The short syntactic words or affixes in Japanese that are used to modify words or entire sentences.

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69
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3answers
6k views

What's the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)?

When is it correct to use は but not が, and when is it correct to use が but not は? Are there any times when you can use either without changing the meaning of the sentence? How does switching change ...
34
votes
7answers
2k views

When going somewhere, is there any difference between e (へ) and ni (に)?

Can you use へ and に interchangeably, as in 北海道へ行く and 北海道に行く? Are there any subtle differences in the use of these two?
30
votes
8answers
2k views

Particles: に vs. で

I have progressed pretty far in Japanese, but when I construct Japanese sentences, I still get these two particles mixed up. For example, when talking about being inside something, I don't know when ...
28
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the difference between 〜となる and 〜になる?

Is it a nuance difference? Is it formality? EDIT For example: 請求書のお支払いは現金のみとなりますので、ご了承くださいませ。 請求書のお支払いは現金のみになりますので、ご了承くださいませ。 I just made that example up, but for some reason, my gut ...
24
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the difference between “に” and “には”?

The title should be pretty self-explanatory. What meanings does each convey? And in what kinds of circumstances would one be used instead of the other? For example, what are the differences between ...
24
votes
1answer
3k views

Why are the particles “は” (ha⇒wa), “へ” (he⇒e), and “を” (wo⇒o) not spelled phonetically?

As far as I know only three words (or particles) have irregular, non-phonetic spelling in Japanese: "は" - The topic particle is pronounced "wa" but the kana is otherwise pronounced "ha" "へ" - The ...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is は pronounced as わ when used as a topic particle?

The particle は is pronounced similarly to わ (unlike the rest of the ハ行 kana) when used as a particle; why is this? What historical shifts went on to cause this irregularity?
19
votes
5answers
2k views

Pronouncing が as 'nga'

I'm a beginner and am learning from CD (Pimsleur). There are two native speakers going through the dialogue. One, the man, pronounces が as I would expect - 'ga'. The other (female) pronounces it as ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is it 日本語がわかります instead of 日本語をわかります?

From what I understand, は is the topic marker, が is the subject marker, and を is the object marker. One of the first sentences I learned doesn't seem to fit the rules I described above. The sentence ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

The difference between が and を with the potential form of a verb.

When using the potential form of a verb, I was taught that the particle を becomes が. However, in real life this seems to not always be the case. I've even heard Japanese people use を instead of が ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

The many ways to say “and” in Japanese

In English, we just have one word for the conjunction and which works just fine for many categories, but in Japanese, there are separate words: と joins nouns together in a closed list や joins nouns ...
18
votes
1answer
491 views

What are the differences between 〜ので and 〜から?

When I was studying this, my 先生 kind of brushed over the point, and then years later, I realize that they are different, but I don't know exactly how. The only thing I understand is that ので is more ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Are there cases when two or more particles will occur next to each other without intervening lexical words?

Most particles seem to be postpositions but I'm sure I've seen say a noun followed by a location particle followed by "wa" or "ga" or possibly "wo" but when I've tried to use it I've only confused my ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

The reason for using 何も+negative, but 何でも+positive

In one of the Japanese classes I attended, I've been taught that while we use 「何も出来ない」to say "He cannot do anything", to say "He can do anything" we use 「何でも出来る」 instead of 「何も出来る」. Why is there a ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the guidelines of omitting particles?

I've recently discovered that certain particles could be omitted from a Japanese sentence (to help make it shorter), and still preserve the original meaning. Unfortunately, most resources about this ...
16
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2answers
1k views

Does the particle “を” (wo) have a special use when at the end of a sentence?

I thought the character "を" (wo) was only used for the particle whose only job was to indicate the direct object of a verb. But today I saw it at the end of an exclamation on a sign I think on a ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

When asking 'What is your name?' or 'What is your job?', why is it 'は' not 'か'?

As per the title, when asking 'What is your name?' or 'What is your job?', why is it 'は' not 'か'? For example, we are taught this: おしごとは。 'What is your job?' But I don't understand why it ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the difference between に and で when speaking of time of an action?

What's the difference between に and で when speaking of the time of an action? I know に is very specific about time, but I'm not sure when, or how to use で. Can で only be used in certain instances? ...
15
votes
4answers
373 views

Questions with ~か or without: how to choose?

Studying Japanese on my own, I've learned that in order to make a question, you usually add the particle "~か", like this: 今何時ですか。 It's also true that a question can be asked without it, using ...
15
votes
2answers
358 views

What are the various ways to express 'or' and when are they appropriate?

I'd like to get an idea of when it is appropriate to use different expressions for expressing disjunction (of the inclusive AND exclusive variety). 「AとBとCの中で...」、「どちら」、and 「か] come to mind, but I ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

What are other language equivalents to Japanese particles?

When a person is learning は and が in terms of particles, what are the best way to relate them to English equivalents? The closest I can come to explaining them to others is "the" and "a" but I'm not ...
14
votes
3answers
659 views

When is it okay to use あります with a living subject?

When learning Japanese everyone's taught いる is for a living thing and ある is for non-living things. However, I recently saw the following sentence ... あと、サッカー選手でもあります。 ... which ends in ある / あります ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Usage of なんて and なんか as emphasis.

When are なんて and なんか used as emphasis in casual speech? Are they used when you're surprised, angry or can it be both? What sort of feeling does it convey to the listener compared to a normal sentence ...
13
votes
1answer
270 views

Is there a difference between に伴う and を伴う?

In a report I handed in earlier this week, my professor corrected my sentence to 日本において、金融政策の目的に関する考え方が時間を伴い、変わってきた。 from 「に伴い」. Is there a practical difference between the two? ALC shows a ...
13
votes
2answers
264 views

Can't に always replace へ?

Me and the particle へ don't get along. It's not that we don't like each other, it's that we don't get each other. I'm in a pretty committed relationship with に. I mean, I think I understand what へ ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

How does ほど work in the 〜すれば〜するほど construction?

I understand that 〜すれば〜するほど is used to mean "the more you do ~ the more ~". However, I don't see how this meaning is derived from this sentence pattern. I assume the ば is from the conditional form ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

けど at the end of the sentence?

According to dictionaries, 「けど」 means ‘but’, ‘although’, ‘however’. However, it seems to have slightly another meaning at the end of the sentence. For example, here are few example sentences with ...
13
votes
2answers
369 views

When does a suru-noun require し in front of a purposive-に?

According to Chocolate's comment to a question, some suru-nouns can be followed by the purposive に directly, but others require (the stem of) する in between.  面会しに行く  面会に行く  料理しに行く × 料理に行く ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Using な particle after common nouns (non na-adjectives)

Is な particle allowed to be used after common nouns (i.e non na-adjectives) for whatever reasons, e.g. cuteness, trendy, humor etc? Dictionary@goo website seems to use (normal noun)+な in a couple of ...
12
votes
3answers
365 views

Dissecting つく verbs

I think we all are familiar with する verbs, which are verbs that are formed by appending する to nouns. Examples include 勉強する, 愛する etc. This pattern is very convenient because it can be appended to ...
12
votes
3answers
746 views

What is the difference between 「ほど」 {hodo} and 「ぐらい」 {gurai}?

As in the question title, what is the difference between the two sentences below? 一時間ほどかかります。 ichijikan hodo kakarimasu. 一時間ぐらいかかります。 ichijikan gurai kakarimasu. How do we choose to ...
12
votes
2answers
412 views

や in Kansai-ben when it is not だ

The following sentence occurs in The Legend of Zelda: ナンカ コウテ クレヤ (This would be なんか買うてくれや! and was famously translated as "Buy somethin', will ya!".) From the 買うて, it's obvious he's speaking ...
12
votes
1answer
490 views

“からだけ” vs “だけから”, which is grammatical?

Good afternoon all, I was wondering when we chain particles, should "から" come before "だけ", or should it be the other way round? For example, I'm expecting a mail from 健一, a mail from 健二, and a mail ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

How to use へ (-e), に (-ni), まで (made) and の方 (no-hō) with destination and direction?

It is common to ask the difference between just "へ" (-e) and "に" (-ni) but it seems to get even more complicated when you also mix in "まで" (made) and even "の方" (no-hō). When Japanese people ask me ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

わ usage at the end of sentences

What is the difference between the "わ" sentence ender used by women in general and the one that is used by both Males and females in the Kansai area? I've asked my Japanese co-workers about it ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

I don't understand what やな means at the end of a sentence…?

for example in this sentence : 久しぶりやな i don't understand "ya" and "na" can someone explain me? there's another example : いい感じやなぁ
11
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the significance of の in 「鳥の詩」?

I've seen it used in many places, and sometimes it feels like a connection between words. For example in 「鳥の詩」 (tori no uta), it looks as if the の is connecting 鳥 (tori) and 詩 (uta), and I would like ...
11
votes
4answers
979 views

に vs で again: 前に vs 後で

Following the current trend of pitting the particles に and で against each other, here is another question that does the same but from another type of usage and perspective. When we want to say "do X ...
11
votes
2answers
299 views

Do any of the Japanese particles have different pronunciations in any dialects? Or extra or missing particles?

I was wondering whether the differences in Japanese vocabulary between the dialects extend even so far as particles. Are there dialects that pronounce any of the standard particles differently? ...
11
votes
3answers
399 views

Using で instead of に with いる

The example sentence in Why is も used instead of が in the sentence 「日本ではクモを見ると良いことがあると言う人もいますよ」, 日本ではクモを見ると良いことがあると言う人もいますよ got me thinking "Why is it using で, not に?". I.e., why not ...
10
votes
2answers
489 views

How does the の work in 「日本人の知らない日本語」?

I've read that 日本人の知らない日本語 translates to: "Japanese (language) that Japanese (people) don't know". But I don't understand how or what the の does in that sentence. If I'm not mistaken 知らない日本語 could ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

In what situation can I use ~かい (for interrogative question)?

One day, I asked my japanese friend how I could invite some friends to eat. He said "一緒に食べに行くかい?" I know that we could also say: 行きましょうか(行こうか)? 行きませんか(行かない)? 行きますか(行くの)? but I got interested ...
10
votes
2answers
651 views

Why is the honorific o used for the bathroom?

I've seen the honorific "o"/"go" (is it called bikago?) being used as politness or reverence: o-cha for non-western tea, o-namae when talking about someone else's name, o-genki instead of just genki, ...
10
votes
3answers
699 views

Which part of speech is the 「ぞ」 {zo} in 「神のみぞ知るセカイ」 {kami nomi zo shiru sekai}?

「神のみぞ知るセカイ」 {kami nomi zo shiru sekai} is the title of a manga/anime series but I'm not asking about the anime. I'm just curious with the 「ぞ」 {zo} part in the title. I know there is a {zo} particle ...
10
votes
2answers
5k views

How to say “also” or “too”

The sentence "I also ate in Tokyo" can mean three different things: (Aside from my friends who ate there), I also ate in Tokyo. (Aside from the other places where I tried local cuisines), I also ate ...
10
votes
2answers
634 views

Ending a sentence with さ

When is it appropriate to put さ at the end of a sentence? Do women say this also? I think I remember seeing a female character say it in an anime.
10
votes
2answers
365 views

Usage of ~やら~やら vs ~や~や

What is the conceptual difference, or difference in nuance between these two constructions when used to mean 'and'? I realize there are some syntactic differences, such as や not appearing after the ...
10
votes
1answer
513 views

When the agent takes を in the causative form

I've seen a few sets of terminology when referring to the causative form, so for the basic case, I will use the following: instigator が agent に 〇〇 を v-させる。 In its most basic, text-book form, we have ...
10
votes
2answers
388 views

What dialects use だべ?

I feel like I hear だべ all the time (through TV and on the streets of Yokohama where I live), but I'm wondering about it's origins and modern usage.
10
votes
3answers
567 views

Is ~も really marking the word just prior to it?

I'm translating an excerpt for fun, but this section struck me as odd: ...