Japanese Conjunctions — Your Complete Guide to Linking Words

Are you learning Japanese grammar right now? Then, let’s learn the Japanese Conjunctions! You might not be familiar with the term, but conjunction is something we regularly use in everyday conversations.

Japanese conjunction examples

For example, without the help of conjunctions, we can’t even say, “My girlfriend is mad at me, so I want to apologize to her.” or “I wanted to buy a bottle of wine, but I forgot my wallet.” I know, it could get very frustrating.

What are Conjunctions?

Conjunctions are called sentence connectors. Conjunctions connect words, phrases, clauses, and two sentences. As you can expect, the most common English conjunction words are “and,” “or,” and “but.” Now, you’re probably aware of how important conjunctions are in our daily conversation.

In English, it’s said that we have three basic conjunctions; coordinating, subordinating, and correlative conjunctions. Japanese conjunctions have a different variety from English and function in a slightly different way, but what they actually can do is quite similar.

In this lesson, we’re focusing on the most common Japanese conjunction words; せつぞくし(setsuzokushi | 接続詞). It’s time to learn Japanese grammar and its usage. Let’s get started!

What Happens Without Conjunction Words

Our conversation will become;

  • too short
  • difficult to understand
  • abrupt and dull

Basic Rules of Japanese Conjunctions

Here are the basic rules of Japanese conjunctions you need to know:

  • No conjugation
  • Better not mix up with Japanese conjunctive particles
  • Some have similar concept to English conjunctive adverbs
  • Don’t get scared with informal and formal Japanese conjunction words

Japanese Conjunctive Particles

Japanese conjunctive particles are called せつぞくじょし (setsuzokujoshi |接続助詞). They act as a connector and look similar to conjunction. However, they’re always together with conjugational words; verb, adjective, adjectival noun, and auxiliary verb.

Common Japanese Conjunctive Particles:

These are the common Japanese conjuctive particles:

  • から (kara)
  • て (te)
  • と (to)
  • や (ya)
  • ば (ba)
  • が (ga)
  • のに (noni)
  • ても/でも (temo/demo)
  • たり/だり (tari/dari), etc.

Let’s take a few examples of sentences using Japanese conjunctive particles along with an adjective and a verb.

With adjective:

おなかがすいたから、おやつをたべよう。

Onaka ga suita kara, oyatsu wo tabeyou.

I’m hungryso I’m going to have a snack.

With verb and adjective:

にほんごのほんをかったのに、かんじがおおくよめなかった。

Nihongo no hon wo katta noni, kanji ga ooku te yomenakatta.

bought a Japanese book, but I couldn’t read it because there were many kanji.

Common Japanese Conjunctions

In this section, I’m going to introduce you to some of the most common conjunction words in Japanese. Let’s learn Japanese words with simple translations and example sentences.

Common Japanese Conjunctions List

Here is the list of Japanese conjunction words in Hiragana and in Romaji.

Japanese RomajiEnglish
そのためsonotameso, therefore, for that reason, consequently
だからdakaraso, therefore, consequently
それで soredeand, and then, therewith
そこでsokodeso, and, then
したがってshitagattethus, therefore, in this way
でもdemobut, however, though, even so
しかしshikashibut, however, still, and yet, nevertheless
だがdagathough, however, still, yet, nevertheless, despite
けれどkeredobut, however, tough, although, yet
ところがtokorogabut, however, and yet, on the contrary
またmatatoo, also, as well, besides, moreover, while
おなじくonajikualso, likewise, alike, similarly
および oyobiand, as well as, also
そしてsoshiteand, then, and now
しかもshikamomoreover, besides, on top of that, also
それからsorekaraafter that, and then, and, since then
ぎゃくにgyakuniconversely, contrarily
はんたいにhantainicontrarily, on the contrary, vice versa
いっぽうippouon the other hand
それともsoretomoor, else, or else
もしくはmoshikuwaor, otherwise
なぜならnazenarabecause, for
ただしtadashihowever, only, but, on the condition that
じつはjitsuwaactually, by the way, in fact
ところでtokorodeby the way, now, well, incidentally
それではsoredewathen, if so, if that is the case
ではdewathen, well, in that case

Resultative Japanese Conjunctions

Resultative conjunctions are namedじゅんせつ (junsetsu | 順接) in Japanese grammar. They imply a natural result or a conclusion that follows what was presented earlier.

Here’s a list of resultative Japanese conjunctions:

  • そのため (sonotame) –  so, therefore, for that reason, consequently
  • だから (dakara) –  so, therefore, consequently
  • それで (sorede) –  and, and then, therewith
  • そこで (sokode) – so, and, then
  • したがって (shitagatte) – thus, therefore, in this way

People use だから (dakara) commonly in small talk. そこで (sokode) and したがって (shitagatte) appear more regularly in formal or academic situations.

For example:

てんきよほうによると、きょうはおおあめのようだ。そこで、きょうはいえでべんきょうをすることにした。

(tenkiyohou ni yoruto, kyou wa ooame no youda. Sokode, kyou wa ie de benkyou wo suru kotonishita. | 天気予報によると、今日は大雨のようだ。そこで、今日は家で勉強をすることにした。)

According to the weather forecast, it’s going to be heavy rain today, so I decided to study at home today.

 

まいにち、べんきょうをがんばりました。だから、にほんごがりゅうちょうにはなせるようになりました。

(mainichi, benkyou wo ganbarimashita. Dakara, nihongo ga ryuuchou ni hanaseruyouni narimasita. | 毎日、日本語の勉強をがんばりました。だから、日本が流暢に話せるようになりました。)

I studied hard everyday, therefore, I am now able to speak Japanese fluently.

 

ことしのなつはいつもよりもあつかった。そのため、でんきてんではエアコンがよくうれた。

(kotoshi no natsu wa itsumo yorimo atsukatta. Sonotame, denkiten dewa eakon ga yoku ureta. | 今年の夏はいつもよりも暑かった。そのため、電気店ではエアコンがよく売れた。)

This summer was hotter than usual. Consequently, air conditioners sold well at electronic stores.

 

にほんにはじしんがたくさんあります。したがって、にほんのいえはじしんにたえるようにせっけいされるようになりました。

(nihon niwa jishin ga takusan arimasu. Shitagatte, nihon no ie wa jishin ni taeru youni sekkei sareru youni narimashita. | 日本には地震がたくさんあります。したがって、日本の家は地震に耐えるように設計されるようになりました。)

There are many earthquakes in Japan. Thus, Japanese houses have been designed to withstand earthquakes.

Contradictory Japanese Conjunctions

Contradictory conjunctions, ぎゃくせつ(gyakusetsu | 逆接), have the meaning of the opposition which doesn’t result from the previous sentence. Sometimes it shows unexpected surprises or feelings of discontent.

In everyday speech, native Japanese speakers use でも (demo) very often. It probably is one of the first conjunction to learn for Japanese children. You can assume most of the contradictory conjunctions as a “but.”

Here’s a list of the contradictory Japanese conjunctions:

  • でも (demo) –  but, however, though, even so
  • しかし (shikashi) –  but, however, still, and yet, nevertheless
  • だが (daga) –  though, however, still, yet, nevertheless, despite
  • けれど (keredo) – but, however, tough, although, yet
  • ところが (tokoroga) – but, however, and yet, on the contrary

For example:

  • 彼はとてもやさしい。でも、ときどき人がよすぎて心配になる。
  • かれはとてもやさしい。でも、ときどきひとがよすぎてしんぱいになる。
  • Kare wa totemo yasashii. Demo, tokidoki hito ga yosugite shinpai ni naru.
  • He is very kind, but sometimes I feel like he is too nice to the others.

 

  • 子どもの頃はサッカーをしていました。しかし、今は何もスポーツをしていません。
  • こどものころはサッカーをしていました。しかし、いまはなにもスポーツをしていません。
  • Kodomo no koro wa sakkaa wo shiteimashita. Shikashi, ima wa nanimo supootsu wo shite imasen.
  • I used to play soccer when I was a child. But I’m not playing any sports now.

 

  • 彼らは双子だが、まったく似ていません。
  • かれらはふたごだが、まったくにていません。
  • Karera wa futago daga, mattaku niteimasen.
  • They are twins and yet they don’t look-alike.

 

  • 日本語の勉強は難しい。けれど、とてもやりがいがある。
  • にほんごのべんきょうはむずかしい。けれど、とてもやりがいがある。
  • Nihongo no benkyou wa muzukashii. Keredo, totemo yarigai ga aru.
  • Although studying Japanese is challenging, it’s very rewarding.

 

  • 天気予報では晴れのはずでした。ところが、突然雨が降ってきました。
  • てんきよほうでははれのはずでした。ところが、とつぜんあめがふってきました。
  • Tenkiyohou dewa hare no hazu deshita. Tokoroga, totsuzen ame ga futte kimashita.
  • The weather forecast was supposed to be sunny. However, it suddenly started to rain.

Parallel Japanese Conjunctions

There are three parallel Japanese conjunctions へいれつ (heiretsu | 並列): また (mata), おなじく (onajiku), and および (oyobi).

Below are the three parallel Japanese conjunctions with their meanings:

  • また (mata) –  too, also, as well, besides, moreover, while
  • おなじく(onajiku) –  also, likewise, alike, similarly
  • および (oyobi) – and, as well as, also

また (mata) means adding something on equal footing, and we use it a lot in all situations.

On the other hand, おなじく (onajiku) and および (oyobi) are more common in formal situations.

For example:

  • 彼女は旅行が好きだ。また、好奇心も旺盛だ。
  • かのじょはりょこうがすきだ。また、こうきしんもおうせいだ。
  • Kanojo wa ryokou ga suki da. Mata, koukishin mo ouseida.
  • She loves traveling. She is also a very curious person.

 

  • 青森は東北の一県だ。同じく、秋田も東北にある。
  • あおもりはとうほくのいっけんだ。おなじく、あきたもとうほくにある。
  • Aomori wa touhoku no ikken da. Onajiku, akita mo touhoku ni aru.
  • Aomori is a prefecture in Tohoku. Similarly, Akita is also in Tohoku.

 

  • 今から渡す用紙に、名前及び住所を記載してください。
  • いまからわたすようしに、なまえおよびじゅうしょをきさいしてください。
  • Ima kara watasu youshi ni, namae oyobi, juusho wo kisai shite kudasai.
  • Please write down your name and address on the form I’m going to pass it to you.

Conditional Japanese Conjunctions

Conditional Japanese conjunctions provide additional information or condition to the previous sentence and we call it てんか (tenka | 添加 ).

Here are the three conditional Japanese conjunctions with their meanings:

  • そして (soshite) – and, then, and now
  • しかも (shikamo) –  moreover, besides, on top of that, also
  • それから (sorekara) –  after that, and then, and, since then

The conjunction そして (soshite) simply adds another thing just like “and” in English. Sometimes, しかも (shikamo) tends to modify what is said previously. You can hear all of them in everyday conversations.

For example:

  • このアニメは日本でとても有名です。そして、最近は海外でも知名度が上がってきています。
  • このアニメはにほんでとてもゆうめいです。そして、さいきんはかいがいでもちめいどがあがってきています。
  • Kono anime wa nihon de totemo yuumei desu. Soshite, saikin wa kaigai demo chimeido ga agatte kiteimasu.
  • This anime is very famous in Japan. And recently, it has become well known overseas as well.

 

  • こないだのお寿司屋さんはとてもおいしかった。しかも、そんなに高くなかった。
  • こないだのおすしやさんはとてもおいしかった。しかも、そんなにたかくなかった。
  • Konaida no osushiyasan wa totemo oishikatta. Shikamo, sonnani takaku nakatta.
  • The sushi we had last time was very good. Moreover, it was not so expensive.

 

  • 初めてのデートでは、まず映画を観ました。それから、ご飯を食べに行きました。
  • はじめてのデートでは、まずえいがをみました。それから、ごはんをたべにいきました。
  • Hajimete no deeto dewa, mazu eiga wo mimashita. Sorekara, gohan wo tabe ni ikimashita.
  • On our first date, we went to a movie first and then went to eat.

Contrast Japanese Conjunctions

Contrast Japanese conjunctions, たいひ (taihi | 対比), connect ideas and clauses that contrast.

These are the three contrast Japanese conjunctions and their English meanings:

  • ぎゃくに (gyakuni) – conversely, contrarily
  • はんたいに (hantaini) –  contrarily, on the contrary, vice versa
  • いっぽう (ippou) –  on the other hand

Compare to はんたいに (hantaini), ぎゃくに (gyakuni) sounds more natural in spoken Japanese. But they’re pretty much identical in meanings. Besides, we use いっぽう (ippou) often, when we want to compare the related contents.

For example:

  • 海では何もしないでも体が浮く。逆に、プールや川ではなかなか浮かない。
  • うみではなにもしないでもからだがうく。ぎゃくに、プールやかわではなかなかうかない。
  • Umi dewa nani mo shinaidemo karada ga uku. Ggyaku ni, puuru ya kawa dewa nakanaka ukanai.
  • Our body floats in the sea without effort. On the contrary, it’s not easily floating in pools and rivers.

 

  • 私の父は、がっしりと屈強に見える。反対に、兄は、背が高く細身だ。
  • わたしのちちは、がっしりとくっきょうにみえる。はんたいに、あには、せがたかくほそみだ。
  • Watashi no chichi wa, gasshiri to kukkyou ni mieru. Hantaini, ani wa, se ga takaku hosomi da.
  • My dad looks solid and strong. On the other hand, my brother is tall and thin.

 

  • 英語は学校で習ったので少しはわかる。一方、イタリア語は習ったことがないので全然わからない。
  • えいごはがっこうでならったのですこしはわかる。いっぽう、いたりあごはならったことがないのでぜんぜんわからない。
  • Eigo wa gakkou de naratta node sukoshi wa wakaru. Ippou, itariago wa naratta kotoganai node zenzen wakaranai.
  • We learn English at school so I can understand a little. On the contrary, I have never learned Italian, so I don’t understand it at all.

Selective Japanese Conjunctions

Selective Japanese conjunctions have the role of indicating correlations and more selections.

Here are the two conjunctions used to show correlations or more selections used in Japanese:

  • それとも (soretomo) –  or, else, or else
  • もしくは (moshikuwa) – or, otherwise

それとも (soretomo) is colloquial, and もしくは (moshikuwa) is more literary and formal. They are called せんたく(sentaku | 選択) in Japanese.

For example:

  • お昼は何が食べたいですか?ラーメン、それとも、とんかつ?
  • おひるはなにがたべたいですか?ラーメン、それとも、とんかつ?
  • Ohiru wa nani ga tabetai desuka? Ramen soretomo Tonkatsu?
  • What do you want to eat for lunch? Ramen or Tonkatsu?

 

  • 僕は将来プログラマーになりたいです。もしくは、システムエンジニアを目指すかもしれません。
  • ぼくはしょうらいプログラマーになりたいです。もしくは、システムエンジニアをめざすかもしれません。
  • Boku wa shourai puroguramaa ni naritai desu. Moshikuwa, shisutemu enjinia wo mezasu kamoshiremasen.
  • I want to become a software developer in the future, or maybe a system engineer.

Connecting Japanese Conjunctions

Connecting Japanese conjunctions are used to connect sentences with an explanation. These conjunctions are called せつめい(setsumei | 説明).

The two connecting conjunctions in Japanese are:

  • なぜなら (nazenara) – because, for
  • だって (datte) –  because, for, after all, but

だって (datte) is informal, and it sounds a little childish, so it only appears in conversations. However, なぜなら (nazenara) is good for general use.

For example:

  • 私は英語を勉強しています。なぜなら、アメリカの大学に行きたいからです。
  • わたしはえいごをべんきょうしています。なぜなら、アメリカのだいがくにいきたいからです。
  • Watashi wa eigo wo benkyou shiteimasu. Nazenara, amerika no daigaku ni ikitai karadesu.
  • I’m learning English. Because I want to go to an American university.

 

  • 今日はパンをたくさん買って帰ろう。だって、このパン屋さんのパンはとても美味しいから。
  • きょうはパンをたくさんかってかえろう。だって、このパンやさんのパンはとてもおいしいから。
  • Kyou wa pan wo takusan katte kaerou. Datte, kono panyasan no pan wa totemo oishiikara.
  • Let’s buy a lot and go home. After all, the bread at this bakery is really good.

Supplementary Japanese Conjunctions

We use supplementary conjunctions when we want to add some explanations, conditions, and exceptions. They’re called ほそく(hosoku | 補足).

Here are the two supplementary conjunctions in Japanese with their English meanings:

  • ただし (tadashi) –  however, only, but, on the condition that
  • じつは(jitsuwa) – actually, by the way, in fact

Between these two conjunctions, じつは(jitsuwa) is more regularly used in both spoken and written Japanese than ただし (tadashi).

For example:

  • よく食べるのはよいことだ。ただし、食べ過ぎは健康によくない。
  • よくたべるのはよいことだ。ただし、たべすぎはけんこうによくない。
  • Yoku taberu no wa yoikoto da. Tadashi, tabesugi wa kenkou ni yokunai.
  • It’s good to eat well, However, eating too much is not good for our health.

 

  • 住所変更をお願いできますか?実は、先月結婚して引っ越したんです。
  • じゅうしょへんこうをおねがいできますか?じつは、せんげつけっこんしてひっこしたんです。
  • Juusho henkou wo onegai dekimasuka? Jitsuwa, sengetsu kekkonshite hikkoshitandesu.
  • Can you change my registered address? Actually, I got married last month and we moved.

Transition Japanese Conjunctions

The transition conjunctions are called てんかん (tenkan | 転換). They are good at changing topics and situations in a very natural way.

These are the three transition conjunctions in Japanese:

  • ところで (tokorode) –  by the way, now, well, incidentally
  • それでは (soredewa) –  then, if so, if that is the case
  • では (dewa) – then, well, in that case

The conjunction では (dewa) is a short and casual form of それでは (soredewa). All three conjunctions are frequently used in both formal and informal situations.

For example:

  • 私はイギリスから来ました。日本にはもう5年住んでいます。ところで、あなたはどこの出身ですか?
  • わたしはイギリスからきました。にほんにはもうごねんすんでいます。ところで、あなたはどこのしゅっしんですか?
  • Watashi wa igirisu kara kimashita. Nihon ni wa mou gonen sundeimasu. Tokorode, anata wa doko no shusshin desuka?
  • I’m from England, and I’ve been in Japan for 5 years now. Well, where are you from?

 

  • 今日のレッスンでは、動詞の活用を勉強します。では、さっそくはじめましょう。
  • きょうのレッスンでは、どうしのかつようをべんきょうします。では、さっそくはじめましょう。
  • Kyou no ressun dewa doushi no katsuyou wo benkyou shimasu. Dewa, sassoku hajime mashou.
  • In today’s lesson, we’re studying verb conjugation. Then, let’s get started then.

 

  • もうこんな時間ですね。それでは、そろそろ解散しましょうか?
  • もうこんなじかんですね。それでは、そろそろかいさんしましょうか?
  • Mou konna jikan desune. Soredewa, sorosoro kaisan shimashouka?
  • It’s getting late. Well then, should we disband soon?

Conjunctions Make Daily Conversations More Enjoyable

When it comes to learning the Japanese language, focusing on grammar feels like a big step to take. But it’s an essential key to being able to talk, read, and write in a new language. With the help of conjunction, our conversation will become more meaningful and fun.

Once you master conjunctions, you’ll be able to say a lot of stuff in a very natural way. So why don’t you start using what we learned in this lesson when you see some Japanese friends next time?

がんばってください (ganbatte kudasai)! ^^

    4 replies to "Japanese Conjunctions — Your Complete Guide to Linking Words"

    • Muhammad Imran

      Thank you for sharing this information. It is useful for student like me who are going to try on building long japanese sentence which need conjunction words.

      • 90 Day Japanese

        Thanks for the comment, Muhammad! I’m glad that our article has been helpful to you. ^^ If you want more lessons, you can check out our blog post. ^^ You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for video lessons. You’ll get updated when our latest videos become available.

    • Angela

      This needs more comments 😀 great article!
      Instantly saved the page bc I know I’ll come back to it while studying

      • 90 Day Japanese

        Thanks for your kind words, Angela! Glad you find the article helpful.^^

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