Basic Particle も, と ,や, and の

One of the most important keys to understanding Japanese are particles and so today we’re going to learn 4 simple but super helpful Japanese particles!! They are , , and . Let’s start~

Particle も

First is particle . It’s being used to say that a topic also has the same description/characteristic as previous topic mentioned. When being used, it will replace は in the sentence structure.

The examples below shows that the 2nd sentence’s topic is the same noun as the 1st.


This example below shows that the 2nd sentence’s topic, あなた has the same characteristic as the 1st sentence’s topic かのじょ

You can just drop the description if it already seems clear.

So as you can see in the second sentence, it’s completely okay to just say “あなた も” without “うつくしいです (beautiful) “. It will still means "You are also (beautiful)".


And this last example show that the 2nd sentence’s topic わたし will also do the same action as the topic mentioned in 1st sentence かのじょ.


Particle と (listing complete nouns)

The particle that we’re going to learn is the most basic one. We use particle と in order to list two or more words together.

Important Note

There are a lot of other different usages for particle と. So when you see と being used in a sentence, it might not be the と for listing nouns like you learned here.

The usage is simple. Just put と after each nouns in the list. Note that you can safely omit the last と in the list. Check out the sample below:


Jack Jill と (usually ommitted) は ともだちです。
Jack to Jill to wa tomodachi desu.
Jack and Jill are friend.


りんご みかん だいこん と (usually ommitted) を かいました
Ringo to mikan to daikon to wo kaimashita
I bought apples, oranges and a radish.

You can also use this particle when you want to compare things.

Check out the sample below:


A B , どちらがいいですか
A to B to, dochira ga ii desuka
(Between) A and B, which one is better?

Note When using to compare, try not to omit the last と as previous samples.

Although it’s being translated as “Between A and B”, but literally it’s just you listing them and asking which one is good. So the literal meaning is “A and B, which is good?”. This is a bit weird in English, so we try add some words to make it more natural.

English translations you see is not literal translations

When learning Japanese, it’s very crucial to understand that the English translation is not the literal translation from Japanese but, rather, more contextual. We grasp the context of the Japanese sentence and think of the English equivalent sentence that may have more or less the same meaning. So in this case, don’t be confused as to why the word “between” suddenly appears in the English translations.

Particle や (for incomplete list)

We can only use particle to describe a complete list. Now, to describe an incomplete list, we will use particle . When you use , it means there are other things apart from the things you mention in the sentence.

The formula is the same as .Add after each of the nouns.
So it becomes: A B C . In English, it can be translated as:
such as A, B, and C
such as A, such as B, such as C

When you want to add etc in the list, you can add など in the end of the list, like this example below. Contextually, the example below can also be translated as:
"In the zoo, there are animals such as zebra, lion, giraffe, etc"

So again, try not to take the English translations as literal translations of the Japanese sentence word-by-word. It will confuse you. Always try to grasp the context.


Particle の (noun modifier)

Using this particle, you can explain more details about a noun, adding additional description to it. For example: to specify ownership/possessions of things/nouns or to give locations of nouns.

The sample below shows the ownership detail of a noun.


The sample below shows the location detail of a noun.

If the noun being described is already clear, you can safely removed it

So the sentence わたしのです is the same as わたしの(ねこ)です”. Adding to だれ (who), makes it だれの (whose).


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