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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?), the Japanese language and...

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

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: Are you Sayaka? Sayaka san desu ka /...

13 replies - Last post by Tony-S10 -
Apr 18, 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 Thanks so much!

12 replies - Last post by 夫婦茶碗 -
Apr 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 written like this instead?...

5 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ -
Apr 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 eat sushi tonight? Oishii o mise o...

11 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ -
Mar 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 subject/topic of the sentence (e.g. namae...

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


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 of...

3 replies - Last post by ClaudiaR13 -
Jan 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 -
Nov 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...

4 replies - Last post by TheresaH8 -
Aug 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 from the...

3 replies - Last post by ClaudiaR13 -
Jul 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 -
Jul 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...

2 replies - Last post by TheresaH8 -
Jul 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 know when to use wa or ga? also desu,...

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


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 -
Mar 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 hanaseru hito...

1 reply - Last post by Goran34 -
Aug 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 sentence.  What are the factors and...

3 replies - Last post by padcsantos -
Jun 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 -
Apr 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 in the same sentence, with 5 different...

1 reply - Last post by trutenor -
Apr 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 student, and frankly, I feel stupid...

3 replies - Last post by torusan -
Mar 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...

1 reply - Last post by Crystal-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor -
Feb 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 "o yasumi de kimasu ka?" what would...

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

Dore / Dono

What is the difference between dore gurai and dono gurai?

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

Desu ga

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

1 reply - Last post by Crystal-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor -
Nov 24, 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 it.  It had a small mark on...

2 replies - Last post by trutenor -
Aug 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. Being a beginner I'm curious to have an...

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 curiousity" and that she is the same. I...

2 replies - Last post by artemis9109 -
Mar 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...

1 reply - Last post by Tony-S10 -
Mar 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 itta toki ni sake o nomimashita When i...

3 replies - Last post by Janice-D14 -
Feb 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...

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

方法 from 10.2 At the Pharmacy

Hi i am a little bit confuse on using Verb+方法. in the conversation yoshiko used 飲める方法  the gramma める is the ability right? so why does Kenny use 食べる方法(dict form) instead of 食べられる方法 ?

1 reply - Last post by keiko-rocket-japanese-tutor -
Jun 28, 2015

question from 2.4 Catching a Ride

i didn't quite understand this part of the sentence お やすみ で きて いる の です か  what is "iru no desk ka" really mean in this sentence? does it has something relate to " ~tai no desu ga?" can i also ask お やすみ で きてimashita ka?...

2 replies - Last post by gunn-t -
Jun 27, 2015

Use of "kara" in Lesson 3.5.

Hi there! Can anyone explain why "kara" is used in the sentence "Demo ima kara Karaoke no jikan desu yo!"? Previously, it was explained that "now" was expressed as "ima wa". Thanks! -Michael

2 replies - Last post by Michael-S303 -
Jun 12, 2015

Why is iru used here?

Hello on one of the mega cards it states 'Isu wa kirei ni narande iru.' Surely because they are in-animate it should be aru? Thanks :0

3 replies - Last post by keiko-rocket-japanese-tutor -
May 30, 2015

use of "you desu" ようです

Hi. I was reading about the use of "you desu" in Japanese.:ようです In using it to describe conjecture or resemblance, it is used with nouns + の;なーadjectives + な or with verbs in the plain form, right? However, I came across this...

3 replies - Last post by keiko-rocket-japanese-tutor -
Apr 13, 2015

How are Japanese sentences ordered?

I have been wondering how Japanese words in sentences are ordered. I know in English we have the adj, subject, (maybe another adj), and verb. I also have been wonderind what ni, mo, ha, ga, and wa. Could someone help me out with that so I can make my own sentences?

1 reply - Last post by keiko-rocket-japanese-tutor -
Mar 22, 2015

koto ha and koto ga

I was wondering about the different particles used when using 'koto' to express having done/experienced something. Most of the time the particle ga is used "koto ga arimasu" and this is the particle I naturally use. However, often when they are using a negative form of a verb ha is used instead,...

1 reply - Last post by keiko-rocket-japanese-tutor -
Jan 27, 2015

quiz tsking without writing section

For speed concerns I need to omit the writing sections. Is there a way to take the quizzes without the writing and show the score only for the other sections?

2 replies - Last post by Robert-C7 -
Dec 7, 2014

Basic Japanese Level 1 grammar

How would you ask "shall we go for lunch tomorrow?" Also, an entirely separate topic is "1180 yen" the same thing as sen hyaku hachi juu yen? Thanks

4 replies - Last post by keiko-rocket-japanese-tutor -
Nov 28, 2014

This kanji puzzles me 行

Hi... I am from Benghazi ^^ はじめました ummm....This kanji puzzles me 行 ???? can you help me ?

1 reply - Last post by keiko-rocket-japanese-tutor -
Oct 1, 2014

は or わ

こんにちは、well my question is following why is in こんにちは the Hiragana HA at the end? Shouldn't it be a WA according to the pronunciation? Theres the same thing in many othere sentenceses and it just confuses me- thanks!

5 replies - Last post by keiko-rocket-japanese-tutor -
Jul 18, 2014

shitte imasu vs. shite imasu.

Can someone please tell me the difference between "shitte imasu" and "shite imasu"?

3 replies - Last post by keiko-rocket-japanese-tutor -
Jun 29, 2014

Speaking Japanese to Others

Konnichiwa. I just began studying Japanese a few days ago. I currently do not know anyone who speaks or is studying Japanese, so I have been practicing by speaking to myself! Was wondering if anyone might be interested in practicing together over the phone or on Skype? Any advice on tutoring...

11 replies - Last post by コウ日本語 -
Jun 22, 2014

atsukatta hi

I'm not sure what ichiban atsukatta hi wa kinou desu means. Does it mean The hottest day was yesterday. or Yesterday was the hottest day.

3 replies - Last post by risa-rocket-japanese-tutor -
May 20, 2014

ni noborimasu or wo noborimasu

I can't understand the difference between 東京タワ を 登る and 東京タワ に 登る

4 replies - Last post by risa-rocket-japanese-tutor -
Apr 30, 2014

Question about this statement -- using chopsticks

In Lesson 1.8, one of the Write It Section questions is this: Can you use chopsticks? which in romaji is: O hashi wa tsukae masu ka? In Lesson 1.9, the student is introduced to the idea of -ga <verb> stem + "e" + masu. If I were to follow the rules of Lesson 1.9, I would think the...

2 replies - Last post by J742129 -
Mar 4, 2014

New layout + quizzes

Well I love the new site to start off. Much easier to navigate through and stuff :] The quizzes seem to be somewhat glitched. I answered the quizzes for some lessons, and it gives me a grade that is too low. For example, the first one says 91% but when I review the answers, it says I got every...

7 replies - Last post by J742129 -
Mar 1, 2014

Difference between tabemasen and tabenai

What is the main difference between tabemasen and tabenai?

4 replies - Last post by J742129 -
Feb 3, 2014

How do Japanese native speakers write their name in Romaji/English?

Does the surname still come first? Or do they write their name as English speakers would; first name, then last name? I am corresponding with a Japanese hotel receptionist in English and I this person's first and last name could be either/or; a first or a last name, so I'm not sure how to...

1 reply - Last post by 2679 -
Dec 14, 2013

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