Japanese Grammar

Combined Particles

Combined Particles

Last time, you learned what functions the particle の has, which are Possessor, Author (Creator), Explanation, Position, and Apposition. Since each particle has various functions, your expression will be more colorful if you can use them together. In this lesson, you will learn how to use combined particles.

Explanation for Combined Particle by Using Focus Particle and Noun Phrase

Table of Contents
Focus Particle は and も
Noun + Particle + Partilce の + Noun
Noun Phrase with the Particle から and まで
(Advanced) Focus Particle は and も with Verbs and Adjectives

First of all, the patterns of combination are already defined. You will learn just two patterns here. By following the rule, you can make a natural sentence.

Focus Particle は and も

For the sake of explanation, let us call は and も a “Focus Particle.” This is because は and も have a special function (You will see it in the advanced topic). The first pattern is to attach は or も to other particles. Let’s check some examples.

[わたしは / が] かあさんには がみ く / きます
[Topic / Subject] Target & Contrast Direct Object Verb
[I will] write a letter to my mother.
*Implies that he/she won’t write a letter to other people.
[わたしは / が] かあさんにも がみ く / きます
[Topic / Subject] Target & Inclusion Direct Object Verb
[I will] write a letter to my mother, too.
*Implies that he/she will write a letter to other people, too.

That’s easy, isn’t? Please focus on the functions that each particle has. Here are more examples.

[わたしは / が] 学校がっこうには く / きます
[Topic / Subject] Destination & Contrast Verb
[I will] go to school.
*Implies that he/she won’t to go other places.
[わたしは / が] 学校がっこうにも く / きます
[Topic / Subject] Destination & Inclusion Verb
[I will] go to school, too.
*Implies that he/she will go other places, too.
[わたしは / が] ケンとは 握手あくしゅする / します
[Topic / Subject] Partner & Contrast Verb
[I will] shake hands with Ken.
*Implies that he/she won’t shake hands with other people.
[わたしは / が] ケンとも 握手あくしゅする / します
[Topic / Subject] Partner & Inclusion Verb
[I will] shake hands with Ken, too.
*Implies that he/she will shake hands with other people, too.
[わたしは / が] プールでは およぐ / およぎます
[Topic / Subject] Location of Action & Contrast Verb
[I will] swim in the pool.
*Implies that he/she won’t swim in other place.
[わたしは / が] プールでも およぐ / およぎます
[Topic / Subject] Location of Action & Inclusion Verb
[I will] swim in the pool, too.
*Implies that he/she will swim in other place, too.

Note: You CANNOT combine は and も with the particle が and を. If you’d like to express contrast or inclusion in が and を parts, you have to replace them.

=> Wrong!
Apples are also delicious.
リンゴをもべる / べます。
=> Wrong!
リンゴべる / べます。
[I will] eat apples, too.


Noun + Particle + Particle の + Noun

The basic function of the particle の is to make a noun phrase by connecting two nouns like ほん先生せんせい. You can consider ほん先生せんせい as a single noun. In practice, other particles sometimes appear before の, which forms the sentence pattern: Noun + Particle + Particle の + Noun. This is another pattern of combined particles.

Reword a Sentence with a Noun Phrase

書館しょかんべんきょう(する / します)。
[I will] study in the library.
Studying in the library

The above examples essentially have the same meaning. If you use only the particle の, the phrase “書館しょかんべんきょう” would mean “studying about libraries.” By placing the particle で, which indicates locations of action, you can reword the sentence.

書館しょかんでの べんきょう こうてき(だ / です)
Location of Action
& Explanation
Modified Noun  
Noun Phrase: Topic / Subject Predicate
Studying in the library is effective.

This expression can be utilized like the above. The role of the noun phrase is determined by the particle placed after that, which is は in this example. Here are more examples.

大阪おおさか旅行りょこう(する / します)。
[I will] travel to Osaka.
Travel to Osaka
彼女かのじょ結婚けっこん(する / します)。
[I will] get marry to my girlfriend.
Marriage to my girlfriend
かあさんからがみを(もらう / もらいます)。
[I will] receive a letter from my mother.
Letter from my mother
5時ごじまでごとを(する / します)。
[I will] work until 5 o’clock.
Working until 5 o’clock

Note: You CANNOT combine the particle の with the particle に, は, も, が and を. Regarding the particle に, if it indicates “destination” or “direction,” you can express the same meaning by using the particle へ like the second example.

Noun Phrase with the Particle から and まで

These are actually not combined particles. から and まで can form noun phrases with other particles and so it resembles combined particles. That’s why we will pick this up here.

ふゆ 12じゅうにがつから さんがつまで さむい(です)
  Starting Point Ending Point  
Topic Noun Phrase: Subject  Predicate
As for winter, it’s cold from Dec to Mar.

You can consider 12じゅうにがつからさんがつまで as a single noun. The role is determined by the particle placed after that, which is が in this example. Since this is just a noun, から and まで can be used with even が and を unlike combined particles. Here are more examples.

ほん ページから きゅうページまで べんきょうする / します
  Starting Point Ending Point  
Topic Noun Phrase: Direct Object Verb
As for Japanese, [I will] study from 5 page to 9 page.
宿しゅくだい から 10じゅうまで する / します
  Starting Point Ending Point  
Topic Noun Phrase: Range (Period of Time) Verb
As for the homework, [I will] do [it] from 5 o’clock to 10 o’clock.

That’s simple, isn’t it? One thing you should pay attention to is that particles placed after noun phrases are sometimes omitted. In that case, you need to guess the roles of noun phrases based on the context. The following are also correct.

ほんページからきゅうページまで べんきょう(する / します)。
宿しゅくだい5時ごじから10じゅうまで (する / します)。

(Advanced) Focus Particle は and も with Verbs and Adjectives

The focus particle は and も can be placed after verbs, adjectives, and nouns. Although you can spice up your expression more, you need to conjugate them properly. Let’s go over the rules.

U-verbs: Stem + i + Focus Particle + する

く: to write
  Casual Polite
Stem kak
Plain Form きはする
Negative Form きはしない

Ru-verbs: Stem + Focus Particle + する

る: to see, look, watch
  Casual Polite
Stem mi
Plain Form はする
Negative Form はしない

Two Exceptions

る: to come
  Casual Polite
Stem ku/ko/ki
Plain Form はする
Negative Form はしない
する: to do
  Casual Polite
Stem su/shi
Plain Form しはする
Negative Form しはしない

Na-adjective and Nouns: Adding で + Focus Particle + ある/ない

きれい: beautiful
  Casual Polite
Plain Form きれいではある きれいではあります
Negative Form きれいではない きれいではありません

I-adjective: Replacing い with く, and Adding Focus Particle + ある/ない

さむい: cold
  Casual Polite
Plain Form さむくはある さむくはあります
Negative Form さむくはない さむくはありません


The concept is the same as the combined particles. By looking at the function of the focus particles, you can figure out the meaning of whole sentences. This time, we will make examples with も.

なかさんは ほん (しない / しません)
Topic / Subject Direct Object Verb + Inclusion
Tanaka-san won’t even read the book.

The particle も expresses inclusion. With the example above, it implies that Tanaka-san won’t read or do any other activities. Thus, it can roughly be translated as “even” and implies surprise or unexpectedness.

わたし 学生がくせい(ある / あります)
Topic / Subject State-of-Being + Inclusion
I’m even a student.
*Implies that he/she is something else, too.
納豆なっとう おいしく(ない / ありません)
Topic / Subject Predicate + Inclusion
Natto (Japanese cuisine) is not even delicious.
*Implies that Natto also smells bad or something.

Note: this usage, especially for when you modify adjectives and nouns in affirmative sentences, will sound a little formal. Thus, you may not often hear this in conversation, while the negative form sounds neutral.


  1. You can attach は or  も with other particles as a combined particle except for が and を.
  2. You can form noun phrases by combining の with other particles except for に, は, も, が, and を.  
  3. You can form noun phrases by combining から or まで with other particles (including が and を).
  4. Focus particle は and を can modify verbs, adjectives, and nouns.

We hope that you don’t have any difficulty in this lesson. Japanese can be easily figured out if you know the usages of the Japanese particles. Thus, if you had tough time, you may review what you have learned so far. Next, you will learn something related to noun phrases. You can even use verbs and adjectives as a noun like “doing,” “to do,” and “being….”

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