Language Lesson

Uki Uki NihonGO + Culture! - Lesson 17 - Basic Sentence Structure

NihonGO! Lesson #17 Basic Sentence Structure

Welcome to Uki Uki NihonGO! + Culture

Today, we are answering the most commonly-asked question: how to make a sentence in Japanese!
All you need is 3 easy steps:

Step 1) Identify the TYPES of words

* Time: words that give you a sense of time (e.g. Monday, Christmas, birthday, 6pm, 2014, September, etc.)
* Place: words that indicate a location of action (e.g. home, airport, restaurant, 2FL, library, Japan, etc.)
* Verb: words that indicate action (e.g. eat, study, walk, etc.)
* Companion: with someone (e.g. with friends, with dad, etc.)
* Topic: similar to “Subject” in English. Usually comes at the beginning of a sentence.
* Object: the thing directly affected by the verb. Usually comes right after the verb in English.

Let’s apply these to a sentence:
e.g. I(topic) ate(verb) lunch(object) with my friend(companion) at a restaurant(place) on Sunday(time).

Step 2) Use the PARTICLE COMBOS!
Particles are tiny little words with a very important grammar function. It’s thanks to particles that a bunch of words can turn into a cohesive sentence. Particles attach to the end of words based on the TYPE of those words like this:

Topic+?, Time+?, Place+?, Object+?, and Companion+?
(Verb has no particle, and it always comes at the end of a sentence.)

Step 3) Final step - Assemble the puzzle!
The word order of a Japanese sentence is very flexible as long as the verb comes at the end. But that said, there is a standard sentence structure. It’s extremely useful to know, so try to memorize this the best you can:

1. Topic? 2. Time? 3. Companion? 4. Place? 5. Object? 6. Verb

1. I watched Guardians of the Galaxy with my girlfriend in Times Square at 7:00.
Times Square? Guardians of the Galaxy?
(Watashi wa shichiji ni kanojo to Taimuzu Sukuea de Gaadianzu obu za Gyarakushii o mimashita.

2. I don’t drink coffee at night.

(Watashi wa yoru ni koohii o nomimasen.)

3. I want to see cherry blossoms in Kyoto in the spring.

(Watashi wa haru ni Kyouto de sakura o mitai desu.)

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