What are Japanese participles?
In English relationships between the words of a sentence are shown mostly by word order.
In Japanese, however, the sentence function of nouns and pronouns is shown by additional words that are placed immediately after the noun or pronoun. These words, which are called particles.
In English, there are special words called prepositions. Japanese has no prepositions, but particles have many of the same functions as prepositions.
Japanese uses particles after words to mark what they are for. Particles will follow the words they control. That is why particles are sometimes called postpositions.
There are many kinds of particles like: ga/が, which is a to things you give attention marker; wa/は, which is a topic marker; o/を, which follows the direct object; no/の, which means “of” in most of the English senses of the word, and indicates possession; and ka/か, which indicates a question.
Let’s learn particle de/で for now.
How to use particle de/で
The particle de/で is used to indicate where, how/with what, how long, or why.
In English, prepositions are always followed by a noun group and make a prepositional phrase. A prepositional phrase plays the grammatical role of an adjective or adverb.
Similarly, de/で always follow a noun group and make a postpositional phrase, which plays the grammatical role of an adverb. That is, postpositional phrases usually tell us more about verbs.
Toshokan de benkyoo-suru.
としょかん で べんきょうする。
図書館 で 勉強する。
[library de/で study]
I’ll study at the library.
de/で indicating location: location + de/で
de/で is used with location and it is usually translated as “at.”
Daigaku de nihongo o benkyoo-shita.
だいがく で にほんご を べんきょうした。
大学 で 日本語 を 勉強した。
[university de/で Japanese-language o/を study-did]
I studied Japanese at the university.
“Daigaku” is followed by the particle de/で. This tells us that the university is the location where I studied Japanese.
Kafe de koohii o nonda.
かふぇ で こーひー を のんだ。
カフェ で コーヒー を 飲んだ。
[cafe de/で coffee o/を drank]
I drank coffee at the cafe.
Here, de/で comes after “kafe”, and this tell us that cafe is the location where I drank coffee.
de/で indicating means: means + de/で
de/で is used to indicate by what means you do something or what something is done with.
Kuruma de ki-mashita.
くるま で きました。
車 で 来ました。
[car de/で came]
I came by car.
“Kuruma” is followed by the particle de/で. This tells us that I used the car as a means of the act of comming.
Enpitsu de kaki-mashita.
えんぴつ で かきました。
鉛筆 で 書きました。
[pencil de/で wrote]
I wrote with a pencil.
The writing is done with a pencil, and we know this because “enpitsu” is followed by de/で.
de/で indicating time: time + de/で
de/で is used with time to show how long something took to complete.
Go-fun de owari-mashita.
ごふん で おわりました。
五分 で 終わりました。
[five-minutes de/で finished]
It was finished in five minutes.
It took five minutes to finish it because “go-fun” is followed by de/で.
San-fun de soko ni/に tsuki-masu.
さんふん で そこ に つきます。
三分 で そこ に 着きます。
[three-minutes de/で there ni/に arrive]
I’ll be there in three minutes.
Here, de/で comes after “san-fun”, and this tell us that three minutes is needed for me to be there.
de/で indicating reason: reason + de/で
de/で indicates reason and it is translated as “because of.”
Jyuutai de okure-mashita.
じゅうたい で おくれました。
渋滞 で 遅れました。
[traffic jam de/で late-was]
I was late because of the traffic jam.
The traffic jam is the reason why I was late, and we know this because “jyuutai” is followed by de/で.
Shiai ga ame de tyuushi ni natta.
しあい が あめ で ちゅうし に なった。
試合 が 雨 で 中止 に なった。
[match ga/が rain de/で cancel ni/に became]
The game was cancelled because of the rain.
Here, de/で comes after “ame”, and this tell us that the rain is the reason why the game was cancelled.