Japanese particles or 助詞 (joshi) play a very important role in forming a Japanese sentence. Particles serve as the links that connect the whole sentence together. Without them, the sentence will become incomplete.
Japanese particles are actually hiragana characters. Most of them have several meanings depending on how you use them.
If you use a particle wrongly, the meaning of the sentence can be changed totally, and you may mess up with who is the action taker and action receiver in the sentence.
Therefore if you can build a strong foundation in Japanese particles, you will find that it is easier and faster to understand the meaning of Japanese sentences.
In this lesson, I will concentrate more on the few particles that are related to the Japanese verbs.
In the previous lesson on time expression, you have already learned to use particle に (ni) to indicate the point in time when the action takes place. For example...
Particle に (ni) indicates the exact point in time. If you want to express an approximate point in time, use another Japanese particle ごろ (goro).
So if you replace the particle に (ni) in the above example with ごろ (goro), such as...
In this expression Noun を Verb, を (wo) is used to indicate the direct object of a verb. Please note that though を is written as (wo), it is pronounced the same as お (o). You have learned some examples of this expression in the previous lessons, such as...
In this expression Place へ いきます, the Japanese particle へ (e) is used to mark the direction of an action. Please note that when へ (he) is used as a direction marker, it is pronounced as "e", same sound as え (e).
Since へ (e) is a direction marker, it can only be used with verbs that indicate movement from one place to another. Other than the verb いきます (ikimasu), you can also use verbs such as きます (kimasu) and かえります (kaerimasu). For example...
Be careful with the differences with the above 3 verbs.
In these 2 cases, Transportation に のります means to get on transportation while Transportation を おります means to get off transportation. For example...
In these 2 expressions, Place に はいります means to enter the place while Place を でます means to leave the place.
When you do something with a person, that person is marked with the particle と (to).
The above are just few of the Japanese particles which are simple to understand. I will gradually introduce the others in future lessons.
If you want to know more about Japanese particles, I recommend you get one of these books on particles.
Lesson 14: Particles Change in Negative Answers.
Lesson 15: Particles ka and mo with Question Words.
Lesson 16: Particles to and de.
Lesson 24: Particles wa and ga.
Lesson 27: Particle to for Quotation.
Intermediate Lesson 14: Particle ga for Introduction.
Intermediate Lesson 18: Particle de with more Functions.