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Particle types in Japanese

It is possible to classify particles into case particles, focus particles, conjunctional particles, and sentence-final particles.

Particle types in Japanese

1. Case particles

Case particles usually follow nouns and express the function of the noun in the sentence or in the phrase. More specifically, they express the relationship between nouns, or between a noun and a verb or an adjective. Case particles include ga, o, ni, no, de, e, kara, made, to, ya, and ka.

Chichi ga otōto o shikarimashita.
My father scolded my little brother.

Watashi no tomodachi no imōto ga kimashita.
My friend’s younger sister came (here).

2. Focus particles

Focus particles follow words and another particle in order to focus on the entity denoted by the word and express sentence-external information such as the speaker’s knowledge, understanding, mood, attitude, and perspective. Focus particles include wa, mo, bakari, sae, demo, dake, shika, shi, and koso.

カラオケによく行きます。 居酒屋いざかやよく行きます。
Karaoke ni wa yoku ikimasu. Izakaya ni mo yoku ikimasu.
I go to karaoke very often. I also go to izakaya very often.

Ichiman’en shika arimasen.
I have only 10,000 yen.

3. Conjunctional particles

Conjunctional particles follow phrases and clauses and conjoin verbs and adjectives or create adverbial phrases/clauses. Conjunctional particles include te, tari, tara, to, ka, ba, node, noni, kara, and ga.

Kinō wa tabete nonde nemashita.
I ate, drank, and slept yesterday.

Ashita no tenki wa dō ka wakarimasen ga, tabun hareru to omoimasu.
I’m not sure about tomorrow’s weather, but I think that it will probably be fine.

Tabako wa karada ni warui node, yamemashita.
Cigarettes are not good for health, so I quit.

4. Sentence-final particles

Sentence-final particles are placed at the end of a sentence and specify the function of the sentence or show the speaker’s mood, attitude, or subtle implications. Sentence-final particles include ka, ne, yo, and na.

Ii desu ka. (question)
Is it okay?

Ano hito wa kirei desu ne. (seeking agreement)
That person is pretty, isn’t she?

Kore wa dame desu yo. (emphasis)
This one is not good.

Ame wa furu kana. (speculation)
I wonder whether it will rain.


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