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Particles part 1

09/24/07

Particles part 1

  11:52:54 am, Categories: Japanese Language , Tags: japanese, particles

Last time we talked about the basic sentence structure in Japanese. Two important things about the Japanese sentence structure is that the subject comes first, and the verb comes last. Now we will talk a bit more about a few particles which have a direct impact on our sentence structure.

1. '-wa': the subject particle: は (note that -wa is written with the hiragana of 'ha', not 'wa')
- used to indicate the subject of a sentence. It is used to put emphasis on the thing we are talking about when it might not be clear or there is a change in subject.

2. '-ga': the subject particle: が
- subject being talked about without putting special emphasis.
- also a weak condition between two sentences.

3. '-o': the object particle: を (note -o is written with the hiragana of 'wo' not 'o')
- used to mark the object of the sentence.

4. '-ni': this particle has several meanings: に
- used to mark the place/endpoint we are going to.
- used to indicate the place where something/someone exists/is
- time at which something takes place, of which this time can be expressed as a number

5. '-de': this particle has also several meanings: で
- used to indicate the place where something takes place (-de is used for an action, -ni is used for existance)
- used to mark the means or the thing that is used to do something
- time when something ends
- to indicate how much time something has taken

6. '-ka': the question particle: か
- mostly placed behind the verb, which makes the sentence a question. a question mark is actually not needed.

Remarks:
These are only a few of the meanings that -ni and -de can have, but these are the easiest and frequently used. Here are some examples of their usage:
-ni used for where we are going to, -de used for how we are going there and to indicate how much time it takes and -ka used for question
Watashi-wa Toukyou-ni densha-de ikimasu. Donokurai desu-ka? Ni-ji-de densha-de desu.
I'm going to Tokyo by train. How long is it? (How much time does it take to get there?) (It takes) two hours.

-de used as the place where the action takes place
Yamada-san-wa itsumo uchi-de benkyou shimasu.
Mr. Yamada always works at home.

-ni and -de are both used for specifying the location, but -ni gives the location where something/something exists/is, and -de gives the location where something/the action takes place

Vocab recap:
donokurai: how long
uchi: house
itsumo: always
benkyou suru: to study
-ji: .. hours

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