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Japanese Particles Showing Connections between Words

Japanese Particles Showing Connections between Words

1. と (to)

2. も (mo)

3. も…も (mo…mo)

4. や

5. や…や…など (ya…ya…nado)

6. に (ni)

7. とか (toka)

8. やら (yara)

9. て (te)

10a-b. たり…たり (-tari…-tari)

11. ては (tewa)

1. と (to)

Indicates a connection between nouns that form a list of two or more items.  The list is complete ; that is, there are no other items that could be added to it (which contrasts to some of the other particles given in this section, which present partial lists that could be added to if the speaker chose to do so). に (6) is similar to と in that it presents a complete list, but it has a more formal sound to it. English equivalent “and.”

i) 教室きょうしつには先生せんせい生徒せいとがいます。

There are students and a teacher in the classroom.

ii) 大統領だいとうりょう副大統領ふくだいとうりょうがその会議かいぎ出席しゅっせきした。

The President and the Vice President attended that meeting.

2. も (mo)

Indicates that the noun it follows is connected (or similar) in some way to something else already mentioned. The first item was not followed by も; the second item is. Compare this with も• • •も (3), where both of the items to be mentioned are given in the same sentence and each is followed by も. English equivalent: “also,” “too.”

i) 山田やまださんは、来月らいげつ米国べいこくきます。私ちかいうちにくつもりです。

Yamada-san is going to the United States next month. I also plan to go before long.




Hiroko: Is Kaori also coming to the concert tomorrow?

Miho: No, she won’t be coming.

3. も…も (mo…mo)

Like と (1), も…も indicates that a connection exists between nouns that form a  complete list  of two or more items, but unlike と, も…も places  emphasis on each of the items . It is identical to も (2) except that here both items are followed by も, whereas in 2 only the second item is followed by it . English equivalent: “both.”

i) 私はみかんりんごきです。

I like both mikan oranges and apples.

ii) この手紙てがみを松本さんに、谷さんにおくるつもりだ。

I intend to send this letter both to Matsumoto-san and to Tani-san.

4. や (ya)

Indicates that a connection exists between two or more nouns that form a list of items. や is therefore similar to と (to) and も…も (mo mo), but it is different in that  the list could be added  to if the speaker wished to do so: that is, the list is only a partial list. English equivalent: ” … and … and … and such” or “things like … and ….”

i) かれ昨晩さくばん、ビール日本酒にほんしゅをかなりんだらしい。

Last night he apparently drank a lot of beer, sake, and other stuff.

ii) 昨日きのうものって、セーターくつった。

Yesterday I went shopping and bought a sweater, shoes, and some other things.

5. や…や…など (ya…ya…nado)

Indicates connections between nouns forming a  list that could be added  to if the speaker chose to do so. It is identical to や (4), except for the inclusion of など (“et cetera,” “and so forth”), which emphasizes the fact that the list is partial. English equivalent: ” … and … et cetera.”

i) 宴会えんかい料理りょうりは、てんぷら、すし、さしみなどだった。

The food at the party was tempura, sushi, sashimi, etc.

ii) 昨夜さくやのコンサートの曲目きょくもくは、シューマンショパンシューベルトなどだった。

The music at the last night’s concert included Schumann, Chopin, and Schubert.

6. に (ni)

Like と (1), indicates a connection between two or more nouns to form a  list that is complete  in itself (unless, of course, the list ends with など [nado, “et cetera”; 5] as in the second example below), but this particle differs from と in that it has a  formal  resonance. English equivalent: “and.”




Tanaka: What famous professors are there at this university?

Suzuki: Well, I suppose that would be Professor Fujiwara of the economics faculty, Professor Tahara of the law faculty, and Professor Yukawa of the science faculty.




Customer: What do you recommend today?

Waitress: How about fish, such as trout and flatfish?

7. とか (toka)

Indicates a connection between nouns, adjectives, and verbs to form a  partial list of examples that could be added  to if the speaker wished to do so. In that way, it is similar to や (4), but it is different in that it is more casual and in that や only connects nouns. とか is also similar to だの (dano) in casually connecting nouns, adjectives, and verbs in a partial list however, with the items given in the list often have a negative impact. とか is often followed by the verb する at the end of the clause or sentence, which is also the case with たり…たり… (10). Eng,lish equivalent: “and … and … and so on.”

i) やすみのには、いえほんとか、テレビをとかしています。

I spend my holidays at home reading books, watching TV, and stuff.




Takashi: What kind of books did you read when you were a student?

Mitsuko: Let me see. I read a lot of Soseki Natsume and Ryunosuke Akutagawa and so on.

8. やら (yara)

Connects nouns, adjectives, and verbs in a  partial list . It is similar to とか (7) in this respect but different in that the items it lists indicate a somewhat  confused or disorganized  state of affairs. English equivalent: “… and … and who knows what.”




Yuka: How was the trip to Kyoto?

Tamami: It was interesting. But I saw so many temples, shrines, and stuff that I got tired.




Kenji: Did you drink yesterday?

Yoshihiko: What with drinking whiskey, shochu, beer, and who knows what, I’ve got a terrible hangover today.

9. て (te)

Connects two or more verbs or adjectives that are similar in grammatical function and that present a  complete list  of two or more items that cannot be added to. This contrasts with the particles 710, which play a role in presenting partial lists. The て form can also indicate a reason or cause. English equivalent: “and.”

i) そらあお太陽たいようかがやいている。

The sky is blue and the sun is shining.

ii) 明日あしたはデパートでものをし映画えいがをみようとおもっています。

Tomorrow I’m thinking of shopping at a department store and going to see a movie.

10a. たり…たり (tari…tari…)

Indicates that two or more verbs or adjectives have the same grammatical function and are connected by the たり form to constitute one set. In this way, it is similar to the て (-te) form discussed in 9 in connecting verbs or adjectives, but it is different in that this form hints that  there are other verbs or adjectives which could be added to the list  if one wished to. たり…たり is often followed by the verb する (suru), and in this respect is similar to とか (7). The たり form is made by adding り to the plain past form of a verb or adjective. English equivalent: “and … etc.”

i) 日曜日にちようびはゴルフをしたり、テニスをしたりしてごします。

I spend Sundays playing golf, tennis, and doing other stuff.

ii) 旅行中りょこうちゅうは、美術館びじゅつかんたり、お土産みやげたりしました。

On the trip I did things like go to museums and buy presents to take back home.

10b. たり…たり (tari…tari…)

Indicates that two verbs or adjectives are connected to show a  repetition  of opposite actions or effects. This is similar to ては (11) in connecting verbs, but in たり…たり the verbs are not as tightly bound in terms of time or cause and effect.

i) 今週こんしゅうさむかったりあつかったりします。

This week, it’s been hot and cold, hot and cold.

ii) そんなにまどたりたりしないでください。

Could you stop opening and closing the window like that?

11. ては (tewa)

Connects two verbs whose actions are  repeated and follow closely on one another . This closeness differentiates ては from たり…たり (10b), which can also show repeated actions. ては is also often followed by the verb する (suru). English equivalent: “and.”

i) 最近仕事が忙しくて、休日は疲れて、食べては寝て、食べては寝て、するだけだ。

These days I am so busy, and I am tired on the holidays, so I just eat and sleep, eat and sleep.

ii) あかちゃんは、ミルクをんではてはんで、だんだん大きくなっていくんですよ。

The baby drinks its milk and goes to sleep, goes to sleep and drinks its milk, and little by little grows bigger.

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