Quick Japanese - How to say "I like (something)" in Japanese
Are you interested in learning how to say that you like something in Japanese? Let's practice with fruit.
Watashi wa kudamono ga suki desu. (I like fruit.)
This the basic structure for saying that you like something or that someone else likes something.
To break it down word-by-word, 私は is the word "watashi" (myself/I) marked with the topic marking particle (wa). 果物 is the kanji for "fruit" and "thing" - together they are a "fruit-thing"! が is the subject marker (ga). You want to place the subject marker immediately after the thing that is liked. 好き (suki) is a na-adjective that means "liking; fondness; love". です is the copula. It should come at the end of the sentence, especially if you are speaking formally.
A more direct translation of this sentence would be "As for me, fruit is likable/pleasant", but you will typically see this sentence translated as "I like fruit".
If you wish to talk about someone's preferences, it is very easy. You just replace 私 with a person's name to change the topic of the conversation to them and replace 果物 (fruit) with what that person likes.
For example: マリーは桃が好きです。 Mary likes peaches.
kudamono wa suki desu ka? (Do you like fruit?)
Watashi wa ichigo to budō to banana ga sukidesu (I like strawberries, grapes, and bananas)
You can find a list of fruit names in Japanese right here: https://japaneselearningonline.blogspot.com/2015/05/japanese-vocabulary-lesson-fruits.html
Dono yōna kudamono ga suki desu ka? (what kind of fruit do you like?)
It's very easy. Just fill in the blank with a fruit that you like.
Of course, you don't have to stop with fruit. You can like anything you want. Let's try some animals ...
watashi wa inu ga suki desu (I like dogs)
usagi ga suki desu (I like rabbits)
uma ga suki desu (I like horses)
As you can see in the examples above, you can also drop (私は) once the topic has been clearly established. It is not grammatically necessary for the sentence.
And why stop at just liking something? Let's go deeper ...
watashi wa neko ga daisuki desu (I love cats.)
tori ga suki ja nai desu (I do not like birds.)
hebi ga kirai desu (I hate snakes.)
Watashi no sukina dōbutsu wa kitsune desu (My favorite animal is the fox.) 私の好きな= my favorite; 動物= animal; 狐= fox
I hope you found this helpful. Tell me what you like the best!
Thanks so much for this.
Great of you to break it down as detailed as you possibly can. I'm finally getting back into learning Japanese again after taking a break for about 3 weeks or so.
Fantastic breakdown! I would love to see this be a recurring thing. Just saying. ;)
One thing to point out is that when speaking about someone else's feelings or preferences in Japanese, you should not use declaratives like ～好きです, 悲しいです, and so on, since it's presumptuous (you can't know how the other person feels, you can only guess).
For this, you usually use ～そうです. That's a different そうです than you probably know - this one means that something seems to be certain way to you, a guess.
Instead of saying マリアさんは桃が好きです you should say マリアさんは桃が好きそうです（ね）, which just means "It seems Maria likes peaches (doesn't she?)".
The same construction should be used when talking about someone else's emotions, so when you want to say "Tanaka is having fun" you should say it like: 田中さんは楽しそうです。(It seems Tanaka is having fun)
The conjugation itself is a bit complex and goes like this:
For verbs, append そうです directly to the "masu-stem" (ren'youkei) of a verb: 落ちます → 落ちそうです (it seems it's about to fall)
For i-adjectives in positive form, drop the last い and append そうです: 悲しい → 悲しそうです (it seems he's sad)
For i-adjectives in negative form, drop the last い (i.e. the one from ない), append さ and then そうです: 悲しくない → 悲しくなさそうです
For na-adjectives, just append そうです: 好き → 好きそうです (it seems he likes it)
Exception: for いい, the conjugation is よさ: よさそうです (seems good).
This deserves so much more views to help many! Great job breaking it down, and adding so many examples. In fact, there needs to be more of these overall.
Even though I am half Japanese and studied for pretty much all my life, I could never explain it well to others, nor really understand the difference between は and が (Fact is, I've always been confused and spoke incorrectly and in such a way as if I spoke a dialect, to quote my mom). Many thanks <3
Quick question; In a sentence like りんごは好きです。I have always felt it was off, but could not grasp it; even asked my mom. I am inferring upon reading your post a few more times that since the apple is the topic, it can use は?
I'm still quite new to Japanese myself, but I'm trying to learn as much as I can. I'll do what I can to help.
From what I have read, difficulty confusing は and が is pretty common. They are not the same, but there is a lot of overlap between them and it can be tricky to figure out which one should be used in a given situation. In some cases, the sentence could be constructed with either particle, depending on the preference of the speaker and where they want to place emphasis. In other cases, one particle is prefered.
が is the subject marker and it indicates the actor or "doer" in the sentence. Whoever or whatever is doing the action described by the verb in the sentence is the subject, marked by が. The subject is not always explicitly stated in the sentence, but can be inferred by context. There is ALWAYS a subject in every sentence, even if it is not visible.
は is the topic marker and it indicates what is being discussed. It adds emphasis, but does not directly give meaning to the sentence. The topic is often the same as the subject, but not always, so don't confuse them. It can be anything that a speaker wants to talk about. A different topic does not change the core of the sentence but might shift the emphasis. It can be omitted from the sentence in many cases.
Typically, you will use が when information about a subject is important or situationally new to the listener and/or the speaker.
Once the subject has been mentioned, は is used to refer to the same subject in sentences following (it becomes the topic of the sentence.)
"Quick question; In a sentence like りんごは好きです。I have always felt it was off, but could not grasp it; even asked my mom. I am inferring upon reading your post a few more times that since the apple is the topic, it can use は?"
If you want to say that you like apples in general, you would want to use the が particle.
Ringo ga suki desu.
If you added a topic to this sentence it would probably be:
Watashi wa ringo ga suki desu.
This sentence is commonly translated as "I like apples", but a more literal translation would be "As for me, apples are likeable" or "In my opinion, apples are pleasant." The apples are the subject of the sentence and your feeling about apples is the topic of discussion.
Ringo wa suki desu.
"As for apples, they are pleasant"
This sentence still works, I think, but from what I've seen, it is not the usual phrasing. I need to investigate deeper in to particle usuage to fully understand why.
I am only guessing but i think a sentence like "As for apples, they are pleasant" would require proper context to work into a conversation smoothly. Like someone would need to bring up apples first and then you could mention how you like them. If you just randomly brought up apples out of nowhere, that would be a little odd, don't you think?
Good explanation, that's exactly right. For りんごは好きです to work, it needs to have an established context. Otherwise it will feel a bit out of place (although it's still grammatically valid).
The は particle also appears in what is called contrastive sentence:
Literally "As for apples, I like them, but as for peaches, I dislike them."
Note how "I" is still the subject but both objects of liking/disliking are made topics in this case.