人?When to say にん or じん

I’m curious if there is a predictable pattern for when to pronounce 人 as にん or じん?

For example…

Thoughts? It’s tiresome to remember these individually, so I’m hoping there’s a pattern…

In the two examples you asked about, there is no rule. The reading in compounds like those is determined by when the word was imported from China. Yeah, I realize that’s not what you wanted to hear.

The only cases where rules can be applied are when it’s a suffix on an another word, such as in numbers (にん) and nationalities (じん). When applied as a suffix to an action, it’s にん (such as in 料理, cooking, 料理人, cook).

When compounds like the ones you mentioned superficially seem to follow some kind of rule that is tangentially related to the ones I mentioned for suffixes, it’s just a coincidence. But some people like to come up with mnemonics that are based on that.

My recommendation is to remember them as whole words rather than trying to break down each kanji by which reading is applied. So if you can come up with a “tanin” mnemonic and a “kyuujin” mnemonic, that might work better than trying to come up with mnemonics for the individual parts.


There’s no pattern unfortunately. There’s lots of ways to remember the reading, for example, in my head I define にん as plural, and じん as singular. Just think of some stupid mnemonic and as long as you don’t actually start thinking they’re either of those two, it works pretty well from my experience. :sweat_smile:

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thanks - that’s super helpful actually!

I’ll try that too, fake plural & singular…

Actually, that answer helped me some. I’ve been having trouble keeping these readings in line and didn’t have any real idea about the grammar behind it, just knew some words already - thus they felt “natural” somehow. But, now at least I have something to build upon for the future. Especially about action + nin. It makes sense from my experience. I never put words to it though.

I saw a post here ( dont find at the moment with a similar question ) -> rule of thumb which is really helpful for is that にん is more shortterm and じん more long term… Works great for me. Hope it can help you as well. But I am not sure if this is some “offical” or “proven” pattern.

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