I am looking at two books on particles to get as reference material. I wanted to hear the opinions of those who used these, especially if you have used both of them.

All About Particles

A Dictionary of Japanese Particles

They both seem fairly in depth and are about the same price. Which would you say is more helpful from your personal experience with these books?


1 Answer 1


I found 'All About Particles' to be somewhat lacking. The explanation of the particles is quite minimal. As with most particle books, there are usually at least two sample sentences which highlight the meaning. The Japanese sentences are written in kanji without furigana, with sentences in romaji below it. Personally I prefer the inclusion of furigana, but perhaps romaji might be easier for beginners. The structure of the content is no-frills. This book is an adequate resource but it is a little basic and might be more suitable as a reference.

Compared to the above 'A Dictionary of Japanese Particles' is superior, in my opinion. The layout and presentation of the material seem more structured, and I found the explanations to be clearer. There are usually two or three sample sentences, with furigana over the kanji and romaji sentences below. I get the sense that this book is more user-friendly for beginners, explaining the usage of the particles in more natural language than above. There are little diagrams here and there to supplement unclear meanings - it has more of a textbook feel than a pure dictionary/reference. If it was a straight choice between this and the above, I would recommend this book. I included another recommendation below.

One of the best books I've seen on particles is "How To Tell the Difference Between Japanese Particles" by Naoko Chino. Not only does it have good explanations of the particles and useful examples, but it contains quizzes (and solutions) at the end of each chapter. You can check your understanding of the material as you progress through the book, making it a good self-study resource. I also like the way it groups the particles by function, like particles to do with time, direction, quantity, conditions, reasons, etc. One drawback is that the text is written in kanji without furigana, with romaji sentences below (as in All About Particles). However, the main problem is that this book is very hard to find these days. It may be out of print, because I've seen ridiculous prices for it. But if you manage to find a reasonably priced copy, this is the one I would recommend.

Summary: If you can find it, get 'How to Tell the Difference Between Japanese Particles'. If you can't find it, get 'A Dictionary of Japanese Particles'. If you just want a basic reference resource, get 'All About Particles'.

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