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Japanese Grammar – Particles MO, TO, and YA (も,と and や)

MO, TO and YA

In this lesson, we will learn how to add Japanese nouns together with 3 new grammar particles.  Mo (も), と(to), and や (ya) all have slightly different uses but they are all very easy to learn.  Let’s begin!

も (mo) marks the inclusion of a noun

We use the Japanese grammar particle も (mo) to apply a previous statement to an additional item.  It is similar to “too” or “as well“,  and replaces the topic marker (wa) in the sentence.

For example, a friend starts telling you about their recent experience travelling to France:


Furansu e ikimashita.

I went to France.

Furansu e ikimashita.

Your response could be:


Watashi mo desu.

(Me as well.)

Watashi mo desu


If your friend tells you he went to Canada and then wants to add that he went to France in a separate statement, he might say:


Watashi wa Canada e ikimashita、 Furansu e mo ikimashita.

(I went to Canada.  I went to France as well.)

Watashi wa Canada e ikimashita, Furansu e mo ikimashita  

 As you can see from the example above, も (mo) can be added to the topic or subject – just as we do in English.


と (to) is used for listing nouns

We use the Japanese particle と (to) to list multiple nouns or pronouns in the same sentence:

kasa to boushi o katta.

I bought an umbrella and a hat.

kasa to boushi o katta  

It can also translate into “together” or “with“:


Tomodachi to eiga ni itta.

I went to a movie with my friend.

Tomodachi to eiga ni itta  

It is used before verbs like “iu” (to speak).  It introduces a clause or a phrase:


inu wa「wan」 to naku

the dog barks, “woof!”

inu wa wan to naku  


Note:  The 「 」are similar to quotation marks.  We call them kagikakko (“hook brackets”).

や (ya) implies that there are more nouns to be listed

The Japanese grammar particle や (ya) implies that there are other items that are not listed after mentioning two nouns.  It is similar to “and“, but gives us the sense of a continuing list similar to “etc.


nihon no toshi niwa toukyou ya oosaka ga arimasu

(In Japan there are big cities, like Tokyo, Osaka, etc.)

nihon no toshi niwa toukyou ya oosaka ga arimasu  

Note: Learning や (ya) at this stage is traditionally taught to beginner students who are learning Japanese. However, I want to stress that it is far more common to use nado or toka (literally: “etc.”) to achieve the same affect while speaking. や (ya) is used mostly in formal writing.

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The Japanese Grammar Particle NI The Japanese Grammar Particle DE
Japanese Grammar Particle NI Japanese Grammar Index Japanese Grammar Particle DE