Every Japanese particle has many purposes and uses. Sadly, such particles cannot be explained in one article, due to many different types and varieties, since they are used in different situations and different times .

12 Most frequently used Japanese Particles Perfect Guide

1.Particle : Ga が

The particle が (ga) marks the subject of a sentence when it is first introduced to a conversation.

白い犬が好きです。
Shiroi inu ga suki desu.
I like white dogs (as opposed to liking other colors of dogs).

2.Particle : は wa(ha)

This particle is used when you want to mark your sentence’s subject. は (Wa) also emphasize what is being said or told about the subject. Although the topic of your sentence could be a noun or a person, は (Wa) can also be used at the end of other things such as verb phrases.

(JP)白い犬は好きです。
(EN)Shiroi inu wa suki desu
You like white dogs, as opposed to other colors of dogs.

What Japanese Particle Do I Use: は and が

These are likely to be the particles you are struggling with the most. And that’s okay. If you aren’t struggling, I admire you a lot, because は (wa) and が (ga) tend to be the two particles that trip English speakers up.

What Particle Do I Use : Difference は and が

3.Particle : を (o) wo

The particle を (o) is used to mark your sentence’s object. In any case or time, whether it is physical or metaphysical, it is directly acted upon in a sentence which again can be marked with を (o). To put it simply, the particle を (o) follows nouns and noun phrases.

(JP)紅茶を飲みます。
(EN)Koucha o(wo) nomimasu.
I drink black tea.

4.Particle : も (mo)

The particle means “also” or “too”. も (mo) is usually placed after the noun(s). It can be replaced with は (wa). In addition, も (mo) can be used before verbs in the –te form verbs (even if [verb]…).

(JP)私も日本語を勉強しています。
(EN)Watashi mo Nihongo wo benkyou shite imasu.
I am also studying Japanese.

5.Particle : から (kara)

When the Japanese particle から (kara) is placed directly after a noun or a certain time phrase, it usually means “from”.

アメリカから来ました。
Amerika kara kimashita.
I come from America.

6.Particle : まで (made)

In the case of the Japanese particle まで (made), it described a period of time. In general, the Japanese particle まで (made) was defined as “until”. Grammatically, it is usually attached to the end of nouns and dictionary form of verbs.

この授業は1時半から3時までです。
Kono jyugyo wa ichi ji han kara san ji made desu.
This class is from 1:30 until 3:00.

Japanese particles : Kara (から) and Made (まで)

  • Kara is usually translated into English as “from” or “since.” Like ni, it has other uses, and this use can apply to things like time as well. But to use it in an example for directions, let’s look at our train station example from before.
  • Made marks an ending point, so we can translate it as “until,” “up to,” or “as far as.” This particle can also be used with time, but we’re just going to look at our train station example again. You can say “Eki made ikimashita” (駅まで行きました), which would mean “I went as far as the train station.”

7.Particle : に (ni)

First, let’s take a look at に. This particle has a lot of uses, and it can be translated as “at,” “to,” “on,” or even other English words, depending on context. I’m going to break these down into the seven different uses my grammar book has listed.

に (ni) is one of the particles that is the most multi-purpose. Since its purpose varies in the situation, we will discuss three types: as “at”, “in”, “on” and “to”, as an indication of time, and as an indication of motion.

京都に住んでいます。
Kyoto ni sunde imasu.
I am living in Kyoto.

8.Particle : へ (e)

Using with verbs of motion is one of the many functions that に (ni) has, but へ (e) is also used with verbs of motion but not as much. In most cases, sentences with a verb of motion and に (ni) can be replaced with へ (e), with few changes in the sentence’s meaning as a whole. However, に (ni) is more of a utilitarian word, compared to へ (e) which is more of a vague

京都へ行きます。
Kyoto e ikimasu.
I will head for Kyoto.

So how does へ fit into all of this? First of all, remember that へ as a particle is pronounced “e,” even though it is written as “he.” 

When I learned these particles, I learned that に showed direction with a very specific endpoint while へ showed a more general direction (“towards” rather than “to”). But that’s kind of not true. 

Japanese people will use へ and に almost interchangeably with the 4th and 7th uses I gave above. Those would be the “direct contact” and “direction” uses. It’s mostly just based on personal preference with your speaking style. 

The one rule is that you can’t put “no” (の) after に, so you need to use へ in those situations. So you could say

“Tokyo e no basu” (東京へのバス), meaning “the bus going to Tokyo,” 

9.Particle : で (de)

The particle で (de) much like に (ni), focuses on the location of a certain action. However, で (de) tends to be used when the verb is an action rather than に (ni), which focuses more when the verb has relations with just being or existing.

図書館で本を読みました。
Toshokan de hon o yomimashita.
I read a book at the library.

The Particles can be kind of tricky sometimes, but if you practice and study, you’ll be able to get them down. Then you’ll be sounding like a native in no time.

で can mark a location. This is one of the most common ways for you to use the particle で. It’s also the easiest one to remember. 

The tricky part with this is just remembering that this is not a directional particle. It marks a specific place where something happened. So if you met your friend at the train station you can say

“Eki de aimashita” (駅で会いました).

A lot of times, で can be translated as “at” in this situation, but not always. It can sometimes be other words like “on” or “in.” で also can’t mark a location of existence. You have to use に (ni) for marking location with the verbs いる (iru) and ある (aru). 

The Japanese Particle で(de) – Something That Is Used

This use goes along best with my first translation, “by means of.” で can indicate something that is used to do the verb. It could be an instrument, means, material, time, or money. Let’s look at some examples for this one.

For an instrument (not necessarily music here), you could say you went somewhere by bus. You would say

“Basu de ikimashita” (バスで行きました). 

You could also translate this as “I went by means of the bus.” Again, it’s clunky in English, but it is easy to understand. 

10.Particles: と (to)

The Japanese particle と (to) is generally used to express “and” when wanting to list two or more objects. In addition, the Japanese particle と (to) can also be used after a certain person’s name, in order to indicate that you were with that certain person.

卵と牛乳を買いました。
Tamago to gyunyu o kaimashita.
I bought eggs and milk.
友達と夕食を食べました。
Tomodachi to yuushoku o tabemashita.
I ate dinner with my friend.

11.Particles: や (ya)

The particle や (ya) is similar to と (to), in which it links two or more items in a list. The key difference is that the や (ya) is vaguer than と (to). While the Japanese particle と (to) implies that a list is concise or complete, や (ya) implies that the list may be incomplete, or that the things listed could perhaps be examples.

パンや焼き菓子をよく作ります。
Pan ya yakigashi o yoku tsukurimasu.
I often make bread and baked sweets.

12.Particles: の (no)

The Japanese particle の (no) is one of the most versatile particles in the Japanese grammar. Both informal and semi-formal Japanese, の (no) is used primarily to express a ownership. In informal Japanese, の (no) can also be placed at the end of a sentence to express a question or an explanation.

私の犬は小さくて白いです。
Watashi no inu wa chiisakute shiroi desu
My dog is small and white.

Our Japanese particles articles

Sentence Ending Particles: The Punctuation of Japanese
What Particle Do I Use: Directions
What Japanese Particle Do I Use: Lists
Japanese Particles も Mo and と To
Let’s Learn Particles は (wa), を (o), and も (mo)
Let’s Study Japanese Particles: に (ni), へ (e), and で (de) !
Let’s Learn Japanese Particles: が (ga), から (kara), and まで (made) !
How to use Japanese particles: と (to), や (ya), and の (no)
Japanese Direction Particles: へ(e) vs. に(ni)
The Japanese Particle で(de)
Japanese Particles – 助詞について

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