Particles - Wa, Mo and No

Basic Japanese Lessons (3)

French man

Click here to learn more with my "Basic Japanese Lessons".

Dialogue 

Click here for the dialogue for "Introducing People."

Grammar

(1) Particles

A particle is a word that shows the relationship of a word, a phrase or a clause to the rest of the sentence. Particles are an important part of Japanese sentence structure. They resemble English prepositions in the way they connect words, but unlike English prepositions, which come before nouns, Japanese particles always come after nouns.

Often these particles can not be translated. Click here to learn more about particles.

Wa (topic marker)

The particle "wa" has no English equivalent. It tells you that the noun in front of it is the topic of the sentence. What comes after "wa" is the comment. Literally, "wa" means "as for."

Watashi wa gakusei desu.
私は学生です。
I am a student.
Kare wa furansu-jin desu.
彼はフランス人です。
 
He is French.


Mo (also)

The particle "mo" means "also," "too," or "as well." It is used in both affirmative and negative sentences.

Anata mo gakusei desu ka. 
あなたも学生ですか。
Are you a student, too?
Yuko mo sushi ga suki desu ka.
裕子もすしが好きですか。
Does Yuko like sushi, too?


No (possessive marker)

The particle "no" indicates possession or attribution and comes after the noun it modifies. It is like the English apostrophe ('s). E.g. Karen's.

Watashi no tomodachi
私の友達
My friend
Kimura-san no senmon
木村さんの専門
Mr. Kimura's field of study


(2) Questions

The particle "ka" is a question marker.

The formation of a question in Japanese is easy. Put the particle "ka" at the end of a sentence and it becomes a question. The word order does not change.

Kimura-san wa gakusei desu. 
木村さんは学生です。
Mr. Kimura is a student.
Kimura-san wa gakusei desu ka.
 木村さんは学生ですか。
Is Mr. Kimura a student?