1. Education

Introductory Japanese Lessons (7)

Word Order

English is a subject-verb-object language. (so are French, Spanish, etc.) Japanese is a subject-object-verb language. (so are Korean, Turkish, etc.) Generally the subject comes first, then the object and the verb comes at the end of the sentence.

subject  object verb
Tanaka-san wa 
Mr. Tanaka  
ringo o
apple 
tabemasu.
eat.
Tom-san wa    
Tom
terebi o
TV 
mimashita.
watched.

"San" is a title of respect added to a name. (so it can not be used when referring to oneself.)
"Wa" and "o" are particles. They are like English prepositions, but they always come after nouns. Particles are very important for proper Japanese sentence structure. I will introduce them gradually later.
 
Composing questions in Japanese is easy! The word order remains the same, and a sentence becomes a question by adding the particle "ka" at the end. Question marks are not used in Japanese.

Tanaka-san wa 
ringo o tabemasu ka.
田中さんはりんごを食べますか。
Does Mr. Tanaka eat apples?
Tom-san wa terebi o mimashita ka.
トムさんはテレビを見ましたか。
Did Tom watch TV?

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