Don's Japanese Conjugation Drill


“formal” and “informal” is another alternative to “polite” and “plain”


About the trick questions. It’s necessary to keep stop you assuming likely answers. E.g. If you have “polite”, “past”, “negative” set and you get 食べます and “past” then you can use the fact that (1) it’s polite and (2) you were asked for “past” (this tells you it is present tense without you having to understand that from the given conjugation) and so you know the answer must be polite, past, affirmative.

Your brain is an excellent device to make unconscious shortcuts like this given enough examples.


For when that’s all it wants…

But… but… I think Don has already said “that would be too easy”… or something to that effect.


I see what you mean. For me though, that thought process would be longer than just looking at it and going: oh, it’s past / non-past. I have that kind of problem for WK though where I know answers not by really knowing the kanji but by knowing that ‘the one I always get confused with it came up 8 hours ago so this is likely to be the other one’ etc


Do you mean Keigo by that? But Keigo is even more polite, which would be the opposite of non-polite.
… I’m getting more and more confused in here. @_@


Yeah, it was precisely that confusion which led me to change from “non-polite” because there’s more than plain forms and masu forms and so describing something by what it isn’t doesn’t make sense when there’s more than two choices.

Maybe that tester was being too pedantic though…


Eh? I would think from that question, you mean it would be 食べました…

(The confusion continues to grow).

Thanks @riccyjay - I feel like without the trick questions the test made a little more sense (see the 2/5 correct with to the 3/5 correct without). Pretty sure I had the trick questions set on the first set by accident when I wanted no trick questions.

@Don - Yeah, it felt like 4 out of 5 questions were those trick questions where the answer was the same in the first set… so not quite 100%, but pretty dern close. Lowering the % would probably be good.
Also @FelixNemis’ suggestion of formal and informal, I would agree! ^^


I do that so often too, with my trouble sets of synonyms… @_@
Though the last time I did that, I had it backwards, and it was the opposite of what I had expected, and I missed enlightening something rather than it being the newer word from 8 hours ago.


Also about the IME. You can type answers in kana.

IME’s are actually a problem because it might show you the answer when you get close enough.


Bah! Thanks for pointing that out!



@riccyjay - I did the above and it worked for me. Perhaps it was just that one kanji that was buggy?

So it’s supposed to work on Mobile too, Don? I’m at my computer and at least MS IME doesn’t give me suggestions (without cycling through them on purpose, I guess, and getting the tense wrong would still totally happen).


OH! Okay. So you didn’t mean for negative to be a part of it because you didn’t ask for it. Phew.

I was beginning to think I was going crazy…


I’m using MS IME and it’s giving me conjugations that I had typed before. I dunno - maybe it’s not a big problem.

Yes, it’s supposed to work on mobile though I’ve not yet tried it… I might be too wide though.


Things typically resize on phones. Or it might work horizontally still.

Also, I think I get part of where the confusion is coming from… I wonder if wording it differently “How do you say 食べなかった formally?” would result in “食べませんでした” instead of “What is the plain form of 食べなかった?” Not actually sure if moving the verb around would help or not… but … just a passing thought.

Oh, I also liked @Qiwi’s idea of having the “2 changes” be a clickable (but non-default) option.

Also, my version of Microsoft IME is way old. I do think I see some suggestions with Google IME even on Windows 7, but I’m on XP right now (and usually am when sitting on my computer).


Thanks, Don! This drill has already been super helpful. I appreciate the having to move back and forth between conjugations/tenses… It’s making me think the whole time and have to understand what I’m doing a little more.

I know the drill is brand new as of yet. In the future if you have time it would be great to have the vocabulary expanded a bit. Sometimes I get identical questions in a row.

The only confusing thing I’ve encountered it when the question is in either affirmative or negative “て” form, and it asks for “plain” form: Sometimes it seems like it wants dictionary form but then others it seems it wants the affirmative “て” form. A bit confusing that one… Maybe someone already brought that up above. That’s about it though… I’ve been unchecking the trick question box for most of my use so far and figured out like someone else did mention, it does want you to find the kanji instead of hiragana… but only sometimes? I’m not sure.

Anyways, thanks for your work, I like it a lot so far!


Thanks! :slight_smile:

I do wonder if accidental spaces in the input are an issue. There’s some screenshots above I will test out shortly.

OK - I will expand the vocab a bit.

Negative て forms have caused confusion so I might need to put those behind a special checkbox.


@doncr, you’re a legend. Thanks for building this web site.

@AnimeCanuck, depending on which textbook you choose, this is how you distinguish the verb types:

う Regular 1, Group 1, godan, ない form ends in -anai.
る Regular 2, Group 2, ichidan, ない form ends in -inai or -enai


OK - I’ve dialled down the trick question chance to 25%. See how that goes.


I got it to generate 10000 questions and these the number of trick questions in each sample:


Why, why why is Ichidan 2?! When it has いち in it?!

Weird, weird, weird textbook makers!

That’s all I have to say about that. And, er, thanks, Wunderbunny. : / (That is me makin’ a face at the whole concept, and not at you.)


Because I don’t code above CSS, how many trick questions were actually in the set of 10000?