Japanese for beginners #7

The particles に, で and へ and a typical japanese sentence-structure

February 11, 2016 in Japanese for beginners
Note: This represents the last chapter of this brief introduction to the Japanese language.


The Particle に

As a rule, nouns should be followed by particles. Particles indicate how nouns are related to each other and to verbs. The particle に has many meanings. Two of those meanings will be described here: (a) the goal towards things move and (b) the time an event takes place

(a) the goal of movement

I will not go to work today.わたしはきょうしごといきません。
(watashi wa kyo shigoto ni ikimasen.)
I will return home.わたしはうちかえります。
(watashi wa uchi ni kaerimasu.)
I often go to the library.わたしはよくとしょかんいきます。
(watashi wa yoku toshokan ni ikimasu.)
I will go to cinema tomorrow.わたしはあしたえいがかんいきます。
(watashi wa ashita eegakan ni ikimasu.)

(b) the time an event takes place

I will go to Osaka on Friday.きんようびおおさかにいきます。
(kinyobi ni oosaka ni ikimasu.)
I will go to bed at ten.じゅうじねます。
(juuji ni nemasu.)
I will go to work at eight.はちじしごとにいきます。
(hachiji ni shigoto ni ikimasu.)
I will go to cinema on the weekend.じゅうまつえいがかんにいきます。
(juugatsu ni eigakan ni ikimasu.)

For “(b) the time an event takes place” the particle に will only be used if it is days or months or exact hours/minutes. It is not used for words that describe time relative to the current moment such as “today” or “tomorrow” or “every day” and the word “when”.

When will you go?いついきますか。
(itsu ikimasuka.)
I will come tomorrow.あしたきます。
(ashita kimasu.)
I watch TV every evening.まいばんテレビをみます。
(maiban terebi o mimasu.)

The Particle で

The Particle で indicates, at what location an event takes place

I will drink coffee at a café.きっさてんコーヒーをのみます。
(kissaten de koohee o nomimasu.)
I will watch TV at home.うちテレビをみます。
(uchi de terebi o mimasu.)
I will listen to music at home.うちおんがくをききます。
(uchi de ongaku o kikimasu.)

The Particle へ

The Particle へ same as the Particle に shows the goal towards things move. It can therefore replace に in this type of meaning.

I often go to the library.わたしはよくとしょかんいきます。
(watashi wa yoku toshokan ni ikimasu.)
I will go to the cinema tomorrow.わたしはあしたえいがかんいきます。
(watashi wa ashita eegakan ni ikimasu.)

Sentence structure

Japanese sentences typically consist of a series of noun + particle sequences followed by a verb / adjective and possibly a sentence final particle such as か, ね or よ. The order of these sequences is not strictly regulated and you can therefore decide how you want to arrange the elements of a sentence. Below are two frequently encountered arrangements, but other arrangements are also possible:

Topic は Time に Place で Object を Verb

たけしさん ときどき あの きっさてん コーヒー のみます。
(Takeshi sometimes drinks coffee in this café.)
わたし きょうさんじごいぇん としょかん にほんご べんきょうします。
(I will learn japanese in the library today afternoon at 3 pm.)

Topic は (Frequency+time) + Goal へ Verb

わたし の ともだち よく わたし の うち きます。
(My friend often comes to my house.)
わたし よく しちじごる うち かえります。
(I often return home at about 7.)

Make an Invitation (~ませんか)

To invite another person to do something with you, you can use the negative present tense(ません) together with the question particle か.

Would you go out for dinner with me?ばんごはんをたべませんか。
(bangohan o tabemasenka.)
Would you come with me to drink tea in a café?きっさてんでおちゃをのみませんか。
(kissaten de ocha o nomimasenka.)
Would you join me to watch a movie in cinema?えいがかんでえいがをみませんか。
(eegakan de eega o mimasenka.)
Sounds great.いいですね。
(ii desu ne.)
Sorry, it’s slightly inconvenient for me at this moment.ちょっと。

ちょっと (chotto): The word ち ょ っ と means directly translated “a little, a little,” for example, ち ょ っ と く だ さ い means “Please give me a little” and ち ょ っ と ま っ て く だ さ い means “Please wait a moment”. It is widely used also as a polite refusal of an offer. In this case, it means “impossible” or “inconvenient”. Japanese people rarely say い い え (No), since it is too direct.


Words adopted from other languages into Japanese are not written in Hiragana but in Katakana. One of these words, the word for coffee, we have already seen in the last chapter. With upcoming chapters more Katakana words are added. Therefore now it is a good time to learn the Katakana characters.
Table of Katakana characters

Vocabulary #7

Department storeデパート
Bus stopバスてい


The 7 previously released chapters “Japanese for Beginners” roughly cover the contents that were taught to me in the first semester Japanese at a university. This short summary i give here can not replace a Japanese language course. The many exercises and group work that we did during this course helped a lot to internalize the content and it makes much more fun to learn the language with others. Unfortunately I am unable to attend further semesters because I will already be staying in Japan at that time. However, since I plan to continue to learn Japanese, it might be that more chapters will appear in the future. To anyone who also plans to travel to Japan by the means of a Working Holiday Visa: I highly recommend you to also attend such a language course as a preparation for the trip. It will be of great advantage :)

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