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 conversation. Don’t be shy!

Sensei used twice in the same sentence?

In Lesson 1.7, to point out Tanaka is the teacher, we're given the phrase,たなか せんせい が せんせい ですTanaka sensei ga sensei desu.From the content of the lesson, I was expecting to see something likeTanaka-san ga sensei desu.But instead, the word for teacher is us...

2 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - June 10, 2021

Suki na dake desu

I don't understand the use of the “na” in the expression “suki na dake desu”Thanks in advance for your answer

1 reply - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - May 27, 2021

Marker to use before Tsuki

I'm not very far into the course, but in Lesson 1.3 “At the sushi bar”, the first sentence used is "osushi wa tsuki desu ka?". But in grammar lesson 1.6 “To Like or Not Like”, they say that "tsuki" always goes with “ga”. Is this an error on the part of th...

2 replies - Last post by JohnH197 - May 27, 2021

Lesson 5.9 When Something Is Happening

I was just looking for a little bit of a clarification, as some of the flash cards at the end of the lesson brought up a few questions.  I understand that you can て あります and て います along with a Transitive and Intransitive verb respectively to show a change...

1 reply - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - May 6, 2021

Kana vs Kanji Usage

I know that some kanji in Japanese can be and are typically written in kana, and that there are not exactly any set in stone rules over these usages. However, I was wondering, is there some kind of nuance or implication for the use of a kanji and then the...

1 reply - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - April 6, 2021

oiwai de mo

KonnichiwaI'm a little bit lost with the “oiwai de mo”. What is the construction of “oiwai de arimasu”. Why isn't it “oiwai ga arimasu” ? This refers to lesson 7.4ArigotoOlivier

2 replies - Last post by Abgueguen - March 27, 2021

Double に?

In Lesson 2.8 there are the sentences  らいしゅう かぞく に あいます  (I will meet my family next week.) and  しち じ に いきます  (I will go at 7 o'clock).In the first sentence, に is used to show a point of contact, and in the second sentence に is used to note the specific t...

2 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - March 5, 2021

だいじょうぶ and いいですか

What is the difference between だいじょうぶ    and   いいですか  and how they are used?  Thanks.

2 replies - Last post by ClaudiaR-sc5G - February 26, 2021

都合が悪い vs. 不便

Hello,Can someone please explain the difference to me between 都合が悪い and  不便?  I'm familiar with 不便/fuben and 便利/benri.  In lesson 4.5, it introduces 都合が悪い as inconvenient. すみません、ちょっと都合が悪いです / sumimasen, chotto tsugō ga warui desu.Would it be acceptable to...

2 replies - Last post by JohnH197 - February 21, 2021

Shashin o totte moratte mo ii desu ka.

In one of the early lessons, Kenny asks Sayaka if she will take a picture for him by saying “shashin o totte moratte mo ii desu ka.” I understand shashin o totte means “taking a picture”, that the mo following the te might act as “even”, and that ii desu ...

3 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - February 21, 2021

Omachi kudasai

KonnichiwaI'm trying to understand the structure of “omachi kudasai”. Normally it should be “matte kudasai” but how do you build the polite form ?Arigato gozaimasu

2 replies - Last post by Abgueguen - February 12, 2021

Are both of these sentences correct?

Hello,When I was testing myself on lesson 3.8, I translated the sentence “(I will) read (my) book under the tree” as follows: 本を木 の 下で読みます/ hon o ki no shita de yomimasuThe correct answer was:木 の 下で本を読みます / Ki no shita de hon o yomimasuCould you please te...

3 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - February 11, 2021

あちらのビル vs. あのビル

Hello!I'm really confused by the use of the “no” particle when I compare the following two sentences: That building over there is famousAchira no biru wa yūmē desu /  あちらのビルは有名ですThat building over there is tall                     Ano biru wa takai desu /...

2 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - January 21, 2021

もう すこし だけ で いい

Mou sukoshi dake de ii. This little phrase was from a song. What I do understand is “More by a little only de is good” or more understandably, “Just a little more de is good”. However, I'm not sure I understand the use of de here. De is the particle which...

2 replies - Last post by Jyuune - January 8, 2021

Understanding this usage of を

Hello,I was starting module 6 and took a break to go back through all the previous modules again to learn the new content that was added.  I realized that I'm not quite understanding something.  Could someone please enlighten me on the use of を in the exa...

2 replies - Last post by イ リ ニ - January 4, 2021

“There Is” and I “Have”

In lessons 2.9, it is written :"To say “there is” something, we use います or あります with the particle が . "But in lessons 2.4, Kenny uses は instead of が with います :"英語を話せる人はいますか?"Why that ?

4 replies - Last post by GregV84 - October 29, 2020

Lesson 2.7 Question, Nouns Used as Verbs?

Sooo, this sentence in Lesson 2.7: 私は 料理も 絵も 上手 です。 (わたしは りょうりも えも じょうず です。) …is translated as “I am good at (both) cooking and drawing.” I'm not sure about that word for cooking, but I thought 絵 meant a painting or drawing (noun; with something like 描く b...

2 replies - Last post by EarleyGrave - October 29, 2020

difference between "wa" and "ga"

if both are used to clear the topic of a sentence and what is spoken about, who do i know wich one to use?

3 replies - Last post by EarleyGrave - October 29, 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...

9 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - October 29, 2020

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.

7 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - October 23, 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 ...

4 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - October 12, 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

4 replies - Last post by Abgueguen - October 11, 2020

Confused about the usage of tense in this sentence...

Hello everyone! I'd like to ask for some help in understanding the use of kaetta vs. kaerimasu in this sentence from module 5.3. You should return home for Christmas: クリスマスに帰ったほうがいいですよ / ​Kurisumasu ni kaetta hō ga īdesu yo Why isn't it: クリスマス に 帰ります ほ...

2 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - October 10, 2020

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...

3 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - October 10, 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...

2 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - October 10, 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...

4 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - October 10, 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...

3 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - October 9, 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 ...

3 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - October 9, 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...

1 reply - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - October 9, 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...

3 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - October 9, 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 ...

2 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - October 9, 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...

3 replies - Last post by Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor - October 9, 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

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

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