How to Tell the Difference between Japanese Particles: Comparisons and Exercises


5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have guide to a murky area

“I sat at the chair.” “I went on school today.” That is probably what most of us sound like when we start really speaking Japanese, merrily swapping around all those cute little “ni”s, “wa”s, “de”s and “ga”s. It gets even worse at an upper level when the mysterious “hodo”s and “kana”s start rearing their ugly heads. Particles are one of the most confusing aspects of Japanese, and one of the biggest road blocks to conversational fluency.

Every student of Japanese could use “How to Tell the Difference Between Japanese Particles.” It is a practical, concise little book that contains a wealth of information. Unlike Naoko Chino’s previous particle book, “All About Particles,” this volume contains practice exercises and demonstrations of the most common mistakes of Japanese particles. It is more of a workbook, that should be followed from start to finish.

Chino takes several similar but confusing particles, such as “particles indicating time” or “particles used for comparison,” then highlights the different usages of each particle, along with demonstration sentences in both English, kana and romaji. Like all good Japanese books, the emphasis is on the kana, with the romaji and English doing support work. After each chapter, there are several quizzes to test your new knowledge. The book closes with an overall test on the entire book.

The comparative nature of this book, along with the repeated quizzes, make “How to Tell the Difference Between Japanese Particles” one of the most useful Japanese study guides that I own. It serves a niche purpose, but a very useful and necessary one.


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