The Japanese particle は

The Japanese particle

For me as a foreigner studying the Japanese language, particles are the most confusing part of a sentence structure. I will only explain what I’ve understood during the years that I’ve been studying the language and based on what my Japanese bosses and colleagues taught me about it.

So let’s begin with the easiest Japanese particle, , read as ‘wa’. Don’t get confused with the correct pronunciation of . If it is used as a particle in a sentence, the sound is ‘wa’. Otherwise, it is read as ‘ha’.

Japanese particles are used in a sentence to identify the subject, verb, or object. These particles identify or modify whether the word before or after the particles are either the subject, verb, or object. There is no English equivalent for Japanese particles.

The particle is the most common particle. It is known as the topic marker of a sentence. The Noun before means it is the topic that the speaker wants to talk about. 

The sentence structure for particle is:
[A] [B] です。

Where the Japanese Copulaです (desu) is the linking verb, meaning ‘to be’ or the Be-verbs ‘is, am, are, etc’. When added to the sentence, the sentence becomes the polite form. The plain form of です is . It is also the verb used to describe that A is equal to B.

In short, A is B.



これ (kore) is the subject in this sentence because of the particle . これmeans ‘This’ in English.
です is added at the end of the sentence, meaning that これis equal to ペン (meaning Pen).

これ = ペン
This = Pen

If we translate the sentence above, it will become ‘This pen is’.

Correct Translation is ‘This is Pen’.

Another example:


わたし (Watashi) is the pronoun ‘I’ and it is the subject in this sentence because of the particle .
がくせい (gakusei) means ‘student’.
です is the copula verb ‘am’.

わたし = がくせい
I = Student


I am a student.

More example:


さん (san) is an honorific and the English equivalent is either Mr. or Ms. (Mrs., Sir, Ma’am). In this sentence, we’ll translate it as Ms. So, アンナさん is Ms. Anna and she is the subject in the sentence.
せんせい (sensei) means ‘Teacher’.

アンナさん = せんせい
Ms. Anna = Teacher


Ms. Anna is a teacher.



Sometimes, subjects are omitted in a sentence. It is common in a Japanese sentence especially if the speaker already knows that the listener understands the conversation or what the speaker is referring to. Don’t get confused if the particle is omitted.

For example:


Can be shortened to
ペンです if both the speaker and listener already understand what they are referring to.

これはペンです。 = ペンです。

The same goes with わたしはがくせいです and アンナさんはせんせいです。

When the topic is omitted, it will become:

わたしはがくせいです。 = がくせいです。
アンナさんはせんせいです。 = せんせいです。


If you want to check my previous post, you can check it through the link below:
>> Japanese House

For Hiragana and Katakana page, please check the link below:
>> The Hiragana Character
>> The Katakana Character

For Word of the Week page, please check the link below: 
>> Word of the Week 7

For YouTube Videos:     
>> Japanese Words| Hiragana | I-adjectives PART 5

For Monthly Grammar: 
>> Monthly Grammar: Part 1

For my Spanish lessons that I am still not fluent and need more effort to study, you can check the link below:
>> 【SPANISH LESSON #5】Numbers

You can also my personal website where I write stories and blog about things I like:
>> Write and Sleep