Japanese Sentences

This section focuses on the construction of complex sentences that use conjunctions. There are two main types of conjunctive sentences:

Coordinating Sentences

Coordinating sentences in English are connected with one of seven conjunctions, but Japanese doesn't have equivalents for some of them, so I am only listing four of them:

Subordinating Sentences

On the Clause Page, I went over independent clauses, relative clauses, and noun clauses, but I decided to save adverbial clauses and relative-adverbial clauses for this page.

Adverbial clauses and relative-averbial clauses both fufill the same general role: they describe the action of the independent clause, such as when or why. However, adverbial clauses use a conjunctive particle while relative-adverbial clauses use a relative clause, followed by the particle "ni." They have no inherent difference in meaning, but they grammatically different, so I have distinguished the two types.

  • (v) Verb: This form uses verbs conjugation to conjoin coordinating clauses (independent clause + independent clause)
  • (c) Coordinator: This form uses a conjunctive particle to conjoin coordinating clauses (independent clause + independent clause).
  • (a) Adverbial: This form uses a conjunctive particle to conjoin subordinating clauses (adverbial clause + independent clause).
  • (r-a) Relative-Adverbial: This form uses a relative clause + the particle "ni" to conjoin subordinating clauses (relative-adverbial clause + independent clause).
  • (b) Beginner: This form uses a particle that can only be used at the beginning of the sentence. It cannot conjoin clauses directly.

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating sentences have at least two independent clauses. All independent clauses should use the same level of politeness, except the (v) forms.


(v) [te-form]

(v) [i-form]

(v) [ta-form] + ri ... suru

(b) soshite


(c) ga

(c) ke(re)do(mo)

(b) de mo


(c) ka


(c) kara

Subordinating Conjunctions

In subordinating conjunctions, there is at least one independent clause and one subordinate clause (either adverbial or relative-adverbial) whose purpose is to provide additional context (when, why) for the independent clause. Suboridinating clauses should not be conjugated for polite tense.

Casually, the independent clause might be left out, as we sometimes do in English.

"When" Connjunctives

While: (a) [i-form] nagara

Since: (a) [te-form] kara

Until: (a) [u-form] made

When: (r-a) toki ni

After: (r-a) [ta-form] ato ni

Before: (r-a) [u-form] mae ni

While: (r-a) aida ni

While: (r-a) uchi ni

"Why" Conjunctives

Because: (a) kara

Because: (a) no de

Because: (r-a) tame ni

In order to: (r-a) tame ni

Conditional Subordinating Conjunctions

Conditional clauses are when the independent clause depends on a condition presented by the subordinate clause. In English, we usually use "if," but sometimes use "when," or "whenever." Remember that even when the following translate as "when," it is not always interchangeable with "toki." These forms always imply a cause-and-effect relationship.

(v) [ta-form] + ra

This form conveys a subjunctive mood. In simple terms, it is a conditional that focuses on the result of the condition. It is often used to show intent and correlation.


This form can also be used to mean "when" and demonstrate an event that happened in the past resulting directly from another event.

(v) [e-form] + ba

This form conveys the provisional mood. In simple terms, this means it focuses on the necessary condition.

(v) [u-form] + nara

This conditional form implies that something is being assumed, even though the result is not obvious.

(a) to

This "to" particle (not to be confused with the others) is a conjunctive particle that marks the conditional clause. It is generally used for expected, definitive, habitual, or natural results. That is, the conclusion should be logical. This form is used a lot for giving instructions.

Furthermore, both clauses must be in present tense.

(r-a) baai ni

The noun "baai" means "case" or "situation." So literally, we are using a relative clause that says "In the case that..." and turning it into an adverbial clause with the particle "ni."

(b) moshi

"moshi" is one of those words that can only go at the beginning. In addition, it must be used in combination with one of the above conditional phrases to emphasize the condition.


Despite: (a) no ni

Without: (a) [a-form] zu ni

Misc. Sentence Structures

Comparisons & Likeness

hou & yori

you & sou

"you" and "sou" are both nouns (and na-adjectives) that imply something looks, seems, or acts a certain way. They are generally interchangeable, but used slightly differently.