Japanese Particles: What Are They and How to Use Them

Japanese particles shows the relationship of a word, a phrase, or a clause, to the rest of the sentence.  If you have trouble keeping all the particles straight, the chart below will illuminate you by explaining how to perfectly use them.

A List of Japanese Particles

は (ha) “is the topic marking particle in Japanese and it usually follows a noun. Its purpose is to introduce the topic of a sentence. Hence, the noun before “は” is the focus of the sentence. When used as the topic marker, “は” is no longer pronounced as “ha” but “wa”.

1. indicates the subject of the existence

部屋には机あります。(JP1: Existence 1)

(There is a table in the room.)

2. indicates the secondary subject (Features/Local Characteristics) of the sentence

姉の目小さいです。(JP1: Adjective 4)

(My sister’s eyes are small.)

3. indicates the subject of a question sentence.

どこ病院ですか。(JP1: Public Area)

(Where is the hospital?)

4. indicates the preference/ability towards an object

私は海好きです。(JP1: Sports)

(I love the sea.)

1. indicates the object, direct object marking particle

読みます。(JP1: Verb1)

(I read a book.)

2. indicates the route/course of a motion verb.

飛びます。(JP1: Direction)

(I fly across the sky.)

1. indicates the location of an action

教室勉強します。(JP1: Daily Life)

(I study in a classroom.)

2. indicates the transports.

バスいきます。(JP1: Transportation)

(I go there by bus.)

3. indicates a tool or mean of an action

ラーメンを食べます。(JP1: Tableware)

(I eat Ramen with chopsticks)

4. indicates the total amount

この漫画は三冊1200円。(JP2: Particles)

(It costs 1200 yen for these 3 Manga books.)

5. indicates a period of time

この小説を一日読んでしまいたい。(JP2: Particles)

(I’d like to finish this novel in a day.)

6. indicates the range

果物の中でイチゴが一番好きです。(JP1: Compare 2)

(Among fruits, I like strawberries the most.)

7. indicates the reason/cause/factor

学校を休みました。(JP2: Environment)

(I didn’t go to school because of the rain.)

8. indicates the number of subjects carrying out an action

みんな掃除しましょう。(JP2: Particles)

(Let’s clean the room together!)

9. indicates what material something is made of (recognized visually)

この家は木作られる。(JP2: Passive Voice 3)

(This house is made of wood.)

1. indicates the place/location of the existence.

部屋は机があります。(JP1: Existence 1)

(There is a table in the room.)

2. indicates where the object of the verb is or is supposed to be

ここ名前を書いてください。 (JP1: Direction)

(Please sign your name here.)

3. indicates a specific time of an action

7時起きます。(JP1: Verb 2)

(I wake up at 7.)

4. indicates the purpose of an action

弟はアメリカへ留学し来ました。(JP1: Purpose)

(My brother came to the US to study.)

5. indicates the person (object) of an action

私は先生留学したいと言いました。(JP2: Communication)

(I told the teacher that I want to study abroad.)

6. indicates the frequency of something being done regularly

姉は一週間二回映画を見ます。(JP1: Frequency)

(My sister watches films twice a week.)

1. connects two nouns of equal importance

椅子。(JP1: Existence 1)

(Tables and Chairs)

2. quotes the words/thoughts of somebody

私は先生に留学したいと言いました。(JP2: Communication)

(I told the teacher that I want to study abroad.)

1. means “also” or “as well”

田中さん日本人です。(JP1: Gender)

(Mr. Tanaka is also a Japanese.)

2. means absolute negation

だれいません。(JP1: Negation)

(There is no one here.)

1. indicates possession or attribution

これは私本です。(JP1: Daily Supplies)

(This is my book.)

2. refers to a noun that has been previously mentioned in the context

ウエストがきついです。もう少し大きはありますか。(JP2: Shopping)

(The waist is too tight. Do you have a bigger one?)

3. turns a phrase into a subclause that acts as a noun in the sentence

一番欲しいはどれですか。(JP2: Nominalization 1)

(What do you want the most?)


1. indicates starting points of time or space

九時から五時まで働きます。(JP1: Transportation)

(I work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m..)

2. indicates what material something is made of (can’t be recognized visually)

ワインはぶどうから作られている。(JP2: Passive Voice 3)

(The wine is made from grapes.)

3. indicates the subject/starting point of an action

王さんからもらった食べ物です。(JP2: Humble Language)

(I got this food from Mr. Ou.)


1. indicates ending points of time or space

東京から大阪まで飛行機でいきます。(JP1: Transportation)

(I go to Osaka from Tokyo by air.)

1. indicates destination the subject is moving toward

日本行きます。(JP1: Travel)

(I go to Japan.)

That’s everything! You’ve made it to the end! ^-^

Related Post:  Guide to Japanese Adjectives

6 thoughts on “Japanese Particles: What Are They and How to Use Them”

  1. It’s been a while since I used this app. I had problems with particles. As soon as I saw “particles” I clicked rapidly. So far best explanation I have ever seen. Thank you.

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