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

All About Japanese Particles: の (no)

I. Used between two nouns, indicating that the first possesses or is modifying the second; also used in place of ga to indicate the subject in modifying clauses.

1. Indicates possession: “‘s.”

これは高木さん傘です。
Kore wa Takagi-san no kasa desu.
This is Takagi’s umbrella.

それが佐藤さん車です。
Sore ga Satō-san no kuruma desu.
That is Sato’s car.

Note: If the context is understood, the second noun can be omitted:

それが佐藤さんです。
Sore ga Satō-san no desu.
That is Sato’s.

2. Indicates position or location.

上、いす下、学校前、この建物後ろ。
Tsukue no ue, isu no shita, gakkō no mae, kono tatemono no ushiro.
The top of the desk [i.e., on the desk]; under the chair; the [area in] front of the school; behind this building.

3. Indicates that the first noun is modifying the second in terms of kind or category.

山田先生は英語先生です。
Yamada-sensei wa Eigo no sensei desu.
Yamada is a teacher of English [an English teacher].

この学校は料理学校です。
Kono gakkō wa ryōri no gakkō desu.
This school is a cooking school.

4. Indicates that two nouns are in apposition.

K大学学長今井氏が演説をしています。
K daigaku gakuchō no Imai-shi ga enzetsu o shite imasu.
Mr. Imai, the president of K University, is making a speech.

こちらが佐山さんのお姉さん千香子さんです。
Kochira ga Sayama-san no onēsan no Chikako-san desu.
This is Chikako, Sayama’s elder sister.

5. Used to replace ga to indicate the subject of a clause modifying a noun.

これは坂本さん描いた油絵です。
Kore wa Sakamoto-san no kaita aburae desu.
This is the oil painting that Sakamoto painted.

昨日あなた話していたレストランはどこですか。
Kinō anata no hanashite ita resutoran wa doko desu ka.
Where is the restaurant you were talking about yesterday?

II. Used to nominalize verbs and adjectives.

1. Simple nominalizer: “-ing, what.”

天気が悪いですから、ドライブに行くはやめましょう。
Tenki ga warui desu kara, doraibu ni iku no wa yamemashō.
Since the weather is bad, let’s call off going for a drive.

外国語を学ぶは、難しいですね。
Gaikoku-go o manabu no wa, muzukashii desu ne.
Learning a foreign language is difficult, isn’t it.

彼女が欲しいは、新しいピアノです。
Kanojo ga hoshii no wa, atarashii piano desu.
What she wants is a new piano.

2. Used as a nominalizer before verbs of perception (e.g., mieru [to be visible], kikoeru [to be audible]).

このビルの屋上から、車が走っているがよく見えます。
Kono biru no okujō kara, kuruma ga hashitte iru no ga yoku miemasu.
From the roof [top] of this building, you can clearly see the cars going by. (Lit., … the driving cars are easily visible.)

女の人が歌っているが聞こえますね。
Onna no hito ga utatte iru no ga kikoemasu ne.
You can hear a woman singing, can’t you. (Lit., A woman’s singing is audible …)

III. Used at the end of sentences.

1. Indicates a question (colloquial usage).

会社、本当にやめる
Kaisha, honto ni yameru no.
You really quitting the company?

明日は何時に出かける
Ashita wa nanji ni dekakeru no.
What time you leaving tomorrow?

2. Imparts a softer tone to a statement (usually used by women).

私、来月フランスに留学する
Watashi, raigetsu Furansu ni ryūgaku suru no.
I will be going to France to study next month.

土曜日はコンサートに行きたいと思っている
Doyōbi wa konsāto ni ikitai to omotte iru no.
I’m thinking I’d like to go to a concert on Saturday.

*3. Indicates a mild command.

そんなこと言わない
Sonna koto iwanai no.
Don’t say such things. / Don’t say that.

あなたは黙っていればいい
Anata wa damatte ireba ii no.
You just keep quiet. (Lit., As for you, if you keep silent, it’s good.)

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

All About Japanese Particles: まで (made)

1. Indicates a time limitation for actions or events (often paired with kara): “until, till, to.”

この会社の社員は9時から5まで働きます。
Kono kaisha no shain wa kuji kara goji made hatarakimasu.
The employees of this company work from nine o’clock till five o’clock.

このデパートは、土曜日と日曜日は8までです。
Kono depāto wa, doyōbi to nichiyōbi wa hachiji made desu.
This department store is open until eight o’clock on Saturdays and Sundays.

2. Indicates the place to which an action extends (often paired with kara): “to.”

この飛行機は東京からホノルルまで行きます。
Kono hikōki wa Tōkyō kara Honoruru made ikimasu.
This plane goes from Tokyo to Honolulu.

ここから京都まで何時間かかりますか。
Koko kara Kyōto made nan-jikan kakarimasu ka.
How long does it take to get from here to Kyoto?

3. Indicates the degree of a condition by citing an example (e.g., it is not just cold, it is so cold that my glasses have frozen over): “even, so … that.”

子供だけでなく大人まで、そのゲームを楽しんだ。
Kodomo dake de naku otona made, sono gēmu o tanoshinda.
Not only the children but even the adults enjoyed [playing] that game.

その日山の上はとても寒くて、夕方には雪まで降ってきた。
Sono hi yama no ue wa totemo samukute, yūgata ni wa yuki made futte kita.
The top of the mountain was very cold that day; it even started snowing in the evening. / The mountaintop was so cold that day that it even started to snow in the evening.

*4. Indicates an extreme condition.

斎藤さんは、あの男の人と結婚できなければ死のうとまで思いつめたそうです。
Saitō-san wa, ano otoko no hito to kekkon dekinakereba shinō to made omoitsumeta sō desu.
Saito was apparently even contemplating suicide if she were unable to marry the man.

その両親は子供の病気が治るなら、全財産を捨ててもいいとまで考えていた。
Sono ryōshin wa kodomo no byōki ga naoru nara, zen-zaisan o sutete mo ii to made kangaete ita.
If their child would only get well, the parents thought that they would even sacrifice all they owned. / The child’s parents were [even] prepared to sacrifice all they owned if only he/she would recover.

*5. At the end of a sentence, indicates a limitation or extent: “that is all.”

今日はここまで
Kyō wa koko made.
That’s all for today. (Lit., As for today, up to here.)

とりあえずご報告まで
Toriaezu go hōkoku made.
For your reference. (Lit., For the moment, as far as a report.)

*6. In the form made mo nai (which follows verb roots), emphasizes extent or degree; the complete phrase may be translated: “there is no need to.”

明日のパーティーはわざわざ行くまでもない。
Ashita no pātī ni wa wazawaza iku made mo nai.
There is no need to go out of one’s way [to make a special effort] to attend tomorrow’s party. / Tomorrow’s party is hardly worth going to.

言うまでもないことですが、この会社の経営状態は、かなり悪化しています。
lu made mo nai koto desu ga, kono kaisha no keiei-jōtai wa, kanari akka shite imasu.
Needless to say [it goes without saying that], this company’s oper-ations have deteriorated considerably.

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

All About Japanese Particles: から (kara)

I. Follows nouns and the -te form of verbs: “from.”

1. After nouns, indicates the time at which something begins: “from, at.”

銀行は9から開いています。
Ginkō wa kuji kara aite imasu.
Banks are open from nine o’clock. / Banks open at nine.

日本語のクラスは、1から4時までです。
Nihongo no kurasu wa, ichiji kara yoji made desu.
Japanese class lasts from one to four o’clock.

2. After nouns, indicates the place from which something begins: “from, at.”

マラソンはここから出発します。
Marason wa koko kara shuppatsu shimasu.
The marathon starts [from] here.

社長はパリから飛行機でスペインへ行きます。
Shachō wa Pari kara hikōki de Supein e ikumasu.
The company president will go from Paris to Spain by plane.

*3. Certain idiomatic usages in which figurative references to place are made.

新聞をすみからすみまで読んだ。
Shinbun o sumi kara sumi made yonda.
I read the newspaper from beginning to end. (Lit, … from corner to corner.)

女の人の目から見れば、日本にはまだ差別がたくさんある。
Onna no hito no me kara mireba, Nihon ni wa mada sabetsu ga takusan aru.
From a woman’s viewpoint, there is still a lot of discrimination in Japan. (Lit., Looking from a woman’s eyes …)

4. After the -te form of verbs, indicates that an action begins immediately after the previous one ends: “after.”

昨日私は仕事が終わってから買物をしました。
Kinō watashi wa shigoto ga owatte kara kaimono o shimashita.
Yesterday I went shopping after finishing work.

明日の夜、食事をしてから映画を見ませんか。
Ashita no yoru, shokuji o shite kara eiga o mimasen ka.
How about seeing a movie tomorrow night after [having] dinner?

5. After the -te form of verbs, indicates the passage of time: “since, for.”

山田さんが大学を卒業してから5年になります。
Yamada-san ga daigaku o sotsugyō shite kara gonen ni narimasu.
Five years have passed since Yamada graduated from college.

あの二人が結婚してから20年だそうです。
Ano futari ga kekkon shite kara nijuu-nen da sō desu.
I understand that it is twenty years since those two were married. / I hear that those two have been married for twenty years.

6. Indicates materials used: “from.”

Note: Kara and de (#12, no. 3) are similar in usage. However, the former tends to accompany materials that are the result of a somewhat complex process, whereas the latter is generally used with materials that retain, or appear to retain, their original state, such as wood, rock, leather, paper, and glass.

ワインはぶどうから作ります。
Wain wa budō kara tsukurimasu.
Wine is made from grapes.

豆腐は何から作るか知っていますか。
Tōfu wa nani kara tsukuru ka shitte imasu ka.
Do you know what tofu is made from?

7. Indicates the agent of a passive verb (the person or thing per-forming the action): “by.”

Note: The agent of a passive verb is usually indicated by ni, but kara may replace ni, with no basic change in meaning, when (1) the noun preceding kara can be perceived more as the source of an action than as its agent and (2) when kara makes the meaning clearer by avoiding a repetition of ni (as the first example below). Examples of other verbs in conjunction with which kara can replace ni are ai suru (to love), kiku (to ask), meirei suru, shikaru (to scold), shiraberu (to examine).

私は大使からパーティーに招待されました。
Watashi wa taishi kara pātī ni shōtai saremashita.
I was invited to a party by the ambassador.

昨日課長から叱られた。
Kinō kachō kara shikarareta.
I was scolded by the section chief yesterday.

II . Follows verbs and adjectives to indicate a cause or reason: “since, because.”

1. Indicates a cause or reason: “since, because.”

Note: Kara can be replaced by no de (#26) in this usage. In general, (1) kara dicates a more subjective reason, no de a more objective one; and (2) no de softer and more polite than kara.

忙しかったから私たちは公園へ行きませんでした。
Isogashikatta kara watashi-tachi wa kōen e ikimasen deshita.
We didn’t go to the park because we were too busy.

あのレストランは安いからいつも混んでいます。
Ano resutoran wa yasui kara itsu urn konde imasu.
That restaurant is inexpensive, so it’s always crowded.

*2. Used trailingly at the end of a sentence, indicates censure or warning to the listener: “so you had better.”

そんなことばかり言っているとみんなに嫌われるから。。。
Sonna koto bakari itte iru to minna ni kirawareru kara …
If you say only those kinds of things, you’re going to be disliked by everyone [so stop saying them]. / If you keep saying things like that, people aren’t going to like it.

勉強しないと試験に合格できないから。。。
Benkyō shinai to shiken ni gōkaku dekinai kara …
If you don’t study, you won’t be able to pass the exam [so you had better study].

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

All About Japanese Particles: へ (e)

Note: In both of the usages below, ni may replace e, except when e is followed by no (as in the last sentence of no. 2)

1. Indicates a direction or goal, or a destination toward which one is moving or at which one has arrived: “to.”

いつ京都行きますか。
Itsu Kyōto e ikimasu ka.
When are you going to Kyoto?

谷口さんは昨日アメリカ出発しました。
Taniguchi-san wa kinō Amerika e shuppatsu shimashita.
Taniguchi left for the United States yesterday.

この飛行機は、6時に成田空港到着しました。
Kono hikōki wa, rokuji ni Narita kūkō e tōchaku shimashita.
This airplane arrived at Narita Airport at six o’clock.

2. Indicates the recipient of an action (in English, equivalent to the indirect object): “to.”

外国にいる友達手紙を書いた。
Gaikoku ni iru tomodachi e tegami o kaita.
I wrote a letter to a friend abroad.

夕方川田さん電話をかけたが、いなかった。
Yūgata Kawada-san e denwa o kaketa ga, inakatta.
I telephoned Kawada in the evening, but he wasn’t there.

川田さんの電話があったのは何時でしたか。
Kawada-san e no denwa ga atta no wa nanji deshita ka.
What time did that phone call come for Kawada?

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

All About Japanese Particles: に (ni)

1. Indicates where a person or thing is: “in, at, on.”

a) Indicates a concrete place.

山田先生は、今図書館いらっしゃいます。   
Yamada-sensei wa, ima tosho-kan ni irasshaimasu.
Professor Yamada is in the library now.

電話帳は机の上あります。
Denwa-chō wa tsukue no ue ni arimasu.
The phone book is on the desk.

b) Indicates an abstract place.

課長は今会議出席しています。
Kachō wa ima kaigi ni shusseki shite imasu.
The section chief is now in conference.

彼は今でも演劇界君臨しています。
Kare wa ima de mo engeki-kai ni kunrin shite imasu.
Even now he rules over [dominates] the theatrical world.

2. Indicates the location of an action: “in, at.”

Note: In contrast to this use of ni, de (#12, no. 1) is used to indicate a one-time or short-term action.

a) Used with certain “non-action” verbs, which imply that the subject is permanently located in the place of action.

山田さんは現在四谷住んでいます。
Yamada-san wa genzai Yotsuya ni sunde imasu.
Yamada lives in Yotsuya at present.

寺田さんは新宿の銀行勤めています。
Terada-san wa Shinjuku no ginkō ni tsutomete imasu.
Terada works (is working) at a bank in Shinjuku.

Note: The verbs hataraku and shigoto o suru (to work) are preceded by de.

b) Used with verbs that indicate that an action has taken (or is to take) place and the resulting condition is (or will be) static. The last sentence exemplifies the parenthetical definition.

あのいす座って本を読んでいる人は、だれですか。
Ano isu ni suwatte hon o yonde iru hito wa, dare desu ka.
Who is the person sitting in that chair and reading a book?

山の上雪が積もっていますね。
Yama no ue ni yuki ga tsumotte imasu ne.
Snow is piled up on top of the mountain, isn’t it. / There is snow on the mountaintop, isn’t there.

すみませんが、壁かかっている私のコートを取ってくれますか。
Sumimasen ga, kabe ni kakatte iru watashi no kōto o totte kure-masu ka.
Excuse me, but would you get my coat hanging on the wall?

新聞は机の上置いてください。
Shinbun wa tsukue no ue ni oite kudasai.
Please put the newspaper on the desk

3. Indicates time: “at, on, in; every, per.”

a) Indicates the specific time at which something takes place.

会社は9始まります。
Kaisha wa kuji ni hajimarimasu.
Work [the office] begins at nine o’clock.

月曜日大阪へ行きます。
Getsuyōbi ni ōsaka e ikimasu.
I’m going to Osaka on Monday.

b) Indicates the interval of time during which something takes place.

1週間一度テニスをします。
Isshukan ni ichido tenisu o shimasu.
I play tennis once a week.

このバスは30分おき来ます。
Kono basu wa sanjuppun oki ni kimasu.
This bus comes every thirty minutes.

4. Indicates movement from a larger to a smaller place (e.g., from a train platform into a train, or from the lay world into a religious organization): “in, into.”

Note: Contrast with o (#18, no. 6).

a) Indicates movement from larger to smaller physical place.

東京駅の前でバス乗ってください。
Tōkyō-eki no mae de basu ni note kudasai.
Please board the bus in front of Tokyo station.

オフィス入ったら、タバコは吸わないで下さい。
Ofisu ni haittara, tabako wa suwanai de kudasai.
Please don’t smoke after entering the office. / Please don’t smoke inside the office.

b) Indicates movement from larger to smaller abstract place.

去年渡辺さんは歴史学会入った。
Kyonen Watanabe-san wa rekishi-gakkai ni haitta.
Last year Watanabe joined a historical society.

あなたはぼくの夢の中何度も出てきました。
Anata wa boku no yume no naka ni nando mo dete kimashita.
You have appeared in my dreams any number of times.

5. Indicates movement toward a place: “to.”

Note: E (#14, no. 1) can also be used here.

アメリカ行きたい。
America ni ikitai.
I want to go to America.

ジョンさんは銀行行きましたよ。
Jon-san wa ginko ni ikimashita yo.
John went to the bank, you know.

6. Indicates the object of an action: “to.

Note: In this usage, e may not be used.

a) Used after a noun. The distinction between this usage and that in no. 5 is that here the noun implies an action (e.g., going shopping, seeing Kabuki).

買い物行きます。
Kaimono ni ikimasu.
I’m going shopping.

明日は歌舞伎行くつもりです。
Ashita wa kabuki ni iku tsumori desu.
I plan to go to [see] Kabuki tomorrow.

b) Used after the base of a -masu

もうお昼ですから、食事をしいきませんか。
Mo ohiru desu kara, shokuji o shi ni ikimasen ka.
Since it’s noon already, shall we go to eat lunch?

木下さんは友達を迎え成田まで出かけました。
Kinoshita-san wa tomodachi o mukae ni Narita made dekakemashita.
Kinoshita went out to Narita [Airport] to meet [pick up] a friend.

7. Indicates the recipient of an action (in English, equivalent to the indirect object): “to, from.”

Note: When the meaning is “to,” e may replace ni; when the meaning is “from,” kara may replace ni.

クリスマスは友達にプレゼントをあげる。
Kurisumasu ni wa tomodachi ni purezento o ageru.
We give presents to our friends at Christmas.

クリスマス友達にプレゼントをもらった。
Kurisumasu ni tomodachi ni purezento o moratta.
I received a present from my friend at Christmas.

昨日フランスいるナンシーに手紙を出してあげた。
Kinō Furansu ni iru Nanshī ni tegami o dashite ageta.
Yesterday I sent a letter to Nancy in France.

8. Indicates the result of a change or an impending change.

ジョンさんは大学を卒業して、医者なった。
Jon-san wa daigaku o sotsugyō shite, isha ni natta.
John graduated from university and became a doctor.

このケーキを3分けて下さい。
Kono kēki o mittsu ni wakete kudasai.
Please divide this cake into three [parts].

渡辺さんは仕事のしすぎで病気なった。
Watanabe-san wa shigoto no shisugi de byōki ni natta.
Watanabe become ill from overwork.

9. Indicates a condition already in existence (usually followed by natte iru and equivalent to the English “to be”).

この建物の右側が教室なっています。
Kono tatemono no migigawa ga kyōshitsu ni natte imasu.
The right side of this building is a classroom.

ホテルの前がビーチなっています。
Hoteru no mae ga bīchi ni natte imasu.
In front of the hotel is a beach. (Lit., The front of the hotel is a beach.)

10. Indicates the agent of a passive verb (the person or thing performing the action): “by.”

電車の中で、すりお金を取られた。
Densha no naka de, suri ni okane o torareta.
My money was taken by a pickpocket in the train.

帰る途中で雨に降られた。
Ie ni kaeru tochū de ame ni furareta.
On the way home I got rained on. (Lit., I was fallen on by the train.)

11. Indicates the person(s) made to do something in a causative sentence.

先生は学生漢字を書かせました。
Sensei wa gakusei ni kanji o kakasemashita.
The teacher had the students write kanji.

子供たち本を読ませることはとても大切だ。
Kodomo-tachi ni hon o yomaseru koto wa totemo taisetsu da.
It is very important to have children read books.

12. Indicates the agent of a causative-passive verb (the person or thing performing the action): “by.”

学生は先生漢字を書かされました。
Gakusei wa sensei ni kanji o kakasaremashita.
The students were made to write kanji by the teacher.

私は子供のとき、母嫌いなものも食べさせられました。
Watashi wa kodomo no toki, haha ni kirai na mono mo tabesase-raremashita.
When I was a child, I was made to eat even things I disliked by my mother (my mother made me eat food I didn’t like).

*13. Joins nouns (usually three or more): “and.”

Note: This usage of ni is equivalent to to (#6, 1-1), but is more commonly found in writing.

その会議に出席した人は、中国人、韓国人、日本人だった。
Sono kaigi ni shusseki shita hito wa, Chūgoku-jin ni, Kankoku-jin ni, Nihon-jin datta.
The people attending the conference were Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese.

パーティーの飲物は、日本酒、ウイスキー、ワインでした。
Pātī no nomimono wa, Nihon-shu ni, uisukī ni, wain deshita.
The drinks [available] at the party were sake, whiskey, and wine.

*14. Indicates a pair of people or things that are commonly mentioned together: “and.”

ロメオジュリエット。
Romeo ni Jurietto.
Romeo and Juliet.

富士山芸者。
Fuji-san ni geisha.
Mt. Fuji and geisha (a hackneyed phrase in reference to Japan).

*15. Indicates the basis on which, or means by which, an action takes place (usually used with the verbs motozuku (to be based on) and yoru (owing to).

あの映画は有名な小説基づいて作られました。
Ano eiga wa yūmei na shōsetsu ni motozuite tsukuraremashita.
That movie was [made] based on a famous novel.

テレビの普及よって、外国の様子がよくわかるようになった。
Terebi no fukyū ni yotte, gaikoku no yōsu ga yoku wakaru yō ni natta.
Thanks to the spread [owing to the spread] of television, we [now] have a better understanding of conditions in foreign countries.

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

All About Japanese Particles: で (de)

1. Indicates the location of an action: “at, in.”

Note: Contrast with ni (#13, no. 2).

昨日銀座のレストラン晩ごはんを食べました。
Kinō Ginza no resutoran de bangohan o tabemashita.
Yesterday I had dinner at a restaurant in Ginza.

私の友達は、図書館本を読んでいます。
Watashi no tomodachi wa, tosho-kan de hon o yonde imasu.
My friend [a friend of mine] is reading a book in the library.

2. Indicates a means or implement: “by, with.”

私は日本へ船来ました。
Watashi wa Nihon e fune de kimashita.
I came to Japan by boat.

ボールペン書いて下さい。
Bōrupen de kaite kudasai.
Please write with a ball-point pen.

3. Indicates materials used: “of, from, with.”

このケーキは、卵と砂糖作ります。
Kono kēki wa, tamago to satō-de tsukurimasu.
This cake is made of eggs and sugar.

昔、日本人は木と紙作った家に住んでました。
Mukashi, Nihon-jin wa ki to kami de tsukutta ie ni sunde imashita.
Long ago, the Japanese lived in houses made of wood and paper.

Note: Kara may replace de in this usage except when the raw material is unmistakably evident (as with paper, wood, glass, cloth, string, and leather), in which case de must be used. Compare kara (#15, I-6).

4. Indicates the greatest (largest, smallest, least, oldest, newest, etc.)

世界一番高い山はなんですか。
Sekai de ichiban takai yama wa nan desu ka.
What is the highest mountain in the world?

これはこの村一番古いお寺です。
Kore wa kono mura de ichiban furui otera desu.
This is the oldest temple in the village.

5. Indicates amount and scope: “within the space (time) of, in, for.”

この本は一時間読めますよ。
Kono hon wa ichi-jikan de yomemasu yo.
You can read this book in an hour.

あのテレビは10万円買える。
Ano terebi wa jū-man-en de kaeru.
You can buy that TV set for V100,000.

6. Indicates the mode or condition of the agent of an action (not to be confused with the subject).

山田さんはアパートに一人住んでいます。
Yamada-san wa apāto ni hitori de sunde imasu.
Yamada lives in an apartment by himself.

家族中ハワイへ旅行した。
Kazoku-chū de Hawai e ryokō shita.
I made a trip to Hawaii with the whole family.

7. Indicates time or age: “when, at the age of”

Note: Compare ni (#13, no. 3).

あの詩人は25死んだ。
Ano shijin wa nijūgo-sai de shinda.
That poet died at the age of twenty-five.

戦争が終わって来年50年になる。
Sensō ga owatte rainen de gojū-nen ni naru.
Next year will be the fiftieth year since the war ended.

8. Indicates the reason for something: “because of”

病気旅行に行けなかった。
Byōki de ryokō ni ikenakatta.
Because I was sick, I couldn’t go on the trip.

台風電車が止まった。
Taifū de densha ga tomatta.
The train stopped on account of the typhoon.

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

All About Japanese Particles: か (ka)

I. Indicates a question; found at the end of a sentence.

1. Indicates a simple question.

これはだれの傘です
Kore wa dare no kasa desu ka.
Whose umbrella is this?

明日のパーティーに行きます
Ashita no pātī ni ikimasu ka.
Are you going to the party tomorrow?

2. Indicates an inquiry about someone’s feelings or intentions or a suggestion about something: “how about.”

映画を見に行きません
Eiga o mi ni ikimasen ka.
How about going to see a movie?

佐藤さんに聞いてみたらどうです
Satō-san ni kiite mitara dō desu ka.
How about asking Satō?

3. Indicates a rhetorical question.

こんなにきれいな所が、ほかにあるだろう
Konna ni kirei na tokoro ga, hoka ni aru darō ka.
Is there another place as lovely this? / Where else could you find a place as lovely as this?

そんな悪い人がいるものです
Sonna warui hito ga iru mono desu ka.
Are there people around as bad [awful] as that?

4. Indicates anger or censure: “So you …?”

また今日も、遅れて来たんです
Mata kyō mo, okurete kita-n desu ka.
So you’re late again today?

まだこの仕事をしていないんです
Mada kono shigoto o shite inai-n desu ka.
You haven’t done [finished] this work yet?

*5. Indicates that someone is talking to him- or herself.

今日は月曜日
Kyō wa getsuyōbi ka.
Today’s Monday, is it?

そろそろ夏も終わり
Sorosoro natsu mo owari ka.
So summer’s almost over, huh? / Well, it looks like summer’s almost over.

II. Indicates a choice, doubt, uncertainty; found within a sentence.

1. Indicates a choice: “or, whether or not.”

コーヒー紅茶飲みたいですね。
Kōhī ka kōcha ka nomitai desu ne.
I’d sure like to drink some coffee or tea. / Some coffee or tea would be nice, wouldn’t it.

旅行に行く行かない、まだ決めていません。
Ryokō ni iku ka ikanai ka, mada kimete imasen.
I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to take a trip or not.

広田さんはお酒が飲めるどう聞いてみましょう。
Hirota-san wa osake ga nomeru ka dō ka kiite mimashō.
Let’s ask Hirota whether he drinks [alcoholic beverages] or not.

2. Indicates uncertainty about a state or reason: “I wonder.”

かぜをひいたの、頭が痛いんです。
Kaze o hiita no ka, atama ga itai-n desu.
I wonder if I’ve caught a cold—my head hurts. / I’ve got a headache. Maybe I’ve caught a cold.

試験があるの、みんな図書館で勉強していますよ。    
Shiken ga aru no ka, minna tosho-kan de benkyo shite imasu yo.
I wonder if there’s a test—everyone’s studying at the library.

3. Used with an interrogative word, indicating such meanings as “something, anything; someone, anyone.”

だれか山田さんの電話番号を知っています
Dare ka Yamada-san no denwa-bangō o shitte imasu ka.
Does anyone know Yamada’s telephone number

冷たいものが飲みたい。
Nani ka tsumetai mono ga nomitai.
I want to drink something cold. / I’d like something cold to drink.

4. Following other particles, indicates uncertainty or doubt. See also to ka (#9).

山田さんという人から電話がありました。
Yamada-san to ka iu hito kara denwa ga arimashita.
There was a call from someone called Yamada or something or other.

彼女は、デパートでブティックで、どちらかで買物をしたいと言っていました。
Kanojo wa, depāto de ka butikku de ka, dochira ka de kaimono o shitai to itte imashita.
She said she wanted to do some shopping, at a department store or a boutique I think it was.

5. In the idiomatic expression ka … -nai uchi ni: “hardly had, no sooner had.”

駅に着く着かないうちに電車が来た。
Eki ni tsuku ka tsukanai uchi ni densha ga kita.
I had hardly arrived at the station when the train came.

おふろに入る入らないうちに電話がなった。
Ofuro ni hairu ka hairanai uchi ni denwa ga natta.
No sooner had I gotten into the bath than the phone rang.

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

All About Japanese Particles: と (to)

I. Follows nouns; indicates such meanings as “and” and “with,” and sets off names.

1. Joins nouns, usually two or three (but not phrases and clauses): “and.” 

Note: Contrast with ya (#8, no. 1).

アランさんポールさんはフランス人です。
Aran-san to Pōru-san wa Furansu-jin desu.
Alain and Paul are French.

白いゆり赤いばらの花を買いましょう。
Shiroi yuri to akai bara no hana o kaimashō.
Let’s buy some white lilies and red roses.

2. Indicates a comparison or contrast: “and” or (when a choice is asked for) “or.”

Note: In this usage, to must follow each of the nouns.

この会社その会社では、資本金が違います。
Kono kaisha to sono kaisha to de wa, shihon-kin ga chigaimasu.
This company and that company have different amounts of capital.

りんごみかんどちらが好きですか。
Ringo to mikan to dochira ga suki desu ka.
Which do you like better, apples or mandarin oranges?

3. “Together, with.”

社長は部長食事をしています。
Shachō wa buchō to shokuji o shite imasu.
The company president is eating out with the division manager.

明日この問題について、先生話すつもりです。
Ashita kono mondai ni tsuite, sensei to hanasu tsumori desu.
Tomorrow I intend to discuss this problem with my teacher [instructor, doctor, lawyer, etc.].

*4. Indicates a change or result (commonly used in the phrase to naru)

Note: Ni (#13, no. 8) is also used in this pattern; to is more formal and is commonly used in writing.

オリンピックの開会式の日なった。
Orinpikku no kaikai-shiki no hi to natta.
The day of the opening ceremony of the Olympics arrived. (Lit., It became the day of the opening ceremony of the Olympics.)

今年の海外旅行者は、1000万人なった。
Kotoshi no kaigai-ryokōsha wa, issen-man-nin to natta.
[The number of] overseas travelers this year reached ten million.

*5. Following an expression of quantity, reinforces the negative idea of the sentence: “(not) as much as.”

あの山に登るには、2時間かかりません。
Ano yama ni noboru ni wa, ni-jikan to kakarimasen.
It won’t take as long as [won’t take even] two hours to climb that mountain.

あの会社とは2取引きをしたくない。
Ano kaisha to wa nido to torihiki o shitaku nai.
I don’t want to have dealings with that company ever again. (Lit., I don’t want to have dealings with that company two times [because I’ve dealt with them once already and know what they’re like].)

II. Used after onomatopoeic adverbs, or follows a word, clause, or sentence and precedes such verbs, as iu, kiku, and omou to indicate what someone said, asked, thought, etc.

1. Indicates what someone said, ordered, asked, etc.

山本さんが、あとで電話するおっしゃいました。
Yamamoto-san ga, ato de denwa suru to osshaimashita.
Yamamoto said that she would phone later.

母が先生によろしく申しておりました。
Haha ga sensei ni yoroshiku to mōshite orimashita.
Mother said to give her regards to you (who are my teacher, doctor, etc.).

渡辺さんが9時までに事務所に来るように、言っていました。
Watanabe-san ga kuji made ni jimu-sho ni kuru yō ni, to itte imashita.
Watanabe said that you should come to his office by nine o’clock. / Watanabe asked that you come to the office by nine o’clock.

2. Indicates what someone thinks or feels.

来年は、アメリカへ行こう考えています。
Rainen wa, Amerika e ikō to kangaete imasu.
I’m thinking of going to the United States next year.

電車は9時に出る思いましたが、10時でした。
Densha wa kuji ni deru to omoimashita ga, jūji deshita.
I thought the train would leave at nine o’clock, but [it left at] ten. / Or, I thought the train was going to leave [was scheduled to leave] at nine o’clock, but it turned out to be ten.

3. Indicates the name of something, about which an explanation follows; usually used when the name alone would not be under-stood. Always used in the form to iu (or some variation): “that (who, which) is called, known as.”

「世界」いう雑誌を知っていますか。
“Sekai’ to iu zasshi o shitte imasu ka.
Do you know the magazine Sekai?

ブリー・スカイズいうホテルに泊まりました。
Burii Sukaizu to iu hoteru ni tomarimashita.
I stayed at a hotel called Blue Skies.

まず、田中いう部長に書類をもらって下さい。
Mazu, Tanaka to iu buchō ni shorui o moratte kudasai.
First of all, get the documents from a section manager named Tanaka.

4. Used after onomatopoeic adverbs.

小川がさらさら、道のそばを流れていた。
Ogawa ga sarasara to, michi no soba o nagarete ita.
A sparkling brook flowed alongside the road.

星がきらきら輝いています。
Hoshi ga kirakira to kagayaite imasu.
The stars are twinkling.

III. Follows verbs and adjectives to form a conditional: “if, unless, whether or not.”

1. Indicates that a second action follows immediately upon the action preceding it; often used with sugu (immediately, right away): “as soon as.”

Note: -Tara (#35, no. 5) and nari (#46, no. 3) can be used here with much the same meaning.

朝起きるすぐ、カーテンを開けます。
Asa okiru to sugu, kāten o akemasu.
As soon as I get up in the morning, I open the curtains.

昨日は会社の仕事が終わる、まっすぐ家に帰った。
Kinō wa kaisha no shigoto ga owaru to, massugu ie ni kaetta.
Yesterday, as soon as work was over, I went home. / I went straight home after work yesterday.

2. Indicates the inevitability of a second action following the one preceding it: “when, as.”

日本では春になる桜が咲きます。
Nihon de wa haru ni naru to sakura ga sakimasu.
When spring comes in Japan, the cherry trees bloom. / In Japan, the cherry trees bloom with the coming of spring.

車が多くなる交通事項が増えます。
Kuruma ga ōku naru to kōtsū-jiko ga fuemasu.
As (the number of) cars increases, the (incidence of) traffic accidents rises. / The more cars there are, the more traffic accidents occur.

不景気になる失業者が増えます。
Fu-keiki ni naru to shitsugyō-sha ga fuemasu.
When there is a recession, the number of jobless increases.

3. Indicates a hypothetical condition: “if, unless.”

Note: -Ba (#34, no. 1) and -tara (#35, no. 1) have much the same meaning. Compare also -ba (#34, no. 2).

山田さんが来ない会議が始められません。
Yamada-san ga konai to kaigi ga hajimeraremasen.
If Yamada doesn’t come, the meeting can’t be started. / We can’t start the meeting unless Yamada comes.

明日、天気がいい野球ができます。
Ashita, tenki ga ii to yakyū ga dekimasu.
If the weather is good tomorrow, we can play baseball.

4. Indicates that something has been learned as a result of a certain action: “when, after, as a result of.”

Note: -Tara (#35, no. 4) can also be used with this meaning.

銀行へ行く、もう閉まっていた。
Ginkō e iku to, mō shimatte ita.
When I went to the bank, [I found] it was already closed.

交番で道を聞く、その会社はすぐ見つかった。
Kōban de michi o kiku to, sono kaisha wa sugu mitsukatta.
After asking the way at a police box, I found [located] the company right away.

5. Used with two verbs (either two different verbs ending in -yo/-o, or the same verb repeated, the first ending in -yo/-o, the second in the negative -mai); indicates a lack of concern over which of the two events occurs: “whether … or (not).”

「円」が強くなろう弱くなろう、私の生活には関係ありません。
“En” ga tsuyoku narō to yowaku narō to, watashi no seikatsu ni wa kankei arimasen.
Whether the yen gets stronger or grows weaker [rises or falls], it has no effect on my [daily] life.

彼女が一人でパーティーに行こう行くまい、私はかまいません。
Kanojo ga hitori de pati ni ikō to iku mai to, watashi wa kamaimasen.
I don’t care whether she goes to the party alone or not.

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

All About Japanese Particles: や (ya)

1. Joins nouns to indicate a non-exhaustive list of items: “such things as, and … and.”

Note: Ya implies that the items stated are taken as examples from a larger group of items. In contrast, to (#6, I-1) implies that the items stated are the only ones under consideration. Ya is often combined with nado (“and such”), reinforcing its basic meaning.

テーブルの上に、おすしやきとりてんぷらなどがあります。
Tēburu no ue ni, osushi ya yakitori ya tenpura nado ga arimasu.
On the table, there are such things as sushi, yakitori, and tempura.

私の部屋には、コンピューターステレオが置いてあります。
Watashi no heya ni wa, konpyūtā ya sutereo ga oite arimasu.
In my room there is a computer, a stereo, and such.

*2. In the idiomatic expression ya ina ya (following a verb root): as soon as, no sooner had.”

駅に着くいな、電車が出てしまった。
Eki ni tsuku ya ina ya, densha ga dete shimatta.
No sooner had I arrived at the station than the train left.

おふろに入るいな、電話が鳴った。
Ofuro ni hairu ya ina ya, denwa ga natta.
No sooner had I gotten into the bath than the phone rang.

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