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Oct 24, 2013 8:59 PM

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 357
Everything I state here is merely a generalized view of my own experience using the language. I do have a native level of Japanese, but please do note that the subtle properties of any language can never be accurately described by a single person. I'll be editing this every now and then.

The difficult thing about sentence enders in Japanese (for most people here at least) is that there is no English alternative. Therefore, if you're just translating English sentences verbatim, you will never use these particles, even if they are necessary for natural delivery.

This is a discourse-related particle that refers to predetermined information, whether it be from the on-going conversation or common sense that is assumed to be known by the opponent. Note that when you add の to the end of a sentence that ends with a noun, it requires a な. Note also that の is often morphed into ん during natural speech.


This is an emphasis particle. It simply makes whatever point you're trying to make stronger and more declarative. Note, when you add だ to the end of a sentence that ends with a verb or adjective, it requires a の. Note also that です is simply a polite form of だ.


This is an affective particle. It asks for people to understand whatever it is you are saying. It's often used in persuasion, but doesn't necessarily have to be.

1) 宿題だるいよ~ "This/my homework is so daunting."
A non-persuasive sentence. The よ gives it a more "whining" feel.
2) 止めたほうがいいよ。 "You [shouldn't do]/[should stop doing] it/that."
A persuasive sentence. The よ leaves the decision on the opponent. If the よ wasn't there, it would sound more as if the decision is obvious and has been made the moment this statement is said, which wouldn't be persuasion anymore.
3) このアニメ面白いよ? This anime is good (so why don't you watch it?)
The persuasive aspect of よ is seen best in a question.

This is an affective particle. It shows understanding for something other than yourself by rhetorically asking for clarification. It is sort of like the rhetorical question tag used in English. Note, the thing being understood does not necessarily have to be what the opponent is saying.

1) 夏ももう終わりね。 "It's already autumn, isn't it."
Note how the "isn't it" isn't a question wanting to be answered.
2) あいつ馬鹿っすね。 "He/she's an idiot, isn't he/she."
Although ~ね has a sense of femininity, males can use it in this manner as well.
3) 犯人はそいつね? "(so) that guy is responsible then?"
If the ね wasn't there, it would sound like the speaker isn't confident about who is responsible. ね gives it the feeling that the speaker knows, and is only asking for clarification.

Examples of combinations.

Note I chose の for some and ん for others because I found the one I put up more common in that combination than the other, but that does not mean the alternative cannot be used.

There are other enders like わ ぜ ぞ etc., but they're closer to characterization/dialect if anything. かも and そう are not considered sentence enders. I'll add な, the masculine version of ね later.
Modified by ap19, Oct 25, 2013 5:21 AM
I'm Japanese, so if you have any questions regarding Japan, feel free to ask.