JAPANESE GRAMMAR

  • Basic Word Order

    The sentence order in Japanese is very different from English.

    In English we use Subject-Verb-Object (SVO), but in Japanese it is usually Subject-Object-Verb (SOV).

    Example:

    Mother bought bread (Mother is the subject, bought is the verb, bread is the object).

    In Japanese it is:

    Okasan wa (Mother) pan o (bread) kaimashita (bought)

  • Notice the "extra" words wa & o. These are called particles (or grammatical markers) and tell us a lot about the function of the word it follows.

  • Particles

    Particles are placed after a word to show a grammatical function. There are eight types of particles, depending on what function they serve.

  • and Indicate subjects by coming after them Meanings: "is, am, are" .

    は that it's not pronounced "ha" but pronounced "wa".

    は emphasizes what comes after it

    が emphasizes what comes before it

    Example:

    わたし は こういち です: I am Koichi

    わたし が こういち です: I am Koichi

    The first example would be used when you're introducing yourself to someone, the second one would be more like one of those movies where one person has the gun pointed at two identical targets, where they are saying "I am Koichi" and "No, I'm Koichi!" The important (emphasized) part is the I portion, so you'd use ?.

  • indicate possession ("Apostrophe S" & "of")

    の makes something possessive, like saying "my bike "Bob's friend".

    Example:

    わたし の なまえ は こういち です

    My name is is Koichi

  • The Direct Object shows what the direct object is. Used when you're directly doing something (the verb) to something (the object).

    Example:

    すし (object) を (particle) たべます (verb) = Eat sushi

  • is used to indicate Movement and Time

    It is used to show what an action is directed to, and also shows destinations, directions, places, and time.

    Example:

    わたし は にほん に いきます

    I will go to Japan

  • means "also" and "too" - it can also emphasize "any".

    Examples:

    わたしも

    Me too / Me also

     

    なに も たべなかった

    I didn't eat anything

  • Emphasizes the destination. It is similar to the particle "ni", but emphasizes the destination. It sort of means "heading towards".

    Examples:

    にほん へ いきます

    Heading towards Japan

  • shows context. It means "By way of" / "at". It can show how and where an action takes place.

    Examples:

    くるま で いきます

    I went by Car

    わたし は レストラン で たべた

    I ate at the restaurant

     


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