Japanese Particle: To

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 What are particles?

Particles are probably one of the most difficult and confusing aspects of Japanese sentences. A particle (joshi) is a word that shows the relationship of a word, a phrase, or a clause to the rest of the sentence. Some particles have English equivalents. Others have functions similar to English prepositions, but since they always follow the word or words they mark, they are post-positions.

There are also particles that have a peculiar usage which is not found in English. Most particles are multi-functional. Click here to learn more about particles.

The Particle "To"

Complete Listing

It connects only nouns and pronouns, never phrases and clauses. It translates into "and".
 

Kutsu to boushi o katta.
靴と帽子を買った。
I bought shoes and a hat.
Eigo to nihongo o hanashimasu.
英語と日本語を話します。
I speak English and Japanese.


Contrast

It indicates a comparison or contrast between the two nouns.
 

Neko to inu to dochira ga 
suki desu ka.

猫と犬とどちらが好きですか。
Which do you like better, 
cats or dogs?


Accompaniment

It translates into "together, with". 
 

Tomodachi to eiga ni itta.
友達と映画に行った。
I went to a movie with my friend.
Yuki wa raigetsu Ichiro to 
kekkon shimasu. 

由紀は来月一朗と結婚します。
Yuki is going to marry Ichiro 
next month.


Change/Result

It is commonly used in the phrase "~ to naru (~となる)", and indicates that something reaches a goal or new state.

 
 

Tsuini orinpikku no 
kaisai no hi to natta.

ついにオリンピックの開催の日となった。
At last the opening day of 
the Olympics has come.
Bokin wa zenbu de 
hyakuman-en to natta.

募金は全部で百万円となった。
The total amount of donations
reached one million yen.


Quotation

It is used before such verbs as "~ iu(~言う)", "~ omou(~思う)", "~ kiku (~聞く)", etc to introduce a clause or a phrase.

It is normally preceded by a plain form of a verb. 
 

Kare wa asu kuru to itta.
彼は明日来るといった。
He said that he will come tomorrow.
Rainen nihon ni ikou to omotteiru. 
来年日本に行こうと思っている。
I am thinking of going to Japan 
next year.


Conditional

It is placed after a verb or an adjective to form a conditional. It translates into "as soon as," "when," "if," etc. A plain form is usually used before the particle "to". 
 

Shigoto ga owaru to 
sugu uchi ni kaetta.

仕事が終わるとすぐうちに帰った。
I went home 
as soon as work was over.
Ano mise ni iku to 
oishii sushi ga taberareru. 

あの店に行くとおいしいすしが食べられる。
If you go to that restaurant, 
you can have great sushi.


Sound Symbolism

It is used after onomatopoeic adverbs. 
 

Hoshi ga kira kira to kagayaiteiru.
星がきらきらと輝いている。
The stars are twinkling.
Kodomotachi wa bata bata to hashirimawatta. 
子供立ちはバタバタと走り回った。
The children ran around 
making lots of noise.


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