Learn Japanese Sentence Structure

Published May 11th, 2023

Learning Japanese sentence structure could be an issue for a newbie. But here at Nihongo Master you are not alone. Digesting a new language can be hard, especially when you've got no idea where to start. And when it comes to learning Japanese grammar sentence structure, grammar is necessary and the rules should be strictly followed.

Japanese grammar sentence structure is entirely different from the formation of an English sentence. Generally, in English, a sentence is written according to the rule that is, Subject-Verb-Object (SVO).

The formation of a Japanese sentence is (SOV) Subject-Object-Verb; the conjugations also play and important role in it's formation.

Basic Structure in Japanese Grammar

In both Japanese and English, the basic sentence structure is: subject-object.

For example:

In English, we say "This is a pen" In Japanese we say "Kore ha pen" or これはペン。

Action Sentences

Adding parts to a sentence can be confusing, but it's actually quite flexible. Fow example. if there's a requirement to add time. location or preposition, they can be placed anywhere in a Japanese grammar sentence structure, as long as they are marked with the correct particle. In such a case, do keep in mind that the verb is always at the end of the Japanese sentence. Usually, a Japanese sentence is still meaningful even without a subject. Interestingly, removing the subject sounds natural in Japanese sentences.

Formal & Informal Speech

Can you judge if the tone of a Japanese sentence is formal or informal?

Here's a tip!

It's always the ending of a Japanese grammar sentence structure, particularly the "grammar" that depicts if the sentence is formal or informal.

Japanese Particles in Sentence Structure

Japanese grammar is nothing without particles because they denote intonation, connectors like "and", provide possessive forms and provide the means to ask questions.

(wa/ha): the topic marking particle; follows the topic of a sentence

(ga): to emphasize something; to distinguish it from the rest; also used when you're first introducing the subject

(wo): signals the object of the sentence; most of the time, it follows noun or a noun phrase

(ni): indicates a place or the direction something is moving towards

(de): emphasizes location rather than direction

(to): and

(no): indicates possession

(ka): question indicator

Japanese Verbs

Japanese tenses and conjugation differ a lot from other languages, and that's what makes it a little bit more confusing.

As you know, English has past, present and future tenses, but in Japanese, its only present and past tense. these tenses stay unchanged regardless of who's performing the action.

You may find learning Japanese grammar sentence structure to be a lot harder than you think but once you start memorizing it little by little, it won't be as complicated as you think.

Sources: Check Japanese Dictionary Learn Japanese Program JLPT N5 Practice Test