The particle し (
shi) is used to list a list of reasons. The use of し suggests that the indicated list is incomplete, meaning that the reasons proposed are just some of those that actually exist.
Particle し is very similar to particle や, since, like や, し also indicates a non-exhaustive list.
The particle や follows nouns only, unlike し
The use of し is also comparable to the function of some other particles, such as:
- 「と」: Indicates an exhaustive list
- 「と か」: Literally translated as
things like ...
- 「や」: Indicates a non-exhaustive list
- 「から」 and 「ので」: States only one reason
The particle し is also often compared with the te form (て), as the translation for both can be
(A) and (B) and (C) ... .
There is also the conjugation たり for the same purpose, used specifically with verbs.
In this post we go to see the various uses of the particle し, and what is the difference between し and the other forms listed above.
The particle し can be added after verbs, adjectives, and nouns. Since し lists a number of reasons, very often there are multiple し particles within the same sentence, one after each listed reason.
The most common translation for the particle し is simply the conjunction
and. Since し indicates a list of reasons, the translation of the sentence becomes
(Reason A) and (Reason B) and ....
It is possible to find even a single し particle in a sentence. In this case, the speaker wants to point out and emphasize one reason, and leave other possibilities open
Let's see a simple example of this use of the particle し:
He is able to clean and even cook. I'm glad I married him.
In this sentence, the two reasons expressed are both followed by the particle し:
- 掃除ができる し:
he is able to clean
- 料理も作れる し:
he is also able to cook
These reasons are two of many why the speaker is happy to have married him. The use of the particle し implies the fact that there are other reasons, and that those indicated are just two particular examples.
As mentioned, sometimes it is possible to find only one particle し in a sentence. In this case we want to emphasize a single reason, even if there are others.
It is also possible to omit し at the end of the sentence, causing only one use of the particle し to appear.
Let's also see an example here:
His body is big and he is also strong.
You can use the particle し to list two conflicting reasons. This use of し always translates as the conjunction
and, but this time in its meaning of
and also ... or also
but ... .
Let's see a simple example to understand this meaning:
I want to go play, but I also have to do my homework. What can I do!
In this example し shows contrast between two possible actions.
The reason or reasons listed by the particle し also allow to motivate a conclusion at the end of the sentence. Again, each reason is followed by し, and at the end of the sentence we find the conclusion.
It's raining, so I'm going home.
You can also replace し with から or ので to indicate a reason. In this situation, the use of し is more colloquial
If we have more than a particle し in the same sentence, we can replace the last し with から or ので
The particle し, as opposed to から and ので, allows you to list multiple reasons in a single sentence. から and ので instead are generally used when there is only one reason.
Finally, it is also possible to find し at the end of the sentence. This usage is to indicate a (colloquial) conclusion or exclamation. Let's see an example here too:
I'm not saying anything like that, you know how it is!
The particle し is used here colloquially and literally translates the addition of
you know how.
Using the te form can be translated with the conjunction
and, similar to the particle し.
The main differences between し and て are:
- し indicates a non-exhaustive list of reasons, and implies that there are other reasons not indicated
- The use of て implies a temporal order of the actions, in the order in which they are indicated, as opposed to し
Let's see an example to compare し and て:
I went to Akihabara and also to Harajuku.
I went to Akihabara and then to Harajuku.
In the first sentence with the particle し we indicate only some of the things we have done, without any specific order. In the second sentence with て instead we indicate that first I went to Akihabara and then to Harajuku. There is therefore a temporal order in the actions indicated.