This is an edited version on Tad Perry's 1992 Quick and Dirty Guide to Japanese with improved templating for readability, as well as some rephrasing and editing. The romaji phonetics have been replaced with kanji and hiraganas.
In general, standard word order for Japanese when using an action verb is as shown below. Subjects are shown in grey as they are very often deleted.
I'm going to give a present to my teacher tomorrow at school.
|わたくし は||あした||がっこう で||せんせい に||ぷれぜんと を||あげます|
I'm in the main office right now.
|わたくし は||いま||ほんしゃ に||いる|
I'm going to a party tomorrow.
|わたくし は||あした||ぱーていー に||いく|
In general, if a new subject is introduced where another had been previously understood, signal the change by placing は after the subject. If a subject is understood, but for some reason not deleted use が or nothing.
An indicator of a specific points in time is usually followed by に, a word like "tomorrow" can only be understood by context and does not need the particle added.
|十月に||じゅう がつ に||In October|
|三月三日に||さん がつ みっか に||On March 3rd|
Indirect objects are also followed by に, similar to the english expression "to you".
|この本をあなたに上げる||この ほん を なたな に あげる||I'm going to give this book to you.|
The place you do something or the thing you use to do something is followed by で.
|車で行く||くるま で いく||Going by car|
An object is followed by を or nothing.
|本を読んでいる||ほん を よんで いる||I'm reading a book.|
Use も to add extra info on top of what has already been declared, not unlike the english word "too", as in "me too".
|ぼくも行く||ぼく も いく||I'm going too.|
Indicate possession by using の following an object, not unlike the english possession particle "'s", as in "Devine's".
|これはぼくの本です||これ は ぼく の ほん です||This is my book|
A verb in a question sentence is followed by か.
|何時ですか||なんじ です か||What time is it?|
Between choices, each choice is also followed by か.
|今日か明日？||きょう か あした||Today or tomorrow?|
A verb in a sentence that shares a sort of agreement with the listener is followed by ね, not unlike the english expression "isn't?".
|多能しいですね||たのうしい です ね||It's fun isn't it?|
[TODO]Each object in an enumeration is followed by や.
[TODO]A verb in an exclamative sentence is followed by よ.
Adjectives always end in あい, いい, うい or おい, never in えい that would be a noun. Basically, you replace the ending い to inflect.
|優しくない||やさしくない||It's not nice|
|優しかった||やさしかった||It was nice|
|優しかったら||やさしかったら||If it's nice|
Sometimes when you look in a dictionary or ask for an adjective you, you will find something that doesn't look like an adjective at all. It's a noun! If you come up with a noun for a word when you expected an adjective (like きれい, pretty), just remember that you use adjectival noun + な + noun to make it work. So, きれい（な）お女王さん「きれい（な）おじょおさん」is "pretty girl".
Just note that you don't say: あつかせる for "make something hot" you say あつく + する.
These verbs are those that end in ーる like たべる and いれる. There is always an い or an え before ーる.
For these verbs, everything is done by dropping or replacing ーる with something else.
|食べた||I ate it.|
|食べやすい||This is easy to eat.|
|食べたら||If I/someone eats.|
|食べたり||I did things like eating|
|食べれば||If I/someone eats.|
|食べない で よ||Don't eat that!|
|食べられる||I can eat|
|食べられるない||I can't eat this!|
|食べさせる||Make someone do|
|食べさせない で よ||Don't make me eat this!|
|食べさせられる||Be made to eat|
These verbs end in う, く, ぐ, ぶ, む, ぬ, す, つ, or ある・いる・うる・える・おる. Typically you drop ーう and add something else. The problem is that there might be a phonetic change, such as when は becomes ぱ, or た becomes だ.
There are some ーう verbs that end in ーる like ある(to be), おる(to break) and うる(to sell) are ーう verbs as they do not have an い or え sound before ーる.
If you see one that ends in ーいる or ーえる, and ーう changes to add ーます, or the "t" doubles to get a gerund (入る「はいる」 ＞ 入って「はいって」), then you're dealing with an ーう verb.
Most books say that there are only two irregular verbs in all of Japanese: する and 来る「くる」. Those you have to memorize separately, but they kind of make sense when you look at them.
|来る||will come||する||will do|
|来て||come here||して||do this|
|来た||someone came||した||someone did|
|来たら||if someone comes||したら||if someone does|
|来たり||do things like come||したり||do things like doing|
|来れば||if someone comes||すれば||if someone does|
|来よう||let's come||しよう||let's do|
|来い||come here you!||しろ||do this dammit!|
|来ない||won't come, or doesn't come||しない||won't do, or doesn't do|
|来らせる||can come||できる||can do|
|来させる||make someone come||させる||make someone do|
|来させられる||be made to come by someone||させられる||be made to do by someone|
A trick to remember する conjugations is that they often match what you would get if you conjugated a lone す. Like はなした, はなせる, はなさせる.