Have you ever struggled to understand Japanese particles? Do you find them a little confusing? Well the good news is that there is an amazing book that teaches them all in an easy to understand way.
This is a review of All About Particles which is a relatively unknown, yet powerful book on this subset of Japanese grammar.
I had heard good things about it in the past, but never pulled the trigger on getting it for myself until recently. Honestly, I wish I had it from the beginning! Let me tell you why.
What Does All About Particles Teach You?
This book, written by Naoko Chino, teaches you the various meanings and usages of 69 Japanese particles.
Did you know there were that many? I didn’t!
It goes over the super common ones like は、から、に etc. that all have multiple meanings and nuances.
It goes over more obscure ones like ものの and さえ.
Plus it has all of the sentence ending particles that you hear a hundred times a day when listening to Japanese よ！
In other words, the contents of the book are 100% in line with what the title suggests – and nothing else!
It doesn’t teach other aspects of grammar, such as conjugation, nor does it explicitly teach vocabulary – though there ARE a lot of words in the sentences, so you’ll probably learn some new ones unintentionally.
The book has a very focused aim, and it doesn’t deviate from it at all. This means that it is incredible at its primary objective, but nothing much beyond that.
What Is The format Of The Book Like?
It’s a pretty small book, both in size and number of pages (just 150). This makes it easy to take along with you when you are on the move and need to travel light.
The book starts with the most commonly used particles and then moves on to the more obscure ones. However, it saves the sentence ending particles for last – quite fitting!
Each chapter is devoted to a single particle and it provides an explanation on one of the particle’s functions before providing multiple sentence examples so that you can see it in action.
Then it moves on another way to use the particle (if applicable) and again provides multiple phrases that you can study and learn in order to fully grasp how to use the particle.
This is right in line with the philosophy of the book, as the author states in the preface that “particles have no meaning by themselves, they must be used with other words in order to understand them.”
I personally love this approach as it brings the grammar to life by showing how it works, in addition to explaining how it works.
What’s The Best Way To Use The Book?
Even though you could start at the beginning and simply work your way through it, I wouldn’t suggest it.
I say that due to the concept of “interference” when learning a language. It basically states that when similar information is taking in at the same time, it tends to get confused with one another.
So if you learned five different usages of the particle から all at the same time, then there is a pretty good chance that you would mix a few of them up.
So how should you use it instead?
As a reference.
Any time you encounter a new particle that you don’t quite understand, grab the book and look it up. go ahead and read through the different possibilities until you find the one that makes sense, and then focus on locking that particular one in.
It’s also a good tool for cleaning up any misunderstandings you might currently have. Not sure what the difference between は and が is?
Open the book and find out.
It’s also full of good Japanese sentences, so you can increase your overall comprehension and reading ability by reading through the examples a few times.
If you like to create flash cards with programs like Anki, then this will be a good place to mine some sentences.
Final Thoughts And Where To Find
This book definitely isn’t enough on its own to teach you every aspect of the Japanese language.
But it’s enough when it comes to this one area: Particles.
Instead of searching through the internet and hoping you can find a good explanation each time you run into a new particle, or an unfamiliar usage that you don’t quite comprehend, you can simply whip out the book and look up the answer within a few minutes.
If you’re interested in getting a copy for yourself, then you can do so by clicking below.
Got any questions? What are your thoughts on this book? Let me know!