Japanese Particle: To

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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.
I bought shoes and a hat.
Eigo to nihongo o hanashimasu.
I speak English and Japanese.


It indicates a comparison or contrast between the two nouns.

Neko to inu to dochira ga suki desu ka.


Which do you like better, cats or dogs?


It translates into "together, with". 

Tomodachi to eiga ni itta.
I went to a movie with my friend.
Yuki wa raigetsu Ichiro to
kekkon shimasu.

Yuki is going to marry Ichiro
next month.


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.

At last the opening day of
the Olympics has come.
Bokin wa zenbu de
hyakuman-en to natta.

The total amount of donations
reached one million yen.


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.
He said that he will come tomorrow.
Rainen nihon ni ikou to omotteiru.
I am thinking of going to Japan
next year.


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.

I went home
as soon as work was over.
Ano mise ni iku to
oishii sushi ga taberareru.

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.
The stars are twinkling.
Kodomotachi wa bata bata to hashirimawatta.
The children ran around
making lots of noise.
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Abe, Namiko. "Japanese Particle: To." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/japanese-particle-to-4077331. Abe, Namiko. (2023, April 5). Japanese Particle: To. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/japanese-particle-to-4077331 Abe, Namiko. "Japanese Particle: To." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/japanese-particle-to-4077331 (accessed May 31, 2023).