Japanese Conversational Skills: Using Ending Particles “Ne (ね)” and “Yo (よ)”
When studying Japanese, one of the first ending particles you learn is ka (か). This acts as a question mark and turns the whole sentence into a question. It’s one of the many ending particles used in Japanese and is grammatically practical to designate a question. As ending particles in Japanese convey a lot of context and feeling in conversation, mastering its use will definitely make you sound more like a native speaker. Today, we’ll be covering Ne (ね) and Yo (よ).
Here’s an example:
Mika-san: Oishii desu ne!
Toshio-kun: Oishii desu yo!
Ne can be translated into “isn’t it?” or “right?” in English. It is added to the end of a sentence in Japanese regardless of the level of politeness you’re using.
In general, the particle Ne is asking for confirmation, agreement or assent of the other person or group that the speaker is talking to. Typically, the Ne indicates that both the speaker and the listener share the same information or opinion about something. As a result, this particle creates a sense of togetherness.
Mika-san: Toshio kun, kyou ii tenki desu ne!
Mika-san: Toshio, today’s weather is good, isn’t it?
In the above dialogue, Mika-san is expressing the idea of the weather being good, and Toshio san shares this information, either by knowing the weather, or because they are walking together. Ne is a good way to start a smooth conversation in this case.
The ending particle Yo doesn’t really have a direct translation into English, but it’s used to express new information the speaker is sharing.
Mika-san: Kono kuruma wa takai desu ka?
Mika-san: Is this car expensive?
Toshio-kun: Takai desu yo!
Toshio-kun: Yes it is, (you know.)
Yo and ne can both be used to emphasize commands as seen in the following examples. Using ne becomes more of a soft command since it’s more of a suggestion.
Toshio-kun: Ki ni shinaide yo!
Toshio-kun: Don’t worry!
Mika-san: Nakanaide ne!
Mika-san: Don’t cry, okay?
Additionally, you can use both yo and ne together in one sentence. It emphasizes both the speaker’s knowledge of the information, as well as asking for confirmation.
Mika-san: Toshio kun wa chikatetsu desu yo ne.
Mika-san: Toshio-kun, you use the underground, right?