Wild Nihongo!
を Particle (Origin of Movement)

を Particle (Origin of Movement)

を Particle (Origin of Movement) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Particle

Essential Meaning: From / Out of


  • Spatial Noun + を
    • E.g. バスを [Out of the bus]
    • E.g. うちを [From the house]


  • を (Origin of movement) is very similar to から (Starting Point). Both particles mark the initial starting location of some movement. The distinction between the two is that を (Origin of movement) simply marks the location from which a movement begins, whereas から (Starting Point) marks the initial location of a movement into another location. In other words, から (Starting Point) imparts relevance to the destination of movement as well as the origin, while を (Origin of Movement) focuses solely on the origin with no mind paid to the destination.
  • In many cases, を (Origin of Movement) and から (Starting Point) can be used interchangeably with very little change in connotation. However, if the sentence explicitly states both the origin and destination of a movement, から (Starting Point) is the appropriate particle to use. Conversely, if the destination of movement is totally irrelevant to the meaning of the sentence, を (Origin of Movement) is the appropriate particle.
    • E.g. 汽車きしゃがトンネルをた。[The train exited the tunnel.] In this case, the sentence does not place any significance on where the train is headed. It places significance solely on the fact that the train exited the tunnel.
    • E.g. 汽車きしゃがトンネルからでた。[The train exited the tunnel (and entered some new place).] In this case, から (Starting Point) indicates that where the train is headed is relevant.
    • E.g. 昨日きのうはうちからそとなかった。[Yesterday, I didn’t exit my house (into the outdoors).] This sentence explicitly states both the origin of movement (うち) and the destination of movement (そと), so から (Starting Point) is the appropriate particle.
    • E.g. わたし今朝けさ8ごろいえた。[This morning around 8 AM I left my house.] In this example, the place that the speaker goes after exiting the house is irrelevant; the acting of leaving is the relevant fact. Thus, を (Origin of movement) is the appropriate particle.

Example Sentences:

わたしあさ七時半しちじはんにうちをる。[I leave my house at 7:30 AM.]

バスをりたとき友達ともだちった。[When I exited the bus, I bumped into my friend.]

汽車きしゃがトンネルをた。[The train exited the tunnel.]

日本にほんはなれて外国がいこくらしている。[I left Japan and am living abroad.]

WILD Examples:

This song begins with the following line: 朝露あさつゆっていえて、ひるにはむこうにけるはず [I kick the morning dew as a leave my house, I think I can get there by midday]
Listen to this line at 0:30: ガラガラのバスこごえるかぜなか [I get off the rattling bus and into the freezing wind]

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