Japanese Language Blog

The を Particle Posted by on Oct 13, 2009 in Grammar

The particle is the direct object particle. The particle is used to indicate that the word is the direct object of the verb. For instance, おちゃ を のみます shows that おちゃ is the direct object of the verb のみます. (おちゃ = ocha. = o. のみます = nomimas.) (おちゃ = tea. = direct object particle. のみます = polite form of the verb ‘drink’.) In English this sentence would be translated as ‘[I] drink tea’. The particle comes after the noun or object and before the verb. When you’re creating Japanese sentences and you don’t have a noun and a verb, you won’t be able to incorporate the particle. The verb and noun is essential.

In terms of pronunciation, by itself is pronounced as ‘wo’ as in the English word ‘woven’. However when is used as a direct object particle, it’s pronounced as ‘o’ as in the English word for ‘original’. Also, the last syllable of the verb tends to be muted. With the example above, the verb のみます is pronounced as nomimas rather than nomimasu. Like , is pronounced as ‘su’ when read by itself. However as part of a verb, there’s a tendency to drop the ‘u’ or part of the sound, leaving the verb to end in an ‘s’ sound. You won’t have to worry about the sound change in the negative form of the verb.

For example, the sentence おちゃ を のみません means ‘[I] don’t drink tea’. This sentence would be pronounced as ‘ocha o nomimasen’. Also, in Japanese, there’s a tendency to use less spaces inbetween words, especially when you compare the amount of spacing used in English words. Therefore you’re more likely to see the sentence おちゃ を のみません as おちゃをのみません. I deliberately left a huge space inbetween the noun and between and the verb for added emphasis. Also, sometimes it’s hard to understand a sentence when the words are all written in hiragana.

It’s possible to see some kanji (kanji = Sino Japanese characters) to break up the sentence into decipherable parts. Using the example above, it may be even more likely to see the sentence written like this, お茶を飲みません. The kanji for tea is used, and the kanji for the word drink is also used. Here the is not in kanji because it’s a politeness marker for nouns. The word ちゃ means tea, but adding the to おちゃ makes this politer. The reason why みません is not in kanji is because the suffixes following the verb such as ません and ます indicate tense and affirmative/negative endings. These endings are left in the hiragana.

Keep learning Japanese with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it