This is a nifty little reference book. I'm just starting the trek to fluency, however, this book is already on my shelf. I tried reading straight through this, but it was futile a cause because I had (and still have) insufficient vocabulary to make sentences that use many of these particles. However, I still thumb through it and pick up particles here and there. For some reason, they stick better that way. Also, while reading sentences in Japanese, you'll start to recognize the particles you've seen while looking through this book. Randomly pick a page and learn the particle on that one. The book also brings our attention to subtleties between similar particles. This helps when trying to generate a tone and attitude. My only quibble is that it uses romaji instead of Furigana over the Kanji since i'm already familiar with the Kana. This doesn't depreciate the value of the book, though. You'll refer to it often when you're disecting or constructing sentences.
Wrapping my mind around most of the particles I've learned thus far was difficult, but this book helped me understand those tricky particles so that I could use them with more confidence. It probably helps to have a little bit of background on Japanese sentence structures and vocabulary to comprehend the examples following the definition for each particle, but it is a very much recommended book for any student studying the Japanese language.
Every Japanese learner struggles with particles. Organizing particles is one of the most difficult part of the language, and there are few good resources to help you out. "All About Particles: A Handbook of Japanese Function Words" is the single most useful book I have found on the topic. This is a true reference book. Although it can be read straight through (and I recommend this at least once), it is most useful for looking up difficult particles as you discover them. Placing them in context will help the learning process. Read all in one sitting it is a little overwhelming, but good for an overview of all 70 plus particles. One of the advantages of "All About Particles" is that the examples use various forms of politeness. It also demonstrates interchangeable particles, and which expressions are more daily-use. The text itself is very compact, and travels well. I would recommend this book to any Japanese learner looking to bridge the gap from Advanced Beginner to Intermediate.
The Japanese particle was confusing before I owned this book. Other texts panned the information, or wrote particles off as 'not really meaning anything'. Don't fool youself, or let yourself be fooled- the particle determines specifics of information and direct the intent of a sentance. They quanitify many nouns into object, subject, direct object. The also describe ownership, adjective and adverb use. This book describes it all (well, I assume this is ALL) in order of most common usage. Each particle is shown in each way it might be used corresponding to English, with a sentence (or several) in English and japanese to explain usage. Naoko Chino's pocket text is one of the most important Japanese instructional texts in print today.
This book discusses the use of about 70 particles, listed in order from most to least common. For each particle, Chino lists the different ways you can use it, grouping similar uses together, and provides at least two example sentences for each use. The examples are shown in kanji, roomaji, and English. I think this book covers most particles a beginning or intermediate student would need to know. Finding the particle you want is fairly easy, either by using the table of contents, checking out the index, or glancing at the page headers. Chino did not include exercises, so the book is slim and to the point. However, the use of roomaji may bother some people.