Japanese Sentence structure order

Hello everyone,

I’m working on Japanese particles, and I have to express sentences like : “Mr Nakamura goes to Tokyo by train with his friend on Sunday”. I have no problem on expressing every part on the sentence, but I get confused when it come to order. Should I say :

or 中村さんは日曜日に電車で友達と東京に行きます。

Are both sentences correct ? Or are there rules for the order ? Except for the basic SOV structure rule, I couldn’t find any.

Thanks your help and your time !

1 Like

Particles exist specifically so you don’t have to worry about sentence order so much.

I’d say just stick with “introduce context first” (は particle), “stick the target to the verb”, and for everything else just do what makes sense to you.

If you absolutely want a sentence order, Genki says a typical sentence is “topic time place object verb” or “topic frequency time goal verb”.

But don’t stick to it on principle.


Because of the particles that attach to words in Japanese, word order is extremely flexible. Both of your sentences are perfectly fine. You can use the flexibility to adjust how things are emphasized, but in this case, it’s not really that much of a difference.


I’d recommend reading these two blog posts:


In addition to what everyone else said, Japanese tends to go intuitively from least important to most important, so to emphasize things you can push them later in the sentence.


Thank you all for all your answers ! I guess there are orders more natural for natural speakers then. But I won’t overthink about that anyway.