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. Used mostly in speech.

か [ka] (interrogative)[edit | edit source]

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 [no] (emphatic interrogative)[edit | edit source]

An emphatic question mark (mostly expresses reconfirmation or surprise):

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

An explanation particle, often indicates that the statement is intended to explain something or to provide information:

かわちゃんはだいがくせいなの。 Kawa-chan is a college student.

ね [ne] (emphasis and confirmation)[edit | edit source]

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 [yo] (modality)[edit | edit source]

Used when providing new information that a speaker has, or like an exclamation mark, also for commands and invitations:

わかる よ I understand.

ぞ [zo] (emphasis)[edit | edit source]

Similar to よ but more objective. Often used as a shout, a call and a yell (not limited to male speakers).

いく ぞ I'm going.

な [na] (admiration)[edit | edit source]

Informal, used when expressing a personal emotion or desire.

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

(A few speakers tend to prefer using "な" instead of "ね" but deprecated)

な [na] (prohibition)[edit | edit source]

な can indicate prohibition when placed after action-verbs(present tense). In direct speech, this sounds rude and angry.

いく な! Don't go!
みる な! Don't look!

かな [kana] (uncertainty)[edit | edit source]

Indicate that speaker is not sure about something.

どこ に ある の かな I wonder, where was it?

ぜ [ze] (inducement)[edit | edit source]

Sometimes seen as catchphrases, but rather old-fashioned, thus used only in a sportive talking . Also sometimes used as a vulgar よ.

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

わ [wa] (modality)[edit | edit source]

Declares a personal thought. Almost similar to よ but expresses fewer attention:

あした行くわ。 I will go tomorrow.

さ [sa] (interjection, emphasis)[edit | edit source]

Filler particle, used to draw attention with a pause (unlike よ, not implying any command or new information is communicated):

あの さ hey