. There are also particles that have a peculiar usage which is not found in English. Most particles are multi-functional.

The Particle "O"

Direct Object Marker

"O" is placed after a noun, and indicates that the noun is the direct object.



Route of Motion


Verbs such as walk, run, pass, turn, drive, go through etc., take the particle "o" to indicate the route which the movement follows.




Point of Departure


Verbs such as leave, come out, get off etc., take the particle "o" to mark the place from which one gets of or leaves.



The Particle "No"

Possessive Marker

"No" indicates ownership or attribution. It is similar to the English
"apostrophe s ('s). "



The final noun can be omitted if it is clear to both speaker and listener.




Noun Modification

The noun before "no" modifies the noun after "no". This usage is similar to the possessive, but it is seen more with compound nouns or noun phrases. (e.g. kono hon no chosha -> the author of this book)




"No" can be used many times in one sentence. In this usage the order of nouns in Japanese is the reverse of the English structure. The normal Japanese order is from large to small, or general to specific.





Apposition

"No" links the noun to the appositive that follows.

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Particles: Ni

What are particles?

Particles are probably one of the most difficult and confusing aspects of Japanese sentences. A particle (joshi) is a word that shows the relationship of a word, a phrase, or a clause to the rest of the sentence. Some particles have English equivalents. Others have functions similar to English prepositions, but since they always follow the word or words they mark, they are post-positions. There are also particles that have a peculiar usage which is not found in English. Most particles are multi-functional. Click here to learn more about particles.

The Particle "Ni"

Indirect Object Marker

An indirect object usually precedes a direct object.




Some Japanese verbs such as "au (to meet)" and "kiku (to ask)" take an indirect object, though their English counterparts do not.




Location of Existence

"Ni" is typically used with verbs such as "iru (to exist)," "aru (to exist)" and "sumu (to live)." It translates into "at" or "in."



Direct Contract

"Ni" is used when a motion or action is directed at or onto an object or place.



Direction

"Ni" can be translated as "to" when indicating a destination.



Purpose



Specific Time

"Ni" is used with various time expressions (year, month, day, and clock time) to indicate a specific point in time, and translates into "at," "on," or "in." However, the expressions of relative time such as today, tomorrow don't take the particle "ni."



Source

"Ni" indicates an agent or a source in passive or causative verbs. It translates into "by" or "from".



Notion of Per

"Ni" is used with frequency expressions such as per hour, per day, per person, etc.

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Arigato Gozaimasu Hayo0o-chan!! ^_^ This would Help everyone!
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your welcome glad you liked it
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Particles: De

What are particles?

Particles are probably one of the most difficult and confusing aspects of Japanese sentences. A particle (joshi) is a word that shows the relationship of a word, a phrase, or a clause to the rest of the sentence. Some particles have English equivalents. Others have functions similar to English prepositions, but since they always follow the word or words they mark, they are post-positions. There are also particles that have a peculiar usage which is not found in English. Most particles are multi-functional

The Particle "De"

Place of Action

It indicates the place where an action takes place. It translates into "in", "at", "on", and so on.



Means

It indicates means, method, or instruments. It translates into "by", "with", "in" "by means of", etc.



Totalizing

It is placed after a quantity, time or amount of money, and indicates an extent.



Scope

It translates into "in", "among", "within", etc.



Time Limit

It indicates time consumed for a certain action or occurrence. It translates into "in", "within", etc.




Material

It indicates the composition of an object.



Required Cost

It translates into "for", "at", etc.



Cause

It indicates a casual reason or motive for an action or occurrence. It translates into "due to", "because of", "owing to", etc.

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Particles: To

What are particles?

Particles are probably one of the most difficult and confusing aspects of Japanese sentences. A particle (joshi) is a word that shows the relationship of a word, a phrase, or a clause to the rest of the sentence. Some particles have English equivalents. Others have functions similar to English prepositions, but since they always follow the word or words they mark, they are post-positions. There are also particles that have a peculiar usage which is not found in English. Most particles are multi-functional

The Particle "To"

Complete Listing

It connects only nouns and pronouns, never phrases and clauses. It translates into "and".



Contrast

It indicates a comparison or contrast between the two nouns.



Accompaniment

It translates into "together, with".



Change/Result

It is commonly used in the phrase "~ to naru (~となる)", and indicates that something reaches a goal or new state.



Quotation

It is used before such verbs as "~ iu(~言う)", "~ omou(~思う)", "~ kiku (~聞く)", etc to introduce a clause or a phrase. It is normally preceded by a plain form of a verb.



Conditional

It is placed after a verb or an adjective to form a conditional. It translates into "as soon as," "when," "if," etc. A plain form is usually used before the particle "to".





Sound Symbolism

It is used after onomatopoeic adverbs.

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Sentence Ending Particles (1)

In Japanese, there are many particles that are added to the end of a sentence. They express the speaker's emotions, doubt, emphasis, caution, hesitation, wonder, admiration, and so on. Some sentence ending particles distinguish male or female speech. Many of them don't translate easily

Ka

Makes a sentence into a question. When forming a question, the word order of a sentence does not change in Japanese.



Kana/Kashira

Indicates that you are not sure about something. It can be translated as "I wonder ~". "Kashira(かしら)" is used only by women.




Na

(1) Prohibition. A negative imperative marker used only by men in very informal speech.



(2) Casual emphasis on a decision, suggestion or opinion.



Naa

Expresses emotion, or a casual remark of wishful thinking.



Ne/Nee

Confirmation. Indicates that the speaker wants the listener to agree or confirm. It is similar to English expressions "don't you think so", "isn't it?" or "right?".

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Sentence Ending Particles (2)

In Japanese, there are many particles that are added to the ends of sentences. They express the speaker's emotions, doubt, emphasis, caution, hesitation, wonder, admiration, and so on. Some sentence ending particles distinguish male or female speech.

No

(1) Indicates an explanation or emotive emphasis. Used only by women or children in an informal situation.




(2) Makes a sentence into a question (with a rising intonation). Informal version of "~ no desu ka (~のですか)".



Sa

Emphasizes the sentence. Used mainly by men.




Wa

Used only by women. It can have both an emphatic function and a softening effect.




Yo

(1) Emphasizes a command.




(2) Indicates moderate emphasis, especially useful when the speaker provides a new piece of information.



Ze

Elicits an agreement. Used only by men in casual conversation among colleagues, or with those whose social status is below that of the speaker.



Zo

Emphasizes one's opinion or judgment. Used mainly by men.



THAT'S ALL
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hontou arigato guzaimasu m(_ _)m
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thanks for sharing....hontou ni arigatou gozaimashita
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i think i'll have a nosebleed because of all this...
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Zenbu wa hontou ni yakunitatsu deshita. Arigatou gozaimasu! =P
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erm.. tell the truth.. im still quite confused?>.<
Posted 4/10/09 , edited 4/10/09
Arigato Gozaimasu! :d this will help me^^
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