Beginners grammar resources needed

So… I have been a good boi and done my reviews patiently, waiting for the moment I get to level 10, as that is when I plan on starting with grammar. Now, the trouble is that… I have absolutely no Idea how to go about things. I have seen the recommended resources on the tofugu website, but I would like to hear some personal opinions. FYI: I’m teaching myself japanese alone and from home, meaning I am neither participating in a class, nor do I have a teacher I could directly ask if questions occur. Can someone recommend one specific resource, so that I don’t get further lost in the jungle that is japanese grammar resources?

Oh, also: I have heard that the genki series is pretty good and popular, and I have found this pdf of a black / white scan of a version from 2011.

So, TLDR: would that scan suffice, should I just get the newest version genki textbook in physical form, or is genki for someone like me no good at all, and you’d like to recommend another source? Please go ahead and tell me, because I really can’t decide here.

Thanks for any and all responses in advance!


Great that you’re just asking for help on this one. Most of us are very lost when I comes to this.

I’m completely self-taught myself so I feel much of the same. I did bide my time though, and learnt most of my grammar watching, listening, reading, playing, so I’ll leave if to the people with more solid advice to give it. If you’re still curious of what I did on my own, read my lv 60 post! :slight_smile: I’ve detailed a lot of it there. ^>^

Just know that you’re not alone in going at it alone. We’re many who have attempted it. ^>^



These are the best apps i know beside wanakani ← for grammar ← to read ← duolingo/memrise like


Genki is a really solid resource. I went through both of the textbooks on my own as well, and I got a lot out of them. If you prefer physical textbooks you can order it, but a PDF will work just fine. What really matters is getting the material to stick, which I did in two ways:

[【N5】Genki 1 Lesson 1 Grammar Made Clear | XはYです・Question か・の Particle - YouTube ]

Tokini Andy is a YouTube channel that mostly uploads videos for Japanese learners, and he does a series working through Genki I & II chapter by chapter. His videos were a huge help for me, because he gives example sentences, further context, and some practice with each and every grammar point.

[ Online Genki Workbook ]

Converted to an online format, this website has all the Genki practice problems. I highly recommend doing this alongside your studies, because it quizzes you on the material you just learned. Scroll down to the chapter that you’re on, and there will be links for each grammar point. One is a Practice exercise, which is usually in a multiple choice format. The other is a workbook exercise, which is usually writing a sentence yourself using the grammar point. The workbook exercises will ding you sometimes for using a kanji when it expected hiragana, but I never worried about that.

My approach through Genki was splitting it up into smaller pieces. For each grammar point, I’d make three checkboxes signifying: watch the Tokini Andy section, do the exercises, and write a sentence using it. For example, here’s an image of what my planner for Genki II looked like.

All in all, Genki is a good path to take. This is what worked for me, but change it up as you wish.



I take it that you are teaching japanese yourself on your own too then?

Also… thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed answer, just one thing: did you take a look at the pdf I linked? Would it be suitable, or do you reckon it’s too outdated?

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I also love the Tokini Andy videos! I felt like the textbook alone was just too 2-dimensional, whereas the videos really brought it to life and made it stick so much better. I also liked his extra examples and the way he expands on each point. He’s a really talented teacher!


Looks like that’s just a scan of second edition? I used 3rd but I’ve heard the differences are minor and 2nd edition is totally fine to use if it’s what you have on hand. May be a little change in order and whatnot if you use the aforementioned Tokini Andy videos (which I also highly recommend!) but you’ll be fine.


I also highly recommend this guy’s document as a sort of master doc of Japanese-learning resources. Some of his suggestions about learning about how languages are structured and phonetics are in my opinion a little over the top, but you really can’t beat how thorough this outline is in terms of directing you to different grammar resources, graded readers, immersion stuff, etc.

I also like seeing other people’s detailed reflections like this on how they learned the language, because I find it motivating and helpful!


ooo japanese io is just what i’ve been looking for ty!

I’ll plug Tae Kim’s Grammar guide here, years ago it was my starting point for learning Japanese Grammar using Free Online Resources, and since then I’ve bought the physical book to read/reference when offline. Really concise explanations that cover a lot of ground!


I found Human Japanese very user-friendly and useful when I was starting out on my own. It’s by the same people who are behind Satori Reader. While I was never at the right stage to use Satori Reader (first it was too advanced for me, then all of a sudden I was reading native material and didn’t need it), I hear only good things about it.
There are lots of free resources too of course, so in the end it comes down to what you feel comfortable with. Any resource you choose will teach you the basics adequately, I’m sure, as long as you stick to it. After the basics, immersion (reading, listening) will do the rest.


Well… you made it clear that it’s fine to use, but if the videos work better for the newer versions, then I’ll just grab those :slight_smile:

I just recently started trying to guide myself through Genki with the very same .pdf. :sunglasses: I also use Bunpro, set to follow Genki’s grammar points, and the Online Genki Workbook mentioned up-thread. I’ve tried the YT videos as well but mostly just to skim content I had just finished from the book a day or so after reading. It seems okay, especially after I settled into a routine, but I think I might like it better once I get out of the more college-oriented items and into the generalized stuff (I already graduated, I’d rather not spend time memorizing the words for everyone’s majors if I could sooner use those vocab slots for things like days of the week, you know?).

I personally think I like Bunpro the most, with the supplemental links they include for each point, but I do also appreciate the structure afforded by Genki and the ability to reinforce everything by seeing it across different mediums/services/locations. Finding something that sticks is likely better than finding the ‘perfect’, most efficient one thing. If it doesn’t work, there’s plenty else out there to consider instead.

I’m only on Ch. 4, so maybe I’ll see you around again if you decide to try it!

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bunpro helped me A LOT!

from N5 to N3 great tool to understand way better how to connect dialogues and its nuance.

From N1 and N2 I recommend another tool/material since for advanced grammar, their SRS method doesnt work very well (ten different ways to say something, it is almost impossible to see which one they want actually in the answer).


Late to the party, but:

My personal feeling is that grammar is difficult to book learn specific rules for beyond done basics and that many examples are better. Assuming you are trying to read simple stuff like NHK (and you’ve installed yomichan on your browser) then:

It’s worth reading through Tai Kim’s free guide without trying to learn anything, as this will give you an initial feel for it and it won’t take too long to get through.

It’s also worth printing out tables of verb and adjective forms and what they are used for (e.g. the negative, causative, and receptive attach to the あ stem of a 五段 verb, etc) because that will fit on a single sheet of paper, and you’ll soon start remembering what 食べさせる means with repeated quick lookups.

Beyond that, what I found most helpful is the set of grammar dictionaries (called, helpfully enough 日本語文法辞典) , beginner, intermediate, & advanced, along with the Anki deck of all 8547 example sentences that someone has made. Read a sentence, if you understand it, great, if not you can read an explanation of the grammar point it is an example of in the (very well put together) dictionary. Either way, press ‘good’ and move on to the next one. With 10 new sentences a day, you’ll also end up reading 50 previously seen ones a day. The first 2200 sentences cover the beginner book, so 7-8 months at an easy pace. I learned more grammar in 7 months of simple sentences than by everything else I’ve done in the last 2.5 years put together.

If you are ever confused by a particular bit of grammar (how come つもり changes meaning depending on whether it’s past or future tense?) then it’s worth seeing if Cure Dolly had a video on it.

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