Japanese Grammar

By taking the time to understand how the Japanese language works, you'll be able to speak Japanese naturally, and read and write in Japanese. We know this can be one of the more challenging parts of your course, and we’re here to help! You can browse the topics, do a search in the top right corner of this page, or start a new topic at the bottom. Don’t be shy!

A Concise guide to Japanese pronunciation [for beginners] [v. 2.0]

Hello to all students of the Japanese language! I hope you are doing well and giving it your best to learn this language while wearing a "hachimaki" headband. We are here to discuss, albeit in a short way (does that means it is not a discussion anymore?)...

1 reply - Last post by Tony-S10 - October 3, 2017

Quiz question not covered in lesson

Lesson 1.9's quiz includes a question on kanji pronunciation (電話), but the lesson covers entirely different material. Is this a bug?

0 replies - Last post by mhj - November 11, 2019

Examples of syntax / word order

Instead of trying to swallow the whole elephant, at once, I'm trying to think of ways to do it a bite at a time. To try to better understand Japanese syntax / word order, I thought one way might be to find examples of English written or spoken with Japane...

15 replies - Last post by AC747 - October 16, 2019

きている vs. きました

In lesson 2.4 one person asks if they are here on vacation:   お休みで​来ているのですか And the other person responds:   いいえ, お仕事で来ました (no, I am here on business) Is it not correct to say "お休みで​来ましたか" or are they both correct? If not, then what is the difference...

3 replies - Last post by Tony-S10 - August 17, 2019

お honorific

In multiple lessons, the honorific "お" is used. It is explained briefly as only being added to traditional Japanese words, but I've also heard it explained as being used to indicate that the speaker is directing the question or phrase at you.  I've also n...

3 replies - Last post by 夫婦茶碗 - August 13, 2019

4.8 playing instruments ~ ピアノ を ひきます / I play piano

In module 4.8 we're taught: ピアノ を ひきます。 ピアノ を 弾きます。 I play piano. I can remember this, but I would like to know if「ピアノ を  たたきます」is ever used? It seems the Japanese verb used is based on the action required (plucking, blowing, striking) to make the instru...

3 replies - Last post by Tony-S10 - July 26, 2019

Module 4.1: のみ vs. のんだ

Hello, I'm confused by this sentence: のみ すぎ です よ  / Nomi sugi desu yo / You drank too much As "drank" is past tense, why wouldn't it be "nonda" instead のんだ すぎ です よ / nonda = past tense Thank you!!

4 replies - Last post by Tony-S10 - July 24, 2019

Would both of these sentences be correct?

Hello everyone, Whenever I begin a new module, I try to write example sentences in Japanese before looking at the translation so that I can see how accurate/inaccurate I am. In module 3.9 is the phrase:  にほんご のべんきょう は たのしい です か / Nihongo no benkyō wa ta...

11 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - July 20, 2019

わたし は sometimes used, sometimes not?

Hello, I've noticed that in some of the lessons when referring to "I" that sometimes わたし は is used and sometimes it isn't.  Is this a case where it's not used in conversation that is more casual? E.g. n lesson 3.7 it is used in the 1st example, but not ...

11 replies - Last post by toru e - July 17, 2019

み vs. みる in this example

Hello! I have a question with regard to using み vs. みる in this example: あした えいが を み に いきません か? / Ashita ēga o mi ni ikimasen ka? / Why don't we go to see a movie tomorrow? When I first saw the sentence and guessed at the translation, I wrote: あした えいが を...

2 replies - Last post by Tony-S10 - July 11, 2019

Yō desu / Sō desu / Ne / Yo

Hello! I have a question about the modules up to 3.5.   As these phrases keep popping up, I want to make sure I more or less understand how to use them.  Could someone please see advise if my assumptions are correct/incorrect here? Ne                   ...

1 reply - Last post by Crystal-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - July 5, 2019

あるく / あるいて

こんにち は  みなさん! I have two questions from lesson 3.1 I hope someone can help me with. Question 1:  I want to make sure I understand how to express walk / walking.  In lesson 3.1, there is the example: あるく より らく    /    Aruku yori, raku desu yo!  Easier t...

3 replies - Last post by Crystal-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - June 26, 2019

mimasu / mitai usage

Hello, I have a question on the use of mimasu vs. mitai.  In lesson 3.2 there is the example: のんで   みます   か? / nonde mimasu ka? / would you like to try drinking it? Would it also be correct to say?: のんで   みたい   です   か? / nonde mitai desu ka? Does the ...

2 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - June 21, 2019

Lessons 1.2 Tea Time

In lesson 1.2 atatakai/ 暖かい is not used correctly.  atatakai/ 暖かい = Warm atsui/ 暑い = Hot.

1 reply - Last post by toru e - May 30, 2019

も いい です か vs. くれ ます か

Hello, I wanted to make sure I fully understood the difference in meaning of the two phrases below in bold: The following is used when asking someone's permission to do something for you (i.e. "will you take a photo for me" in module 2.2) もらって も いい です か...

3 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - May 22, 2019

Placement of は

Hello everyone, I'm spending time trying to wrap my head around 'wa' and every time I think I understand where it should go, I make a mistake.  In this example from module 1.6, if "wa" signifies the subject of a sentence, then in the following example: ...

15 replies - Last post by 夫婦茶碗 - May 17, 2019

にほん ご vs にほん の

Hello! In looking at the word Japanese (にほん ご) and Japanese beer (にほん の ビール), is the difference between using ご and  の because in the first instance we are referring to a person, whereas in the second instance we are referring to an object?  Which would ...

7 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - May 16, 2019

Ni / o / particles

Hello everyone, In lesson 1.9, we're given three examples of how long it takes someone to do something.  There isn't really any explanation as to why に in the first example,  を in the second example, and nothing in the third example is used.  I'm still h...

6 replies - Last post by Crystal-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - May 16, 2019

Question on wa placement in this example

In doing a recap of all my lessons to date, I'm finding much is clicking in place.  For the most part, even "wa" and "o" are starting to intuitively make sense most of the time.  I say intuitively, because most of the time I just seem to know where they g...

3 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - May 16, 2019

は usage in this example

Hello! Could someone please help me understand the difference in usage of は  vs が in this example? Is there a person who can speak English? えいご を はなせる ひと は います か? I would have thought that が should be used: えいご を はなせる ひと が います か? It seems to be the on...

1 reply - Last post by 夫婦茶碗 - May 16, 2019

Desu ga

Please explain the function of the particle ga in sentences ending with desu ga.

5 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - May 3, 2019

も - mo

Hello! Can someone please help me understand the use of the particle も in lesson 2.2? ここ で しゃしん を とって も いい です か Koko de shashin o totte mo ii desu ka? / Is it alright to take photos here? しゃしん を とって もらって も いい です か Shashin o totte moratte mo ii desu ka?...

4 replies - Last post by 夫婦茶碗 - May 2, 2019

Imasu / Desu

Hello, Could someone please help me understand why, in both of these examples, the U is pronounced in the first, but not in the second sentence?   Ikka getsu benkyō shite imasu Oishii o-mise o shitte imasu Anata hodo jōzu ja nai desu Mochiron desu Tha...

12 replies - Last post by 夫婦茶碗 - April 10, 2019

Double-length vowel "O"

Hello, Now that I've learned how to write in hiragana, I'm redoing the modules I've learned so that I can practice them in hiragana.  I have a question about the double length vowel O. In the lessons, Ōsaka is written like this: おおさか Why isn't it writt...

5 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - April 10, 2019

O - Lesson 1.3

Hello everyone, From lesson 1.3, I'd like to ask for some help in understanding something .  I've only just started practicing writing the characters, so I apologize for having to ask in romanji. Konya o sushi o tabe ni iki mashō ka? / Shall we go and e...

11 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - March 25, 2019

Still confused about "wa" - can someone please help me?

Hello, I began Rocket Japanese yesterday and I'm on 1.2 (tea time).  I know it's early on but I'm trying to get my head wrapped around "wa" used in the first two lessons.  From what I've read in the forum, it seems: 1.  You use it to indicate the subjec...

4 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - March 4, 2019

もちろん。。。

Module 1.3 At the Sushi Bar introduced the phrase 「もちろん です」. Presumably this is the politest way to say "of course". However, while watching a show today I heard a character say,「 もちろんさ」.  It does not change the meaning, but can anyone tell me what type o...

3 replies - Last post by ClaudiaR13 - January 3, 2019

Asking for a drink -- onegai shimasu vs. kudasai

Am I correct in that I would use onegai shimasu for a more formal, polite setting vs. say with a friend? For example, I would ask a waitress, waiter, or a new acquaintance this way: mizu, onegai shimasu vs. Asking a friend or loved one: mizu, kudasai

5 replies - Last post by Tony-S10 - November 21, 2018

1.4 grammar question about desu

みはさん こんにちは, I’ve being studying the dialog of lesson 1.4. It starts with: あなた   は  にほんご   が   はなせます   か? So far, so good. The topic is you, the subject is the Japanese language that is being asked if the topic can speak. The answer is: はい、 げも  すこし  げか  がけ...

4 replies - Last post by TheresaH8 - August 27, 2018

Question about ~なんて and なんか

Hi everyone! I want to ask on how to properly understand both ~なんて and なんか expressions.  As I'm digging the audio lessons from lessons 13... I've encountered both of them but is still on the fence on how to interpret or understand them... Here's the line...

3 replies - Last post by ClaudiaR13 - July 24, 2018

Lesson 10.8

Hi おおきい (Ōkii) → おおきたっか (Ōkikatta) → おおきかったら (Ōkikattara) should be changed to おおきい (Ōkii) → おおきかった (Ōkikatta) → おおきかったら (Ōkikattara) Best

2 replies - Last post by Crystal-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - July 19, 2018

Lesson 4.4: He´s very popular (desu or ga arimasu)

Quick question: In lesson 4.4 (sporting conversation) the sentence "He´s very popular" translates as " かれ は とても にんき が あります" Shouldn´t it be with DESU at the end? (かれ は とても にんき です) Sayaka uses both versions in the audio course but I'm slightly confused and...

2 replies - Last post by TheresaH8 - July 16, 2018

Ga vs Wa

I noticed when you say I like sushi, it is spoken, o sushi wa suki desu. I have notice on a few other sites people saying just, sushi ga suki desu. Since i am only on Lesson 1.3, i dont understand yet but I read ga is used to emphasize sushi. How do you k...

2 replies - Last post by lzwiers91 - April 19, 2018

Adjectives

In Lessen 2.5 it says Nara ni yūmē na ōkii o tera ga arimasu. Shouldn't the first of the two adjectives be in the te form?

2 replies - Last post by Crystal-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - March 2, 2018

I dont understand this piece of grammar

I don't get why this sentence has "eigo wo hanaseru" in it instead of  "eigo ga hanaseru". I thought "ga" was preferred when you use verb forms that mean "i can talk/etc..." Is this because this phrase works as a modifier to "hito"? 英語を話せる人はいますか? Eigo o ...

1 reply - Last post by Goran34 - August 30, 2017

How to properly use and understand ~きり pattern?

Hi everyone! While I've been slowly studying the materials on the advanced course but, there is this one grammar at chapter 13 that I'm really getting difficulty to understand. It's the ~きり phrase. I will paste here the context of that particular sentenc...

3 replies - Last post by padcsantos - June 19, 2017

Is it acceptable?

Is it acceptable, since I'm a male to say instead of watashi no namae wa jifu desu; to say boku no namae wa jifu desu to introduce myself.

2 replies - Last post by Tony-S10 - April 12, 2017

Five pronunciations of 日

I foudn this article elsewhere, thought it might interest some people. http://en.rocketnews24.com/2017/03/18/one-simple-kanji-character-in-super-simple-japanese-sentence-has-five-different-pronunciations/ It gives an example of 日 being used five times i...

1 reply - Last post by trutenor - April 2, 2017

Textbook or Workbook Recommendations?

Hi everyone! I'm just about finished going through Genki I with my tutors and, although I already have Genki II on hand, I'm thinking about using another book. My biggest problem with Genki is that the scenarios are centered on the life of an exchange stu...

3 replies - Last post by toru e - March 6, 2017

Level 1 lesson 2.5: きてくれますか vs きてくれませんか

On level 1 lesson 2.5 we have the question いっしょうにきてくれますか。I have been told by another Japanese teacher that it is usually said as いっしょうにきてくれませんか。Are they interchangeable or is one better than the other? Also, would it be wrong or would it have a similar m...

1 reply - Last post by Crystal-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - February 24, 2017

Kite iru and te from

Hi this might sound like a silly question but i was listening through lesseon 2.4 and the part that says "o yasumi de kite iru no desu ka?" Just wondering why "kite iru no" is used and what does it mean exactly? also if i said "...

5 replies - Last post by Davide--4 - February 4, 2017

Dore / Dono

What is the difference between dore gurai and dono gurai?

1 reply - Last post by Crystal-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - December 21, 2016

Placement of Japanese Adjectives

Hey, I was listening to a song in Japanese, and it used the phrase "Aoi ano sora." So, can adjectives be placed before ano/kono/sono and is it common?                       Thanks in advance,                                              Derrick

2 replies - Last post by derricklee43 - December 21, 2016

Alternate form for the hiragana そ

So I was attempting to read a manga in Japanese to test my proficiency, and I was pretty proud that my training has paid off, as I immediately recognized ようこそ (welcome)。However, as I looked at the hiragana for "そ", I noticed that something was off about i...

2 replies - Last post by trutenor - August 10, 2016

HA instead of WA in Hiragana

I noticed that many Japanese word ending with the syllable "WA" as "KonnichiWA, KonbanWA" and others were transcribed in Hiragana with the syllable "HA" instead of "WA" that is not the case when the syllable "WA" is at the beginning of the word as Watashi...

3 replies - Last post by Crystal-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - May 27, 2016

question about lesson 10.4

Occasionally in the lessons I see a verb tense that I am not familiar with, like the following.  Can someone explain the conjugation of kaeru? Otorikae itashimasukedo Thanks. Marc

1 reply - Last post by Crystal-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - May 23, 2016

Grammar & Translation check

Minasan, Konnichiwa! I am writing an email to my Japanese penpal and I want to make sure that I am using the correct words and grammar. I'm still learning so sumimasen  if I have butchered this.  My penpal has commented in English that "I am full of cur...

2 replies - Last post by artemis9109 - March 22, 2016

What does this kanji symbol mean?

Hi, Can someone tell me the meaning of the kanji symbol in this picture please? I am getting a tattoo designed like this to cover up some bad artwork I had done when younger and was just wondering what the meaning was. Thanks for any help..... http://...

1 reply - Last post by Tony-S10 - March 9, 2016

Correct usage of TOKI NI

Konnichiwa I was hoping someone could help me with the word toki. Is it correct to  use the TA form of a verb to express: when I.... For example: When i was in japan – nihon ni ita toki ni sake o nomimashita When i went to japan – nihon ni it...

3 replies - Last post by Janice-D14 - February 1, 2016

Can せる be added to a any verb to convey what someone can do?

In the module I've stumbled upon this sentence. えいご を はなせる ひと は います か Here  はなす has been changed to はなせる to mean "someone who can speak".  How does this verb ending せる apply to other words?  Could I say for example: スーさんはりょうりせるいます。 Sue i...

1 reply - Last post by Shirakawa-T - September 10, 2015

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