21. To Likeโ€”ใ™ใ suki

It is easy to like something and to say it! Just add the particle ใŒ ga and the word ใ™ใ suki (like) after the object that you like:

ใญใ“ ใŒ ใ™ใ ใงใ™ใ€‚

โ€‹neko ga suki desu.
I like cats.

Note: In Japanese, nouns do not change their form in order to indicate whether or not they are plural. For example, in English we say โ€œcatโ€ for one cat, and โ€œcatsโ€ for two or more cats. In Japanese they are both neko. You have to understand from context whether it is plural or not. Also note the desu, if dropped, makes the sentence more casual: โ€œneko ga suki.โ€

Like โ€œdesu,โ€ โ€œsukiโ€ often isnโ€™t pronounced (at least as English speakers would consider it) as two syllables. It usually sounds like โ€œski.โ€


22. Why / Becauseโ€”ใชใœใƒปใฉใ†ใ—ใฆ naze / doushite

Let's look at two common ways to express "why":

ใชใœ naze โ€“ why

ใฉใ†ใ—ใฆ doushite โ€“ why


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


โ€‹naze (doushite) watashi no ke-ki o tabemashita ka?
Why did you eat my cake?
[โ€œYouโ€ is understood from the context and need not be spoken.]

An easy way to answer or give a reason (because) for the question is:

ใชใœใชใ‚‰ nazenara + reason or excuse + kara


โ€‹nazenara hara ga hetta kara.
Because, (I was) starving!
[Lit. because stomach was empty]


23. I thinkโ€”ใจใŠใ‚‚ใ„ใพใ™ to omoimasu

This goes at the end of a sentence when giving oneโ€™s opinions or feelings about something.

Just think of ใจๆ€ใ„ใพใ™ to omoimasu as โ€œI think that...โ€

If there is a desu, change it to da which is the more casual form and add to omoimasu.

็†Šใฎใƒ—ใƒผใ•ใ‚“ใ€€ใฏใ€€ใใพ ใ ใ€€ใจใ€€ๆ€ใ„ใพใ™ใ€‚

kuma no pu-san wa kuma da to omoimasu.
I think Winnie the Pooh is a bear.

[โ€œkuma no pu-sanโ€ is Winnie the Pooh in Japanese. Characters that are animals are often written like this: type of animal + no + name]

The next example shows oneโ€™s opinion. It is true for the speaker but may not be so for the listener.


nattou wa oishii to omoimasu.
I think natto* is delicious.

In addition to its obvious meaning, you can also add this to any sentence if you want to soften it, show uncertainty, or show your opinion.

*Natto is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans. Many foreigners stay clear due to the strong... stink. But it is said to be healthy and is enjoyed by manyโ€”but not all Japanese.


24. Becomeโ€”ใซใชใ‚Šใพใ™ ni narimasu

To show the state of becoming... something, use ๏ฝžใซใ€€ใชใ‚Šใพใ™ ni narimasu. The ใซ ni is placed after what is becoming something. Nouns and -na adjectives use ni narimasu. -i adjectives are different, but for now there are enough useful nouns to look at:


โ€‹yoru ni narimashita.
It has become night.
[~mashita shows past]


โ€‹tomodachi ni narimashou.
Letโ€™s become friends.
[the ~mashou means โ€œletโ€™sโ€โ€”we will look at that more closely in a few lessons.]


โ€‹genki ni narimashita.
(I) have become fine / healthy. (I feel better)


25. Alsoโ€”ใ‚‚ mo

ใ‚‚ mo means โ€œalsoโ€ or โ€œtooโ€ and like other particles, it is placed after the word it modifies.

Letโ€™s see some examples:



โ€‹watashi wa neko ga suki.
I like cats.



watashi wa neko ga suki, soshite inu mo suki.
I like cats, and I also like dogs.
[The ใ‚‚ mo after ใ„ใฌ inu replaces ใŒ ga. You don't say โ€œga moโ€]



โ€‹watashi mo neko to inu ga suki.
I also like cats and dogs.

NOTE: ใ‚ใŸใ—ใ‚‚ watashi mo by itself means โ€œMe too.โ€


26. Making the ใฆ te Form

If you know how to make this form, you can do a lot! Later we will look at other grammar points that are based on the te form. By itself, it makes a verb a request (or demand).

There are three types of verbs.  It is beyond the scope of this article to go into them in detail, but for now try to memorize each example.

1. ใฎใ‚€ nomu (to drink) becomes

ใฎใ‚“ใง nonde (please drink)

2. ใŸในใ‚‹ taberu (to eat) becomes

ใŸในใฆ tabete (please eat)

3. ใ™ใ‚‹ suru (to do) becomes

ใ—ใฆ shite (please do)

 If you memorize the three examples above you should be able to guess what other verbs may change to. Or even if you guess wrong, the correct form should be at least familiar to you.

To make this politer, add ใใ ใ•ใ„ kudasai.

ใฎใ‚“ใงใใ ใ•ใ„ใ€‚

โ€‹nonde kudasai.
Please drink.


27. To Do; Playโ€”ใ™ใ‚‹ใƒปใ—ใพใ™ suru / shimasu

ใ™ใ‚‹ suru goes where no other verb dares to go! Think of it as โ€œto do...โ€

Most loanwords used as verbs add โ€œsuru,โ€ for example:

ใ‚ธใƒงใ‚ฎใƒณใ‚ฐใ€€ใ™ใ‚‹  jogingu suru - to (do) jogging

ใ‚ทใƒงใƒƒใƒ”ใƒณใ‚ฐใ€€ใ™ใ‚‹ shoppingu suru - to (do) shopping

ใ‚ตใ‚คใƒณใ€€ใ™ใ‚‹ sain suru - to sign (autograph)


ๅ‹‰ๅผทใ™ใ‚‹ benkyou suru - to study


mainichi, nihongo o benkyou shimasu.
Everyday, (I) study Japanese.

Another usage of suru -or- shimasu (remember they are the same, but โ€œsuruโ€ is more casual) is โ€œto playโ€ as in sports or games


yakyuu o suru.
To play baseball.

็›ธๆ’ฒ ใ‚’ ใ™ใ‚‹ใ€‚

sumou o suru.
To play (do) Sumo.


basuketto o suru.
To play basketball.


shougi o suru.
To play shogi (Japanese chess)


28. More, ~erโ€”ใ‚‚ใฃใจ motto

One easy way to say โ€œMOREโ€ or โ€œ-erโ€ is to use ใ‚‚ใฃใจ motto. This is one of the rare times that the word order is the same as Englishโ€”or at least with the more part! Relish the moment (while you can).

[motto ~ = more ~]


โ€‹motto pi-man o tabenasai.
Eat more green peppers.

[~nasai is like the te form in that it is used to give commands, but it is stronger.]



[motto ~ = ~er]

โ€‹ใ‚‚ใฃใจใ€€ใฏใ‚„ใใ€€่จ€ใฃใฆใ€€ใใ ใ•ใ„ใ€‚

motto hayaku itte kudasai.
(Next time) please say (it) a little earlier (faster).


[Useful when someone tells you NOT to cut the yellow wire of the bomb after you have done just that...]


29. Can Doโ€”ใงใใพใ™ dekiru / dekimasu

There are a couple of ways to say โ€œI can...โ€ in Japanese. The easiest is ใงใใพใ™ dekimasu. Letโ€™s look at how to form some sentences.

NOUN [ใงใใพใ™ dekimasu]


nihongo ga dekimasu.
I can do Japanese. [I can understand/write/etc Japanese.]


kanji ga dekimasu.
I can (read/write) kanji. [I can do kanji.]


sukaidaibingu ga dekimasu.
I can skydive.

VERB [ใ“ใจใ€€ใŒใ€€ใงใใพใ™ koto ga dekimasu]

Actually, all of the above could include a verb. Letโ€™s add it. ใ“ใจ koto means โ€œthing,โ€ but here it is used to make a verb into a noun phrase so it will work with ใงใใพใ™ dekimasu.


nihongo o hanasu koto ga dekimasu.

I can speak Japanese.


kanji o yomu koto ga dekimasu.

I can read kanji.

Be creative and come up with things you can do! Again, memorize an example sentence. Go around saying โ€œNihongo ga dekimasu! Nihongo ga dekimasu!โ€


30. โ€“ingโ€”ใฆใ„ใ‚‹ใ€‚ใฆใ„ใพใ™ ~te iru / ~te imasu

This is a very important grammar point. It corresponds to the English โ€œ-ingโ€ form

EAT becomes EATING

ใŸในใพใ™ becomes ใŸในใฆใ„ใพใ™

CONSTRUCTION: ใฆ te form + ใ„ใพใ™ imasu or ใ„ใ‚‹ iru

Use this to describe things happening now.


โ€‹ima anata ni hanashite imasu.
I am talking to you now.


โ€‹ima gohan o tabete imasu.
I am eating rice (food) now.

And finally, when answering your phone in mid-air:


โ€‹ima sukaidaibingu o shite imasu.
I am skydiving now.

To make a question just add ka to the end.


โ€‹anata wa benkyou shite imasu ka?
Are you studying?

๏ฝžใฆใ„ใ‚‹ ~te iru can also be used to express habitual actions, but the most common usageโ€”and the one we are studyingโ€”is as above. benkyou shite iru?


31. For Exampleโ€”ใŸใจใˆใฐ tatoeba

Anytime you want to make an illustration or give an example, this is the phrase to use.


โ€‹watashi wa washoku ga suki desu.
I like Japanese style food.

ใŸใจใˆใฐใ€ใ”ใฏใ‚“ ใจ ใฟใๆฑใ€‚

โ€‹tatoeba, gohan to misoshiru.
For example, rice and miso soup.

You can also ask someone this to get more concrete information.


tatoeba, nani?
For example, what?


32. Thisโ€”ใ“ใ‚Œใƒปใ“ใฎ kore / kono

This and that.

Actually, Japanese also has one more. They also have โ€œthat over thereโ€โ€”but we will get at that later.

There are two words in Japanese that are translated as โ€œthisโ€ in English.

ใ“ใ‚Œ kore 

this - When โ€œthisโ€ is not connected to a noun โ€” hang on you will understand in a minute.


โ€‹kore wa nan desu ka?
What is this?


โ€‹kore wa neko desu.
This is a cat.

HINT: To say โ€œThis isโ€ or โ€œis thisโ€ the ใ“ใ‚Œ kore will probably be followed by a ใฏ wa (topic particle)Or if the topic is established, it will be ใŒ ga.


ใ“ใฎ kono 

When you put โ€œthisโ€ before a noun, it should be kono


โ€‹kono neko wa pochi desu ka?
Is this cat, Pochi?

Notice the โ€œnekoโ€ is a noun. To say โ€œthis catโ€ you need to use โ€œkonoโ€ and not "kore" for "this."


โ€‹iie kono inu wa pochi desu.
No. This dog is Pochi.

Cultural Note: โ€œPochiโ€ is a generic name for dogs in Japanese, similar to โ€œFido.โ€


33. Thatโ€”ใใ‚Œใƒปใใฎ sore / sono

This and that. Remember there are actually two โ€œthatโ€ words. This THAT refers to objects near the listener (not the speaker). The next lesson will cover the last THAT (that over there).

As with ใ“ใ‚Œ and ใ“ใฎ, there are two forms--one by itself and one before nouns.

ใใ‚Œ sore

when โ€œthatโ€ is not connected to a noun


โ€‹sore wa nan desu ka?
What is that?


โ€‹sore wa neko desu.
That is a cat.

HINT: Begin to think of these words starting with Kโ€™s as โ€œthisโ€ and the Sโ€™s as โ€œthatโ€ words.

ใใฎ sono โ€‹

โ€‹When you put โ€œthatโ€ before a noun, use sono.

ใใฎ ใญใ“ใ€€ใฏใ€€ใƒใƒใ€€ใงใ™ใ€€ใ‹๏ผŸ

โ€‹sono neko wa pochi desu ka?
Is that cat, Pochi?


โ€‹iie. sono tako wa pochi desu.
No. That octopus is Pochi.

HINT: This is used in the same way as kono.


34. That Over Thereโ€”ใ‚ใ‚Œใƒปใ‚ใฎ are / ano

This and that. Now, we are on the THAT OVER THERE part. So this THAT refers to objects not near the listener or the speaker.

ใ‚ใ‚Œ are

when โ€œthatโ€ is not connected to a noun.


โ€‹are wa nan desu ka?
What is that over there?


โ€‹are wa neko desu.
That over there is a cat.

HINT: And now recognize the Aโ€™s mean โ€œThat over there.โ€

ใ‚ใฎ ano

When you put โ€œthatโ€ before a noun, it changes to ano:

ใ‚ใฎ ใญใ“ใ€€ใฏใ€€ใƒใƒใ€€ใงใ™ใ€€ใ‹๏ผŸ

โ€‹ano neko wa pochi desu ka?
Is that cat over there Pochi?


โ€‹iie ano kujira wa pochi desu.
No. That whale over there is Pochi.


35. Must doโ€”ใชใ‘ใ‚Œใฐใชใ‚Šใพใ›ใ‚“ ~nakereba narimasen

This is a mouthful! But it is especially nutritious for your overall vocabulary diet. Learn it well.

Construction: plain negative verb - i + ใ‘ใ‚Œใฐใ€€ใชใ‚Šใพใ›ใ‚“ kereba narimasen


 [The plain negative form is tabenai drop the -i and add the โ€œkereba narimasen.โ€]


pi-man o tabenakereba narimasen.
(I) must eat green peppers.

(Many Japanese children donโ€™t like green peppers)

Say that five times fast with your mouth full!

Perhaps the most useful usage is:


~shinakereba narimasen
The shi is from suru (to do)


โ€‹benkyou shinakereba narimasen.
(I) must (have to) study.


โ€‹shinakereba narimasen.
(I) must (have to) do (it).


36. Better to... โ€”ใปใ†ใŒใ„ใ„ hou ga ii

When giving advice, this is useful.

CONSTRUCTION: ta form + ใปใ†ใ€€ใŒใ€€ใ„ใ„ hou ga ii

ไผ‘ใ‚“ใ ใ€€ใปใ†ใ€€ใŒใ€€ใ„ใ„ใ€‚

โ€‹yasunda hou ga ii.
It would be better to rest.


โ€‹kiita hou ga ii.
It would be better to ask (someone).

NOTE: The ta form is the same as the simple past tense.


37. Better / Worse Thanโ€”ใฎใปใ†ใŒ๏ฝžใ‚ˆใ‚Š no hou ga ~ yori

This has the same hou ga ii as the previous entry. But here we are using it to compare things. Also we will introduce yori (less than).


โ€‹~no hou ga ii
(more than)


(less than)

This is a little confusing, so I suggest memorizing one or two examples to keep it straight.

ใ‚ใŸใ—ใ€€ใฏใ€€ใ„ใฌ ใ‚ˆใ‚Š  ใญใ“ ใฎใ€€ใปใ†ใ€€ใŒใ€€ๅฅฝใใ€‚

โ€‹watashi wa inu yori, neko no hou ga suki.
I like dogs less than cats. (I like cats more than dogs.)

You should spend some time studying the above example to understand how the ordering works.

Notice in English we use either โ€œless thanโ€ or โ€œmore thanโ€ and the meaning is understood by the order of โ€œdogsโ€ and โ€œcatsโ€ BUT in Japanese this is also OK:

ใ‚ใŸใ—ใ€€ใฏใ€€ใญใ“ใ€€ใฎใ€€ใปใ†ใ€€ใŒใ€ ใ„ใฌใ€€ใ‚ˆใ‚Š ๅฅฝใใ€‚

watashi wa neko no hou ga, inu yori suki.
I like cats more than dogs.


38. How... โ€”ใฉใ† dou?

Here is a very useful question wordโ€”douโ€”Letโ€™s look at ways of using dou.


โ€‹dou desu ka?
How is (it)? 

[Use this for asking about food, work situations, relationships, or anything that is happening now.]


dou deshita ka?
How was (it)? 

[Use this to find out about past experiencesโ€”movie, last nightโ€™s date, the molded pizza your friend just ate...]



โ€‹dou yatte?
How do you do it?
[Ask this when you are not sure how to do something.]


โ€‹dou shimashita ka?
What happened?
[Ask this if someone looks like something the cat dragged in.]


โ€‹dou shiyou.
What shall (I or we) do?
[This is often used when you canโ€™t make a decision and want help.]


โ€‹โ€‹dou suru no?
What will you do?
[When you want to encourage someone to make a decision โ€” Well, what will you do?]


39. Isnโ€™t it? โ€”ใงใ—ใ‚‡ใ†๏ผŸ deshou?

If you say something but want confirmation that the listener agrees, use deshou.


โ€‹firipin wa atsui deshou?
The Philippines is hot, isnโ€™t it?
[You are expecting a โ€œyesโ€ answer]


โ€‹itai deshou?
It hurts, doesnโ€™t it?

[You see someone who has just slammed his head in a low doorway. You are expecting a โ€œyesโ€ answer.]


โ€‹ame ga furu deshou ne. 
It will probably rain, donโ€™t you think?

And another common usage is ใฉใ†ใงใ—ใ‚‡ใ† dou deshou meaning โ€œhow about...?โ€ or โ€œwhat do you think about?โ€


โ€‹udon wa dou deshou? 
How about some udon?


40. Saidโ€”ใจใ„ใ„ใพใ—ใŸ to iimashita

Meet the wonderful โ€œใจ to.โ€ Mr. ใจ can act as a quotation marker (โ€œโ€). Donโ€™t confuse this with the ใจ to that means โ€œand.โ€

Use this when quoting someone or some quote-like thing. This is best shown with examples:


โ€‹ore wa su-paman to iimashita.
He said, โ€œI am Superman.โ€


โ€‹ano e wa juu seiki ni tsukutta to kaite arimasu.
It says (a book or description) that this painting was made in the tenth century.

It can also be used to mark sound effects. For example:


โ€‹ano inu wa wan to iimashita.
That dog barked, โ€œbark.โ€

There are many other usages for โ€œto.โ€ Paying attention to each usage will help you get a good grasp.

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