How to use particle e/へ in Japanese
How to use particle e/へ in Japanese
Published on: June 30, 2021

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 e/へ for now.

How to use particle e/へ

e/へ(pronounced e, but spelled he) is used to indicate direction of movement. e/へ is equivalent to English “to.”

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, e/へ 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.

<Example 1>
Boku wa ashita tookyoo e iki-masu.
ぼく は あした とうきょう  いきます。
僕 は 明日  行きます。
[I as-for tomorrow Tokyo to go]
I will go to Tokyo tomorrow.

Let’s look at a few examples:

<Example 2>
Raishuu nihon e kaeri-masu.
らいしゅう にほん  かえります。
来週 日本  帰ります。
[next-week Japan to go-back]
I’ll go back to Japan next week.

Here, e/へ comes after “nihon”, and this tell us that Japan is the direction of the act of going back.

<Example 3>
Ashita wa jitensha de gakkoo e iku.
あした は じてんしゃ で がっこう  いく。
明日 は 自転車 で 学校  行く。
[tomorrow as-for bicycle de/で school to go]
I’m going to school by bicycle tomorrow.

School is the direction of the act of going, and we know this because “gakkoo” is followed by e/へ.

<Example 4>
Nihon e yookoso.
にほん  ようこそ。
日本  ようこそ。
[Japan to welcome]
Welcome to Japan.

e/へ is used with the word “yookoso” which means English “welcome.”

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