Help me with these particles

Hey guys, I have a question about a sentence that appears in an old N5 exam, hope that’s okay.

They have the sentence:


I don’t understand the logic behind it.
“As for this, last year I (used? of?) the ocean to have taken, a picture.”

Ummm what :exploding_head: Can someone break it down for me please? :sweat:

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I’ll just run through the particles.

これは - this は marks the topic of the sentence, and from what comes later we can tell that it’s something the speaker and listener can both see
私が - here, が marks the subject in the clause 去年私が海でとった
海で - the function of で here is to mark the location where the action (とった) took place

The clause modifies しゃしん, explaining what kind of picture it is (a picture that I took at the sea last year)

Factoring in the whole sentence, we have “This is a picture that I took at the sea last year.”

Let me know you have more questions about it.


Thanks, that really helps.

So the 去年 is not part of this clause? It seems kinda shoehorned in there, is there any reason why they don’t say for example 去年に or 去年の? It’s hard to figure out how it relates to the rest of the sentence.

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It is, I was just stripping it down to the parts necessary to explain the grammar of the clause. I edited the post. Relative time words like 去年 require no particle. Just like we don’t say “On/in last year” in English.


Okay, so they are basically saying “As for this, it is a ‘took by me by the ocean last year’ photo”?

Are these types of clauses connected to a noun common? I’m gonna need to reshape my brain to get used to it lol. :sweat_smile:


I mean… yeah, they’re common. The English is the same. We just use “which” or “that” or “who” to mark our relative clauses. And the modifying part comes after rather than before.

a person who eats sushi
a dog that runs fast


Ahhh, yeah it’s making more sense when you explain it like that, I’ll look for it in the future.

Thanks for your help, great stuff :slight_smile:


Sorry to put a damper on this, but I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to expose test content.

It is all in the official JLPT page.

Ah, this is from 2009 not last year. My mistake

You must be a native English speaker? Japanese is not bound by “subject-verb-object” like English, so you`ll have to get used to this type of sentences. :grinning:

Norwegian, but still use SVO. Yes I see how important it is to know the particles so I won’t be completely lost of what’s going on. :weary:

Well, they don’t tend to post lists of what’s on the test, but I don’t recall ever being made to promise that I wouldn’t share questions that I’d encountered.

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You’re technically not allowed to share questions from the test… But the time period of that being relevant is like… The 24 hours when the test is being administered around the world. Not months or years later. No one cares at that point.

I’ll dig it up later. On the way to work

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