Cannot form full sentences with previously known knowledge

This is a problem that affects both my speaking and my writing of japanese.
I always try to read out loud to improve my pronounciation (I’m becoming faster and faster to read full sentences out loud thanks to that);
I’m studying grammar separately - something that I almost always get stuck trying to understand, but nothing too impossible;
I’m managing to understand slowly - but gradually - more and more of real japanese people speaking irl;
And I even recognize kanji (AND their sounds) that I learned from WaniKani in real life examples (i.e. seeing a japanese post on social media);
But I STILL cannot form/write full sentences, because I always tend to forget everything I learned before. It is really frustrating. You know full well you’re improving in certain areas, but you’re stuck in limbo with this particular (and major) thing. It’s the same thing of studying hard for a school exam days before, but when you actually start to do the test, everything you studied before disappears from your head.
Can you guys give me any advice on how to actually write stuff with the knowledge you already have? Because there’s one thing I know for real: the problem isn’t my “lack of knowledge” (hence the kanji recognization I spoke before). Anything useful goes.

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What are you actually doing to study? That would be a helpful place to start. What textbooks, websites/videos, SRS and output practice are you doing? And how long have you been doing them for?

Consumption and Production are two very different things. WK is consumption only.

I have the same problem, but don’t really care about production at the present time. If production is important you need to practice it A LOT. Find a speaking partner and practice grammar points in your textbooks. Over and over.

For kanji take a look at KaniWani which forces you to produce.


I mainly use the Tae Kim`s Grammar Book, and a bit of the N5-focused grammar guide of the thejapanesepage website.
I ALWAYS try to read what I can when I see japanese posts/content on the internet (and it’s not that rare that I see them, that you can be sure of). I pratice my out loud reading and remembering the kanji I learned on WK both by doing this.
But other than that, I use wanikani for kanji and vocabulary learning (and also practice the out loud reading with the sentences they give in the examples), and I think that’s it.

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I did the exact same thing when I was at your level. I’d want to speak to a Japanese friend and forget every word I’d ever learned. I think it is just a matter of being more familiar with the language and that comes with time. You’ll get there with time and experience. I try talking to myself, and if I know I will be around a Japanese person, I will practice ahead of time whatever I think I may want to say to them. It helps me tremendously doing that. Good luck. You’ll get there.


Consume more Japanese media. There are loads of tools that can help you along the way eg. yomichan for reading, language reactor for watching netflix, youtube, etc.

If you’d like faster progress you can also find someone to practice speaking with. iTalki for paid, HelloTalk for free.

You will gradually become more familiar with the language overall the more you immerse yourself within it. There comes a point where living with Japanese becomes more beneficial than studying Japanese.


If your goal is early production, I would get a nice thick phrasebook in PDF format, copy the example conversations down and make SRS cards out of them. If you SRS conversations alongside your vocabulary and grammar, production will be easier. The Shadowing beginner book might also be of use to you.

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I came across this playlist, with 3 repeats for every phrases, so you can easily repeat – #1 Learn Japanese with drama /ドラマで学ぶ日本語 - YouTube

You might want to review phonetics and pitch accent basics first though, to be able to hear better. Nonetheless, simply remembering sentences might be of help.

Presumably, lots of vocabularies will need to be remember soon as well, so after pre-made lists, listening / reading enough is just unavoidable.

I’ve been trying to improve my recall. I know I can recognize words, but recalling them in the moment is still difficult.

I go kana by kana and try to say every word that begins with that kana out loud. For example, あ: あいさつ、アイスクリーム、あおい、あした. い: いちご、イギリス、いじょう、etc.

When I’m walking down the street I try to name things I’m seeing in Japanese, describe my thoughts in Japanese, what I plan to do next and what I just did in Japanese. Even if the grammar’s wrong, or even if I only know a few words. It’s about reminding myself I know what I know, and about getting practice recalling it quickly.

edit: since i’m still masking I can get away with muttering to myself and no one knows :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Shiritori works for that, but if you always go for the first 5 you can think of, you’re not reviewing the rest. And if you did all you can think of, it’s going to take a while.

I think there’s a couple layers to learning to speak. First is learning grammar and vocab through books, flashcards, etc., then there is imitation. I find imitation is the quickest way to get the results your looks for and what you choose to imitate can be anything from YouTube, to even a 7-11 store employee.

I think there might be another layer and that would be routine. Are you just coming up with one sentence a day? Or are you finding ways to use your second language throughout the day? One thing you can do is a journal but those are hard for me, the easiest thing for me was finding single words, or phrases where I could easily just swap out and use by myself. Like now I naturally say things when I have certain reactions. I think if you keep building on that you might find small but meaningful success.

DISCLAIMER: Speaking is my worst skill. I am not an expert speaker by any means, but I am comfortable using Japanese when I want to (even if it sounds like garbage).

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True, it’s all I can think of off the top of my head*
*until I get bored and move on to the next kana or stop, lol

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