Chapter 2

13. Using ~さん

The equivalent to Mr. or Mrs. or Miss. is ~さん


Right after the name. It is used even with friends. (Even when in English we wouldn't use "Mr.")

  • クレイさん (kurei san) - Mr. Clay
  • 山田さん (yamada san) - Mr. (or Mrs...) Yamada
Other name titles (used the same way)
  • ~さま (sama) - very polite - reserved for royalty, important people, and customers of stores
  • ~ちゃん (chan) - used for girls and very young boys (kiti-chan = Hello Kitty)
  • ~くん (kun) - used for young boys
  • ~先生 (sensei) - used for teachers [クレイ先生 kurei sensei], doctors, and professionals

For now just use san. As you know from watching all the Karate Kid movies, it is the most common.

For more on this see our article on keishou, "敬称 Name Titles".

14. Easy Adjectives

There are 2 types of adjectives:

-i adjectives - adjectives that end in -i
-na adjectives - adjectives that add -na when placed before nouns

The -i adjectives change:

あつい atsui - (It's) hot || +i
あつくない atsukunai - not hot || -i + kunai
あつかった atsukatta - was hot || -i + katta
あつくなかった atsukunakatta - wasn't hot || -i + kunakatta

Learn this and you can use all -i adjectives!

The -na adjectives don't change! But when placed before nouns they add a -na

げんき genki (healthy, active, fine) r げんき genki na ko (healthy child)

Past Tense

For now let's stick with the -masu form of verbs

PAST = MASU arrow image MASHITA

たべます tabemasu (to eat) arrow image たべました tabemashita (ate)
のみます nomimasu (to drink) arrow image のみました nomimashita (drank)


たべます tabemasu (to eat) arrow image たべません でした tabemasen deshita (didn't eat)
のみます nomimasu (to drink) arrow image のみません でした nomimasen deshita (didn't drink)


The "-masen" is the negative part

Very とても

Sometimes mom's cooking isn't just oishii (delicious) it is VERY OISHII!

Add とても totemo before adjectives to say "very"

とても おいしい です。
totemo oishii desu.
It's very delicious!

とても 大きな木。
totemo ookina ki.
A very big tree.

OTHER VERY WORDS: You can ignore this if you like...

非常に hijou ni
chou (kind of slang - chou means "super-")

To Want ~がほしい

Saying "I want (something)" is pretty easy.  Just say the thing you want and add ga hoshii to it.

のみもの が ほしい です 
nomimono ga hoshii desu. 
(I) want a drink.

NOTE: The desu is optional and is usually dropped.  nomimono ga hoshii. is perfectly fine in spoken Japanese.

Next, let's ask a question.  Can you figure out how to do it?  That's right add a ka REVIEW HERE

ケーキ が ほしい です  
ke-ki ga hoshii desu ka? 
Do you want cake?

Want to do~ ~たい

First get the ~ます masu form of the verb you want to do.  Then drop the ~ます masu and add ~たい tai

たべます tabemasu (to eat) Arrow image たべ tabe Arrow image たべたい tabetai (want to eat)
のみます nomimasu (to drink) Arrow image のみ nomi Arrow image のみたい nomitai (want to drink)
します shimasu (to do) Arrow image shi Arrow image たい shitai (want to do)

Of course if you want to say "do you want to..." Just add ka

ケーキ を たべたい です  
ke-ki o tabetai desu ka? 
Do you want to eat cake?


These 2 particles は wa & が ga both do what in English is the subject, but は wa is greater in scope than が ga

wa - the main topic particle of the conversation

ga - the subject particle of the sentence

わたし クレイ です。
watashi wa kurei desu.
I am Clay.
[Clay is the topic and now this is known, it won't be repeated unless the topic changes]

ねこ すき です。
neko ga suki desu.
(I) like cats.  
["cats" are actually the 'subject' here.  Maybe this is easier to see "Cats are liked (by me).  Note you could say "watashi wa neko ga suki desu." but it is unnecessary because we have already said "watashi wa" (The overall topic is already known)]

if both are in a sentence, the wa is first


the wa is written with a hiragana ha but pronounced as wa


There is / There are

For inanimate objects (objects, plants...), end the sentence with ~が あります  ga arimasu

木 です。
ki desu.
It's a tree.  [lit. tree is.]  

ki ga arimasu.
There is a tree(s).  

For living things (people and animals) use ~が います ga imasu.

ねこ  います
neko ga imasu.
There is a cat(s).  

To show the negative just add -sen to the end

あります arimasu Arrow Image ありません arimasen
Another more casual form of arimasu
that you don't have to learn now is...
ある aru 
Arrow Image ない nai


います imasu Arrow Image いません imasen
Another more casual form of imasu
that you don't have to learn now is...
いる iru 
Arrow Image いない inai

Maybe you know these useful phrases: 

お願い が ありますonegai ga arimasu. I have a favor to ask.
問題ないmondai nai. No problem!  [this is the casual form of arimasen]

To like... が すき

It is easy to like something and to say it!  Just add ga suki after the object that you like:

ねこ が すき です。
neko ga suki desu.
I like cats.
[note: Nouns don't change in number (no s) so it could mean "a cat".  Also note the desu if dropped makes the sentence more casual - "neko ga suki."]


Why/Because なぜ、どうして、なぜなら

2 ways to say "why" are:

1. なぜ naze - why
2. どうして doushite - why


They are basically interchangeable and start at the beginning of the sentence and are followed by the question

なぜどうして) 私 の ケーキ を たべました か?
naze (doushite) watashi no ke-ki o tabemashita ka?
Why did you eat my cake?
[There isn't a "you" but obviously you wouldn't be asking yourself this question.]

なぜなら + reason or excuse + kara

なぜなら はら が へった から。
nazenara hara ga hetta kara.
Because, (I'm) starving! 
[lit. because stomach is diminished]

I think と思います

This goes at the end to show that you believe what you say, but are not 100% sure. It is also used to show one's opinion.  If there is a desu change it to da which is the more casual form and add to omoimasu

1. The speaker is not totally sure of the accuracy of his info...

熊のプーさん は くま だ と 思います
kuma no pu-san wa kuma da to omoimasu.
Winnie the Pooh is a bear, I think...

Next is an example of showing one's opinion.  It is true for the speaker, but may not be so for the listener.

なっとう は おいしい と 思います
nattou wa oishii to omoimasu.
I think Natto is delicious.

Basically you can say any sentence and if you want to soften it or show you are not sure, or show your opinion add to omoimasu


24. "become" - に なります

To show the state of becoming... something, use ~に なります ni narimasu.

The ni is placed after what something is becoming (or became, or might become... depending on the conjugation used, as the e