Particles in Japanese

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Particles and Sentence Structure[edit]

The particle is an element in Japanese language which is foreign to the ideas of many an English speaker. A particle is a pseudo-word which has no meaning, but a function in maintaining order in a sentence. Particles are invariably one syllable. Particles tie directly into the concept of sentence structure, as they are used to mark where certain parts of the sentence lie in relation to others. The は particle denotes subject, the を particle denotes an object, etc.

Japanese sentence structure is Subject, Object, Verb. That's all you should really worry about in Japanese, as the rest of the sentence can be in horrible repair, but as long as the Subject is first, Verb last with the Object somewhere in the middle, and so far as an introductory course is concerned, YOU'RE SPEAKING JAPANESE!!

The particles are as follows:

  • wa(は) - subject marker (note that when は is used as a particle it is pronouced "wa" not "ha")
  • ga(が) - object marker; usually animate, also means "but"
  • (w)o(を) - direct object (usually inanimate) (note when を is used as a particle it is pronouned "o" not "wo")
  • (h)e(へ) - destination "to," interchangeable with に (note when へ is used as a particle it is pronounced "e" not "he"
  • ka(か) - question mark (polite), sometimes used as "or"
  • no(の) - possessive (could substitute "'s")
  • na(な) - marks an adjective that, typically, is derived from a foreign language
  • mo(も) - "also" (substitutes for wa, ga, or wo)
  • de(で) - "by means of", "in"/"at" for actions, "and" (not used often)
  • ni(に) - denotes place, "in"/"at" for existence
  • to(と) - "and", object of "say" or "think"
  • ya(や) - "and" for an incomplete list


Read Basic Particles and More Particles on how to use these particles.


  • Be familier with particles, especially は, が, を, か


Leave any question here.

See also[edit]

Project: Beginner Japanese
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