Confusing "Reading" and "Meaning" During Reviews - Leeway?

I’m still only on level 1, I just began, but I noticed that 9 out of 10 times that I get something wrong on my reviews, it’s not because I didn’t know the answer, but because I misread what the app was asking me. “Reading” and “Meaning” are very similar looking words and sometimes I flub it in my brain and type the “meaning” when it was actually asking me for the “reading” (or vice versa) and only after I click enter and get that disheartening red box telling me I’m wrong, only then am I like “Wait, what? Oh, crap, I did it again!”.

Part of the problem is that I work quickly, so I see the character, skim the “reading”/“meaning” instruction, and type very fast and hit enter before I realize I misread “reading”/“meaning” as the opposite. I could probably improve myself by just going a little slower, but I dunno, that’s just how I go I guess.

But I think maybe some leeway could be put in place… rather than giving an immediate “WRONG” when someone types the meaning instead of the reading (or vice versa), I suggest that it instead of gives a yellow WARNING and then asks that you try again, because obviously if you still got the READING correct, when it wanted the MEANING, you still properly recognized the character, you just misunderstood the question haha. So you should get another chance to type in the answer.

Granted, it’s probably not a big deal, because when you get one wrong, it just means more frequent reviews, which in the long run can really only help me to remember them, but still…


Often if you type the meaning instead of the reading, you won’t be able to enter it, because many English words don’t convert to acceptable kana.

Presumably you’re experiencing this mostly with typing the reading in place of the meaning.

You’re right that the obvious solution is to just slow down!

But if you can’t control yourself, there’s the override script, that will let you ignore any incorrect input for any reason. Obviously you should use it with a modicum of self-control.


You saying “app” makes me think youre on mobile, but if you aren’t, know where it says “READING” and “MEANING” are in white and black, depending on what type it is. I never even look at the words, I just know if the banner between the kanji and the input box is black, its reading, and if it’s white, it’s meaning.

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Also, if you did mean a mobile app, when you said “the app,” know that there isn’t one “the app.” There are several, made by third parties. The one I use on android has the override ability built in.

If you have the patience, switching between an English keyboard and a Japanese keyboard has helped me with those a lot. If you type the reading where the meaning goes, and you do it in kana, it’ll shake at you because it knows you mixed up what was being asked for. With mobile, Gboard keyboard on Android is good for this. On a Windows computer, you can enable the in-built IME.

ETA: I replied to the wrong person, whoops. Point still stands.

I used to do the same thing when I started, and it’s a problem that will go away by itself. After a coulpe of levels you’ll see the “meaning” or “reading” prompt and will enter the appropriate answer without giving it any thought.

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There are mixed opinions on this, but one solution is to use the Reorder script in 1x1 mode with reading (or meaning) always coming first. So, for example, if 川 comes up, it will ask for reading first (かわ), then immediately ask for meaning (river).

A common argument against this is that it eliminates ‘interleaving’, which (when done right) helps reinforce the material. Personally, I think a deeper understanding of interleaving helps undercut this argument.
Another argument against is that making these mistakes forces you to slow down and be more deliberate about your learning. It’s hard to argue against that.

A few arguments for this method are:
It eliminates mistakes that have little to do with actual Japanese learning.
Also, by consistently doing the reading first, you are training your brain to immediately think of the word in Japanese first, whereas doing the meaning first tends to make you think of the word in English first. (The ‘meaning’ is actually just the English ‘reading’. The true ‘meaning’ is more of a non-verbal thing, but typing it in English is a convenient way of confirming that you understand the conceptual meaning).

[edit] Note that you can do the reading-then-meaning without using a script. Each time a word comes up, just mentally recite the reading first, then meaning, no matter which one it’s asking for. Then type the answer that it’s asking for. Quite a few people have reported a significant increase in memorization using that method.

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I apologize if I was confusing. I use it in my web browser, I’m not sure why I used the word “app”, I’m not sure what else to call the interface on the website. I will take a look at the color the next time and see if I catch the difference that magiconic mentioned. That could help.

I had this problem at first (probably a lot of people do), but once you know to look for it, your eyes will just skim the black banner and you’ll automatically know it’s asking for the reading.

Another hint: The input box will ask for your 答え for readings, and “Your Response” for meanings.


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