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All About Japanese Particles: を (o)

1. Indicates the object of an action (direct object).

夕べは映画見た。
Yūbe wa eiga o mita.
I saw a movie yesterday evening.

原田さんは手紙書いている。
Harada-san wa tegami o kaite iru.
Harada is writing a letter.

2. Indicates the direct object of a passive verb.

私は昨日、電車の中でお金とパスポート盗まれました。
Watashi wa kinō, densha no naka de okane to pasupōto o nusumare-mashita.
I had my money and passport stolen in the train yesterday.

彼女は犬に手噛まれた。
Kanojo wa inu ni te o kamareta.
She had her hand bitten by a dog.

3. Indicates the person or thing made to do something in a causative sentence.

その政治家は、財界人のパーティーに秘書出席させた。
Sono seiji-ka wa, zaikai-jin no pātī ni hisho o shusseki saseta.
That politician had her secretary attend a business leaders’ party.

部長は部下出張させた。
Buchō wa buka o shutchō saseta.
The department head sent a subordinate on a business trip.

4. Indicates a specific occupation or position (usually followed by suru).

山本さんのお父さんは、医者している。
Yamamoto-san no otōsan wa, isha o shite iru.
Yamamoto’s father is a physician.

私の兄は、新聞記者しています。
Watashi no ani wa, shinbun-kisha o shite imasu.
My elder brother is a newspaper reporter.

5. Used with verbs indicating wishes or desires ending in -tai or -tagaru.

コーヒー飲みたいんです。
Kōhī o nomitai-n desu.
I want to drink some coffee.

ジョンさんはおすし食べたがっていますよ。
Jon-san wa osushi o tabetagatte imasu yo.
John feels like eating some sushi.

6. Indicates movement from a smaller to a larger place in both concrete and abstract senses.

Note: (1) Contrast with ni (#13, no. 4). (2) Although kara sounds correct from the standpoint of English, it should not be substituted for o in this usage.

a) Movement from a smaller physical space to a larger physical place (with the larger place usually implicit).

毎日新宿駅で地下鉄降ります。
Mainichi Shinjuku-eki de chikatetsu o orimasu.
I get off the subway at Shinjuku Station every day.

山本さんは夕方5時半に会社出ます。
Yamamoto-san wa yūgata goji-han ni kaisha o demasu.
Yamamoto leaves the office at 5:30 in the evening.

b) Movement from a smaller space in an abstract sense to a larger abstract space (e.g., from school life into society at large).

首相は早稲田大学卒業した。
Shushō wa Waseda daigaku o sotsugyō shita.
The prime minister graduated from Waseda University.

沖氏は、70歳になった年に経済界引退した。
Oki-shi wa, nanajussai ni natta toshi ni keizai-kai o intai shita.
Mr. Old retired from the business world when [in the year in which] he turned seventy.

7. When used with verbs of motion, indicates the place of the motion.

車で新しい橋渡った。
Kuruma de atarashii hashi o watatta.
I crossed over the new bridge by car.

私の国では、車は道の左側走ります。
Watashi no kuni de wa, kuruma wa michi no hidarigawa o hashi-rimasu.
In my country, cars drive on the left side of the road.

このバスは、デパートの前通りますか。
Kono basu wa, depāto no mae o tōrimasu ka.
Does this bus pass in front of the department store?

8. Indicates the starting point of an action.

社長は火曜日の午後6時に成田出発します。
Shachō wa kayobi no gogo rokuji ni Narita o shuppatsu shimasu.
The company president will leave from Narita at 6 P.M. on Tuesday.

この電車は8時に東京駅出ますから遅れないできてください。
Kono densha wa hachiji ni Tōkyō-eki o demasu kara okurenaide kite kudasai.
This train leaves Tokyo Station at eight o’clock, so please don’t be late.

– Source: All about particles – A handbook of Japanese function words

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