This chapter aims to provide an overview of core questions concerning the nature of so‐called discourse particles, such as German ja and doch. It starts by exploring the similarity between discourse particles and sentence adverbs, which raises nontrivial questions such as: which properties do the two types of elements share? and what are the differences between them? Subsequently, it is shown that discourse particles can be subclassified, at least into a set of particles that interact with epistemic modality and a set of particles that interact with priority modality (i.e., non‐dynamic root modality). A case study of the German particle ja highlights the complexities that are involved in establishing the lexical entries for discourse particles. This case study confirms that ja(p) has an uncontroversiality component (“p is uncontroversial”), but questions the widespread assumption that it also has a factuality component (“p is true”). The remainder of the paper is dedicated to discussing three approaches to the very type of (non‐truth‐conditional) meaning that discourse particles encode: a syntactic force‐based approach, a presuppositional approach, and a use‐conditional approach. In comparing these three approaches, we see that a presuppositional approach and a use‐conditional approach fare equally well. By contrast, it is shown that one of the main arguments for a syntactic force‐based approach cannot be confirmed, namely, that it predicts the distribution of discourse particles in embedded clauses. Notably, all three approaches have means to deal with the frequently discussed sentence‐type and speech‐act sensitivity of discourse particles, which thus cannot be used to decide between the approaches.