Japanese for beginners #4

Simple sentence-structure by using the particles は and の

November 2, 2015 in Japanese for beginners

In the last chapter we learned how to do simple math and ask simple questions. By that, also the particles は and の have been introduced briefly. In this chapter, after completing the times topic, we will focus more on particles.


Time with minutes

In the last chapter we learned how to ask for the time and also how to reply if we get asked. However, we can only address the hour yet and not the minutes. To complete this topic we will now learn how to tell the time exactly by minute.

One minuteいっぷん (ippun)
Two minutesにふん (nifun)
Three minutesさんぷん (sanpun)
Four minutesよんぷん (yonpun)
Five minutesごふん (gofun)
Six minutesろっぷん (roppun)
Seven minutesななふん (nanafun)
Eight minutesはっぷん/はちふん (happun / hachifun)
Nine minutesきゅうふん (kyuufun)
Ten minutesじゅっぷん (juppun)
Eleven minutesじゅういっぷん (juuippun)
Twelve minutesじゅうにふん (juunifun)
Thirteen minutesじゅうさんぷん (juusanpun)
Fourteen minutesじゅうよんぷん (juuyonpun)
Fifteen minutesじゅうごふん (juugofun)
Sixteen minutesじゅうろくふん (juurokufun)
Seventeen minutesじゅうななふん (juunanafun)
Eighteen minutesじゅうはっぷん (juuhappun) / じゅうはちふん (juuhachifun)
Nineteen minutesじゅうきゅうふん (juukyuufun)
Twenty minutesにじゅっぷん (nijuppun)
Twentyone minutesにじゅういっぷん (nijuuippun)
Twentytwo minutesにじゅうにふん (nijuunifun)
Twentythree minutesにじゅうさんぷん (nijuusanpun)
Thrity minutesさんじゅっぷん (sanjuppun)
Fourty minutesよんじゅっぷん (yonjuppun)
Fifty minutesごじゅっぷん (gojuppun)
EnglishJapanese [Kana (Romaji)]


It is 9 o’clock and 5 minutes.くじ ごふん です。
(kuji gofun desu.)
It is 5 o’clock and 20 minutes pm.ごぜんしちじにじゅっぷんです。
(gozen shichiji nijuppun desu)
It is 12 o’clock and 55 minutes.じゅうにじ ごじゅうごふん です。
(juuniji gojuugofun desu)

The particles は and の

In the Japanese language particles are used to build basic grammatical structures. For example to indicate which noun is the object, the subject or main topic. The particles は and の have several different use in the language but in this chapter we are going to focus only on the usagepatterns [XはYです] and [Noun1のNoun2].

[X は Y です]

Simple sentences like “I am a student” or “It is half past ten” or “My car is a toyota” can be formed by a purposeful noun followed by the word です ([noun] desu).

(I) am a student.がくせいです。
(gakusee desu.)
(It is) half past ten.じゅうじはんです。
(juuji han desu.)
(My car is) a toyota.とよたです。
(toyota desu.)
Note that in Japanese the subjects are often omitted when the speaker thinks it is not necessary to provide them. In case the subject is necessary or the speaker wants to name it the pattern X は Y です can be used.

My car is a toyota.わたしのくるま とよた です
(watashi no kuruma wa toyota desu.)
I am Takeshi.わたし たけし です
(watashi wa takeshi desu.)
Takeshi is a Japanese.たけしさん にはんじん です
(takeshi-san wa nihonjin desu.)

[Noun1 の Noun2]

Using the particle の two nouns can be connected to each other. The noun that carries the main topic is always at the end in this pattern. In the following example “Takeshi san no denwa bangoo (Takeshi”s phone number)” the phone number is the main topic and stands at the end while Takeshi’s is a restriction/gives more precise information regarding this phone number (It is the phone number from Takeshi). Take a look at more examples on how this phrases are build:

A school teacher.がっこう せんせい。
(gakkoo no sensee.)
A student of the japanese language.にほんご がくせい。
(nihongo no gakusee.)
A school in japan.にほん がっこう。
(nihon no gakkoo.)
An employee of sony.かいしゃいん そにい。
(kaishain no sonii.)
A phrase with the pattern [Nomen1のNomen2] can also be a component of further phrases so it is possible to concatenate phrases.

The sister of my mother.わたし おかあさん いもうと。
(watashi no okaasan no imooto.)
The sister of my mother is my aunt.わたし おかあさん いもうと わたし おばさん です
(watashi no okaasan no imooto wa watashi no obasan desu.)
Takeshi’s mother is a high school teacher.たけし おかあさん こうこう せんせい です
(takeshi san no okaasan wa kookoo no sensee desu.)
The car of the company of my younger brother’s friend.わたし おとうと ともだち かいしゃ くるも。
(watashi no otooto no tomodachi no kaisha no kuruma.)

Vocabulary #4

Graduate Studentだいがくいんせい
Great Britainいぎりす
EnglishJapanese [Hiragana]


The correct use of the particles is learned best by doing practical exercises. Therefore here are provided some examples. Please translate the following sentences into Japanese:

  • Takeshi’s phone number
  • My friend
  • Takeshi’s major
  • My english teacher
  • A friend of my younger sister
  • An employee of sony
  • A student of the cologne university
  • The name of my japanese teacher
  • The older brother of Takeshi’s mother
  • A history teacher at the school of my younger brother
  • Takeshi is 20 years old.
  • Takeshi’s major is japanese history
  • Tanaka is a teacher at the Tokyo University.

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