Japanese/Lessons/Assembling simple sentences

To form a Japanese sentence, you just need to remember few simple rules:

  • Personal pronouns are mostly omitted, or replaced with names:
    すき だ - I like it/you
    ほんだくん が すき だ - I like you (when talking to Honda-kun)
  • A normal (full) sentence always ends with a verb (even if it is an attributive verb, usually called verbal adjectives or the Japanese true adjective; we will discuss this more thoroughly later) and, optionally, special sentence-ending particles (mostly used to convey emotions and emphasis) after it. One verb alone may be treated like a full sentence. No other parts of speech can form a sentence alone. To end a sentence which does not have any action, and simply describes qualities of objects ("a person is sitting" is not a description of a quality, but rather a continuous action), copula verb で ある (or any of its forms, including だ) must be used.
    すごい - It's great
    いく ぞ - I am going
    これ は ほん だ - This is a book
    • Note that there are some exceptions when another particles are overtaking the だ copula (this note only applies to this only copula verb form; other で ある forms do not have such exceptions) functions (for example, だ か cannot end sentence, か is considered to possess verbal functions in this case).
      それ は ほん か - Is that a book?
    • Another exception is that the subject of the sentence may sometimes be placed right after the end of a sentence (after the verb with all sentence-ending particles), but no particles may be added afterwards. This construction although rarely used, is acceptable in spoken language for emphasizing the person you are talking to or talking about:
      すごい ねえ, ほんだくん - It's great, Honda-kun!
  • If you want to give focus to an object or expression, put a が after it. If you want to give focus to what an object or expression does (to an action), put a は after it:
    ぼく は いく ぞ - I'm *going*
    ぼく が いく ぞ - It's *me*, who is going
    わたし は あなた が きらい だ - I hate you.
  • Time of the events is usually put at the beginning of the sentence:
    きょう とうきょう に いく - Today I am going to Tokyo.