Conjunctions in Japanese: Learning how to build longer sentences

Learning to use conjuctions in Japanese is an important step for beginners. Once you have understood the basic sentence structure of Japanese, you may find yourself wondering how to make your sentences flow. The easiest way to do this is by making use of connecting words (or conjunctions) in Japanese to link two sentences or two clauses together.

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Being as Kotobites is in the midst of the Japanese Writing Challenge, I thought this would be a great time to post about the topic of conjunctions, known as 接続詞 in Japanese.

Types of conjunctions in Japanese

I’ve listed some common conjunctions across various categories to give you some ideas:

  • Showing a result or consequence (= therefore/ so in English): だから、それで、そのため
  • Giving a reason (= because): なぜなら、というのは
  • Showing a contradiction (= but/ however): が at the end of the clause; しかし、けれども
  • Providing additional information (= similarly, and then, furthermore): そして、それに、それから、しかも
  • Showing a contrast (= on the other hand): 一方、逆に
  • Rephrasing (= in other words): つまり、すなわち

I have shied away from using English where possible here. This is becuase a lot of these conjunctions do not work in exactly the same way as their English counterparts.

Other helpful resources

For further information on conjunctions in Japanese, I recommend checking out the following resources:

The Japan Society of New York’s Waku Waku Japanese series has an episode giving a brief introduction to how conjunctions work:

Wasabi’s articles on important Japanese Conjunctions as well as Reverse Conditionals (which covers conjunctions and grammar points that express a contrast).

For those who are a bit more advanced, check out this page (in Japanese) on a website called Pothos. This post gives an overview of the types of conjunctions you are likely to come across in Japanese. If you click on each word you get a definition and a few example sentences to show how it is used.

I hope you find this post useful – as always if you have any suggestions or feedback please let me know in the comments!

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