Particles (a brief explanation)

A Simple Explanation
(Video) Particle Explanation

は (HA) (pronounced WA) is the topic marker. It tells you what the sentence is about. There is no English equivalent.

私 は(topic) アメリカ 人 です。 Watashi WA amerika jeen dess. (I am an American.)[literally: I America person is.)

が (GA) is the subject marker. It tells you which noun performs the verb. (However, subjects in Japanese do not behave the same way as they do in English. It is not always evident what the subject is doing.)

赤 が 好き です。Awe kaw GA ski dess (I like red.) [literally: red like is]

を (WO) (pronounced O) is the direct object marker. It shows you which noun is acted on by the verb. (Again, objects and verbs do not always behave the same way as they do in English.)

英語 を 勉強する。ey go O benkyo soo ru (I study English.)[literal: English study)

に (NI) (pronounced NEE) performs similar to the prepositions ‘at’, ‘to’ and ‘for’.

彼 に 上げて 下さい。kaw ray NI awe get ay koo duh sai. (Please give it to him.) [literal: Him to give please.]

へ (HE) (pronounced E) indicates direction like the preposition, to.

大阪 へ 行く oh saw kaw EH ee koo (go to Osaka) [literal: Osaka to go]

で (DE) indicates where an action takes place. Performs similar to the prepositions ‘at’ and ‘in’.

列車 内 で resh shaw nai day (On the train) [literal: train inside in]

の (NO) is the possessive marker. (I + possessive marker = My)

私の 犬 watashi no eenu (my dog)

と (TO) (pronounced like TOW) There are 4 different と’s. The two most common ones mean ‘and’ and ‘with’.

彼 と 一緒 に 行くkaw ray toe ish show NI ee koo (I will go with him.)[literal: he with together to go]

か (KA) is the question marker. It comes at the end of a question. Traditional Japanese doesn’t use a question mark.

いい です か。ee dess kaw (is it ok?) [literal: good is ?]

よ (YO) is a particle used for emphasis. It comes at the end of a sentence.

いい です よ。 ee dess yo (it’s good/that’ll be good)[literal: good is]

ね (NE) is another end of sentence particle. It elicits a response from the listener. It’s like saying, “Right?” or, “Don’t you think so?” at the end of a sentence. Feminine speech has more frequent use of ね, which doesn’t require a response from the listener, but is more of a style of speaking.

美味しい です ね。oi shee dess nay (it’s delicious, isn’t it?) [literal: delicious is)

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