How do you say “AND” in Japanese?

This post is to continue to another post. We are working on the second part now. 8/27/2021


I. General idea on “AND” 
(1) What is the word for “and”?
(2) Placement Test 
(3) Answer key
(4) General Idea on “and” in Japanese 

II. Guide to “AND” in Japanese
(5) Basic guide to “AND”
     Case 1. Continuing from a Noun
           1-A. "toと"
           1-B. "deで"
     Case 2. Continuing your list from a Verb
     Case 3. Continuing from a Na-Adjective
     Case 4. Continuing from an I-Adjective
     Case 5. “And” at the beginning of a sentence
(6) A Little More: 
     Case 6. When “AND” shows a cause-effect relationship
(7) Bonus: Frequented alternatives in written style
     Case 7. Alternative connection from a Verb
     Case 8. Alternative connection from an I-Adjective


I. General idea on “AND”

1. What is the word for “AND”?

Do you know the word for “and” in Japanese?

Some of you may say,

“Yes! It’s the particle ‘to と’”.

You are right, but only partially so. In Japanese, there is a set of ways to say “and” depending on the case or kind of words you want to connect.

You may already have learned some of them, so we made a small placement test for your fun.

All the following English sentences include the word “and”. Say these sentences in Japanese and check your translation against our suggested answers.

2. Placement test

  1. On Sunday, my friends and I went to a museum.
  2. We were all Japanese and teachers.
  3. We got out of the museum and went to a Japanese restaurant. 
  4. It was a beautiful day, and we wanted to sit outside.
  5. The terrace table was cool and comfortable.
  6. I ordered sushi and miso soup.
  7. The fish was very fresh and tasty
  8. And we took a walk by the river.  

3. Answer key

  1. Nichiyoobi, tomodachi to watashi wa bijutsukan e ikimashita. 日曜にちよう友達ともだちわたしじゅつかんきました。[Case 1-A. Continuing from a Noun with “toと”]
  2. Watashi-tachi wa, minna nihon-jin de Kyoshi deshita. わたしたちは、みんな本人ほんじんきょうでした。[Case 1-B. Continuing from a Noun with “deで”]
  3. We left the museum and went to a Japanese restaurant. わたしたちはじゅつかんて、しょくみせきました。[Case 2. Continuing from a Verb]
  4. Tenki ga yokatta desu kara, soto ni suwaritakatta desu. てんかったですから、そとすわりたいとおもいました。[Case 6. Cause-effect relationship]
  5. Soto no teeburu wa suzushikute, kimochi ga yokatta desu. そとのテーブルはすずしくて、ちがかったです。[Case 4. Continuing from an iイ-adjective]
  6. Watashi wa o-sushi to omiotsuke* o chuumon-shimashita. わたしはお寿とおみおつけをちゅうもんしました。[Case 1-A. Continuing from a Noun with “toと”]
  7. Sakana wa totemo shinsen de oishikatta desu. さかなはとても新鮮しんせんでおいしかったです。[Case 4. Continuing from a Naナ adjective]
  8. Sorekara, kawa-gishi o sanpo-shimashita. それから、川岸かわぎしさんしました。[Case 5. At the beginning of a sentence]

While these are not the only answers, if you don’t understand why we translated this way, this post is for you. Please read on, and we will follow up with explanations on the individual cases.

4. The general idea on “AND”

Here is the general idea about the expressions for “and” in Japanese. We will discuss various ways to connect words and sentences but the idea is always the same.

An image of a train coupling to illustrate the "and" in Japanese
Sometimes a train car is equipped with a connector on the back like “and” in Japanese

When you connect two words or sentences in Japanese, the word or sentence in the front needs to have a “hook” at its back to hang another word on it. Just like some train cars are equipped with a coupling on the back.

For example, if you would like to say:

“Today’s schedule is: a dentist appointment, the Japanese class, and my sister’s birthday party.”

…then in Japanese, you say:

“Kyoo no yotee wa, ha-isha to, nihon-go no kurasu to, imooto no tanjoobi paatii desu. 今日きょうていは、しゃと、ほんのクラスと、いもうとたんじょうパーティーです。”

When you speak as you try to remember your plans one by one, take a breath after “to”. Each “to” is the “hook” and so shows the listener that another item is coming after it.

Therefore, if you stop in your conversation like this:

“Kyoo no yotee wa, ha-isha to, nihongo no kurasu to, … 今日きょうていは、しゃと、ほんのクラスと…”

…we can correctly guess you will have at least one more event.

By the same token, when you don’t say “toと” after an event, we understand that was the last item on your list.

In Japanese, however, “toと” is not the only equipment for connection. In the next post, we will explain each Case indicated in the answers for our placement test and discuss various ways–“hooks”–to connect words.

Coming soon:

=> II. Guide to “AND” in Japanese [Under construction]

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