The Particle と I

第47課: The Case Particle と I

In this lesson, you will be introduced to the case particle と. Although the particle manifests in other ways, this lesson will focus only how it interacts with nouns. 

Noun + と + Noun (+ と): “And”

The basic meaning of the case particle と is to function as “and” when placed in between nominal phrases. Both phrases on either side, thus, must either naturally be a noun or grammatically transformed into one for と to function as “and.” 

1. リンゴとブドウがテーブルの上にあります。
There are apples and grapes on the table.

2. これとそれは同じです。
This and that are the same. 

3. ノートと教科書と辞書を持ってきてください。
Please come with your notes, textbook, and dictionary. 

4. 犬と猫がいる。
I have a dog and a cat; there is a dog and a cat. 

5. 犬と猫を飼かっている。
I have a dog and a cat.

6. 日本語のクラスにはアメリカ人と、イギリス人と、カナダ人がいます。
There are Americans, English, and Canadians in (my) Japanese class.

7. 朝と夜はちょっと寒いです。
Morning and night are a little cold. 

Grammar Note: Historically, the particle と also followed the final noun. In modern speech, this is usually seen when certain particles are involved, and the resultant phrase is more emphatic and contrastive in nature than if the final と were omitted. Typically, however, this is most likely to appear in the written language. 

8. お前と俺とは別の人間なんだぞ?
You are I are different people, you get that? 

9. 個人消費の冷え込みと震災の影響とが重なった。
The decline of consumer spending and effects of the earthquake disaster overlapped.

Grammar Note: In rare set expressions based on older grammar, it may appear that the particle と can directly attach to verbs that are not nominalized.

10. 見ると聞くとは大違い。

There is a big difference between hearing and seeing.

In reality, however, nominalization does play a role as the verb form being used in both instances is the 連体形, which historically could function as a nominalizing grammar structure when paired with case particles. In modern speech, however, in set phrases such as this will usually incorporate the nominalizing particle の in order to sound more natural. 

The Case Particle と is NOT a Conjunction

Consequently, the case particle と cannot be used at the beginning of a sentence, at least for its function as “and.” For the sense of “and” as a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence, the word そして or even また would be appropriate equivalents. 

11a. と、夜11時に寝ました。X
11b. そして、夜11時に寝ました。〇
And/then, I went to bed at 11 PM.

Incidentally, there does exist the conjunctive phrase それと, which does translate as “and then” or “in addition to that.” This, however, derives from another use of the case particle と in which it is not conjoining two nouns. 

Omitting Consecutive と

The omission of consecutive と is technically possible, but it is not so common for when there are just two nouns. When two nouns are conjoined without the particle と, you will often see a 中黒 in between. In speech, however, this punctuation mark will often be read alone as と.

12. アンケート用紙に年齢・性別の項目を記入してください。(Written Language)

Please fill in the age and gender fields on the questionnaire sheet. 

The omission of consecutive と does become more common when three or more things are being listed. You may see several things being listed with only commas of both types – 、(the 読点) or ,(the コンマ) – or even with the ・(中黒). In the written language, the pattern “A,BとC” is particularly treated as an English-style format as opposed to the more natural, native Japanese style in which と is, in fact, spoken in between each noun – potentially after the final noun as well. This is because it is a calque from English.

13. 住所・氏名・年齢・電話番号を記入したうえ、申し込んでください。
Please apply upon having filled in your address, name, age, and phone number.

Nuance Note: In the written language, the omission of と in favor of punctuation marks is done to appear concise and follow a more Western formatting. In the spoken language, coincidental dropping of と, again, is unlikely and could be written off as a slip of the tongue, and in the event of recalling many things, a subtle hint to the speaker’s mind that subsequent things being stated may not hold as much importance than if they were to actually use と each time. 

と Cannot Go Between Nouns and Adjectives or Vice Versa

The meaning of “and” only works when と is between two or more nouns!

14a. 私は日本人と医者です X
14b. 私は日本人医者です。 〇
I am Japanese and a doctor. 

14a is wrong because this is violated in a more complicated way. In English,
“I am Japanese and a doctor” is technically short for “I am Japanese and I am a doctor.” Here it is clear that you are actually connecting two predicate phrases, not two simple noun phrases. If you wanted to say that “X and Y are doctors,” you would use と.

15a. すばしっこいと茶色の狐はのろまな犬を飛び越える。 X
15b. すばしっこい茶色の狐はのろまな犬を飛び越える。〇
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. 

15b is grammatically correct, but because it is a translation of a sentence in English that has each letter of the alphabet in it, the Japanese sounds somewhat like a direct translation. For instance, this sentence has an unnecessarily lengthy subject. In Japanese, such lengthy subjects tend to sound unnatural. 

The Case Particle と after 1 Noun = “With”

と may show the partner in which a person of interest is doing an action with. Both the “and” and “with” definitions can be in the same sentence as these functions do not interact with nouns in the same way. In the case of “and,” と conjoins multiple nouns into one large phrase whereas in the case of “with,” the rest of the statement immediately follows. If the noun of that following phrase is obviously not inherently related to the previous one to viewed as part of one package, then you know you are looking at the “with” function as opposed to the “and” function. 

16. {両親・父と母}と公園に行きます。
I’m going to the park with my father and mother.

17. 私は父と電話で話しました。
I talked with my father on the telephone.

18. 彼氏と一緒に宿題をした。
I did homework together with my boyfriend.

19. 彼は恐怖と戦って、ついに勝った。
He fought against his fears, and he finally won.

20a. 犬と散歩に出かけた。
20b.  犬の散歩に出かけた。
I went out on a walk with my dog.

Nuance Note: Both 20a and 20b are grammatical, but 20a sounds as if you are elevating the dog to the same level of importance as yourself, whereas 20b means that you are simply taking the dog out for its walk.  

21. 友達と会う。
To meet with a friend.

Grammar Note: と会う shows that both sides move (to see one another) while に会う shows that only one party moves, thus leading to meeting the person. Due to this discrepancy, for “to happen to meet someone/encounter someone,” you can see X{と・に}ばったり(と)[会う・出会う].

This use of the case particle と may be used with adverbs meaning “together” to form the equivalent of “together with,” resulting in と一緒に and と共に. Of the two, the latter is more formal. With either phrase, they must not be viewed as extended versions of と itself as is exemplified in Ex. 25.

22. 彼らは敵と一緒に戦っていた。
They fought mutually with the enemy. 

23. 彼らは敵と戦っていた。
They were fighting with/against the enemy. 

24. あたしは日の出とともに起きます。(Feminine)
I rise with the sun.

25a. 宏と花子は結婚する。 〇
25b. 宏は花子と一緒に結婚する。X

Hiroshi and Hanako will marry (each other).
25c. 宏と花子は同時に結婚する。〇
Hiroshi and Hanako will marry simultaneously.

Both 一緒に and 共に may be used independently of the particle と in the same way “together/jointly” can be used without “with,” but it is important to view them as adverbs to understand the surrounding grammar and, again, not as an extension of the particle と. In fact, just as “with X” is often dropped when using “together” in English, the same can be said about Xと with these adverbs in Japanese.  

26. 同じ羽の鳥は一緒に集まる。
Birds of a feather flock together.

27. (私と)一緒に来ませんか。
Won’t you come with me?

28. (彼と)食事をともにした。
I had/shared dinner (with him).

29a. 誰かと悲しみを共にすることはおかしなことではない。(Lyrical/poetic) 
29b. 誰かと悲しみを共有することはおかしなことではない。(Normal)
It is not strange to share sadness with someone. 


The case particle と may also mark comparing and contrast, which stems from its meaning of “with,” with which it shares this commonality with the English word. 

30. Xと比べる
To compare with X.

31. 彼と同じ考えです。
That is the same idea as his. 

32a.この事件は以前とは異なる。The case is different from before.
32c. 以前の事件とは違う。
It’s different from the case before.

33. 人間と動物との違い
The difference between humans and animals.

Particle Note: The second instance of と here is not optional. The different と are different. The first is “and” and the second is “with” used here to show comparison, or in this case the opposite of comparison.  

As for the verb 似る, which means “to resemble,” you’ll find that both ~に似る and ~と似る are possible, but their nuances are slightly different. 

と marks one side of a mutual relation(ship) with no particular reason, whereas に shows a standard of comparison which follows some logic. Although both options produce a comparison between X and Y, in the case of に, X’s state is inherently reliant on Y’s state. Consider the following.

34a その父と子は似ている。〇
That father and child resemble (each other).
34b.その子はお父さんと似ている。 〇
34c. その子はお父さんに似ている。 〇
The child resembles his father.
34d. その父は息子と似ている。 〇
34e. その父は息子に似ている。  X

The father resembles his child.

We see that both XはYと似ている and XはYに似ている are possible as well as XとYは似ている. In the case of the latter, you can avoid having to think about the relationship between X and Y so critically. 

35. スペイン語と日本語はまったく似ていません。
The Spanish and Japanese don’t resemble/match each other at all.

The Case Particle と Showing Result

The case particles と and に, as we have seen so far, can overlap. However, whenever they appear to hold the same function, there will always be a difference in nuance. 

The last usage of the case particle と that we will discuss in this lesson is its ability to show the result of something. In this sense, it is often used with verbs like 決める (to decide) and なる (to become). 

To show how と and に may overlap with this function, consider how ~になる and ~となる differ. ~になる shows an end point of some change, implying that a duration of time was required to bring about said result. In the case of ~となる, the result is definitive and often instantaneous. It may even be described as a discrete change. This causes it to sound more stiff and formal whenever either particle still makes sense based on this logic. 

37. いよいよ運動会の日となりました。
Field day has come at last.

38. 期末試験は二週間後と決まった。
It’s been decided that the final test will be in 2 weeks. 

39a. 元気となる。△/X 
39b. 元気になる。〇
To become better. 

40. みぞれが雪となりました。
The sleet turned to snow.