Short quiz on basic Japanese particle usage

By | February 13, 2015

(You can take the test here:

Writing posts about Japanese is fun and all, but one of the reasons I started this blog was because I like teaching, and have had some experience myself teaching a different topic at the College level.

Teaching includes not only pushing material to the student, but also feedback from the students to the teacher, including how much the students have learned. Depending on the material and the level of the students, simple written tests are one way to gauge this.

Especially for something like Japanese grammar where there is less ambiguity, tests can be quite effective.

So I’ve decided to try writing a series of tests, hoping they will be of use to my readers. I’ll be starting small, with a short 8 question test which targets fundamentals of basic Japanese particles (は、が、を、に、で, も).  In addition to this the only thing you need to have familiarity is hiragana and katakana. No worries about Kanji – I’ve given the readings for all Kanji used in the questions.

Taking the test is simple and no registration is required, all you need to do is pick a user name. Ideally you would use this across all tests so your results could be tracked as a unit.

Even if your are an advanced Japanese learner, please consider taking the test as it will help me gauge how much interest there is for these types of tests.

If things go well I’ll end up making these for all sorts of topics, including more advanced material and more involved tests (more than just multiple choice).  Also I hope to match up quizzes with articles focusing on certain topics so no prior knowledge is necessary, which is more like real classes are.

You can take the test here:

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7 thoughts on “Short quiz on basic Japanese particle usage

  1. 1994sunshine

    Oh, 4/8 first time, 8/8 the second time! Particles are haaaaard… It was a good test though! Just the right number of questions!

    1. locksleyu Post author

      Thanks very much for taking the test and thanks for the feedback!

      If there is any specific particles you need help with I’d be glad to write posts about them (:

      1. 1994sunshine

        I’m have real difficulty with the に particle. Why is it used with いる? Why is sometimes a person/thing marked with には even when a motion verb isn’t used? I find it a really difficult particle to wrap my head around…

        1. locksleyu Post author

          に is not only used to specify the direction of an action (君にアイスをあげる), it is also used to specify the location of someone or something (僕は東京にいる) = “I’m in Tokyo”. If you can give me a specific example sample sentences I can try to explain in more detail.

          1. 1994sunshine

            When do you use で then?
            As for an example, this is taken from

            I kind of get why it’s used (though in a foggy kind of way), but I’m sure I’d never think to use に in this situation…

          2. locksleyu Post author

            I made a post last year which answers your first question, see it here:


            ”には” is sometimes used to mean something like “for” with respect to the word before it.

            So literally I would translate “彼には子どもがいる” as:

            “For me, there is one child.”

            Another example of this usage is the following sentence.


            While you could translate this simply as “I understand”, it’s important to note it can have the nuance that “I understand, but other people don’t”, because of the ”は” here.

            Also, literally you can see this sentence as:

            “For me, it is understood”.

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