Japanese Grammar

Welcome to the 8th lesson about Japanese grammar. We will first learn about prepositions, negation, questions, adverbs, and pronouns including: personal, object and possessive pronouns. To hear the pronunciation, just click on the sound icon.

We will start with prepositions. In general, they are used to link words to other words. For example: I speak Japanese and English the preposition is [and] because it connects both words Japanese and English. The following is a list of the most used prepositions in Japanese.

Prepositions
Japanese
Pronunciation
and
[to] Audio
above
上に
[ue ni] Audio
under
下に
[shita ni] Audio
before
前に
[mae ni] Audio
after
後ろに
[ushiro ni] Audio
in front of
前に
[mae ni] Audio
behind
後ろに
[ushiro ni] Audio
far from
から離れて
[kara hanare te] Audio
near
の近くに
[no chikaku ni] Audio
in
の中で
[no naka de] Audio
inside
の内側で
[no uchigawa de] Audio
outside
の外側で
[no sotogawa de] Audio
with
[to] Audio
without
なしで
[nashi de] Audio
about
[yaku] Audio
between
の間に
[no aida ni] Audio
but
しかし
[shikashi] Audio
for
のために
[no tame ni] Audio
from
から
[kara] Audio
to
[ni] Audio

Preposition Grammar Rules

The following examples use prepositions in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Prepositions + Rules
Japanese + Pronunciation
I eat without a knife
[preposition + noun]
私はナイフなしで食べます。 Audio
[watashi wa naifu nashi de tabe masu]
she lives near the church
[verb + preposition]
彼女は教会の近くに住んでいます。 Audio
[kanojo wa kyoukai no chikaku ni sun de i masu]
he is taller than her
[adjective + preposition]
彼は彼女より背が高いです。 Audio
[kare wa kanojo yori se ga takai desu]
he came with his small dog
[preposition + pronoun]
彼は彼の小さな犬を連れてきました。 Audio
[kare wa kare no chiisana inu o tsure te ki mashi ta]
can you come with me?
[preposition + pronoun]
私と一緒に来られますか? Audio
[watashi to issho ni ko rare masu ka?]

Negation in Japanese

Now let's learn how to make a negative sentence (negation). For example: Saying no, I can't, I don't ... The following examples use negation in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Negation + Rules
Japanese + Pronunciation
I understand you
[affirmative form]
私はあなたのことを理解しています。 Audio
[watashi wa anata no koto o rikai shi te i masu]
I don't understand you
[negation + verb]
私にはあなたがわかりません。 Audio
[watashi ni wa anata ga wakari mase n]
this is not the correct word
[negation + adjective]
これは正しい言葉ではありません。 Audio
[kore wa tadashii kotoba de wa ari mase n]
don't leave me
[imperative negation]
私を置いていかないでください。 Audio
[watashi o oi te ika nai de kudasai]
no problem
[negation + noun]
問題ありません。 Audio
[mondai ari mase n]

Negative Sentences
Japanese + Pronunciation
I don't speak French
[negation + present tense]
私はフランス語が話せません。 Audio
[watashi wa furansugo ga hanase mase n]
she didn't visit Germany
[negation + past tense]
彼女はドイツに行きませんでした。 Audio
[kanojo wa doitsu ni iki mase n deshi ta]
he cannot see us
[negative modal verb]
彼には私たちが見えません。 Audio
[kare ni wa watashi tachi ga mie mase n]
can't she play chess?
[interrogative negation]
彼女はチェスができないのですか? Audio
[kanojo wa chesu ga deki nai no desu ka?]
we will not come late
[negation + future tense]
私たちが遅く来ることはありません。 Audio
[watashi tachi ga osoku kuru koto wa ari mase n]

Questions in Japanese

Now let's learn how to ask questions (interrogative). Such as: what, why, can you ...? Here are some common examples:

English
Japanese
Pronunciation
how?
どのように?
[dono you ni?] Audio
what?
何が?
[nani ga?] Audio
who?
誰が?
[dare ga?] Audio
why?
なぜ?
[naze?] Audio
where?
どこ?
[doko?] Audio

More of the interrogative form, now in a sentence:

Questions + Rules
Japanese + Pronunciation
where do you live?
[interrogative + verb]
あなたはどこに住んでいるのですか? Audio
[anata wa doko ni sun de iru no desu ka?]
does she speak Chinese?
[interrogative verb]
彼女は中国語が話せますか? Audio
[kanojo wa chuugokugo ga hanase masu ka?]
how much is this?
[interrogative preposition]
これはいくらですか? Audio
[kore wa ikura desu ka?]
can I help you?
[interrogative modal verb]
何かお困りですか? Audio
[nani ka o komari desu ka?]
what is your name?
[interrogative preposition]
お名前は何ですか? Audio
[o namae wa nan desu ka?]

Adverbs in Japanese

It's time to learn the adverbs in Japanese. But what is an adverb? In general, adverbs modify verbs and adjectives. For example: You speak fast. The adverb is [fast] because it describes the verb and answers the question how do you speak?. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Adverbs
Japanese
Pronunciation
now
[ima] Audio
yesterday
昨日
[kinou] Audio
today
今日
[kyou] Audio
tonight
今夜
[konya] Audio
tomorrow
明日
[ashita] Audio
soon
もうすぐ
[mousugu] Audio
quickly
速く
[hayaku] Audio
slowly
ゆっくり
[yukkuri] Audio
together
一緒に
[issho ni] Audio
very
とても
[totemo] Audio
almost
ほとんど
[hotondo] Audio
always
いつも
[itsumo] Audio
usually
通常
[tsuujou] Audio
sometimes
時々
[tokidoki] Audio
rarely
まれに
[mare ni] Audio
never
決して
[kesshite] Audio

The following examples use the adverbs in different ways and places to demonstrate how it behaves in a sentence.

Adverbs + Rules
Japanese + Pronunciation
do you understand me now?
[pronoun + adverb]
今は、私のことがわかりますか? Audio
[ima wa, watashi no koto ga wakari masu ka?]
I need help immediately
[noun + adverb]
私は、今すぐに助けが必要です。 Audio
[watashi wa, ima sugu ni tasuke ga hitsuyou desu]
she is very intelligent
[adverb + adjective]
彼女はとても知的です。 Audio
[kanojo wa totemo chiteki desu]
I will always love you
[verb + adverb]
いつだって愛しています。 Audio
[itsu datte aishi te i masu]
can we learn German together?
[adverb in a question]
一緒にドイツ語を学びませんか? Audio
[issho ni doitsu go o manabi mase n ka?]

Pronouns in Japanese

We're almost done! This time we will learn the pronouns in Japanese. In general, a pronoun can be used instead of a noun. For example instead of saying my teacher speaks 3 languages, you can use the pronoun he, and say he speaks 3 languages. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Personal Pronouns
Japanese
Pronunciation
I
私は
[watashi wa] Audio
you
あなたは
[anata wa] Audio
he
彼は
[kare wa] Audio
she
彼女は
[kanojo wa] Audio
we
私たちは
[watashi tachi wa] Audio
they
彼らは
[karera wa] Audio

Object Pronouns
Japanese
Pronunciation
me
私を
[watashi o] Audio
you
あなたを
[anata o] Audio
him
彼を
[kare o] Audio
her
彼女を
[kanojo o] Audio
us
私たちを
[watashi tachi o] Audio
them
彼らを
[karera o] Audio

Possessive Pronouns
Japanese
Pronunciation
my
私の
[watashi no] Audio
your
あなたの
[anata no] Audio
his
彼の
[kare no] Audio
her
彼女の
[kanojo no] Audio
our
私たちの
[watashi tachi no] Audio
their
彼らの
[karera no] Audio

I think it's better to put the above example in a sentence to better assist you. The following examples use pronouns in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence. We will start with the personal pronouns.

Personal Pronouns
Japanese + Pronunciation
I am your friend
[1st pronoun + verb]
私はあなたの友達です。 Audio
[watashi wa anata no tomodachi desu]
you speak very fast
[2nd pronoun + adverb]
あなたはとても早口です。 Audio
[anata wa totemo hayakuchi desu]
he has three dogs
[3rd pronoun + verb]
彼は犬を3匹飼っています。 Audio
[kare wa inu o san biki kat te i masu]
she can speak German
[3rd pronoun + verb]
彼女はドイツ語を話せます。 Audio
[kanojo wa doitsu go o hanase masu]
we will not come late
[1st plural pronoun]
私たちが遅く来ることはありません。 Audio
[watashi tachi ga osoku kuru koto wa ari mase n]
they bought milk and bread
[3rd plural pronoun]
彼らは、ミルクとパンを買いました。 Audio
[karera wa, miruku to pan o kai mashi ta]

The object pronoun is used as a target by a verb, and usually come after that verb. For example: I gave him my book. The object pronoun here is him. Here are more examples:

Object Pronouns
Japanese + Pronunciation
can you tell me your name?
[1st object pronoun]
あなたの名前を教えてもらえますか? Audio
[anata no namae o oshie te morae masu ka?]
I will give you money
[2nd object pronoun]
お金をあげましょう。 Audio
[okane o age masho u]
she wrote him a letter
[3rd object pronoun]
彼女は彼に手紙を書きました。 Audio
[kanojo wa kare ni tegami o kaki mashi ta]
they visited her yesterday
[3rd object pronoun]
彼らは昨日彼女を訪ねました。 Audio
[karera wa kinou kanojo o tazune mashi ta]
can she help us?
[1st pl. object pronoun]
彼女が私たちを助けられますか? Audio
[kanojo ga watashi tachi o tasuke rare masu ka?]
he gave them food
[3rd pl. object pronoun]
彼は彼らに食べ物をあげました。 Audio
[kare wa karera ni tabemono o age mashi ta]

Possessive Pronouns
Japanese + Pronunciation
my name is Maya
[1st possessive pronoun]
私の名前はマヤです。 Audio
[watashi no namae wa maya desu]
your brother lives here
[2nd possessive pronoun]
あなたの兄弟はここに住んでいます。 Audio
[anata no kyoudai wa koko ni sun de i masu]
her mother cooks for us
[3rd possessive pronoun]
彼女の母親は私たちに料理を作ってくれました。 Audio
[kanojo no hahaoya wa watashi tachi ni ryouri o tsukut te kure mashi ta]
his hobby is reading books
[3rd possessive pronoun]
彼の趣味は読書です。 Audio
[kare no shumi wa dokusho desu]
our dream is to visit Paris
[1st pl. possessive pronoun]
私たちの夢は、パリに行くことです。 Audio
[watashi tachi no yume wa, pari ni iku koto desu]
their house is not far
[3rd pl. possessive pronoun]
彼らの家は遠くではありません。 Audio
[karera no ie wa tooku de wa ari mase n]

One more thing you need to know is the demonstrative pronouns. They're very easy to learn.

Demonstrative Pronouns
Japanese
Pronunciation
this is my house
これは私の家です。
[kore wa watashi no ie desu] Audio
that restaurant is far
そのレストランは遠いです。
[sono resutoran wa tooi desu] Audio
these apples are delicious
このりんごはおいしいです。
[kono ringo wa oishii desu] Audio
those stars are shiny
それらの星は輝いています。
[sorera no hoshi wa kagayai te i masu] Audio

I hope you learned a lot about the Japanese grammar in this lesson. If you have any question about this lesson please contact me here. The next lesson is below, have fun!

Japanese Phrases   Japanese Phrases

Japanese Vocabulary   Japanese Vocabulary



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Inspirational Quote: First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Epictetus