What are Japanese Conjunctions ? Setsuzokushi ? Sounding native doesn’t end with good grammar and vocabulary, it includes the ability of connecting multiple ideas in one sentence. Conjunctions DO matter!
What are Japanese Conjunctions?!
JapaneseConjunctions: Brief description
Since you are here, I have a pretty good feeling that you already have a pretty good grasp of the basics. In today’s blog, we will mainly be discussing 接続詞 (setsuzokushi: conjunctions). Conjunctions are the part of speech that links and joins words, phrases and clauses in one or more sentences. A few common English examples are and, or, then, thus, while… and so much more! Although Japanese conjunctions are pretty much have similar functions to English conjunctions, Japanese conjunctions are a bit more complicated because of the different variations of sentence orders and construction of Nihongo in general. We will be discussing numerous common conjunctions and their application. It might get a bit confusing along the way so 頑張ってください！(Ganbatte kudasai: do your best!)
To be completely honest with you, there are so many Japanese conjunctions out there so I honestly doubt we can teach you all of them! BUT we will try to teach you the most common ones used in everyday conversations. Since the english translations can be quite confusing as is, we will add sentence examples to help you out. Make sure to practice these conjunctions by using them in different sentences. Good luck!
This is quite a simple conjunction that has the same function as “or” in English. The only difference is how you put a “ka” at the end of the sentence as well, to signify that it is a question.
Dochira ga tsukaitai desu ka? Enpitsu ka pen ka?
Which one do you want to use? Pencil or pen?
|And (more than 2 things)||To, Ya||と、や|
|And, then, after that (sequence)||Soshite, Sorekara||そして、それから|
|And (connecting 2 adjectives)||-kute, -de||〜くて、〜で|
|And (and also…)||Soreni, soshite, sorekara||それに, そして, それから|
These two are probably the most common and easy conjunctions to use. These are mainly used to connect two or more nouns. と is used for complete lists of nouns, while や is used for incomplete lists and serves as “and etc./and more”.
Kaban to shatsu wo kaimashita.
I bought a bag and a shirt.
Kaban ya shatsu wo kaimashita.
I bought a bag, a shirt and more. (but did not mention the rest)
These still function as “and” but is used to relay sequences of events and are the same as using て(mainly used in short sentences) in a sentence. They pretty much have the same function except それから can be used as “since then/afterward” as well.
Tokei wo kaimashita, soshite kyou sore wo naku shimashita.
I bought a watch and lost it today.
Ni nen mae nihon ni hikkoshi shimashita. Sore kara nihongo wo benkyou shiteimasu.
I moved to Japan 2 years ago. Since then, I have been studying Japanese.
These 2 connecting conjunctions mainly connect adjectives and serves as an “and”. 〜くて is used for an i-keiyoushi(i-adjectives) while 〜で is used for na-keiyoushi(na-adjectives). For 〜くて, you simply take away the last “i” and replace it with くて and for 〜で, you just add it to the end of your na-adjective.
Sono pasokon wa yasukute, hayakute, atarashii desu.
That laptop is cheap, fast and new.
Sono eiga wa kirei de yuumei deshita.
That movie was beautiful and famous.
それに, そして, それから
These still have the usage of “and” and functions as し, where it is used to list multiple things.
Sensei wa yasashii. Soshite kirei desu.
My teacher is kind and beautiful.
Kaban no naka wa pen, saifu, sore ni komakai okane ga arimasu.
There is a pen, wallet, and change in the bag.
Watashi wa kyabetsu o kire masu. Soshite, bensan wa sakana o junbi shimasu.
I will slice the cabbages and Ben will prepare the fish.
|Because, since, so||Dakara, nanode, sonotame (ni)||だから, なので, そのため （に）, から|
だから, なので, そのため （に）, から
As indicated above, these conjunctions have the function of giving reason, closely similar to the functions of “because” and “so” in English.
Furui kara kaimasen.
It’s old so I didn’t buy it.
Kinou tsukareta sugiru desu. Sono tame ni, kyou wa yasumi desu.
I was too tired yesterday. That's why today is my day off.
Kinou tsukareta tame ni, kyou wa yasumi desu.
I was tired yesterday so today is my day off.
|But, however||Ga, kedo, keredo, keredomo||が, けど, けれど, けれども|
が, けど, けれど, けれども,でも
These mainly have a connecting function much similar to the English “but”, where two conflicting phrases are joined together.
Kono pasokon wa benri demo ookii sugiru desu.
This laptop is convenient but too big.
Nihon ni ryokou shitai ga okane ga nai desu.
I want to travel to Japan but I don’t have money.