Grammar Review: です, か, は, が, を and ます

Welcome to this Japanese grammar review focusing on key concepts that are crucial for effective communication. Let's dive into six fundamental elements: です (Polite Form), か (Interrogative Form), は (Topic Marker), が (Subject Marker), を (Direct Object Marker), and ます (Verb Conjugation).

です (Polite Form)

The particle です serves as a polite form of verb endings in Japanese. It is added to the end of sentences or phrases to convey respect and formality. This structure is commonly used in formal situations or when speaking to someone of higher status. The formula for creating the polite form is quite straightforward:

これは ほん です。 - This is a book.

ありがとう ございます。 - Thank you very much.

かのじょ は せんせい です か? - Is she a teacher?

これは ほんとう に うつくしい です ね。 - This is really beautiful, isn't it?

か (Interrogative Form)

The particle か is used to form questions in Japanese. It is placed at the end of a sentence to indicate an interrogative tone. The formula for creating questions with か is as follows:

なに を たべます か? - What will you eat?

これは ペン です か? - Is this a pen?

どこ に いきます か? - Where are you going?

なに を かいます か? - What are you going to buy?

は (Topic Marker)

The particle は is a topic marker in Japanese sentences. It is used to indicate the topic of discussion or what the sentence is about. The formula for using は is:

わたし は がくせい です。 - I am a student.

いぬ は かわいい です ね。 - Dogs are cute, aren't they?

おかあさん は いま なに を しています か? - What is Mom doing now?

わたし は にほんご を べんきょう しています。 - I am studying Japanese.

が (Subject Marker)

The particle が is used to mark the subject of a sentence in Japanese. It specifies who or what is performing the action or being described. The formula for using が is:

かのじょ が うたいます。 - She sings.

たなかさん が きました。 - Tanaka-san has arrived.

かれ が ともだち に なりたい です。 - I want to be friends with him.

その いぬ が とても かわいい です。 - That dog is very cute.

を (Direct Object Marker)

The particle を is used to indicate the direct object of a verb in Japanese sentences. It shows what receives the action of the verb. The formula for using を is:

くだもの を たべます。 - I eat fruit.

ほん を よみます。 - I read books.

コーヒー を のみます。 - I drink coffee.

テレビ を みます。 - I watch TV.

ます (Verb Conjugation)

The ending ます is a verb conjugation that indicates politeness in Japanese. It is commonly used in formal contexts or when speaking politely. The formula for verb conjugation with ます is:

のみます。 - To Drink

かきます。 - To Write

かのじょ は まいにち やさい を たべます。 - She eats vegetables every day.

あした、 ともだち と えいが に いきます。 - I am going to the movies with friends tomorrow.

Additional Examples for Past Tense:

きのう、 すし を たべました。 - I ate sushi yesterday.

せんしゅう、 きょうと に いきました。 - I went to Kyoto last week.

Additional Examples for Present Negative:

わたし は にく を たべません。- I don't eat meat.

かのじょ は フランスご を はなしません。 - She doesn't speak French.

Additional Examples for Past Negative:

かれら は きのう、 こうえん に いきませんでした。 - They didn't go to the park yesterday.

わたしたち は せんしゅう、 その えいが を みませんでした。 - We didn't watch that movie last week.

Putting It All Together

Let's construct a sentence using these elements:

わたし は きのう、 あたらしい えいが を みました。 - I watched a new movie yesterday.

In this sentence:

  • わたしは (I) is marked by は as the topic.
  • きのう (yesterday) indicates time.
  • あたらしい えいが を (a new movie) is marked by を as the direct object.
  • みました (watched) is the polite past tense form of the verb 見る (to watch).

かれ は まいにち、 しんぶん を よみます か? - Does he read the newspaper every day?

In this sentence:

  • かれ は (He) is marked by は as the topic.
  • まいにち (every day) indicates frequency.
  • しんぶん を (the newspaper) is marked by を as the direct object.
  • よみます (reads) is the polite form of the verb 読む (to read).

あなた は きょう、 なに を のみます か? - What will you drink today?

In this sentence:

  • あなた は (You) is marked by は as the topic.
  • きょう (today) specifies the time.
  • なに を(What) is marked by を as the direct object.
  • のみます (will drink) is the polite form of the verb 飲む (to drink).

This review has highlighted crucial aspects of Japanese grammar: polite form with です, forming questions with か, marking topics with は, specifying subjects with が, indicating direct objects with を, and using polite verb conjugations with ます. By mastering these concepts and practicing with examples, you'll enhance your ability to express yourself accurately and politely in Japanese. Keep reviewing and applying these elements in your conversations and writing for continued improvement.