Any life hacks to remember 日 and 人?

I regularly have issues remembering which of the readings should be used.
For 日, にち and じつ are the main problem, ひ is easier to remember.
For 人 it’s seemingly completely random when you get じん or にん.
Anyone got any life hacks to remember these? The one about がつ after numbers げつ otherwise is a lifesaver.

Most of the compounds I’ve seen so far use じつ for day. Of the top of my head the only exceptions I know are: 今日 (pronounced as こんにち, not the usual きょう) and 日光.

There are some general rules, like じん being more related to the traits of a person and にん more to what the person does, but repeated exposure to different compounds will give you a more natural understanding of when to use which :slight_smile: .

There is also もの and しゃ for 者 you might run into later. しゃ is usually used when the word is a clear compound and もの when the preceding part is actually a descriptor.

That’s not always true. For instance, お正月 - New Year uses がつ and has no numbers. I think it’s more relevant to think of it as がつ and つき being a month as a concept and げつ month as a unit.


Honestly I just end up with silly lists of which 人 drink gin and which ones don’t. Old people, and beautiful women do. Dolls and some humans don’t. The Gin Co (人口) makes it and you can’t drink it at the zoo (人数). Whatever works, right? :joy:


For words where it’s not a suffix or counter, it basically is arbitrary how it came to be one or the other.

It’s based on when the word was imported from Chinese, with にん being older than じん.


Maybe try thinking differently…
Instead of thinking from the kanji and having to “choose” between their various possible readings; think about the word (for example, はくじん; you don’t need to thing about “which reading should be used” if you think about “はくじん”, it is just “はく” and “じん”),
then go from the word pronunciation to the kanji; and it is much easier that way.

Of course, the association has to be done both ways; but once “hakujin” (that is, the pronunciation) is cemented, and you don’t hesitate anymore about it; then the associations 白人 → はくじん and 白人 → はくじん are easier to do.

The thing is, there is not really such a thing as “じん or にん reading”, I mean, in isolation.
The only isolated reading for 人 is ひと; but 人 also happens in compounds; but the reading depends on the different words; the most effective thing to do is to think about the reading of the whole word.

You can also make some small sentences where the different usages appear; like

マリオは男のひとです。スペインじんです。(Mario is a man (male person). He is Spanish (Spain-people)).
マリアは女のひとです。イタリアじんです。(Maria is a woman (woman-person). She is Italian (Italy-people)).
子供はさんにんいます。(They have 3 children (3-person counter)).
女の子が一人ひとりいます。にんぎょうがすきです。(One is a girl (1-person counter has a special reading). She likes dolls (person-shaped [toy]).
男の子が二人ふたりいます。(Two are boys (2-person countrer also has a special reading).


When counting days with 日, it may help to remember that にち is used for numbers larger than ten.

It’s quite common for the first few counters in a series to be kun’yomi (consider 一人, 二人 and 一品 and 二品) before switching to on’yomi (like 三人 and 三品).
In particular, the pattern for the 日 counter quite closely match up with that of the つ counter …

… except for 一日, which is いちにち or ついたち, just to mess with you.

1 Like

I used to worry about this (and many other instances like this) a lot. Now, I don’t. It all seems to become second nature as you progress and start reading, watching stuff etc. That is to say: you’ll just get a feel for which one is right.


This is absolute gold! <3

1 Like

今日 reading is きょう. Why did you say こんにち?

1 Like

It’s 今日 in 今日は.

I see. You forgot to mention that though :sweat_smile:

As far as I know, 今日 on its own is きょう.
今日は is different!

Well, I did write “not the usual きょう” so I thought the rest can be figured out :sweat_smile: . My bad, should’ve been clearer :slight_smile: .

I totally missed it Lol. I kept thinking and thinking but nothing came to mind. I even looked it up on wk to see if there was a different reading I had missed early on.

Then you said 今日は and it made sense :expressionless:


こんにち has more uses than just こんにちは.

For instance you would not say 今日的 as きょうてき.

Basically when 今日 means “nowadays” rather than “today” it would be こんにち and not きょう. Even without a suffix.


Then wk is going about this all wrong. こんにち should not me marked wrong if other readings could be used when 今日 is on its own. Or at least they should mention it or wiggle it when we enter こんにち saying “it is possible but not the reading you learned” instead of marking it wrong :roll_eyes:

Don’t they only allow that when the other reading has the same meaning as the word that was taught?

Could be. I was just saying that it should not be marked wrong if it’s an actual reading of the word. I had no idea 今日 could be read as こんにち by itself.

There’s a handful of cases where they only teach one meaning for a vocab item and other readings that apply to other meanings are just counted as wrong.

At least, that’s the way it was the last time I went through.

For instance, 額 is taught as “picture frame,” I believe, and the reading for that meaning is がく. It can also be read as ひたい, but that means “forehead.” The meanings are so far apart that it doesn’t make sense to integrate them as one item, and so they just ignored the existence of ひたい/forehead.

I think figuring out a way to handle these situations is something they’ve had on their to-do list for a while.

If it’s じん, my mnemonic has a specific person in it. If it’s にん, they’re holding a Nintendo Switch.


Oh ok that makes a lot of sense. I think marking it wrong wouldn’t be bad if they at least explain in the description that the alternate reading XX would not be accepted because YY.

I have entered こんにち a few times because kyou simply slipped my mind and I just assumed it was the onyomi readings. Having a disclaimer in the description would help beginners.