Now that we’re beginning to form more complex sentences it is a good time to introduce two particles that are used in practically every conversation, whether it’s two friends in a bar or a political interview: よ and ね. Now, if pushed to give a direct translation I would say that よ means “You know…” (as in the Americanism) and ね means “… isn’t it?” (as in, “That’s right, isn’t it?”). They are added at the end of the sentence to either the standard or polite form of the verbs. For nouns and na-adjectives we need to add the auxiliary verb.

  • よ is used to emphasise a point or to confirm that what the speaker just said is correct. In a sense, it’s like a sort of half-exclamation mark.
  • ね is used to show empathy or understanding with the other person.

The particles combined よね is used to show that the speaker wants confirmation from the listener. It is sometimes used as a question by inflexion.

祐介ゆうすけ今週こんしゅう毎日まいにち 十時じゅうじまで はたらきました
YusukeYou know, I worked until 10 o’ clock every night this week.
絵里えりそれは 大変たいへんです
EriThat’s tough, isn’t it?
祥子しょうこ大地だいちも おまつりに ますよね
ShokoDaichi is also coming to the festival, right?
太郎たろうそうです
TaroThat’s right.

Incidentally, ねよ has no meaning.

はじめ明日あしたの かいに よね
HajimeYou’re coming to the drinks tomorrow, right?
明子あきこそう
AkikoThat’s right.

When used with a noun or na-adjective, female speakers will often drop the auxiliary verb in casual conversation (like in Akiko’s reply above). Male speakers will often replace ね with な which sounds a little harder.

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