All About Japanese Particles: さ (sa)

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1. Softens an assertion. Used mostly by men.

明日の高橋さんのパーティーには、もちろん行く
Ashita no Takahashi-san no pātī ni wa, mochiron iku sa.
I’m going to Takahashi’s party tomorrow, of course.

それより、こっちのセーターの方が大きい
Sore yori, kotchi no sētā no hō ga ōkii sa.
This sweater’s bigger than that one, I’d say.

2. Indicates a critical response to something.

あんな無能な社員を入れるから、会社が伸びたいの
Anna munō na shain o ireru kara, kaisha ga nobitai no sa.
It’s because they hire incompetent people like him that the company doesn’t grow.

あの人のやりそうなこと
Ano hito no yarisō na koto sa.
It’s something he would do./ It’s  just like him.

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


Introduction

All About Japanese Particles: な (na)

[Serie: All About Japanese Particles]

1. Indicates emotion. Mostly used by men.

Note: Na in this usage is often lengthened to .

あの人はすばらしいなあ
Ano hito wa subarashii .
She’s really great [something]!

きれいな星だなあ
Kirei na hoshi da .
What a beautiful star!

2. Ask for another person’s agreement. Used by men.

あの車は新車だよ
Ano kuruma wa shinsha da yo na.
That’s a new car, right? / That’s a new car, I bet.

あそこは寒い
Asoko wa samui na.
It’s cold there, isn’t it.

3. Softens the effect of an assertion.

あの人はなかなか立派な人だと思う
Ano hito wa nakanaka rippa na hito da to omou na.
I really think [I’d say] that he is a fine, upstanding person.

この映画はよくなかった
Kono eiga wa yoku nakatta na.
This movie just wasn’t very good.

4. Softens a command or request (first example, a woman speaking with typical kudasai na pattern; second example, a man).

成田まで行ってください
Narita made itte kudasai na.
Narita [Airport], please [if you please].

明日必ず来い
Ashita kanarazu koi na.
Be sure to come tomorrow.

5. Indicates a prohibition. Used by men.

絶対にあいつに会う
Zettai ni aitsu ni au na.
Stay away from that bum, you hear./ Keep clear of that guy.

もうあのバーに行く
Mō ano bā ni iku na.
Don’t go to that bar ever again!/ No more going to that bar, hear.

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


Introduction

All About Japanese Particles: かしら (kashira)

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Note: The usages of kashira are essentially the same as those of ka na, except that they are mostly employed by women.

1. Indicates uncertainly: “I wonder.”

社長さん、今日何時に会社へいらっしゃいますかしら
Shachō-san, kyō nanji ni kaisha e irasshaimasu kashira.
I wonder what time the president will come to the office today.

この機械の使い方、ご存じでいらっしゃいますかしら
Kono kikai no tsukaikata, gozonji de irasshaimasu kashira.
I wonder if you’re acquainted with how this machine is run.

2. Indicates a question to oneself: “I wonder.”

もう帰ってもいいのかしら
Mō kaette mo ii kashira.
I wonder if it’s all right to leave now [if I can leave now].

こんなすてきなプレゼントをもらって、いいのかしら
Konna suteki na purezento o moratte, ii no kashira.
I wonder if I should accept such a lovely present. /Oh, you shouldn’t have. /Oh, what a lovely present! I don’t deserve it.

3. Indicates a hope or muted request: “I wonder.”

今晩私の宿題を手伝ってくれるかしら
Komban watashi no shukudai o tetsudatte kureru kashira.
I wonder if you would help me with my homework tonight. /Do you think you could help me with my homework tonight?

コンピューターの使い方、教えていただけるかしら
Konpyūtā no tsukaikata, oshiete itadakeru kashira.
I wonder if you could teach me how to operate the computer./ Could you possibly teach me how to operate the computer?

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


Introduction

All About Japanese Particles: かな (kana)

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Note: Used principally by men; the women’s equivalent of ka na is kashira (#58).

1. Indicates uncertainly: “I wonder.”

課長、何時に来るかな
Kachō, nanji ni kuru ka na.
What time’s the section chief coming, I wonder.

多賀君は、この仕事できるかな
Taga-kun wa, kono shigoto dekiru ka na.
I wonder if Taga can do this job. / Could Taga handle this job? I wonder.

2. Indicates a question to oneself: “I wonder.”

今日は何曜日だったかな
Kyō wa nan-yōbi datta ka na.
Hmm, what day is today?

田中さんと会うのは何時だったかな
Tanaka-san to au no wa nanji datta ka na.
Now, what time was is that I was going to meet Tanaka?

3. Indicates a hope or muted request: “I wonder.”

この仕事、頼んでいいかな
Kono shigoto, tanonde ii ka na.
I wonder if I could ask [you to do] this job. /Can I ask you to take care of this work?

明日の朝早く会社に来てもらえるかな
Ashita no asa hayaku kaisha ni kite moraeru ka na.
I wonder if you could come to the office early tomorrow morning. /Could you come to the office early tomorrow morning.

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


Introduction

All About Japanese Particles: わ (wa)

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Note: (1) This wa is writen with the kana わ (or ワ), as opposed to は (or ハ), used for particle #1. (2) Wa is used mainly by women.

1. Indicates emotion or feeling of admiration.

今夜のオペラは、本当にすばらしかった
Kon’ya no opera wa, hontō ni subarashikatta wa.
The opera tonight was absolutely fabulous.

この生け花は見事です
Kono ikebana wa migoto desu wa.
This flower arrangement is simply splendid!

2. Softens the tone of a statement.

ほかの店で買った方がいいと思う
Hoka no mise de katta hō ga ii to omou wa.
I think it would be better to buy it at another store. / I think you had better buy it at another store.

私の方が悪かったわ。ごめんなさい
Watashi no hō ga warukatta wa. Gomen nasai ne.
It was all my fault. I’m so sorry.

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


Introduction

All About Japanese Particles: よ (yo)

[Serie: All About Japanese Particles]

1.Urges a course of action

もうだいぶ歩いたから、この辺でちょっと休もう
Mō daibu aruita kara, kono hen de chotto tasumou yo.
Let’s take a break about here, gyus. We’re already walked quite a bit.

あの展覧会へ行ってみましょう
Ano tenran-kai e itte mimashō yo.
Come on, let’s go to that exhibition.

2. Indicates a request (somewhat stronger than ne, #54, no. 3)

この仕事はあなたしかできませんから、ぜひお願いします
Kono shigoto wa anata shika dekimasen kara, zehi onegai shimasu yo.
You’re the only one who can handle this job, so I really want you to take it on.

私の家にも来てください
Watashi no ie ni mo kite kudasai yo.
Come to my house, too.

3. Indicates a statement of certainty

いえ、恵子は小学校を去年出ましたから、もう13歳です
Ie, Keiko wa shōgakkō o kyonen demashita kara, mō jūsan-sai desu yo.
No, Keiko graduated from elementary school last year, so she’s already thirteen years old, you see.

今日は金曜日です
Kyō wa kin’yōbi desu yo.
Today is Friday, you know. (Stated, for example, after someone has claimed otherwise.)

4. Indicates scolding or comtempt.

あの人は仕事ができないわ
Ano hito wa shigoto ga dekinai wa yo.
He just can’t do the work!

Note: Here, the combination of wa yo indicates that a woman is speaking. See #56.

谷さん、そんな悪いことをしてはいけません
Tani-san, sonna warui koto o shite wa ikemasen yo.
Tani, you shouldn’t do anything [bad] like that!

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


Introduction

All About Japanese Particles: ね (ne)

[Serie: All About Japanese Particles]

SENTENCE-ENDING PARTICLES

There are many sentence-ending particles in Japanese. Used commonly in the spoken language, these particles, along with the tone of voice in which they are used, help convey emotional nuances, often without actually altering in any way the explicit content of the sentence: e.g., onegai shimasu, onagai shimasu ne, and onegai shimasu yo are all similar in that they express a request, but are softened or emphasizes by the appended particle. Further more, certain sentence-ending particles are used predominantly by men, others by women. Some particles have both end-of-sentence and mid-sentence usages, such as ga, ka, kara, made, no, keredomo, no ni, kuse ni, -tara, mono o, tomo, yara.

Note: Ne is sometimes pronounced nē.

1. Indicates emotion or feelings of admiration

きれいな花ねぇ
Kirei na hana .
What a pretty flower!

すばらしい演奏だったわ
Subarashii ensō datta wa ne.
That was such a wonderful concert.

Note: here, wa indicates that a woman is speaking.

2. Indicates agreemant with the other person

本当にそうです
Hontō ni sō desu ne.
Yes, that’s quite true./ That’s so true.

おっしゃる通りです
Ossharu tōri desu ne.
Yes, it’s just as you say. / You’re quite right.

3. Softens a request.

できればぜひお願いします
Dekireba zehi onegai shimasu ne.
If possible, please be sure to [do it]./ If you would [do that], I’d surely appreciate it.

必ず手紙をくださいね。
Kanarazu tegami o kudasai ne.
Be sure to write [me a letter].

4. Indicates a request for confirmation.

あの本、持って来て下さったでしょうね。
Ano hon, motte kite kudasatta deshō ne.
You brought me that book, didn’t you [as I asked you to]?/ I suppose you brought that book for me.

原田さん、今日来ると言ったんです
Harada-san, kyō kuru to itta desu ne.
Harada said that he’d be coming today, right?/ It was today wasn’t it, that Harada said he would come.

5. Indicates a mild assertion of, or variance in, opinion.

そうですか
Sō desu ka ne.
Oh, is that so? / I wonder. / You think so?

本当にそんなこと起こったんでしょうか
Hontō ni sonna koto okotta-n deshō ka ne.
Hmm, I wonder if that’s what actually happened [if something like that really happened].

6. Indicates a mild assertion.

あの人たち、何を考えているのかわかりません
Ani hitotachi, nano o kangaete iru no ka wakarimasen ne.
I just can’t understand what they’re thinking about [what’s going on in their minds].

私は北海道のほうが寒いと思うんですけど
Watashi wa hokkaidō no hō ga samui to omou-n desu kedo ne.
I would think that Hokkaido is colder.

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


Introduction

All About Japanese Particles: こそ (koso)

[Serie: All About Japanese Particles]

*1. Adds emphasis to the word preceding it.

来年こそ、ヨーロッパへ旅行したいと思っています。
Rainen koso, Yōroppa e ryokō to omotte imasu.
Next year for certain, I am thinking of making a trip to Europe./
Next year for sure, U hope to make a trip to Europe.

今度こそ、頑張りましょう。
Kondo koso, ganbarimashō
Let’s give it our best this time.

2. In the idiomatic expression kochira koso: “not at all, the pleasure is all mine.”

どうもありがとうございます。
こちらこそ
Dōmo arigatō gozaimashita.
Koshira koso.
Thank you very much.
The pleasure is all mine. (Lit., It is precise mu [who should be thanking you].)

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


Introduction

All About Japanese Particles: すら (sura)

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*1. “Even”

Note: This more fomal equivalent of sae (#51, No. 1) is seen most often in negative sentences.

山田さんは英語の教師なのに、日常会話すらできない。
Yamada-san wa Eigo kyōshi na no ni, nichijō-kaiwa sura dekinai.
Althought Yamada is an English teacher, she can’t even carry on an ordinary conversation.

山で救助された人たちは、疲労で動くことすらできなかった。
Yama de kyūjo sareta hitotachi wa, hirō de ugoku koto sura dekinakatta.
The people rescued in the mountains were so exhausted the couldn’t even more.

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


Introduction

All About Japanese Particles: さえ (sae)

[Serie: All About Japanese Particles]

1. “Even.”

Note: This usage is similar to de mo (#5, no. 2), but is more emphatic.

その問題は先生でさえ答えられなかった。
Sono mondai wa sensei de sae kotaerarenakatta.
Even the teacher couldn’t answer that [test] question.

そんな簡単なことは、子供でさえ知っていますよ。
Sonna kantan na koto wa, kodomo de sae shitte imasu yo.
Even a child knows such a simple thing! / A mere child would know something as simple as that.

2. In the form sae … -tara or sae … -ba, implies that if something additional is (had been) done, a positive outcome will occur (would have accurred): “if only.”

もう5分さえあったら、飛行機に間に合ったのに…
Mō gofun sae attara, hikō-ki ni ma ni atta no ni…
If we had only five more minutes, we would have been on time for the flight.

健ちゃんは頭がいいんですから、勉強さえすればいい大学に入れますよ。
Ken-chan wa atama ga ii-n desu kara, benkyō sae sureba ii daigaku ni hairemasu yo.
Ken has a good head on his shoulders, so if he only studies, he’ll be able to get into a good university.

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


Introduction