How to use particle o/を in Japanese
How to use particle o/を in Japanese
Published on: June 7, 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 direct object particle o/を for now.

Direct object particle o/を

Direct object particle o/を is a direct object marker. The particle o/を marks the direct object of the verb. That is, it tells us who or what is receiving the action of the verb.

o/を (sometimes transliterated wo, and spelled wo in the Japanese kana writing) indicates that the preceding noun or pronoun is the direct object of the verb.

Let’s look at a few examples:

<Example 1>
Piza o tabeta.
ぴざ  たべた。
ピザ  食べた。
[pizza o/を ate]
I ate pizza.

Here, o/を comes after “piza”, and this tells us that pizza is the thing that was eaten.

<Example 2>
Hon o yonda.
ほん  よんだ。
本  読んだ。
[book o/を read]
I read a book.

The book is the thing that was read, and we know this because “hon” is followed by o/を.