Anyone else afraid of actually using the language?

Hey there everyone!

I feel like this is a way more common issue that I can imagine at first, but let me explain this briefly. So I take part in this sort of :muscle: Challenge, to Write a Japanese sentence (ehmmm almost) everyday! Check out the corresponding WK Thread here! And this is all good and fun, I’d say rather superb, because it actually helps to pile up active vocabulary, and understand grammar a lot better.

So far so good, isn’t it? :x: WRONG :x: Absolutely, a 100% WRONG!

Because there is constant lack of feedback, which completely undermines my self-esteem. Take the following example: 新年しんねんだから今日きょう特別とくべつだね。This should roughly translate as: Today is a special day, because of the new year. However, the moment I write down this sentence, I’m flooded with questions like:

  • Should I use ので instead of から?
  • Isn’t ね confusing at the end of the sentence?
  • Can I even use 新年 in a context like that?
  • Do 日 actually reads ひ here? :exploding_head:

Obviously I don’t expect anyone, to always correct my sentences or just have a look at them, because these people are usually referred as tutors, and people pay money for them to do so, and I prefer self-studying. My main concerns are about: what if I’m wrong but I don’t notice it and I keep saying those wrong things? Is there anything I can do to be mostly sure about my daily sentences are correct-ish? On the other hand, I have no fears about being wrong, I’m certainly aware of that it is an essential part of studying anything, that I’m going to fail, and make mistakes. But making mistakes and not noticing them is a completely different thing.

Thank you for reading my post, please share your ideas, if have any!

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There are several people in the Japanese Sentence a Day thread who give feedback almost constantly. You may have been looking at an old not-so-active thread.

Out of the last 20 replies, 15 have been feedback or discussion on sentences written there.


I had a teacher just recommended the app Hello Talk to me which i guess is for exactly this. Its an exchange between written languages where people talk and ask for corrections.

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Wait a minute! This is certainly a huge help, thank you so much, I’m going to update the link in the post!

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Also to answer your questions for the example sentence

No, から is right here. You’re not necessarily describing the circumstances leading to something (which is more what ので is about), you’re giving a reason.

Nope, works fine! No confusion whatsoever, it’s a really common sentence ender.

I think 新年 refers more to the new year as a whole than it does to New Year’s Day. I’m not entirely sure what the most natural way is to refer to that - there’s 元日 or 元旦, meaning New Year’s Day specifically, but you could maybe also use 正月, which is used to refer to the first few days of the new year when you’re congratulating everyone and such.

Yup! As a standalone noun it’s read ひ, it’s only じつ or にち as part of compounds like 毎日 or 本日. In some cases it can also be び when used as a suffix, or it can be か when used as a counter (like in 九日)


My reply might be kind of disappointing, but since you noticed that the thread is not providing ideal feedback/answering your burning questions, then you need to move on and try something different. (By the way, having questions like these are GOOD and normal. It means you’re curious, which translates to being motivated to learn more/become better at expressing yourself!)

If you don’t want to pay for a tutor, there are free alternatives like italki’s journal section, HelloTalk, a Discord group (there are a lot of them), asking your questions on HiNative (probably the best/easiest because there is a template), asking on Japanese Language Stack Exchange or other forums/Reddit, getting a penpal, etc.

Please consider biting the bullet and paying for an italki tutor every couple of weeks (their community tutors are significantly more affordable than their licensed teachers, around $6-10 vs $20+ per hour and you have more freedom to talk about whatever topic you want whenever you want, basically making your own study plan). Seriously, I have really bad social anxiety but talking to italki tutors was the best thing to ever happen in my life. When I started learning Japanese many years ago, I was so afraid that I only used a mic and not a webcam because I didn’t want them to know I was sweating and shaking from anxiety/adrenaline. My heart would pound through my chest while trying to act natural for the whole 30 min ~ 1 hour, but as soon as I hung up it would feel like electricity was buzzing through me in a good way, a way that made me feel so excited and happy to be speaking Japanese. Eventually I got used to speaking/stopped being nervous, and that’s part of a reason why I am so grateful to Japanese every day, it changed my life for the better. (Writing some cheat sheet questions like “Can you repeat that?” “How do you say x?” “Can you write that down?” in Japanese helped a lot, too.) Your title says you are afraid of actually using the language, so that’s why I brought this up.

Anyway, back to writing. There are a few ways to confirm if your writing is correct by yourself. If you have a grammar question like the examples you listed, check Google right away (just write “Japanese ので vs から” and you’ll get a ton of results). There are many free grammar guides that probably already answered your questions. Often times, someone has already asked the question on HiNative/Stack Exchange. The reason you are confused about things like ので vs から is because you haven’t learned the rules, haven’t seen enough examples, or haven’t read an explanation that clicked.

Be sure to check a bilingual dictionary (such as weblio) to see example sentences (you can put quotation marks around phrases so the words don’t get broken apart during the search, ex: “なので”,“ですから”, “New Year”, “special day”, etc). If I search for “特別の日” in weblio, I only get 3 results, so that’s a clue that more research is needed to feel confident in the sentence.

There’s a helpful website called Natsume that lets you search for nouns and it tells you the most common particles + verbs to use it with.

If Natsume doesn’t help, you can paste parts of your sentence into Google to check if it’s a phrase that’s actually used. Pay attention to the number of results (is it in the hundred thousands or are there only 1 or 2 pages of results?) and check if any part of your phrase is being used by native speakers at all. (Searching “新年だから” gave me a lot of results and I can see how different people ended their sentence compared to what I want to say.) If you start realizing the sentence you initially wanted to say isn’t very natural, try to brainstorm other words (ex: You could’ve used 祝う or something.)

You can even add 英語 to your search to see if someone asked for help on DMM (here’s an example of an answer/translation).


@yamitenshi Wow, thank you so-so much for this detailed answer. It certainly makes me feel a lot better that the majority of my questions were ‘false alarms’! Also thanks for the recommendations on ‘New Year’s Day’, it certainly makes a lot more sense that way.


Thank you so much, this actually made me feel real nice!

I ha
It’d be just amazing to find a great tutor, however there is just so many things I haven’t decided on. Like should I get tutoring on my native language, or English will be just as efficient. Or should I get online tutoring, or face-to-face, live is better… It’s just hat I merely haven’t decided yet, that’s why I prefer self-studying. It’s most definitely an important task for the future to contact someone who I can practice with, but until so forums are my best chance to get my questions answered.

Thank you for your long answer as well!


I would suggest that a forum of other Japanese language learners isn’t the best place to look for “is this natural Japanese?” judgements, especially if you don’t explicitly ask about the specific thing you’re not sure about. For instance I can spot obvious grammar mistakes, but while I might think “I dunno if I’d have written it like that” I am much less confident about saying something is not a very natural way to say something.


To the general topic of the thread, I think one of the reasons why children learn faster is that they aren’t embarrassed about being wrong. They just say stuff, and see how people react. Then they adjust what they’re saying to get a different reaction. Adults are much more worried about being seen as stupid/incompetent. (Some people actually say that the best time to practice a language is when slightly drunk, because alcohol reduces inhibitions.)

So a big advantage of formal learning settings is that you’re allowed/expected to get things wrong.


Anyone else afraid of actually using the language?

別に… :disguised_face:


Fear of mistakes can definitely lead to some counterintuitive habits, I’d say the most pervasive I’ve seen both in myself and other foreigners in Japan is the tendency to quiet down or mutter when unsure of the exact phrasing of something. As if a quieter mistake is less wrong! I catch myself doing it sometimes, and it does take some effort to fully project when not fully confident in what I’m saying, but it makes a big difference. Most importantly, people are far more likely to correct you if you make a mistake loudly and clearly, than if you obfuscate it in your delivery. Speak up, especially when you’re unsure, and you’ll get a lot more feedback.

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In addition to what was stated earlier, I think everyone else missed the fact that it should be 特別な日.

Well, realistically all you can do is expect it.

mostly sure that theyre correct-ish is a pretty low bar so yeah I mean if you have people on here look at it then you can be somewhat sure they’re somewhat correct, but does that solve your problem? It doesn’t sound like you’re ok with only having a slightly wrong sentence most of the time and even worse the rest of the time.

If you want to make sure you notice your mistakes, your best bet is a language partner. These aren’t perfect either as they likely won’t correct all your mistakes or hold you to the same standard of naturalness of a native. Then, some stuff they correct will probably go over your head anyways, so even if you get the correction it won’t matter because you won’t be able to effectively fix that mistake from there on forward.

So basically, what this very downer of a post is saying is that I would get used to being wrong and not realizing it or not knowing why. If you’re going to start outputting early then just focus on the lowest hanging fruits. otherwise build up your own comprehension of the language before outputting is the only other option really. My personal suggestion would be to just use the language partner route if you want to output now.


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