Japanese/Grammar/Sentence ending particles

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The sentence ending particles (終助詞, しゅうじょし) are placed, unsurprisingly, at the end of sentences and apply to it as a whole. These include for example the question marker, か, and a host of others that express the speaker's emotions. Those emotion-indicating particles don't have any grammatical meaning, and, thus, used mostly in speech.

か (interrogative)[edit]

Question mark, used to indicate the sentence is a question. Note that か replaces だ instead of appearing after it, so you can either omit the copula at all, or use a full form (で ある).

あのひと は だれ です か? Who is that man?
たなかさん は せんせい です か? Is Mr. Tanaka a teacher?

The particle may also follow question pronouns with the meaning of some as in someone:

だれ か somebody
どこ か somewhere

の (emphatic interrogative)[edit]

An emphatic question mark:

いい の? Is it okay?
どこに行くの? Where are we going?

ね (emphasis and confirmation)[edit]

Polite and expresses

  • the speaker's desire to receive confirmation (rising intonation), or
  • the speaker's agreement (falling intonation).

Often translated as "isn't it so", "don't you think so" or "don't you agree with me". Also used as a polite or friendly sentence ending. Some people end virtually every sentence with "ね".

それ は むずかしい ね。↑ It's difficult, isn't it?
それ は むずかしい ね。↓ That sure is difficult.
たなかさん は すごい ひと だ ね...↓ Mr. Tanaka is a great guy...

Also works as "phrase softener", i.e., it makes the phrase sound softer. Lengthening the syllable makes it more emphatic. The lengthening is usually indicated with a tilde:

きれい だ ね~↓ It's so beautiful!

よ (emphasis)[edit]

Used when providing new information with emphasis, or like an exclamation mark, especially for commands:

わかる よ I understand.

ぞ (emphasis)[edit]

Similar to よ but more masculine.

いく ぞ I'm going.

な (opinion)[edit]

Informal, used when emphasizing an opinion. Male speakers tend to prefer using "な" instead of "ね".

たなか は ばか だ な... Tanaka's a fool...
さむい なあ It's so cold.

なあ also has other, polite, uses (to express deep thinking or rhetoric questions)

な (prohibition)[edit]

な can indicate prohibition when placed after verbs. In direct speech, this sounds rude and angry.

いく な! Don't go!
みる な! Don't look!

かな, かしら (uncertainty)[edit]

Indicate that speaker is not sure about something. かしら is used mostly by women.

どこ に ある の かな I wonder, where was it?

ぜ (agreement)[edit]

Expresses agreement, used only by men in conversations . Also sometimes used as a vulgar よ.

おい、にげる ぜ Hey, I'm getting out of here!

わ (agreement)[edit]

Like よ but softer. Used by women, but also by men in some parts of Japan.

あした行くわ。 I will go tomorrow.

さ (emphasis)[edit]

Filler particle, used to emphasize the sentence (unlike よ, not implying any command or new information is communicated):

あの さ hey