Particles used with verbs

Before we can do much with verbs, we first need to learn some particles that are used to describe how various parts of a sentence interacts with the verb.

「を」 Object Particle

The 「を」 particle is used to designate the direct object of a verb.

Note: While 「を」 is technically a w-consonant sound, it is pronounced the same as 「お」.


  1. 映画 【えい・が】 – movie
  2. 見る 【み・る】 – to see; to watch
  3. ご飯 【ご・はん】 – rice; meal
  4. 食べる 【た・べる】 – to eat
  5. 本 【ほん】 – book
  6. 読む 【よ・む】 – to read
  7. 手 【て】 – hand
  8. 紙 【かみ】 – paper
  9. 手紙 【て・がみ】 – letter
  10. 書く 【か・く】 – to write
  1. 映画見る。
    Watch movie.
  2. ご飯食べる。
    Eat rice/meal.
  3. 読む。
    Read book.
  4. 手紙書く。
    Write letter.

「と」 And/With Particle

We learned that we can list multiple nouns in the last chapter with the 「と」 particle, e.g., salt and pepper. We can also use the same particle to describe an action that was done with someone or something.


  1. 友達 【とも・だち】 – friend
  2. 遊ぶ 【あそ・ぶ】 – to play
  3. 話す 【はな・す】 – to talk
  4. 親戚 【しん・せき】 – relative
  5. 会う 【あ・う】 – to meet
  1. 友達遊ぶ。
    Play with friend.
  2. リーさん話す。
    Talk with Lee-san.
  3. 親戚会う。
    Meet with relative.

「に」 Target Particle

The target particle is used to designate the target of an action whether it’s a time or location. It serves the purpose of many English prepositions such as “at”, “in”, “to”, and “on” as long as it indicates a target of an action.


  1. 学校 【がっ・こう】 – school
  2. 行く 【い・く】 – to go
  3. 明日 【あした】 – tomorrow
  4. くる – to come
  5. バス – bus
  6. 乗る 【の・る】 – to ride
  7. 聞く 【き・く】 – to ask; to listen
  8. 前 【まえ】 – in front
  9. 立つ 【た・つ】 – to stand
  10. 友達 【とも・だち】 – friend
  11. 会う 【あ・う】 – to meet
  1. 学校行く。
    Go to school.
  2. 親戚は、明日くる。
    As for relative(s), come tomorrow.
  3. バス乗る。
    Ride on bus.
  4. 先生聞く。
    Ask/listen to teacher.
  5. 人の前立つ。
    Stand in front of people.
  6. 友達会う。
    Meet friend.

「で」 Context Particle

The context particle is used to describe the context or the means in which a verb takes place. For example, if you’re eating at a restaurant, since the restaurant is not a direct target for eating, you wouldn’t use the 「に」 particle. Instead, you would use the 「で」 particle to describe the restaurant as the context in which eating is taking place.


  1. レストラン – restaurant
  2. 日本語 【に・ほん・ご】 – Japanese language
  3. 話す 【はな・す】 – to speak
  4. はし – chopsticks
  5. 映画館 【えい・が・かん】 – movie theatre
  6. 仕事 【し・ごと】 – work
  7. 忙しい 【いそが・しい】 (i-adj) – busy
  1. レストラン食べる。
    Eat at restaurant.
  2. 日本語話す。
    Speak in Japanese. (Speak by means of Japanese.)
  3. はし食べる。
    Eat with chopsticks. (Eat by means of chopsticks.)
  4. 映画館映画を見る。
    Watch movie at movie theatre.
  5. 仕事忙しい。
    Busy with work. (Busy by means of work.)

「へ」 Directional Particle

The 「へ」 particle is similar in some ways to the 「に」 particle. However, while the 「に」 particle indicates a target for just about any verb, 「へ」 is more specifically used to indicate a direction of motion verbs such as “to go” or “to send”.

Because the 「に」 particle does everything 「へ」 does and more, this particle is not used as often as the other particles. However, it is still beneficial to be at least familiar with it.

Note: While 「へ」 is normally pronounced as “he”, this particle is pronounced as 「え」


  1. 手紙 【て・がみ】 – letter
  2. 送る 【おく・る】 – to send
  1. 学校行く。
    Go to school.
  2. 手紙を日本送る。
    Send letter to Japan.
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