4.5 The Particle と (to) and The Conjunction それから (sorekara)

This module will explain the usage of the particle と (to) and the conjunction それから (sorekara). Although both can be translated as ‘and’ in English, there is a functional difference between them.

The particle と (to) is used to connect nouns or noun phrases together, indicating a combination, addition or listing of items. In contrast, the conjunction それから (sorekara) is used to connect sentences or ideas in a sequential manner, indicating a progression or continuation of thoughts.


Now, let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two language elements.

The particle と (to)

is one of the most commonly used particles in Japanese, and it has several different functions. One key function is to indicate a complete list of multiple items. Here are key points to remember: 

Key points to remember

  • と only connects nouns or noun phrases, not verbs or adjectives.
  • It is used for exhaustive lists, meaning all items connected by と are included.
  • と cannot be used to start a list or appear at the end; it must link two or more nouns within the sentence.

Usage in sentences

When using と, make sure that the sentence structure remains noun-focused, and avoid using it with verbs directly. For example, correctly integrating と in a sentence like ‘私(わたし)は友達(ともだち)と映画(えいが)を見(み)ます’ (I watch a movie with a friend) uses the particle to indicate companionship or joint action.

Pay special attention to the context where と is used. Misuse can change the meaning of a sentence or cause confusion due to its specific linking function.


For example, to order one coffee, one orange juice and two pancakes, you would say:


Figure 1: Pancake


Koohii hitotsu to, orenji juusu hitotsu to, pankeeki futatsu o onegai shimasu.

One coffee, one orange juice and two pancakes, please.


Here are the formulas for using the particle と with multiple items:

X Y をお願いします。

X to Y o onegai shimasu.

X and Y, please.


X Y Z をお願いします。

X to Y to Z o onegai shimasu.

X, Y and Z, please.

Here, the particle と is used to connect the items being ordered. It is important to note that this particle can only be used to connect nouns. In other words, it cannot be used to connect words that are not nouns, such as adjectives and verbs. It cannot not be used to connect clauses, phrases or sentences either.

The conjunction それから (sorekara)

The conjunction それから is used to indicate a sequence of events or ideas. It is commonly translated as ‘and then’ or ‘in addition’ in English.

It is important to note that, unlike the particle と, それから does not directly connect nouns. Instead, it connects entire sentences or clauses, indicating a continuation or progression in the narrative. For example:

Figure 2: Latte


Rate o kudasai. Sorekara, pankeeki mo onegai shimasu.

Please give me  a latte. And then, I will have a pancake, too.




Here is the formula for using the conjunction それから with multiple items:

それから、X もお願いします。

Sorekara,  X mo onegai shimasu.

And then, X as well, please.

In Japanese writing, it’s common to use a comma (、) after conjunctions like ‘それから’ (sorekara: and then). This punctuation helps to break the sentence into manageable segments, improving clarity and readability.

The phrase Xもお願いします is typically used when you’re asking for something additional, after an initial request has been made. To indicate that you want something ‘too’ or ‘as well’, replace the particle を in the standard expression Xをお願いします with the particle も. This changes the meaning to ‘X as well, please’. For a detailed explanation of the particle も, refer to Module 3.4.

In conversational Japanese, particles are sometimes omitted for brevity and simplicity. Therefore, instead of saying Xをお願いします, you can simply say Xお願いします to make a request.


Exercise 1



1 “Pancake” (untitled). Uncredited. PxHere. Licensed under CC 0.

2 “Latte” (untitled). Uncredited. PxHere. Licensed under CC 0.



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Japanese Introductory 1 Copyright © 2024 by Iori Hamada is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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