Another silly grammar question... 🤭

A couple days ago I began using Bunpro for grammar and I def like it so far! The only thing that I’m having to get used to at such a low level in terms of vocabulary is having to look up simple words like “new” and “cute” because I haven’t learned them in WaniKani yet. I also have the “All About Particles” book which is great. That being said, I am pacing myself when it comes to grammar.

My silly question is this:

  • Since there don’t seem to be any spaces in Japanese sentence structure and some vocabulary are Kanji + Kana, do you just have to know the words to locate where the particles are? Is this just a “practice practice practice” kind of thing?

Thanks in advance! :slight_smile:


Not necessarily. If you know basic sentence structure, which particles tend to go where, and some more basic grammar like verb/adjective inflections and some set phrases, you can parse a sentence in terms of grammar without knowing any of the words.

To give a simple example: 〇〇は〇〇を〇〇なかった. Doesn’t matter what kanji go in the 〇〇 spots, I know:

  • The first 〇〇 is the topic and in this case more than likely also the grammatical subject of the sentence
  • The second 〇〇 is the object
  • The third 〇〇 is a past-tense negative verb

Of course the longer the sentence, the more that is helped by actually knowing the words in it, especially with particles/inflections that can have multiple functions like で or に, but the basic principle remains the same. When it comes to determining where word boundaries are, knowing grammar tends to help more than knowing vocab - but knowing both is best.


Ah, thank you @yamitenshi ! You always come through with great explanations that I can refer back to over and over! I really appreciate the time you spend taking the time to answer a question that I am always afraid to ask :sweat_smile: (I was that way in all my education as well!)

I hope this thread helps others along the way too! :+1: :brain:


It’s no trouble at all, I like answering questions about the basics - forces me to go back and think about things I normally don’t really consider, so by all means ask questions you deem silly. There’s a good chance it makes me go “hang on, how does that work, actually?” :slight_smile:

And don’t be afraid to ask questions! People won’t ridicule you for wanting to learn, we all had to learn everything you’ve asked about so far and much more. You’re more likely to get a million answers and an in-depth debate about the history of Japanese than you are to get a single mean-spirited comment.


I agree! Everyone here is so helpful. I will take your advice and not shy away from asking anything that’s itching at my brain!


Okay confused about a couple of things I keep facing on Bunpro…


A cute girl. (Adds a second い to the one that’s already there)
I then got ふとい wrong for putting an extra い…


That is awful .
Jisho says this is a な adjective, but there’s no な in it…

I’m super confused ha! I was never good at any of this stuff in English either.


There’s no extra い in かわいい - with kanji it’s 可愛(かわい)い, so the “base” is かわい, the い is the same い you find for every い-adjective

For ふとい however, that’s (ふと)い - so the “base” is ふと, and you put an い after that.

That’s right. な-adjective is a bit of a misnomer, actually - they’re adjectival nouns in a strict sense, and that’s a fancy way of saying they’re nouns you can put な behind to make them adjectives. But that only applies to when they directly modify a noun, so:

これは大変(たいへん)です is correct because 大変(たいへん) stands on its own, and is only connected to これ via は, essentially.

However, you would say 大変(たいへん)とき because in that situation it’s an adjective acting directly on a noun.

So where the い is an inherent part of い-adjectives, the な is not an inherent part of な-adjectives but instead is something you add onto the word to make if act as an adjective. In a linguistic sense, な is actually an antiquated copula (the same as だ, basically), so you can see their use similarly to how you’d otherwise modify a noun using a verb, but I’m not sure you’ve reached that point yet.


NA adjectives are nouns that turn into an adjective with the addition of な. Not all nouns take it grammatically, so the dictionary points those out.

You’ll see something similar with SURU する noun->verb conversions. Not all nouns can be verbified by the addition of する, but many can .


Okay I’m reading all of this very carefully! You are SO much easier to understand than Bunpro lessons haha. I’m actually not too impressed with their explainations thus far. Maybe that will change.

This is going to take me a little while to digest, but it already makes some sense to me. I don’t mind getting stuff wrong on my reviews, but I haven’t been able to find any explanation as to why I got it wrong after. Thank you for your services once again @yamitenshi! :pray:


Okay this explains why they tell you about a trick elementary school children use in Japan to figure out if the な adjective is appropriate lol.


Their explanations are very minimal and should probably only be taken as a quick “here’s how to use and recognise this thing” guide. Reading the materials they link to tells you a lot more, but also takes more of a time investment, so I can understand not wanting to do that every time :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Very true! I suppose I can’t be lazy like that, but I just assumed the first few lessons in N5 grammar wouldn’t be THIS confusing for me!


If it’s any consolation: the first few N5 grammar lessons are probably the most confusing, because they give you the bare basics. You end up with things that build off what you learn early on fairly quickly, and they’ll be less confusing because you’ll be able to break them down into parts you already know.


The problem with BUNPRO is that it doesn’t really teach grammar…It just gives a lot of examples and quizzes.

CureDollly has one of the best grammar tutorials I’ve seen, if you can get past the stupid voice manipulations. Unfortunately she just passed away this fall.

I’m still working my way down the playlist.


Oh I like the prospect of this very much! As with all this Japanese language, I will continue to trudge my way along :muscle:


“Advanced” grammar points are simple to remember because they are super specific and restricted in how they can be used. Basic ones appear in every sentence for the rest of the time you study and show up in all kinds of nuanced ways.


HAHA someone linked me a video with her the other day and the voice was SO confusing and annoying to me - and I don’t get annoyed very easily. BUT it was a good lesson, so I will watch this! Thank you @Tenugui !


Nah, if it’s annoying don’t force yourself. There are plenty of non-annoying resources out there that will get you where you need to be.


I’ll give her a second chance at least :laughing:

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Any chance the Guide to Japanese would work for you? Learn Japanese – Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese
There are some video snippets here and there, but not a lot.