Particle (grammar)

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The term particle ( singular : the particles, plural : the particles; from the Latin particula , “particle” ) describes a class of functional words in grammar . Particles include - in the broader sense - all non- inflectable words of a language (such as adverbs , interjections , conjunctions , prepositions ) or - in the narrower sense - only those non-inflected words that do not belong to the preposition, adverb or conjunction subclasses.

The noun particle in the sense of a word class has a feminine gender ; only in other meanings can it also have a masculine or neutral gender.

Particles in individual languages


The grammar duden of 2005, which only considers non-inflectable words as particles, which are neither prepositions nor adverbs or conjunctions, distinguishes seven types of particles according to their function:

  • Intensity particles (also called degree particles or increase particles ): little, something, somewhat, almost, quite, so, very, pronounced, special, uncommon, extremely, extremely, deeply, extremely, too
  • Focus particles (contrasting): Only Cologne is more beautiful. Even Cologne is more beautiful.
  • Negation particle : not
  • Modal particles (also tinting particles ) express the speaker's attitudes towards the content of the sentence: yes, of course, stop, yes, but, maybe, simply, yes, just, just, sometimes ...
  • Conversation particles serve to structure, confirm, as calls, greetings and answers (answer particles): yes, no, hm, gladly ...
  • Expression particles ( interjections ): o , oh, hey !, shame !, ugh! , oops !, oje !, hm !, hihi !, ätsch !, hui !, puh !, uff !, pff !, phh! hü !, hott!
  • onomatopoeia particles ( onomatopoeia ): kikeriki, woof, woof, meow, quack, bang, boom, boing, tatütata , ticktack; plop, clang (cf. inflective ); whoops !, whack !, in no time!

In addition, there are question particles in some dialects , for example a in the German Carinthian dialect .

Not included in this list are the so-called verb particles, which are used to form compound verbs ( particle verbs ), e.g. B. a and from in entering or off . According to the part of speech, verb particles are partly prepositions, adverbs and other things, i.e. not necessarily particles in the sense of a separate part of speech.


The negation particle is used in the French language to express a negation. This is possible with several different words that are syntactically at the position of a particle directly after the conjugated verb and, in written language, together with the universal negation particle ne, include the conjugated verb and any object pronoun, e.g. B. Je ne suis jamais venu ici. - "I never came here."

Ancient Egyptian

The Egyptian language also knows particles, both independent particles, which can introduce a sentence, and dependent particles, which are only used before the suffix conjugations. There are also negative particles that negate sentences or parts of sentences. The best known particle is jw , for introducing adverbial clauses and verbal forms; it is often used in short stories.


Particles have a basic grammatical function in the Japanese language. In Japanese they are called joshi (Japanese j, "auxiliary words") or, after the four most common particles, tenioha (て nach を は). They are basically used as post positions.

Sentence-introducing particles

In some languages ​​there are sentence-introducing particles, e.g. B. in Cymric ( mi / fe; e.g. Mi nofiodd Mary bob dydd "Mary swam every day"), Hittite ( nu ) or Luwian .

See also


  • Duden - The grammar. Volume 4. 7th edition. Bibliographisches Institut, Mannheim 2005, ISBN 978-3-411-04047-6 , pp. 594-606.
  • Gerhard Helbig : Lexicon of German particles. Encyclopedia, Leipzig 1988, ISBN 3-324-00310-5 .
  • Harald Weydt, Klaas-Hinrich Ehlers: Particle Bibliography. International language research on particles and interjections. Verlag Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 3-8204-9250-X .

Web links

Wiktionary: Particles  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Particles, the version of April 27, 2018 in: , accessed on March 9, 2020
  2. Particle, the version of April 27, 2018 in: , accessed on March 9, 2020
  3. Duden Vol. 4: The grammar. 7th edition. 2005, p. 594 ff.