Grammar confusion advice

I just hit level 10 on WaniKani and while I’ve also been studying grammar I’ve recently started doubling down on it. I want to start trying to read simple books or manga in Japanese. I use HelloTalk to chat with Japanese speakers. I’ve seen posts around here talking about the app so I’ll skip the explanation of what it does.

One thing I’ve run into is that I’ll write a post and when I do get corrections I’ll get several different kinds. I’ve even had people tell me that it is fine after others corrected it. I understand that in English there are numerous ways to say any one thing and I’m sure Japanese is like this as well, but it makes learning what is correct very difficult. Does anyone have any suggestions to focus on grammar and know if I’m doing it right?

I am a Lang-8 member as well and plan to start posting longer posts in there soon as a heads up.

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Do you mean “stylistically correct” or “grammatically correct”? For grammatically correct there should hopefully be only one correct answer.

Being a native speaker doesn’t automatically make you an expert in grammar, you should search for a few people where you can trust the advice and stick to them. I haven’t used HelloTalk, there should be some voting or ranking system, or you can ask some people directly?

Yeah, people on Lang-8 (or HelloTalk) are not necessarily experts in the concept of “error correction.”

They might not be good at gauging how much you are capable of digesting at any one time.

For instance, a beginner who starts every sentence with 私 probably shouldn’t be corrected on that just yet, if they are also showing that they don’t understand word order. The stylistic element of overusing 私 can wait until they know how to make a grammatically correct sentence.

But people often don’t think that way.


I mostly get corrections on particles and verb conjugations which i admit I’m still working on. What gets me is I’ll get one person correcting a particle and another saying the particle is fine but I should use a different verb conjugation.

That seems like just a result of them not knowing what you had in mind when you wrote the sentence.


That could be it. I enter what I’m trying to say in English right under my Japanese. Probably doesn’t help they’re trying to learn English at the same time…

That makes me feel a bit better though so I’ll keep plowing through grammar with Genki, TaeKim, and ordering manga and LNs.

It’s just the nature of getting free corrections. Look at the corrections English speakers give on the Japanese posts, 7 different people will correct something with no explanation. Lots of time the English corrections are even “wrong”, because you have people correcting to 17-25 year old casual speech…not textbook.

You’ll get more out of HelloTalk if you ask specific questions, or find a native that has a high level of English that is willing to explain something too you. Even then…they usually tell me everything I wrote was wrong. :cry:

Mostly non teachers are horrible at understanding what it’s like for a complete beginner. I get way more out of my lessons on iTalki than posting on HelloTalk currently.


I see this happening a lot on HelloTalk, with corrections in either English or Japanese, from both sides.

It bothers me when I see someone correct another’s English incorrectly. I wish they would implement a voting system where others could say “yes, I agree with this correction” or “I don’t agree with this correction”. I think that would help the original poster of the sentence/question. Of course, that certainly wouldn’t make it perfect, but I do think it would have some merit to it.

Usually, if I really want to know what’s correct, I’ll ask about it here in the grammar questions thread. Leebo is almost always the one to help, and he responds really quickly. do you even sleep, Leebo?


You ever see people’s shitting English corrections, or English “explanations”, and then you’re like, “No, that person is an idiot don’t listen to them.” It’s just like that.

But also sometimes there are just multiple valid corrections.It’s really an impossible question to answer without examples.


Lang-8 has this half of the feature. I wouldn’t be opposed to a disagree button either. I’ve found myself pointing out errors with English corrections on occasion, although I’d say most of the ones I’ve seen are acceptable.

One of the challenges with corrections is judging the language level of the person you’re correcting. If you’re correcting someone like me who can barely string sentences together and uses the wrong particles everywhere, I get more value out of corrections for that, or conjugations, rather than changing the word to something I don’t know.

Corrections can vary in quality by a fair bit. I always try to be one of the people giving high-quality corrections and I’ve been fortunate to have some friends who give me excellent descriptions of what they’re correcting. I think having a consistent group of people exchanging corrections helps a lot, because you can get familiar with what level they are at and what errors they tend to make.

@Leebo is a god of Japanese who transcends space and time. He has no need for such things.


The type of corrections I dislike most are when people correct something that didn’t even need corrected. Even though their correction is usually also correct, the way the person said it in the first place was fine. I feel like that happens way more than it should. Some people just shouldn’t be writing corrections. xD

^This, basically, is also what I’m saying lol. Didn’t see Syphus’ post until after I read yours, sornvru.

Sometimes I do correct things that might be okay in the original form, but would sound better if written in a different way. I would only do that for those who have a good English level who would understand an explanation of why I’m correcting it, but I have dug very deep with some people to correct incredibly minor details to make them sound as native as possible.

Once I corrected “high-school” to “high school.” The former is technically correct by the rules, but it’s an exception just because we drop hyphens from common word pairs (see chocolate chip). I had to write a paragraph on this correction.

I only correct situations like that in Lang-8 if they state they want a more natural sound.

I’ll pick apart corrects and see if it makes sense to me why they changed what they changed or I’ll ask. I went into Japanese thinking it wouldn’t be as difficult as it is.

I had to scale back my expectations and even had thoughts about dropping it altogether since I probably won’t every live there (too many kids and their school system would bankrupt me lol). I’m doing it just because I like the media and I had such a wonderful time when I visited with what little Japanese I knew at the time. I’ll keep at it and keep practicing.

Thank you all for the feedback.

If you can afford it I would use a teacher on italki. You can find teachers who (included in thier lesson price) will do work with you on correcting sentences etc. They will know you, know your level and what an appropriate correction would be, and are trained teachers.

Correcting beginner’s grammar is hard work. I doubt you will consistently be able to get good results without paying someone (or making friends with a specific person who is willing to help you on a consistent basis for free).

I look at the corrects that people do for people learning English and most of the time they are garbage. Either wrong in some substantial way, or completely missing the point of what the student is obviously confused about. So I personally would not put a lot of faith in their Japanese counterparts.

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