Wild Nihongo!
を Particle (Human Emotion)

を Particle (Human Emotion)

を Particle (Human Emotion) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Particle

Essential Meaning: Due to / Caused by / Regarding / Over (marks a cause for some human emotion)


  • Noun / Noun Phrase + を
    • E.g. [Over the death of X]
    • E.g. んだことを [Over the fact that X died]


  • を (Human emotion) marks a noun or noun phrase that serves as the cause of some inward human emotion. It pairs with inwardly-pointed verbs of emotion such as よろこぶ [To be glad]、かなしむ [To be sad]、なつかしむ [To miss / To yearn for], and なやむ [To be worried]. These verbs are generally intransitive and thus cannot be used with the normal accusative case-marker を (Direct Object). However, some verbs such as おそれる [To fear] straddle the line between transitivity and intransitivity depending on the context and depending on which dictionary you consult.
    • E.g. ジョンはちちんだことをかなしんだ。 [John was sad over the fact that his dad died.] In this example, John’s dad’s death is the cause of the inward emotion かなしむ [To be sad]. So the dad’s death (ちちんだこと) is marked by を (Human Emotion).
  • There are three things to note about を (Human emotion):
    • (1) を (Human emotion) is very literary and you are unlikely to hear it in spoken Japanese. Instead, you can use ので to convey the same general idea of emotional causation, as in the following examples.
      • E.g. ジョンはちちんだのでかなしんだ。[Because his dad died, John was sad.]
      • E.g. わたしはひろしが大学だいがく入学にゅうがくしたのでよろこんだ。[Hiroshi got into university, so I was glad.]
    • (2) The main verb in sentences with を (Human emotion) is typically either in the past tense or in the stative ている / ていない form, except when making generic statements as in the following example.
      • E.g. だれでもおやかなしむ。[Everyone is saddened by the death of their parents.]
    • (3) With emotive verbs that are comprised of い-Adjective Stem + む (e.g. かなしむ [To be sad], なつかしむ [To miss / To yearn for], しむ [To regret], たのしむ [To enjoy], む can be replaced by がる when talking about a third person’s inward emotions.
      • E.g. ジョンはちちかなしがった。[John showed signs of being saddened by his father’s death.]

Example Sentences:

ジョンはちちかなしんだ。[John was saddened by his father’s death.]

ジョンはちちんだことをかなしんだ。[John was sad over the fact that his father died.]

ヨーロッパじんはまた戦争せんそうきることをおそれている。[Once again, Europeans were worried that a war my break out.]

クリスは京都きょうとでの一年いちねんなつかしんだ。[Chris felt nostalgic about her year in Kyoto.]

マイクは英語えいごができないことをなやんでいる。[Mike is worried about the fact that he can’t speak English.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line at 0:50: 黒字くろもじすこるようだと、みょうなことよろこんでいる [It seems that profits are diminishing, they are delighted by these strange occurrences]

***YouTube videos may be region-locked depending on your country of origin. If you experience issues, please try using a VPN set to a United States IP address.***