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Japanese Particles

Posted by Ken Cannon

Ok continuing from last time, we have our sentences properly ordered now and all we have to do to make them into complete sentences is stick on our particles, or what I like to call them “markers”. Because they “mark” the words in a sentence as a subject or object ect.

I, people, punch = ore, hito naguru
I, feet, love = ore, ashi, suki
I’m, to the toilet, going = Ore, toire, iku
I‘ll, this, to you, give = ore, kore, omae, ageru
This, cool, is = kore, kakkoi, da

For those of you who don’t know what particles are yet, here is a quick description of the main 5.

Wa –topic marker (marks what you are talking "about", almost always comes first)
Ga – capital marker (emphasizes a certain word, marks "this" as opposed to something else)
Wo – object marker (marks “thing/person” of sentence, almost always comes second)
Ni – towards marker (marks when something is moving towards something)
E – destination marker (marks where your going)

You can also think of particles as marking the word that came before it as a certain part of the sentence. And how the sentence handles the word.

Let’s start with the first one

Ore(I), hito(people), naguru(punch)

Ore(I)- wa

We use the generic marker “wa” here, since we don’t want to particularly emphasize I’m the one who punches people, as opposed to somebody else. And a little tip is we almost always use “wa” to start with.


We use the object marker “wo” here since people, are the objects we're punching. Now we could use “ga” here, if we wanted to stress the fact that it’s people, that we punch, as opposed to dogs or something.

So the complete Japanese sentence that comes out is


Ore-wa hito-wo naguru! = I punch people!

Ok how about the next sentence.

Ore(I), ashi(feet), suki(love)

Ore(I)- wa

Again we use “wa” after I


In this sentence I chose to use ga, instead of wo. So that you can tell that both are correct, and that now this sentence emphasizes that its, feet! I love as opposed to something else

This comes out to…

Ore-wa ashi-ga suki! = I love FEET!

Time for sentence number 3

Ore(I), toire(toilet), iku(go)

First of all you’ll notice, word for word, the “to” and the “the” are gone. This is because there is no “the” in Japanese, which makes things a lot easier. And “to” we will add now.


Yet again ore is marked by “wa” I told you it almost always comes first.


(this is the "to") Ok e is used here, because we are going to the toilet as a destination, I could use “ni” as well, but with “ni” it just mean I’m going towards the toilet, which is cool to say in Japan btw. I just wanted to show you how e was used.



Ore-wa toire-e iku! I’m going to the toilet!

Next we have…

ore(I), kore(this), omae(you), ageru(give)


no surprise here.


Wo is used because kore(this) is what were giving to you, it’s the object.


We use “ni” because we’re giving kore(this) to/towards you. You don’t use e, because you are not a destination, simply a direction.

Dun du dun…


Ore-wa kore-wo omae-ni ageru = I’m giving this to you

And last but not least we have…

Kore(this), kakkoi(cool), da(is)

Kore(this)- wa

Wa is used for the usual reasons, or of couse “ga” could be used.

Kakkoi(cool)- none!

Simply because kakkoi is an adjective, in other words a description. And descriptions can’t go anywhere nor do you normally talk about “cool” or descriptions as topic.

Another reason is that da is a special verb called a copula, which means it’s not an action like other verbs, but means “to be” or “is”.


OK hopefully that cleared up a lot of confusion you might be having, again this is a work in progress, and not meant for people who know nothing about Japanese, but as a supplement for those currently studying.

Until next time!


  1. Thanks for this post, I will have to go through it a couple of times, particles is the area at which I suck the most.

  2. Heheh yeah I think that's a real sticking point for a lot of people. feel free to post any questions you have and I'll try to clear it up for you. Since this post might not be as detailed as some would like.

  3. That was super helpful Ken! =]

  4. hey ken im 13 and am trying to learn japanese (formal) can u help with i mean the pronounces << not spelled right but... are a pain any pointers for a young hopeful?

  5. Oh course! I don't know if you'll like my answer... The best resource I've found so far for pronunciation isss... Anime! hah, I'm really not kidding, a good strategy is to simply listen to an episode with your eyes closed before you go to bed. Or rip the audio and put it on your EYEpod. But all in all just make sure your around the language a lot and you'll pick it up for sure, thats the way I did it! ^^

    1. Hey Ken sooo I know this is one of your older posts, but I recently found JTA and your videos are really helpful. Last night I found an anime channel on tv and I fell asleep listening to it. I'm really new to this... new as in I started learning 4 days ago, but it was amazing, because I already understood some of the stuff they were talking about without subtitles! :) Thanks so much for everything!!

  6. This is so amazing!~ I'm just reading this after the previous post and I really feel alot more sturdy in my understanding now, thank you Ken!

  7. What's more confusing than the Japanese grammar is your English ;p
    Just kidding, this is a really nice explained!

    But read this carefully:
    "Wa is used for the usual reasons, or couse “ga” could be used." (hint: if you still don't see it, it's in the second part)

  8. what about the things like "o" or "no" like "Ken san wa chairo no kutsu o haite imasu"? :D or maybe "na" like "watashi ga suki na iro wa midori desu"?

  9. O is someone's way of saying wo when they do not know the culture of Japanese syllables, and are just using what they hear. They are just saying wo. no is meaning 's in belonging to someone or something. or apart of someone or something. Very nice explanations here, Ken. I really like the references.
    BTW: I live in Japan!

  10. na is also not a particle as in the above. It is rather an add on or suffix added to an adjective. That would be under a different heading I think and there are too many of THOSE to count.
    btw: Sentence watashi ga suki na iro wa midori desu should be...
    watashi no sukina iro wa midori desu. Of course it would be easier to just say watashi wa midori ga suki desu.

  11. dear ken,

    how abt the word "de". i still don't understand the use of "to"

  12. Hey Ken,
    So since you put "Ore" at the beginning, are you saying you are a tough guy then? Just making sure..

  13. Hey Ken,
    Love the videos and the post, really helpful. I was just wondering about one thing, in all of the sentences above the word for "I"(ore) is written in katakana. Is ore really a loanword, and not japanese?

  14. um im very small minded so its very hard to learn so i am a biiiiit confused

  15. Thanks for posting this. I'm literally going OHHHHHH!

  16. thank you so much for posting this I can't believe how much each one of your articles helps!!!

  17. what would it be if i said Atashi kaimono suki?? Im thinking its Atashi wa kaimono ga suki?? plz tell me if this is right.

  18. umm wht is the best way for me to learn japanese n im not around ppl tht talk a lot of japanese?

  19. yeah i wanna know the same thing like zero,light said....?

  20. sugoi! this is really useful. i've been confused about those particles. :D arigatou gozaimashita. ;D

  21. I'd like to ask, why are the words arranged like that? :)

    1. Oh, I actually explain that in the previous post... http://www.japanesethroughanime.com/2010/05/is-japanese-sentence-order-out-of-order.html

    2. Oh thanks :)

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. ケンさん、 こんな例文がとてもとても偉い! ”オレは人を殴る!” ふふふ!!!
    笑うから僕の頭は爆発していた。 このポーストを作るくれてありがとうございました!

    本当にありがとう、 僕はあなたのより多くのポーストが見たいよねええ!!


  24. GA or WO:

    Ken you said
    [ Ashi(feet)-ga
    In this sentence I chose to use ga, instead of wo. So that you can tell that both are correct, and that now this sentence emphasizes that its, feet! I love as opposed to something else

    This comes out to Ore-wa ashi-ga suki! = I love FEET!" ]

    What does it mean then if you say "Ore-wa ashi-wo suki!
    Isn't it "I love feet" just as "Ore-wa ashi-ga suki"?

    Why then use GA sometimes and WO other times?

    I've noticed that GA is used often with suki, jouzu and wakarimasu.

  25. how do you know when to use は=ha for わ=wa? i apologize if that doesn't make any sense..

  26. はha is whats used for the particle "wa". I know it seems stupid but わ is not used for the particle "wa".

    I liked this article. Wish there was one on tips on absorbing vocab

    1. when do you use the character わ?

  27. Hey there Ken, great site firstly! Reading through your posts and enjoying them all as I'm currently learning Japanese and can relate to everything you speak about.

    I have a question about one of the sentences above:

    Ore wa kore (w)o omae ni ageru.

    Although I understand the sentence, I was wondering whether it's more structurally correct to write it as:

    Ore wa omae ni kore (w)o ageru. I know it might seem nitpicking but I wanted to know the difference between saying I'll give this to you and I'll give you this, just to improve my understanding of Japanese grammar. Have I got the right understanding on this?

    おねがいします!! どうも!

  28. Isn't e the towards particle. This is how its explained in the tae kim guide. Ni is used for when the destination is the end location and e is used when you are going towards the destination (making it not the end destination).
    Or am I mistaken.


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