Lesson 11: Grammar Bits

The purpose of this lesson is to teach you some “grammar bits” that will help broaden your understanding of Japanese. These structures are simple and basic, but are very important and common.

The Particle

In previous lessons, you have learned the basic sentence structure (X は Y です). This is how you say “X is Y.” Now, by changing the particle は to a new particle, you can say “Z is also Y.” This new particle is も.

Take a look at the examples below to understand how も functions in a sentence.

これはねこです。 (Kore wa neko desu.) This is a cat.

これもねこです。(Kore mo neko desu.) This is also a cat.

わたしはアメリカじんです。(Watashi wa amerikajin desu.) I am American.

わたしもアメリカじんです。(Watashi mo amerikajin desu.) I am also American.

Notice in the above sentences that when もoccurs, は is not present. はis replaced by も. もmust follow the topic of the sentence.

Negating Sentences

Now that you should have a firm grasp on the basic sentence structure, you should learn how to form the negative of this structure. In order to say “X is NOT Y,” you will need to use じゃありません.

This new sentence form is:


This negative sentence structure only works when Y is a noun. If Y is an adjective, a different sentence must be formed (you will learn more about this in later lessons).

Take a look at the following examples.

これはほんじゃありません。  This is not a book.

あれはいぬじゃありません。   That over there is not a dog.

みなみさんはせんせいじゃありません。 Mrs. Minami is not a teacher.


In Japanese, you will notice many statements end in ね or よ. ね is added to the end of the sentence when the speaker is trying to get confirmation from the listener. よ is added to the end of a sentence when the speaker wants to assure the listener of his or her statement. よ makes the statement take on an authoritative tone.

For example:


Kore wa sakana desu ne.  This is fish, right?


Sono kaban wa watashi no kaban jya arimasen ne. That bag is not my bag, right?


Sore wa inu jya arimasen yo.   I’m sure that is not a dog.


Take-san wa nihonjin desu yo.  Mr. Take is Japanese (for sure).

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