Topic Marker and Sentence Ending Particles – は, も, よ & ね!

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In this exercise, we will examine the main particles used at the start of Japanese sentences, namely 「は」(wa), which is used to identify the topic of a sentence. Additionally, we will look at 「も」(mo), which can also be used as a similar topic markers, but has the added meaning of ‘as well’ or ‘too’. We will also look at sentence ending particles like 「よ」(yo) and 「ね」(ne), and explore how they can be used both individually and together.

Please note we will be using a fair amount of Hiragana and Katakana to explain simple structures and samples. Furthermore, we have provided a list of additional vocabulary from the examples used at the end of this lesson.

The use of は and も

At first, let’s look at the use of 「は」to begin a sentence or to identify a given topic. Please note the pronunciation of the particle in this form is 「わ」or ‘wa’ rather than ‘ha’ as per the usual hiragana reading. The most basic use of this particular particle can be seen in the form of questions and answers.

Example No. 1 :

これ、何 (なん) ですか?(Kore wa, nan desu ka) – What is this?

それ、テレビです。(Sore wa, terebi desu) – That is a Television.

Example No. 2:

彼 (かれ) 、誰 (だれ) ですか? (Kare wa, dare desu ka) – Who is he?

彼 (かれ) 、ヒロさんです。(Kare wa, Hiro-san desu) – He is Hiro-san.

* The use of 「か」is the general question marker or particle used mostly in polite language and is added to the end of a sentence.

In fact, we also see the use of 「は」in greetings, in the daytime and in the evening, as per below:

こんにち (Konnichi wa) – Hello/Good Day!

こんばん(Konban wa) – Good Evening!

Next, we will look at the use of 「も」as not only a topic marker but also an inclusive particle.

Example No. 1:

今日 (きょう) は、寒い (さむい) です。(Kyou wa, samui desu) – Today is cold.

明日 (あした) 、寒い (さむい) です。(Ashita mo, samui desu) – Tomorrow will also be cold.

Example No. 2:

彼 (かれ) は、優しい (やさしい) です。(Kare wa, yasashii desu) – He is kind.

彼女 (かのじょ) 、優しい (やさしい) です。(Kanojyo mo, yasashi desu) – She is also kind.

You can also use the particle 「も」with simple phrases as per the following examples:

私 (わたし) (Watashi mo) – Me too.

あなた(Anata mo) – You too.

これ (Kore mo) – This too.

それ (Sore mo) – That too.

The use of よ and ね

Let’s initially take a look at the use of 「よ」as a particle to emphasise a particular sentence or similar to an exclamation mark ‘!’.

Example No. 1:

この寿司 (すし) は、美味しい  (おいしい) です!(Kono sushi wa, oishii desu yo) – This sushi is delicious!

Next, we will look at the use of 「ね」, which is used to seek confirmation and ask for agreement. It is very similar to the expressions ‘right?’ or ‘isn’t it?’.

Example No. 1:

今日 ( きょう) は、いい天気 (いいてんき) です! (Kyou wa, ii tenki desu ne) – It’s nice weather today, isn’t it?

Finally, we will look at the articles used together to form 「よね」, in this combination they are both emphasising a sentence, and seeking confirmation at the same time.

Example No. 1:

この映画 (えいが) は、面白い (おもしろい) ですよね! (Kono eiga ha, omoshiroi desu yo ne) – This movie was interesting, wasn’t it ?!

Appendix – Vocabulary

Below is a list of the vocabulary used throughout the exercise:

これ – This

それ – That

何 (なん/なに or Nan/Nani) – What

テレビ (てれび or Terebi) – Television/TV

彼 (かれ or Kare) – He

誰 (だれ or Dare) – Who

今日 (きょう or Kyou) – Today

明日 (あした or Ashita) – Tomorrow

寒い (さむい or Samui) – Cold (Weather)

優しい (やさしい or Yasashii) – Kind

彼女 (かのじょ or Kanojyo) – She

この~ (Kono~) – This (thing)

寿司 (すし or Sushi) – Sushi, Japanese raw fish dish

美味しい (おいしい or Oishii) – Tasty/Delicious

いい (ii) – Nice/Good

天気 (てんき or Tenki) – Weather

映画 (えいが or Eiga) – Movie/Film

面白い (おもしろい or Omoshiroi) – Interesting/Amusing

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