LearnJapanese Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese

Adverbs and Sentence-ending particles

Posted by Tae Kim

Properties of Adverbs


  1. 早い 【はや・い】 (i-adj) - fast; early
  2. きれい (na-adj) - pretty; clean
  3. 朝ご飯 【あさ・ご・はん】 - breakfast
  4. 食べる 【た・べる】(ru-verb) - to eat
  5. 自分 【じ・ぶん】 - oneself
  6. 部屋 【へ・や】 - room
  7. 映画 【えい・が】 - movie
  8. たくさん - a lot (amount)
  9. 見る 【み・る】 - to see; to watch
  10. 最近 【さい・きん】 - recent; lately
  11. 全然 【ぜん・ぜん】 - not at all (when used with negative)
  12. 声 【こえ】 - voice
  13. 結構 【けっ・こう】 - fairly, reasonably
  14. 大きい 【おお・きい】(i-adj) - big
  15. この - this (abbr. of これの)
  16. 町 【まち】 - town
  17. 変わる 【か・わる】(u-verb) - to change
  18. 図書館 【と・しょ・かん】 - library
  19. 中 【なか】 - inside
  20. 静か 【しず・か】(na-adj) - quiet

Unlike English, changing adjectives to adverbs is a very simple and straightforward process. In addition, since the system of particles make sentence ordering flexible, adverbs can be placed anywhere in the clause that it applies to as long as it comes before the verb that it refers to. As usual, we have two separate rules: one for i-adjectives, and one for na-adjectives.

How to change an adjective to an adverb
  • For i-adjectives: Substitute the 「い」 with 「く」.
  • For na-adjectives: Attach the target particle 「に」.
    Example: きれいきれい
  • ボブは朝ご飯早く食べた
    Bob quickly ate breakfast.

The adverb 「早く」 is a little different from the English word 'fast' in that it can mean quickly in terms of speed or time. In other words, Bob may have eaten his breakfast early or he may have eaten it quickly depending on the context. In other types of sentences such as 「早く走った」, it is quite obvious that it probably means quickly and not early. (Of course this also depends on the context.)

  • アリスは自分部屋きれいした
    Alice did her own room toward clean.

The literal translation kind of gives you a sense of why the target particle is used. There is some argument against calling this an adverb at all but it is convenient for us to do so because of the grouping of i-adjectives and na-adjectives. Thinking of it as an adverb, we can interpret the sentence to mean: "Alice did her room cleanly." or less literally: "Alice cleaned her room." (「きれい」 literally means "pretty" but if it helps, you can think of it as, "Alice prettied up her own room.")

Note: Not all adverbs are derived from adjectives. Some words like 「全然」 and 「たくさん」 are adverbs in themselves without any conjugation. These words can be used without particles just like regular adverbs.

  1. 映画たくさん見た
    Saw a lot of movies.
  2. 最近全然食べない
    Lately, don't eat at all.


Here are some more examples of using adverbs.

  1. ボブのは、結構大きい
    Bob's voice is fairly large.
  2. このは、最近大きく変わった
    This town had changed greatly lately.
  3. 図書館では、静かする
    Within the library, [we] do things quietly.

Sentence-ending particles


  1. いい (i-adj) - good
  2. 天気 【てん・き】 - weather
  3. そう - (things are) that way
  4. 面白い 【おも・しろ・い】(i-adj) - interesting
  5. 映画 【えい・が】 - movie
  6. 全然 【ぜん・ぜん】 - not at all (when used with negative)
  7. 時間 【じ・かん】 - time
  8. ある (u-verb) - to exist (inanimate)
  9. 大丈夫 【だい・じょう・ぶ】 (na-adj) - ok
  10. 今日 【きょう】 - today
  11. うん - yes (casual)
  12. でも - but
  13. 明日 【あした】 - tomorrow
  14. 雨 【あめ】 - rain
  15. 降る 【ふ・る】(u-verb) - to precipitate
  16. 魚 【さかな】 - fish
  17. 好き 【す・き】 (na-adj) - likable

Sentence-ending particles are particles that always come at the end of sentences to change the "tone" or "feel" of a sentence. In this section, we will cover the two most commonly used sentence-ending particles.

「ね」 sentence ending

People usually add 「ね」 to the end of their sentence when they are looking for (and expecting) agreement to what they are saying. This is equivalent to saying, "right?" or "isn't it?" in English.

Example 1

Bob: Good weather, huh?

Alice: That is so, isn't it?

The literal translation of 「そうね」 sounds a bit odd but it basically means something like, "Sure is". Males would probably say, 「そうだね」.

Example 2

Alice: That was interesting movie, wasn't it?

Bob: Huh? No, it wasn't interesting at all.

Since Alice is expecting agreement that the movie was interesting Bob is surprised because he didn't find the movie interesting at all. (「え」 is a
sound of surprise and confusion.)

「よ」 sentence ending

When 「よ」 is attached to the end of a sentence, it means that the speaker is informing the listener of something new. In English, we might say this with a, "You know..." such as the sentence, "You know, I'm actually a genius."

Example 1

Alice: You know, there is no time.

Bob: It's ok, you know.

Example 2

Alice: Good weather today, huh?

Bob: Yeah. But it will rain tomorrow, you know.

Combining both to get 「よね」

You can also combine the two particles we just learned to create 「よね」. This is essentially used when you want to inform the listener of some new point you're trying to make and when you're seeking agreement on it at the same time. When combining the two, the order must always be 「よね」. You cannot reverse the order.


Alice: You know, you like fish, dontcha?

Bob: That is so, huh?