Lesson 2: Useful Expressions
Read this page briefly and spend most of your time on the drill exercise for quick memorization.
Expressionsto play audio.
|How are you?|
|Are you well?||Ogenki desuka?|
|Yes, I'm well.||Hai, genki desu.|
|No, I'm not well.||Iie, genki dewa (ja) arimasen..|
|Yes, I'm very well.||Hai, totemo genki desu.|
|So so.||Māmā desu.|
"o" in front of genki is a prefix which makes the word more polite.
Genki desu.: I'm well.
Genki dewa (ja) arimasen.: I'm not well.
"ja arimasen" sounds more casual, and is used more in daily conversation.
|Do you understand?||Wakari masuka?|
|Yes, I understand.||Hai, wakari masu.|
|No, I don't understand.||Iie, wakari masen.|
|I understand a little.||Sukoshi wakari masu.|
|Do you understand Japanese?||Nihongo ga wakari masuka?|
|Do you understand English?||Eigo ga wakari masuka?|
wakaru: to understand, to know
Wakari masu.: I understand.
Wakari masen.: I don't understand.
Wakari mashita.: I understood. (I got it. All right.)
[Nihongo] ga wakari masu.: I understand [Japanese].
ga: Particle which comes after the object. Used with the verb "wakaru".
|Please. (to request)|
|One more time, please.||Mōichido onegaishimasu.|
|Slowly please.||Yukkuri onegaishimasu.|
|Menu please.||Menyū o onegaishimasu.|
Used to ask some favor.
[Menyū] o onegaishimasu.: [Menu] please.
o: Particle which comes after the object.
|Please. (to offer)|
Used to offer something. (Here you are. After you. etc.)
|One moment, please.||Chotto matte kudasai.|
chotto: a little
matte kudasai: Please wait.
Informal: Chotto matte.
|What is it?||Nan desuka?|
|What's this? (in speaker's hand)||Kore wa nan desuka?|
|What is it? (in the listener's hand)||Sore wa nan desuka?|
|What's that? (in the sky)||Are wa nan desuka?|
[Kore] wa nan desuka?: What is [this]?
wa: Particle which comes after the subject.
kore: this (something close to you - the speaker)
sore: it (close to the person you are talking to - the listener)
are: that (some distance away from the both)
nan (nani): what
You will learn more in the lesson 3.
|What time is it?||Nanji desuka?|
|What time is the departure?||Shuppatsu wa nanji desuka?|
|What time is the arrival?||Tōchaku wa nanji desuka?|
[Shuppatsu] wa nanji desuka?: What time is [the departure]?
You will learn more in the lesson 4.
|Where is it?||Doko desuka?|
|Where is the toilet?||Toire wa doko desuka?|
[Toire] wa doko desuka?: Where is [the toilet]?
You will learn more in the lesson 5.
|Do you have? Is there?||Ari masuka?|
|Do you have vegetarian dishes?||Bejitarian ryōri wa ari masuka?|
|Is there an internet cafe?||Intānetto kafe wa ari masuka?|
[Bejitarian ryōri] wa ari masuka?: Do you have [vegetarian dishes]?
[Intānetto kafe] wa ari masuka?: Is there [an internet cafe]?
You will learn more in the lesson 6.
|How much is it?||Ikura desuka?|
|How much is a double room?||Daburu rūmu wa ikura desuka?|
[Kore] wa ikura desuka?: How much is [this]?
You will learn more in the lesson 7.
|Why is it?||Naze desuka?|
Informal: Naze? Dōshite? Nande?
You will learn more in the lesson 9.
|Are you all right?||Daijōbu desuka?|
|Yes, I'm all right.||Hai, daijōbu desu.|
You will learn more in the lesson 10.
The following rules are very simplified. Please note that there are some exceptions.
Usually, the subject is placed at the beginning, and the verb at the end of the sentence.
|Watashi wa Nihongo ga wakarimasu.||I / Japanese / understand|
The subject (sometimes the object too) of the sentence is usually omitted when it can be clearly known from the context.
|(Anata wa) eigo ga wakari masuka?||Do (you) understand English?|
Particles (joshi in Japanese) are usually attached after a word to indicate the function of that word.
For example, "wa" in the following sentence indicates that "watashi (I)" is a subject, and "ga" indicates that "Nihongo (Japanese)" is an object of the verb "wakarimasu (understand)".
|Watashi wa Nihongo ga wakarimasu.||
I understand Japanese.
Each particle has different functions and meanings. And some are used with the particular verbs.
When you are not sure which particle should be used, you can try to say without it like "Watashi, Nihongo, Wakarimasu.". In most cases, people will understand if the word order is correct.
You can easily make different forms by changing the end of the sentence. Word order stays the same.
Affirmative sentences normally end with "desu" or "masu".
You can assume that the sentences with the verb "be" (am, is, are...) end with "desu". And the sentences with other verbs end with "masu".
|Genki desu.||I am well.|
|Wakari masu.||I understand.|
Change "desu" into "dewa arimasen" or "ja arimasen". "ja" sounds more casual, and is used more often in daily conversation.
Change "masu" into "masen".
Genki dewa (ja) arimasen.
|I am not well.|
|Wakari masen.||I don't understand.|
To make a question sentence, add "ka" at the end of the sentence.
This "ka" is pronounced with a rising intonation.
|(O) Genki desuka?||Are you well?|
|Genki dewa (ja) arimasenka?||Aren't you well?|
|Wakari masuka?||Do you understand?|
|Wakari masenka?||Don't you understand?|
You would probably be shocked when you come to Japan and realize that the most people don't speak English.
The main reason is that what they learn in school is mostly grammatical rules and they are not trained to use it for the actual communication.
If your Japanese doesn't work, you can try to speak in English simply and slowly. Or people would understand more if you write it down on a paper.
The good news is that many nouns especially for the name of foods or drinks are English (with a bit different pronunciation). The basic rules you learn in this course plus some extra vocabulary should work pretty well.