Bueller_007 wrote:I have a bit of time, so here goes:
は marks a topic, emphasing what follows it as being specific to that topic. There is no real equivalent in English, but people often say that "AはB" = "As for A, B". The "topic" is often the grammatical subject, but can be anything (including the grammatical object, and sometimes the verb), and it may also follow some other particles.
が marks the grammatical subject of a sentence. It can also be used to join sentences, like the word "but", but that が is technically a different word.
を marks the grammatical object of a sentence.
も functions as "also" in English. It can be used most places where you'd use は. That means, when used, it replaces は and が (and usually を, although I've seen them used together) and can follow some other particles directly.
に indicates direction (and arrival of) of coming/going or giving/receiving verbs. It usually means "to" (I.e. "I go to work"), but in the case of giving/receiving verbs, can also mean "from". In the case of passive verbs, it marks the grammatical agent, making it the same as "by" in English. (i.e. "my wallet was stolen by my brother.") に is also used to indicate the location of existence when combined with the verbs いる or ある, making it the Japanese version of "at" (in some instances). It is also used to create adverbs from な-adjectives, like the English "-ly".
へ is basically the same as に, except it emphasizes direction over arrival. The main difference is usage. へ is never used as "from", "by", "at" or "-ly". In addition, the particle の can follow the へ particle directly, whereas it cannot follow に.
で is used to indicate location of an action, so it also means "at", but is not used together with the verbs いる or ある. A different で is also a form of the copula used to connect clauses or phrases, so when you see で, it could also mean "due to", "and then", "using", etc.
から indicates a temporal or spatial starting point. ("from", "since")
まで indicates a temporal or spatial finishing point. ("all the way to", "until")
と is used to join nouns together into an exhaustive list that functions as a single noun. ("with", "and"). Like the English "and", it can also be used to give an (immediate) consequence to an action. (i.e. I walked out my door and got hit by a bus.") It's also the particle used to indicate a direct quote (from someone's mind or speech), functioning like quotation marks in English.
や is used in the same way as the first sense of と, but the list is not exhaustive. It means "such things as A, B, and C".
の (often shortened to ん) indicates possession (functioning like the English "apostrophe-ess"), but can also be used (before a copula) to give a reason for something. Similarly, it also functions as an indefinite pronoun. It is also one of the nominalizers, converting verb phrases, etc. into noun phrases.
ね is used at the end of sentences, basically in the same way as an English tag question. Generally, if said with rising intonation, it indicates a request for confirmation from the listener (i.e. "It's a beautiful day, isn't it?"), whereas if it's said with falling intonation, it's used as rhetorical device (i.e. "It's a beautiful day, isn't it.") Over-generalization, but a decent starting point.
よ is used to add emphasis to a sentence, i.e. to strengthen one's argument during a debate. In already-very-emphatic sentences, it reduces emphasis somewhat. It's your emphasis-regulating particle.
As a beginner, that's all you'll need to know. I've omitted a lot of stuff, just because it's out of your league at the moment, and there are TONS of other particles, and combinations of particles, like ので and とか, that need to be memorized as well.
He did a really good job explaining it. For lots of example sentences on this matter and a GREAT book for explaining this and all basic grammar I HIGHLY recommend this book!
http://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Basic- ... 999&sr=8-1