Languages › Japanese How to Use Particle De in Japanese Share Flipboard Email Print Absodels / Getty Images Japanese Essential Japanese Vocabulary History & Culture Japanese Grammar By Namiko Abe Japanese Language Expert B.A., Kwansei Gakuin University Namiko Abe is a Japanese language teacher and translator, as well as a Japanese calligraphy expert. She has been a freelance writer for nearly 20 years. our editorial process Namiko Abe Updated February 05, 2019 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. The Particle "De" Place of Action It indicates the place where an action takes place. It translates into "in", "at", "on", and so on. Depaato de kutsu o katta. デパートで靴を買った。 I bought shoes at the department store. Umi de oyoida. 海で泳いだ。 I swam in the ocean. Means It indicates means, method, or instruments. It translates into "by", "with", "in" "by means of", etc. Basu de gakkou ni ikimasu. バスで学校に行きます。 I go to school by bus. Nihongo de hanashite kudasai. 日本語で話してください。 Please speak in Japanese. Totalizing It is placed after a quantity, time or amount of money, and indicates an extent. San-nin de kore o tsukutta. 三人でこれを作った。 Three of us made this. Zenbu de sen-en desu. 全部で千円です。 They cost 1,000 yen altogether. Scope It translates into "in", "among", "within", etc. Kore wa sekai deichiban ookii desu. これは世界で一番大きいです。 This is the biggest in the world. Nihon de doko ni ikitai desu ka. 日本でどこに行きたいですか。 Where do you want to go in Japan? Time Limit It indicates time consumed for a certain action or occurrence. It translates into "in", "within", etc. Ichijikan de ikemasu. 一時間で行けます。 We can get there in an hour. Isshuukan de dekimasu. 一週間でできます。 I can do it in a week. Material It indicates the composition of an object. Toufu wa daizu de tsukurimasu. 豆腐は大豆で作ります。 Tofu is made from soybeans. Kore wa nendo de tsukuttahachi desu. これは粘土で作ったはちです。 This is a bowl made of clay. Required Cost It translates into "for", "at", etc. Kono hon o juu-doru de katta. この本を十ドルで買った。 I bought this book for ten dollars. Kore wa ikura de okuremasu ka. これはいくらで送れますか。 How much would it cost to send this? Cause It indicates a casual reason or motive for an action or occurrence. It translates into "due to", "because of", "owing to", etc. Kaze de gakkou o yasunda. 風邪で学校を休んだ。 I was absent from school due to a cold. Fuchuui de kaidan kara ochita. 不注意で階段から落ちた。 I fell down the stairs due to carelessness. Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Abe, Namiko. "How to Use Particle De in Japanese." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/particles-de-4077278. Abe, Namiko. (2021, February 16). How to Use Particle De in Japanese. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/particles-de-4077278 Abe, Namiko. "How to Use Particle De in Japanese." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/particles-de-4077278 (accessed June 15, 2021). copy citation How to Use the Particle Ni in Japanese Japanese Particle: To All About the Japanese Particles Wa and Ga Using the Japanese Particles "Wa" and "Ga" Correctly Japanese Lesson: Particles "O" and "No" Japanese Greetings and Parting Phrases Particle (Bakari) Most Common Sentence Ending Particles in Japanese Sentences (2) The Meaning of 'Nani' in Japanese The Difference Between "Kudasai" and "Onegaishimasu" in Japanese What Is "Kedo" in Japanese? Sentence Ending Particles in Japanese Learn How to Conjugate the Japanese Verb "Suru" Movie Titles in Japanese How to Say Happy New Year in Japanese The Conditional "Nara" and the Song "Shiawase Nara Te o Tatakou"