A minor complaint from someone who is new

Hi, I just want to say that it’s frustrating that so few answers are accepted for certain vocabulary meanings, and that there is some inconsistency. For example, the accepted meaning for ~dai is machine counter, the accepted meaning for ~nin is people counter, but the accepted meaning for ~sai is NOT age counter, it’s age or years old. on top of that, some vocab have meanings that are accepted but not listed. I think this program would be better if all of the accepted meanings were listed so that we would get a better understanding of the possible uses of each kanji and for clarity reasons. And if anyone can explain why ~sai does not mean age counter the way that ~dai means machine counter I would appreciate it. Thanks, rant over!


It is super annoying. This userscript will let you override WK, an essential:


I’ve never heard of anyone counting their ages

You can add custom synonyms or use an override / ignore answer script to tackle that problem


you can add your own definition here.
as for your question I don’t know just add your meaning “age counter” here.
Next time you can just input “age counter” and your answer will count.
Happy reviewing~



Serious question: do you know what counters are in terms of Japanese grammar? And if so, what would an “age counter” be?

Take a look at the parts of speech for these items on their WaniKani pages. 台 and 人 in this context are suffixes and counters. 才 is a suffix but is not a counter.

EDIT: Based on Leebo’s correction below I guess I should say “counter” from an English translation perspective (which isn’t relevant to Japanese grammar, but is still relevant on WaniKani since you have to answer in English).


Strictly speaking 台 and 歳 are both 助数詞.

But they feel different conceptually in English to me, to talk about the number of cars or something versus someone’s age. But yeah… This is what synonyms are for if people really want to call something a specific way. I’m not sure why WK should be expected to anticipate every possible wording… Having the option to do it your own way seems preferable anyway.


If you find inconsistencies in the translation, you can always email the WK team - they’re very responsive (more to e-mail then to posts in the feedback section)! Having said that, for this particular example I would have to agree with seanblue, “age counter” doesn’t really sound like a thing, counting the years of your life would need a “year counter”, but you wouldn’t use the genius kanji for that. The indication ~ simply means that the kanji is used as a suffix. While counters are such suffixes, not all suffixes are counters.


Thanks for the responses. I was unaware that I can add my own synonyms but now I know! I am aware that “counters” such as ~nin and ~dai and ~hon are used to sort of describe what is being counted, for example one would say “gohon enpitsu desu” rather than “go enpitsu desu” but I didn’t realize you would say “watashi wa jyuunanasai desu” and that would be enough to indicate you are talking about age. If I am wrong about that I would love to know, it doesn’t seem to clear to me. Thanks again for all the help!

An “age counter” would be a counter for somebody’s age, i. e. the number of years they have lived.

The difference between that and a counter for loaves of bread is certainly not something that is blatantly obvious.

1 Like

Just to be clear, it would be ごほんのえんぴつ (gohon no enpitsu) if used that way, but it’s true that you would not say something like :x:じゅうななさいのとし (juunanasai no toshi) or something to talk about age.


In situations like these, where my answer is marked wrong by wanikani but I feel like it should also be accepted, I just ask myself “would this different meaning hinder my comprehension of the text?”. In your case you obviously know that it means age and that it’s used as a suffix. I would just add it as a synonym and/or overwrite it using scripts.

In my opinion, Wanikani is not the place to learn about nuances in meaning or grammar, it’s about getting the readings and and the general meaning correct.

For example right now I’m dealing with a load of different vocab that all mean variations of “mourning, sorrow, loss, regret, …”, but I never worry too much about the differences (even though I do understand that there IS a difference in meaning). You learn this things much better in context, so when reading/listening or in conversation.


You could use 歳(さい)in similar way:
17歳の人 = 17 yo person

For me it makes sense to call it a person’s age counter.

Always been curious about the wording of counter vs classifier. Isn’t classifier a more appropriate term from a linguistic perspective, making it easier to distinguish what is actually going on? Perhaps, I’m just missing something or maybe that is where the confusion comes from.

Speaking of 〜才 vs 〜歳 meaning ‘-years-old’, are they used equally in text or is one seen more commonly? I’ve seen both be taught on different apps.

In some languages, classifiers can crop up even when you are not counting, according to Wikipedia. See the Australian Aboriginal examples here: Classifier (linguistics) - Wikipedia - Thus the term “counter” could be misleading. But in regard to Japanese the terms are interchangeable, I guess.

If you want a quick check for frequency, a good measure is by googling each and seeing how many results pop up. If I google 10才, I get “About 1,500,000,000 results” compared to “About 1,140,000,000 results” for 10歳. Thus, I suspect 才 is marginally more common.


When you do that, make sure to put the search term in quotes so it only includes exact matches.

Interesting. It reference these as being “noun classes” though so perhaps classifier is just a more generic term whereas counters and noun classes are more particular examples?

Oops, forgot to do that here. When I do that 10才 gives about twice as many results as 10歳. So a more significant difference than in my previous comment.

1 Like

very interesting! thanks for the search on my behalf :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: