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

Can this sentence be said both ways?

Hello!  In lesson 5.1, the sentence given is: I'm already full / もう おなか が いっぱい です / Mō onaka ga ippai desu. I always try to go through the lessons and see how well I can translate before looking at the answer, and I would have swapped "stomach" for "ful...

2 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - September 11, 2020

”あっ” ... Why a small つ?(Lesson 2.4)

こんにちは、みなさん。 In Lesson 2.4 there is the statement: あっ、タクシー が き ました。 What's the function of the small つ in this instance being placed after the あ?  Are there other places this occurs that are worth knowing about? Using the Japanese IME keyboard for Wind...

1 reply - Last post by toru e - September 9, 2020

して います vs. しますwhen asking if someone plays a sport

Hello, I have a question from module 4.8.   Do you play any sports? なにか スポーツ を して います か?/ Nanika supōtsu o shite imasu ka? I like to try the translations myself before looking at the correct translation, and for this sentence, I put: なにか スポーツ を します か M...

3 replies - Last post by toru e - August 28, 2020

Double usage of "ni wa" particle (Module 4.2)

In Module 4.2, “What Are You Reading?”, there is the line, Watashi ni wa sonnani omoshirosou ni wa miemasen. It does not look very fun to me. If I attempt to translate more literally I get… Watashi ni wa … sonnani omoshirosou … ni wa … miemasen. To ...

3 replies - Last post by Abgueguen - August 26, 2020

Using the 'wa' particle twice in a sentence...

Hello everyone, I'm a little confused about the use of particles in a module 4.2 sentence:  わたし に は そんな に おもしろ そう に は みえません。 Watashi ni wa sonnani omoshiro sō ni wa mie masen / It does not look very fun to me. I understand the usage of わたし に は (to me/a...

6 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - August 11, 2020

Question about meaning of 飲み (飲み過ぎ)

Hello, I have a question about how the verb 飲む is being used in module 4.1: 飲み過ぎですよ / you drank too much Where exactly do you get 飲み from (it doesn't seem to be listed as any tense or form when I look up different conjugations of the verb).  Is this a c...

2 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - August 10, 2020

を vs. で in these examples

Hello everyone, Every time I think I have a clear grasp of で, I get thrown for a loop.  I have an every-growing list of the differences between で and に, but I seem to be not understanding clearly the difference sometimes between using で vs. を Could you ...

2 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - August 10, 2020

nemure sō desu

Hi everybody I don't understand the construction in lesson 3.5. To say "it seems i can sleep" they say "nemure sō desu" but I would have expected "nemureru sō desu". What is the construction of sō desu with a verb ? Thank you Olivier

2 replies - Last post by Abgueguen - July 27, 2020

Ninki ga arimasu

So in 4.4 we are introduced to ninki and the lesson likens the usage to kirei with: totemo ninki as very popular and totemo kirei as very beautiful. When I learned this originally, I could swear I learned that despite the way we use popular in English, it...

0 replies - Last post by azenphish - July 3, 2020

Why does this sentence use 'ga arimasu' and not 'desu'?

This is from the sporting section in level 1 - but all the forums seem to say that 'ga arimasu' should be when something exists, and 'desu' when it IS that thing. If the player IS very popular, why have we used 'ga arimasu'???? Thanks to anyone who can he...

2 replies - Last post by Andrew2462 - June 8, 2020

Subject particles

im currently in 2.2 of rocket Japanese and ive enjoying it a lot. however i am really struggling with subject particles. Like WA, O, and GA. i get why they are used i dont understand when im supposed to use each one. ive also seen more then just these thr...

2 replies - Last post by ClaudiaR-sc5G - May 21, 2020

Incorrect translation in Module 2.8?

In module 2.8, translations are given such as: toire de ikimasu to go to the bathroom and tabako o kaimasu to buy cigarettes In the "imasu" form they're in, don't they mean "I will go to the bathroom" and "I will buy cigarettes," respectively (with ...

1 reply - Last post by toru e - May 11, 2020

"wa" vs "o" usage

I've worked on Modules 1.0-1.8 and now my brain has frozen. Things have been gradually been making some sense to me, but, using both RJ and outside sources, I can't seem to comprehend this... In module 1.8, phrases are given such as, "Sushi wa suki desu ...

4 replies - Last post by JohnB232 - March 15, 2020

"~imasu" and singularity/plurality (re: Lesson 1.7)

Konnichi wa. In lesson 1.7, under the "~imasu" section, there are two examples: Nihon jin imasu ka? Is there a Japanese person? Neko imasu ka? Are there cats? Why are the given translations in singular and plural, respectively? Couldn't they also be...

1 reply - Last post by teacup - March 9, 2020

Masu vs Shimas

Just a beginner here. I'm hung up on the difference with verb form adding masu vs verb form adding shimasu. I plucked these examples out of the lessons. I'm trying to figure out how they would differently translate into english. Is one a future tense. Man...

2 replies - Last post by Tony-S10 - December 13, 2019

the word for 500

every time i say hyaku in the thing it says im wrong i could really use some help on this. i was ignored the last time i put in for help

1 reply - Last post by teacup - December 12, 2019

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?

1 reply - Last post by teacup - November 29, 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 teacup - 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 teacup - 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 teacup - 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 teacup - 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 teacup - 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


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 ClaudiaR-sc5G - 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 ClaudiaR-sc5G - 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


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

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