A brick wall made of Grammar and Sentence structure has appeared!


I have learning Japanese Kanji and Vocabulary for the past 7 months now and I’m about to hit level 23 in the next few days. Although I feel like I am going well with Kanji and Vocab I am seriously struggling with Grammar. I took a 40 day break from Wanikani (I was still doing my reviews just no lessons) so I could focus on Grammar but so far I feel like I am making little to no progress on it. I am almost finished with the N5 level of Bunpro but if we are being honest I get around 80-90% which I think is pretty good but when it comes to making my own sentences everything that I learned just flies away and I can’t think of anything. I think a big part of it is the difference in sentence structure change but I could be wrong.

If you have experienced this and were able to get past it what did you do?


are you trying to translate english(or another language) in to japanese?(as opposed to replying to something as part of conversation)

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I have been trying to breakdown the sentence into smaller parts then trying to translate into English

I’m in the same boat, but I started grammar at the same time as everything else, including WK. Just starting to read on my own now. The sentence structure is still a major pain but every day I grind through dissecting passages, it gets a tiny bit easier.

I have this belief that the more I read, the more I’ll comprehend, the more I’ll get used to the structure. In the end I’ll be able to compose my own sentences from that foundation. That’s how I see it. (Hope I’m not wrong, lol.)

I’m just basing this off how I learned English, which is my second language. I can’t tell you anything about its grammar rules but I can compose effortlessly because I read countless of books through my whole teenage years and beyond, and my brain has gotten used to the hows and whys of word placement, kind of like “playing by ear.”


Are you able to recommend any basic books that you started off with. Something with very basic grammar so I can figure out the sentence structure.

For general grammar lessons, I only use the Lingodeer app. My approach to learning grammar (that is, pure lessons), is quick and dirty: I’ll go through each lesson once, if it sticks, it sticks. All I’m doing is basically just exposing myself to all these rules so that in the future, I will somehow recognize it if I see it in a book. If I can’t remember what it’s for, that’s fine, it’s enough to know that it’s a grammar point and it’ll be easier to look up.

Lingodeer is pretty good for my approach, because it’s fast-paced with loads of sentence samples instead of just a paragraph of grammar explanations. If there’s something I don’t fully get, I use other resources such as Wasabi (online grammar reference), A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (book), or Maggie Sensei (also online).

My method may not work for everyone, but again I’m taking this from how I learned the ins and outs of English. In addition, finding and learning the grammar point in the wild rather than in a textbook helps a ton in retention and you’ll have better chances of recognizing it the next time it appears. I’m in no way an expert but I hope this helps somehow. :slight_smile:


GENKI I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese


I found my grammar was atrocious until I started doing the exercises in Genki.

My grammar is now bad but no longer atrocious.

I really think it makes a difference forcing yourself to actively do grammar exercises rather than just use BunPro (which is what I was doing previously). Especially because the exercises in Genki are drills AND actual free form language production.


Japanese graded readers are great for beginning reading. They’re separated by level and the lower the level the easier they are.

I also recommend picking up a beginner grammar textbook, either Genki 1 or みんなの日本語初級1 because having a structured grammar course will help you get up to speed faster.


Thank you for sharing your method I appreciate the input :smiley:

I will take another look at Genki. I have looked at it and I did get into it slightly but for some reason I stopped.

Genki genki genki!! The workbook is great too, if you just wanna focus on exercises. I used to verbally answer the questions to work on speaking practice, and for the exercises that require a partner I’d find one on Hello Talk.

Honestly sometimes increasing you auditory input is the key to having an intuitive sense of grammar! If you hear the language over and over then sometimes things just click. I liked Japanesepod101 (the online site) theres a series were they play an audio conversation and then discuss the grammar/vocab after


I’ll start trying to make a habit of doing that. It’s something that I should have been doing at the start now that I think about it.

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Brick Wall used confusion!

It’s super effective!

The following advice is assuming that Japanese is the first language where you’ve learned grammar through study, rather than immersion. If not then disregard this.

Public education in my country didn’t even try to teach me a technical understanding of grammar in my native language. So when I took basic foreign language classes in high school, the teachers not only needed to teach us how to use concepts like conjugation, grammatical case etc. in the new language, but they first had to teach us in English what those concepts even ARE. I found that being monolingual and not having consciously studied grammar made even simple differences exceedingly difficult to adjust to. Alternate grammar felt like forcing my brain to do something that feels wrong in the only context it knew, whereas the more I study this stuff, the more grammar intuitively feels like separate, arbitrary and equally valid rule sets. And instead of marching into a new language with a full cup of bad assumptions which must be unlearned, my cup is empty. (<-- This is actually an extremely helpful mindset to learning any new skillset.)

Perhaps for every grammar point it would be helpful to study how it applies to English and a very cursory understanding of how it is used in general by other languages to get a more healthily contextualized understanding of it. Even just the Wikipedia page for a grammatical concept can be really enlightening.


Japanese is the first language I’ve properly sat down and studied. Even though I had English studies in school, I never really took anything in since I knew almost everything through talking to friends and family since I was able to use all the conversations I had with them as reference to fix my mistakes and how stuff should be said and written down. I think I might need to relearn conjugations and a few other things before I continue with my Japanese grammar. I appreciate the input :smiley:


Grammar is way harder than memorizing kanji or vocab, IMO. I’ve gotten to where I don’t even study it anymore because it’s too much of a brick wall and I don’t feel like I’m actually learning anything. Not studying at all is not a recommended study method, obviously…

Eventually I’ll get into reading more and I’ll re-tackle grammar then.

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Having a necessary foundation on grammar and vocabulary is important. However, to have everything to stick and be an unconscious part of your brain, using the language is necessary. So, aside from WaniKani and BunPro, do you have any way of using the language as part of your study (i.e. writing, reading, listening, or speaking)?

From my experience, I’ve learned a lot just from reading Japanese material. From reading I was able to recognize patterns (which schools and books try to explain as “grammar”) and word usage that I can then apply when writing sentences. In the beginning when writing sentences, it’s better to keep it simple. The aim is to convey what you’re trying to say and your Japanese speaking/writing partner can adjust to your level.

About your question, whenever I hit a sentence that I don’t get, I try to split it into parts (clauses). Then I try to understand/translate the parts, combine them, and then understand the sentence as a whole. Translating is a crutch which I know that I have to get rid of in the future once I learn more vocabulary and when I can use the language without much conscious effort.

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Bunpro is good for grammar practice but not for learning it. I would try the Genki series (with the Workbook!) since in there are lots of exercises in which you are asked to write about your own experiences.


As others have suggested, Genki or みんあの日本語 are the standards for introduction to grammar.

Once you have a bit of a foundation looking things up in “A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar” is a useful.

For reinforcing both context and grammar I surface context sentences during review via Simple Show Context Sentence. I think it helps with both grammar and comprehension and does not feel like cheating at all.


since it hasn’t been mentioned, skim tae kim ONCE, take an easy material(easy manga/ anime they have a smaller range of grammar they can use, since it’s mostly dialogue and try parsing it). try to match things to tae kim’s point. but don’t rely to much on tae kim, it’s not a reference book, move on ASAP. It’s ok to just not fully get it, with more repetition, you’ll start understanding thing better. at first you might want to try parallel texts. anime with jp and english sub is also a really good idea. disable to english sub, go through the episode(or a scene) with jp subs only then try figuring it out with the grammar guide(dogj/taekim/what ever you like) and then watch it with english subs for verification/solution. it should probably solve your problem after a short period.

The only thing is to aim low and spend 50% of the time on things you would normally spend time on if you had really good japanese(you need to take into account your limitations)