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は wa

This is the topic marker. Used when changing or refreshing topics in conversation

わたしは watashi wa - 'I' The 'I' is the big idea of what is being talked about. Always translated as 'I', never 'me.'

が ga

This is the subject marker. The one doing the action. わたしが watashi ga - 'I' The 'I' is the subject of the action. Always translated as 'I', never 'me.'

を o

This is the direct object marker. The thing acted upon.
コーヒを のみます。
kouhi o nomimasu
(I) drink coffee.

へ e

This is a directional marker. to, toward
東京へいきます。
toukyou e ikimasu
(I) am going to Tokyo. (can also use に)

に ni

This is a multipurpose marker:

  1. indirect object (receiver)
    本をあなたにあげます。
    hon o anata ni agemasu
    (I) give you a book.
  2. place where something is going to 東京にいきます。
    toukyou ni ikimasu
    (I) am going to Tokyo. (can also use へ)
  3. time (at, in)
    7時にしゅっぱつ。
    shichi ji ni shuppatsu
    (I) will leave at 7.
  4. in/at a place
    東京にすんでいます。
    toukyou ni sundeimasu
    (I) live in Tokyo.
  5. purpose (to) コーヒにしましょう。
    kouhi ni shimashou
    Let's have coffee.

で de

This is also a multipurpose marker:

  1. by means of
    くるまでいきましょう。
    kurumadeikimashou
    Let's go by (means of) car.
  2. place where the action happens
    いえでテレビをみます。
    ie de terebi o mimasu
    (I) watch tv at home.
  3. cause, reason
    たいふうで木がたおれました。
    taifuu de ki ga taoremashita
    Because of the typhoon, a tree fell.

から kara

  • from (a starting point in time or place)

アメリカからきました。
amerika kara kimashita.
(I) came from America.

と to

1. a conjunction simllar to "and"

オレンジとりんごとメロンが好きです。
orenji to ringo to meron ga suki desu.
I like oranges, apples and melons

2. Used to mean "with"

先生と話したいですか。
sensei to hanashitai desu ka.
Would you like to talk with the teacher?

3. A conditional

このシャンプーを買うとヘアブラシがついてきます。
kono shanpu- o kau to heaburashu ga tsuitekimasu.
This shampoo comes with a hair brush. (Lit. If you buy this shampoo it comes with a hair brush.)

まで made

  • until, through, as far as
  • TIME:

私は7時から8時まで日本語を勉強します。
watashi wa shichi ji kara hachi ji made nihongo wo benkyou shimasu.
I study Japanese from seven until eight.

  • PLACE:

ここから東京まで30分かかりました。
koko kara toukyou made sanjuppun kakarimashita.
From here to Tokyo, it took 30 minutes.

の no

  • 's, of (possessive)

私の本です。
watashi no hon desu.
(it's) my book.
アメリカのフロリダ州から来ました。
amerika no furorida shuu kara kimashita.
(I) came from America's Florida state. (I came from Florida, America.)

とか toka

  • and, or -> etc. (used in lists of 2 or more things and then the list continues)

学校で英語とかフランス語とかドイツ語などを勉強しました。
gakkou de eigo toka furansu go toka doitsu go nado wo benkyou shimashita.
In school, I studied English, and French, and German...
何か飲む? お茶とかコーラとか。。。
nanika nomu? ocha toka kora toka...
Wanna drink something? Tea... or Coke ... or...

や ya

  • and -> etc. (used in lists of 2 or more nouns and then the list continues)

お茶やコーヒーがあ る。
ocha ya ko-hi- ga aru.
(We) have tea and coffee...

も mo

  • also, too

私も熊のプーさんが好き。
watashi mo kuma no pu-san ga suki.
I like Winnie the Pooh too!
ドイツ語も話せる。
doitsu go mo hanaseru.
I can also speak German.

が ga

  • but

熊のプーさんが 好きですが どらえもんは あまり 好き じゃない。
kuma no pu-san ga suki desu ga, Doraemon wa amari suki ja nai.
I like Winnie the Pooh but I don't like Doraemon too much.

NOTE: The first ga in the above example is the subject marker

毎日練習しますが。。。
mainichi renshuu shimasu ga...
Everyday I practice but...

けれども keredomo

(Also けれど, けど)

  • although, though

でも demo

  • but

しかし shikashi

  • but, however


For more detailed information, see the grammar pages.

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