Japanese Grammar Lesson 5: Particles

As I promised, here is the lesson about maybe one of the most difficult parts of Japanese grammar (in my opinion)! Particles! As a start point, I’ll list the ones I’ll be explaining:

1) wa
2) wo
3) he
4) ni
5) de
6) ga
7) mo
8) to

1) As I explained in lesson 2, wa is usually put after the main subject of the phrase. There are exceptions, but as I’m starting with simple lessons, I’ll leave those exceptions for another time.

Ex: Watashi wa Nihonjin desu.  ->  I am Japanese.

2) wo is used, as I explained before too, to refer an object of the subject’s action, like when an object is used for some purpose.

Ex: Watashi wa orenji wo tabemasu.  ->  I eat an orange.

3) he is used to indicate a direction. A place where the subject is moving to.

Ex: Watashi wa Nihon he ikimasu.  ->  I go to Japan.

4) ni is a little more complicated, because it’s used in many circumstances. he may also be changed for ni. When you use he, you indicate that you are going somewhere only, with no specific objective. ni is more commonly used when you want to say that you are going to do something at that place. While speaking it’s a very subtle difference.
Besides this, it may also mean a time period, like specifying what time/date something will happen.
It may also represent the receiver entity of some action. Let me give you three examples:

Ex1: Watashi wa gakkou ni ikimasu.  ->  I go to school.
Ex2: Nanji ni okimasuka?  ->  What time do you wake up?
Ex3: Tomodachi ni tegami wo okurimashita.  ->  I sent a letter to my friend.

5) de usually represents the way that some action is done, or the place where the subject does something.

Ex1: Basu de kimashita.  ->  I came by bus.
Ex2: Koko de benkyou shimasu.  ->  I’ll study here.

6) With ga you can clearly identify the subject or represent the state of something.

Ex1: Watashi ga Suzuki-san desu.  ->  Mr. Suzuki is me. (meaning that this person is identifying himself as Mr.Suzuki)
Ex2: Mado ga aiteimasu.  ->  The window is open.

7) mo is used to say “too”.

Ex: Watashi mo ikimasu.  ->  I’m going too.

8) to is used to add more subjects to the action, or to add objects.

Ex: Watashi to tomodachi wa sakana to gohan wo tabemashita.  ->  Me and a friend ate fish and rice.

These are not all the particles, nor all the uses of these ones. I’ll keep explaining them along the time!

Prepare yourself! Next week hiragana will be coming! 🙂


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