Word Order 語順 in Japanese language

Word order 語順ごじゅん

This session’s topic is “word order”, how words are placed in sentences.

In JLPT test, there is 読解どっかい(reading) test.

To find correct answer to question, you need to understand meaning of each sentence.

To do so, it’s useful to know how is structure of sentence in Japanese and differences between your language, especially English. 

One of the special characteristics in Japanese is “word order”.

For N5 grammar points, please check this page!

50 ponts to be mastered in grammar for N5 in JLPT

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Basic sentence 

Japanese is different from English in the word order of verb. The main verb is preceded by the object, and it often comes at the end of a sentence in Japanese.

Ex a)

In Japanese:

わたし富士山ふじさんのぼります。(Watashi wa fujisan ni nobori masu)

⇒Subject(watashi) + Object(fujisan) + Verb(nobori masu). Verb comes at the end of this sentence.


In English:

I climb Mt.Fuji.  

⇒Subject(I) + Verb(climb) + Object(Mt.Fuji). Verb comes place before object.



In Japanese, all noun modifiers such as particle, possessives, adjectives and sentence modifiers precede the nouns.

Modifiers work adding meaning to noun.


Ex b)

In Japanese:

わたしちいさいいぬきだ。(Watashi wa chiisai inu ga sukida)

⇒Adjective(chiisai) preceding nouns modifies noun(inu).


In English:

I love a small dog.  

⇒Adjective(small) preceding nouns modifies noun(dog).


Ex c)

In Japanese:

東京とうきょうはきれいでにぎやかな都市としだ。(Tokyo wa kirei de nigiyakana toshi da)

⇒Adjective(kirei de nigiyakana) preceding nouns modifies noun(toshi).


In English:

Tokyo is a city which is clean and crowded.  

⇒Relative pronoun(which is clean and crowded) following noun modifies noun(city).


Ex d)

In Japanese:

わたしちち医者いしゃだ。(Watashi no chichi wa isya da)

⇒Possessives (“watashi no”) preceding nouns modifies noun(chichi).


In English:

My father is a doctor.

⇒Possessives(“my”) preceding noun modifies noun(father).



Word Order

1.Main verb comes at the end of sentence.

(That means you have to listen carefully until the end of sentence in conversation….)

2.Modifier comes before noun.

In English, No.1 is different but No.2 is same.


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