easy japanese sentences

12 Useful Templates to Pop Out Easy Japanese Sentences in a Flash

Japanese is a black sheep in the global family of languages.

While the writing system is based on Chinese, it isn’t otherwise related to Chinese. The grammar shares some similarities with Korean, but most linguistics nerds claim that this is more of an odd coincidence than a direct relationship.

That means English speakers aren’t the only ones struggling to learn from the get-go—pretty much all Japanese learners have some hurdles to jump when getting acquainted with the language.

Japanese grammar is often the most common gripe amongst beginning learners.

It’s frustrating hearing about how beginner learners of other languages feel like they can already loosen up and start playing around with their new languages. Meanwhile, you’ve got some rigid grammar rules to master before you even start to make sense.

When I starting learning Spanish as a kid, I remember how I quickly started tossing words around and dancing my way around unknown vocabulary. However, in my first Japanese classes, if I didn’t know how to frame a sentence I felt like I couldn’t get started at all.

That’s why I’ve lined up some easy Japanese sentence templates.

Once you’ve got these, you’ll be able to get off the ground without a hitch.
 

 
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What Makes These Japanese Sentences So “Easy”

  • They’re the fundamentals. We’re not aiming to tackle complex, abstract thoughts just yet. The purpose of these sentences is to express simple, straightforward ideas. That means they mostly identify, describe and locate people, places and things.
  • They’re short and sweet. You’ll be able to commit these to memory, no problem. There’s nothing too extensive about the words and grammar patterns used here.
  • They’re flexible. That’s why I’m calling them “templates.” You can just plug in your newest Japanese vocabulary whenever you want to talk about something.

With these sentence templates under your belt, you’ll be able to get the main idea of something across 99% of the time.

12 Easy Japanese Sentence Templates for Quick Learning

1. [Noun] です

English equivalent: It is [noun].

This goes far beyond “it is.” You can introduce any one person, place or thing with this template.

Examples:

モリーンです。(もりーん です。)
I am Maureen.

ジミーです。(じみー です。)
I am Jimmy.

ニューヨークです。(にゅーよーく です。)
It is New York.

幽霊です。(ゆうれい です。)
It is a ghost.

2. [Noun] は [Adjective] です

English equivalent: [Noun] is [adjective].

This one is super simple. As a general rule, you can use it to describe nouns with adjectives.

Example:

面白いです。(ほんは おもしろい です。)
The book is interesting.

Note: For complete newbies, は is the hiragana character for the sound “ha” but it’s pronounced “wa.” It’s more or less the Japanese “the.”

Placing this particle is how we talk about a topic that both the listener and the speaker are aware of. In English, we define this known topic by putting “the” before the topic. In Japanese, we put は after the topic in the same situation.

For example, if I talk to you about “the dog,” then that dog is a dog we’re both familiar with, or that we both see in front of us. If I talk to you about “a dog,” or “dogs,” I’d be referring to a random dog, or the general idea of dogs—in this more general case, Japanese uses the particle が。

It might seem a bit hard to distinguish between the two particles now, but I felt compelled to let you know since we’ll be bumping into が later on.

3. [Noun 1] の [Noun 2] です

English equivalents:

A) It is [Noun 1 (N1)] + [Noun 2 (N2)].

B) It is [N1]‘s [N2].

Yes, there are two equivalents here. But it’s not as complicated as it may look.

A) This sentence is discussing one single object that is described by two nouns. One noun (N1) is modifying another noun (N2).

More specifically, the second noun (N2) is defined by its direct relationship to the first noun (N1).

In English, we’d smash these nouns together without a particle, but in Japanese they have の stuck between them.

Example:

大学教室です。(だいがくの きょうしつ です。)
It’s a college classroom.

B) の is how we talk about possession in Japanese. In our template, の signifies that N2 belongs to N1.

The principle behind this is exactly the same as above: One noun is modifying a second noun (in this case, with ownership). N2 is defined by the ownership of N1.

Example:

モリーン子犬です。(もりーんの こいぬ です。)
It’s Maureen’s puppy.

4. [Noun 1] の [Noun 2] は [Adjective] です

English equivalents:

A) [N1] + [N2] is [adjective (A)].

B) [N1]‘s [N2] is [A].

Now we’re basically putting together the building blocks from sentences 1, 2 and 3.

As before, the presence of the pattern “N1N2です” means that the second noun (N2) is defined by its relationship to the first noun (N1). We will then further describe the second noun by attaching an adjective.

Adjectives in Japanese do get kind of tricky on their own, and often require some conjugation. But this simpler template will work smoothly with most of the common adjectives you learn at the beginning of your studies. Check out this guide for a more in-depth lesson on how to use Japanese adjectives.

Examples:

A) 日本語先生若いです。(にほんごの せんせいは わかい です。)
The Japanese teacher is young.

B) モリーン子犬可愛いです。(もりーんの こいぬは かわいい です。)
Maureen’s puppy is cute.

5. [Verbal noun] をします

English equivalent: To do [verbal noun].

While you can use a Japanese noun to complete the above template (for example, a noun describing an activity, like “golf”), you will primarily use verbal nouns. Verbal nouns have the properties of both verbs and nouns. A good example of this in English is a gerund, something like “running” or “swimming.” While these are conjugations of verbs, they can function as nouns.

There are lots of verbal nouns used commonly in Japanese.

To get します, we have to conjugate the plain form (the unconjugated, infinitive form) of the “to do” verb する. Plain form almost always ends in る. 

As you may already know, -ます is a conjugation of Japanese verbs. It’s attached to the ends of verbs to indicate that something is happening in the present.

First, you have to remove the る from the end of your verb. Next, you add -ます. Easy!

We won’t deal with irregular verbs in this post. We don’t have much time, and we’ve gotta learn these templates. All you need to know is the above conjugation rule—and the fact that する is irregular. す changes to し. So when you remove る and add ます, you get your します。To recap:

  • Start with する (to do).
  • Drop る to prepare for conjugation.
  • Change す to し (because する is irregular).
  • Add -ます to the new root, し.
  • Admire your properly conjugated verb, します.

As explained earlier, verbal nouns are what you will plug into this template. However, there are many verbs which use する and its conjugations.

する verbs are verbs which have an infinitive form ending in する. The process for conjugating these verbs is the same as noted in the bullet points above, but you don’t need to add を, simply because する is already part of the verb!

Memorize a short list of words that work with the をします template, and you’ll unlock a ton of new expressions! For example:

会議をします。(かいぎを します。)
Do/does a conference call.

買い物をします。(かいものを します。)
Do/does shopping.

質問をします。(しつもんを します。)
Ask(s) a question.

モリーンはゴルフをします。(もりーんは ごるふを します。)
Maureen plays golf.

私はテニスをします。(わたしは てにすを します。)
I play tennis.

ジミーは勉強をします。(じみーは べんきょうを します。)
Jimmy studies.

6. [Verb] ましょう

English equivalent: Let’s [verb].

This was my most-used template when I traveled to Japan. All you need is know the right verb. Slap this one together to enthusiastically cheer your group onward to doing some fun activity—or use it casually, without all the excitement, to make average, everyday suggestions.

Now, the catch with this template is that you may have to do something to conjugate your verb first. Be sure to investigate how any new verb you encounter gets plugged in to this template.

Example:

食べましょう!(たべましょう!)
Let’s eat!

7. [Verb] ましょうか?

English equivalent: Shall we [verb]?

This builds off #5 and adds one more tiny element of Japanese grammar: . This particle is used to ask questions. While か is not always required to form a question, be sure to raise the intonation of your voice towards the end of any sentence question.

Adding the question particle softens your request/suggestion to do something, and is often perceived as being more gentle, humble or polite.

Example:

食べましょうか?(たべましょうか?)
Shall we eat?

8. [Noun] があります

English equivalent: There is/are [noun].

This template only works for non-living things. By using this template, you are saying that the noun exists. That’s it. No more information. It just is.

You would use this to say that there’s a plate of food, there’s a school or there’s a lamp. You cannot use this to say, “There are three professors in the room,” because they’re living creatures.

You may have noticed that が just made its first appearance in our templates. This topic marker is indicating that the you and/or the listener don’t know about the noun you’re referring to. Take a look at the examples below. You’ll notice that the particle “the” is missing from the English translations.

Example:

があります。(ほんが あります。)
There are books.

9. [Noun] が います

English equivalent: There is/are [noun].

This template sentence expresses the same idea as the template above, only this is what you use for living beings.

Example:

子供がいます。(こどもが います。)
There is a child.

10. [Noun] が いらっしゃいます

English equivalent: There is/are [noun].

This is the same as the above two templates, only this is your first polite template. You would use this template when you are referring to a person that you need to show respect to.

Example:

先生がいらっしゃいます。(せんせいが いらっしゃいます。)
There are teachers.

11. [Noun] は [Location] に [Verb]

English equivalent: There is/are [noun].

Okay, so you know how to say that something exists. But what about when you want to tell somebody where something is? Easy!

All you need is one more little particle. に shows where your subject is in space and time. We’ll deal with the time aspect in the next template. Here, we’ll focus on space.

Example:

辞書大学の教室あります。(じしょは だいがくの きょうしつに あります。)
The dictionary is in the Japanese classroom.

モリーンの子犬ソファーいます。(もりーんの こいぬは そふぁーに います。)
Maureen’s puppy is on the sofa.

12. [Time] に、[Verb]

English equivalent: To [verb] at [time].

Example:

週末に、パーティーをします。(しゅうまつに、ぱーてぃーを します。)
This weekend I’m going to party.

三時に、会議をします。(さんじに、かいぎを します。)
At three o’clock, we have a meeting.

How are you feeling now? Those sentences weren’t too bad, were they? And by the end of the list, you can see that you’re already piecing together more and more information to create natural-sounding sentences.

Hopefully this has given you a solid footing in some basics of Japanese grammar.

Learn them, study them and, most importantly, use them as much as humanly possible.

You’ll hear these simple grammar patterns in every bit of authentic Japanese content you watch and listen to, so you can start practicing by keeping your ears open and picking them out of their natural context.

Once you’ve mastered these simple sentences, you’ll be surprised by how much you’re able to express in your new language!

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