Japanese basic grammar topic Review and more sentence-ending particles

Review and more sentence-ending particles

We are coming to the end of the fourth major section of the guide. Do you feel like your Japanese has improved? We've come to the point where we've learned enough conjugations to be able to start mixing them together in various useful combinations. Of course this can be a little difficult to do without some practice, which is the reason for this lesson. But first, since we've come to the end of yet another section, let's learn some more sentence-endings particles.

「な」 and 「さ」 sentence-ending particles


1.    あのう/あの - say; well; errr

2.    うん - yes (casual)

3.    この - this abbr. of これの)

4.    【あいだ】 - space (between); time (between); period

5.    ディズニーランド - Disney Land

6.    行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) - to go

7.    すごい (i-adj) - to a great extent

8.    込む 【こ・む】 (u-verb) - to become crowded

9.    【なに/なん】 - what

10.  出来る 【で・き・る】 (ru-verb) - to be able to do

11.  【いま】 - now

12.  図書館 【と・しょ・かん】 - library

13.  何で 【なん・で】 - why; how

14.  日本語 【に・ほん・ご】 - Japanese (language)

15.  たくさん - a lot (amount)

16.  勉強 【べん・きょう】 - study

17.  する (exception) - to do

18.  まだ - yet

19.  全然 【ぜん・ぜん】 - not at all (when used with negative)

20.  分かる 【わ・かる】 (u-verb) - to understand

21.  大丈夫 【だい・じょう・ぶ】 (na-adj) - ok

22.  なる (u-verb) - to become

23.  いい (i-adj) - good

24.  今日 【きょう】 - today

25.  【あめ】 - rain

26.  降る 【ふ・る】(u-verb) - to precipitate

27.  大学 【だい・がく】 - college

After the 「よ」 and 「ね」, 「さ」 and 「な」 are the next most commonly used sentence-ending particles.

「さ」, which is basically a very casual form of 「よ」, is similar to the English "like" in that some people throw it in at the end of almost every single phrase. Of course, that doesn't mean it's necessarily a very sophisticated manner of speech but just like using "like" all the time, I cannot deny that it is an easy habit to fall into. In that sense, due to its over-use, it has almost lost any specific meaning. You may overhear a conversation like the following:

A: Hey...

B: Yeah.

A: This one time...

B: Yeah.

A: I went to Disney Land and it was really crowded...

B: Uh huh.

A: Couldn't do anything, you know...

And it goes on like this, sometimes the other person might break in to say something related to the topic.

You can use 「な」 in place of 「ね」 when it sounds too soft and reserved for what you want to say or for the audience you are speaking to. Its rough sound generally applies to the male gender but is not necessarily restricted to only males.

Example 1

Yousuke: You are going to the library now huh? (seeking explanation)

Tomoko: Yeah, why?

Example 2

Bob: I studied Japanese a lot, right? But, I still don't get it at all.

Alice: No problem. You'll become able to understand for sure, you know?

Bob: If so, it would be good.

The 「な」 sentence-ending particle is often used with the question marker 「か」 to indicate that the speaker is considering something.

1.    今日は雨が降るかな
I wonder if it'll rain today.

2.    いい大学に行けるかな
I wonder if I can go to a good college.

「かい」 and 「だい」 sentence-ending particles


1.    おい - hey

2.    どこ - where

3.    行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) - to go

4.    呼ぶ 【よ・ぶ】 (u-verb) - to call

5.    いい (i-adj) - good

6.    一体 【いったい】 - forms an emphatic question (e.g. "why on earth?")

7.    何時 【なん・じ】 - what time

8.    帰る 【かえ・る】 (u-verb) - to go home

9.    つもり - intention, plan

10.  【おれ】 - me; myself; I (masculine)

11.  土曜日 【ど・よう・び】 - Saturday

12.  映画 【えい・が】 - movie

13.  見る 【み・る】 (ru-verb) - to see

14.  一緒 【いっ・しょ】 - together

「かい」 and 「だい」 are strongly masculine sentence endings for asking questions. 「かい」 is used for yes/no questions while 「だい」 is used for open-ended questions.


1.    おい、どこに行くんだい
Hey, where are (you) going?

2.    さきちゃんって呼んでもいいかい
Can (I) call you Saki-chan?

3.    一体何時に帰ってくるつもりだったんだい
What time were (you) planning on coming home exactly?

4.    俺は土曜日、映画を見に行くけど、一緒に行くかい
I'm going to see a movie Saturday, go together?

Gender-specific sentence-ending particles

These sentence-ending particles are primarily used just to emphasize something and doesn't really have a meaning per se. However, they can make your statements sound much stronger and/or very gender-specific. Using 「わ」 is just like 「よ」 except it will make you sound very feminine (this is a different sound from the 「わ」 used in Kansai dialect). 「かしら」 is also a very feminine version of 「かな」, which we just went over. 「ぞ」 and 「ぜ」 are identical to 「よ」 except that it makes you sound "cool" and manly, or at least, that is the intent. These examples may not be very helpful without actually hearing what they sound like.


1.    もう - already

2.    時間 【じ・かん】 - time

3.    ある (u-verb) - to exist (inanimate)

4.    おい - hey

5.    行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) - to go

6.    これ - this

7.    終わり 【お・わり】 - end

8.    いい (i-adj) - good

9.    大学 【だい・がく】 - college

10.  入る 【はい・る】 (u-verb) - to enter

1.    もう時間がない
There is no more time.

2.    おい、行く
Hey, we're going!

3.    これで、もう終わりだ
With this, it's over already.

4.    いい大学に入れるかしら
I wonder if I can enter a good college.

That's a wrap!


1.    加賀 【か・が】 - Kaga (last name)

2.    先生 【せん・せい】 - teacher

3.    ちょっと - a little

4.    質問 【しつ・もん】 - question

5.    聞く 【き・く】 (u-verb) - to ask; to listen

6.    いい (i-adj) - good

7.    はい - yes (polite)

8.    日本語 【に・ほん・ご】 - Japanese (language)

9.    【なに/なん】 - what

10.  言う 【い・う】 (u-verb) - to say

11.  そう - (things are) that way

12.  大体 【だい・たい】 - mostly

13.  こんにちは - good day

14.  思う 【おも・う】 (u-verb) - to think

15.  ただし - however

16.  書く 【か・く】 (u-verb) - to write

17.  【とき】 - time

18.  【ほか】 - other

19.  表現 【ひょう・げん】 - expression

20.  ある (u-verb) - to exist (inanimate)

21.  これ - this

22.  覚える 【おぼ・える】 (ru-verb) - to memorize

23.  【あさ】 - morning

24.  おはよう - good morning

25.  でも - but

26.  【うえ】 - above

27.  【ひと】 - person

28.  おはようございます - good morning (polite)

29.  分かる 【わ・かる】 (u-verb) - to understand

30.  間違える 【ま・ちが・える】 (ru-verb) - to make a mistake

31.  勉強 【べん・きょう】 - study

32.  なる (u-verb) - to become

33.  洋介 【よう・すけ】 - Yousuke (first name)

34.  あのう/あの - say; well; errr

35.  英語 【えい・ご】 - English (language)

36.  教える 【おし・える】 (ru-verb) - to teach; to inform

37.  もらう (u-verb) - to receive

38.  もし - if by any chance

39.  時間 【じ・かん】 - time

40.  うん - yes (casual)

41.  アメリカ - America

42.  留学 【りゅう・がく】 - study abroad

43.  する (exception) - to do

44.  去年 【きょ・ねん】 - last year

45.  行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) - to go

46.  お金 【お・かね】 - money

47.  ある (u-verb) - to exist (inanimate)

48.  いつ - when

49.  欲しい 【ほ・しい】 (i-adj) - wanted; desirable

50.  来週 【らい・しゅう】 - next week

51.  木曜日 【もく・よう・び】 - Thursday

52.  ありがとう - thank you

53.  怠ける 【なま・ける】 (ru-verb) - to neglect, to be lazy about

54.  来る 【く・る】 (exception) - to come

55.  そんな - that sort of

56.  こと - event, matter

We learned quite a lot of things in this section. Let's try to put it all together by seeing how different kinds of conjugations are used in different combinations. This is of course by no means an exhaustive list but merely an illustration of how we can use what we learned in various combinations to create a lot of useful expressions.

Example 1

アリス: 加賀先生、ちょっと質問を聞いてもいいですか?
加賀先生: はい、#12356;いですよ。
何と言えば = quoted sub-clause + if conditional of 言う

加賀先生: そうね。大体、「こんにちは」と言うと思いますよ。ただし、書く時は「こんにちわ」じゃなくて、「こんにちは」と書かなくてはなりません。
「と言うと思います」 = quoted sub-clause + quoted sub-clause
「じゃなくて」 = negative sequence of states


「覚えといて」覚える +
abbreviated form of
~ておく + casual ~てください with ください dropped.


Literal translation of Example 1

Alice: Kaga-sensei, is it ok to ask you a question?
Kaga-sensei: Yes, it's ok.
Alice: If you say what for "hello" in Japanese, is it ok?
Kaga-sensei: Well, mostly, I think people say "konnichiwa". Only, when you write it, you must write "konnichiha" and not "konnichiwa".
Alice: Is that so? Are there any other good expressions?
Kaga-sensei: Please memorize this too (in preparation for the future). In the morning, everybody says, "ohayou". But, please say, "ohayou-gozaimasu" to a higher person.
Alice: Yes, I understood. I'll do in the manner of not making mistake. It became good study!

Interpretative translation of Example 1

Alice: Kaga-sensei, is it ok to ask you a question?
Kaga-sensei: Sure.
Alice: How do you say "Hello" in Japanese?
Kaga-sensei: Well, most of the time, I think people say "konnichiwa". Only, when you write it, you must write "konnichiha" and not "konnichiwa".
Alice: Is that so? Are there any other good expressions?
Kaga-sensei: You should know this too. In the morning, everybody says, "ohayou". But, please say, "ohayou-gozaimasu" to a higher person.
Alice: Ok, I got it. I'll try not to make that mistake. That was very informative!

Example 2


「教えてもらいたい」 = receiving favor + to want (たい)


「してみたいなと思って」 = to try something out (~てみる) + want to (たい) + sentence-ending particle + quoted subquote + te-form of 思う
「行こうとした」 = volitional of 行く + to attempt (とする)


「怠けたり来なかったりしないで」 = List of actions (~たりする) + negative request of する.


Literal translation of Example 2

Yousuke: Oh! It's Alice. Hey, is it ok to ask a question?
Alice: What?
Yousuke: I want to receive the favor of you teaching English and if, by any chance, you have time, will you give the favor of teaching?
Alice: Huh? You are going to study English?
Yousuke: Yeah, I was thinking that I want to try studying abroad in America. I tried to make motion toward going last year too but, without money...
Alice: Is that so? It's good. When do you want me to teach you?
Yousuke: Anytime is good.
Alice: Then what about from next week Thursday?
Yousuke: Yeah, ok. Thanks!
Alice: Don't do things like shirk on your studies or not come, ok?
Yousuke: I won't do anything like that!

Interpretative translation of Example 2

Yousuke: Oh! It's Alice. Hey, can I ask you a question?
Alice: What up?
Yousuke: I want to learn English so if you have time, can you teach me?
Alice: Huh? You're going to study English?
Yousuke: Yeah, I was thinking about studying abroad in America. I tried going last year too but I didn't have the money.
Alice: Really? No problem. When do you want me to teach you?
Yousuke: Anytime is fine.
Alice: What about from next week Thursday then?
Yousuke: OK, thanks!
Alice: You're not going to shirk on your studies or not come or anything right?
Yousuke: I won't do anything like that!

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Basic grammar

  • 1 :Addressing People
  • 2 :Adjective Practice Exercises
  • 3 :Adjectives
  • 4 :Advanced proximity of actions
  • 5 :Advanced Topics
  • 6 :Advanced Volitional
  • 7 :Adverbs and Sentence-ending particles
  • 8 :Basic Grammar
  • 9 :Casual Patterns and Slang
  • 10 :Causative and Passive Verbs
  • 11 :Compound Sentences
  • 12 :Conditionals
  • 13 :Covered by something
  • 14 :Defining and Describing
  • 15 :Desire and Suggestions
  • 16 :Essential Grammar
  • 17 :Expressing amounts
  • 18 :Expressing must or have to
  • 19 :Expressing State-of-Being
  • 20 :Expressing the minimum expectation
  • 21 :Expressing time-specific actions
  • 22 :Expressing various levels of certainty
  • 23 :Formal expressions of non-feasibility
  • 24 :Formal Expressions
  • 25 :Giving and Receiving
  • 26 :Hiragana
  • 27 :Honorific and Humble Forms
  • 28 :Hypothesizing and Concluding
  • 29 :Introduction to Particles
  • 30 :Introduction
  • 31 :Kanji
  • 32 :Katakana
  • 33 :Leaving something the way it is
  • 34 :Making requests
  • 35 :More negative verbs
  • 36 :Negative Verb Practice Exercises
  • 37 :Negative Verbs
  • 38 :Noun-related Particles
  • 39 :Numbers and Counting
  • 40 :Other Grammar
  • 41 :Other uses of the te-form
  • 42 :Particles used with verbs
  • 43 :Past Tense
  • 44 :Past Verb Practice Exercises
  • 45 :Performing an action on a relative clause
  • 46 :Polite Form and Verb Stems
  • 47 :Potential Form
  • 48 :Relative Clauses and Sentence Order
  • 49 :Review and more sentence-ending particles
  • 50 :Saying something is easy or difficult to do
  • 51 :Showing signs of something
  • 52 :Special expressions with generic nouns
  • 53 :Special Expressions
  • 54 :Tendencies
  • 55 :The Question Marker
  • 56 :The Writing System
  • 57 :Things that happen unintentionally
  • 58 :Things that should be a certain way
  • 59 :Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
  • 60 :Trying something out or attempting to do something
  • 61 :Using suru and naru with the ni particle
  • 62 :Using yoru for comparisons and other functions
  • 63 :Various ways to express similarity and hearsay
  • 64 :Verb Basics
  • 65 :Verb Practice Exercises