How do I know which reading to use for the context sentences?

Unlocked my first vocab today in level 1 but lost as to which reading fits for each sentence while attempting to read the sentences out loud.

Also, for the vocab, like for the word “Seven” there are 2 readings: nana + shi chi but why aren’t they labelled whether they are onyomi or kunyomi?

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I think you might be mixing up kanji versus vocab. 七 the kanji includes information about which reading is on’yomi and which is kun’yomi. Words (vocab) can be made up of zero, one, or more kanji, and they can be made from only kun’yomi, only on’yomi, a combination, or neither. While 七 can be read either as なな or しち, most words can only be read a single way.

So to your question about which reading fits for each sentence, it should be the reading that you were taught with that vocab lesson. In the rare case where there is more than one reading for the vocab, sometimes it can be read multiple ways in any situation, and sometimes it’s contextual. If you were curious about the 七 sentences specifically, they are each illustrating different Japanese counters, which usually have a specific reading for each number. For these sentences, they are:

  1. 七じ (七時) → しち (7 o’clock)
  2. 七こ (七個) → なな (7 mikans for this sentence, but this is a general purpose counter)
  3. 七にん (七人) → しち (7 people)

I believe it’s true that 七時 and 七個 are always しちじ and ななこ respectively, but 七人 can be either しちにん or ななにん. When more than one is possible, sometimes one of them is rare or old-fashioned, etc. I’m not sure that’s the case with 七人.

In any case, I can see why the example sentences are confusing to a beginner here, since there isn’t any guidance on which reading goes with which sentence.

The vocab item for 七 accepts both readings.

I don’t think they should be using counters here, since that’s more advanced than the pure number concept. Something like a launch countdown, or other non-counter situations would be better.


The context sentences on this site are a joke.

They literally are just somebody making (typically useless, counterproductive) jokes.

But, don’t worry too much about that yet… The pronunciation for kanji/vocab/onyomi/kunoymi will become more intuitive for you over time.

As far as reading context sentences, you’ll need other resources eventually. WaniKani’s main goal is to help facilitate the recognition and memory side of things.

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The first 20 levels contain three sentences each, including mostly serious sentences meant to help users learn. The sentences you’re referring to are the original ones made many years ago, which I agree aren’t too useful.

Oh, maybe some day I’ll go back and look at the ones which might be useful. I started realizing it was a waste of time to look at them around level 11 or 12 and have been happier with the site since them because I ignore them unless the vocabulary words meaning/translation is a bit strange.

Still, though, as a general rule, I wouldn’t recommend WK’s context sentences. I’d recommend other resources for that. WK is better at other things.

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Yeah, the sentences for 七 are all fine in that regard. That’s definitely not the issue here. You can argue the last isn’t “useful” but it’s the “advanced” one of the 3, and so I would say there’s some leniency there.

I have noticed that some of the example sentences use readings that have not been covered yet. Of course a beginner would read the sentence with the known (and incorrect) reading. There should be some kind of button to trigger the furigana so we can make sure we’re reading it correctly.

Do you have an example of that? That shouldn’t be happening, where they are effectively not using the word in the sentence. I do know some of them use the same kanji in other words within the same sentence, which might be a little confusing, but my recollection was that the actual vocab word is also in there.

I just looked through all my vocabulary sentences and can’t actually find what I (thought) I was referring to, so it’s very possible I was mistaken… or just very tired and not paying enough attention. lol

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The example sentences also often use vocab not covered in WK, and I too find it annoying that I have to look them up elsewhere. Sometimes the word has alternative readings and it would be nice to know which would be preferred in that sentence. WK could take a page from Bunpro which has furigana available for every word in every example sentence accessible with a single click on the word.


how do i make the most efficient use of the sentence examples in new vocab? so far i just read the english meaning then try to spot the vocab in the sentence & then move on.

got any resources you recommend?

are you talking about the bunpro grammar site which has no app or the app one?

maybe jisho? or a grammar book? or a kanji book, like Kanji Look and Learn? Or Easy and Fun Kanji? Anyways, more of the reading is going to become more intuitive to you as you progress on this site. My main point was that the sentences are not the point. The kanji is the point.

Oh yes. I’ve come across a few where I know the word, and it hasn’t been covered yet. I’m currently working on level three, but some of the kanji and words I know far, far exceeds what’s currently being “taught”.

I’ve just reached 中止 in the vocab lessons. The third example context sentence is this:


Because of my particular knowledge, I know for a fact that what was cancelled is 生放送 read as NAMA housou.

However that reading for 生 has not been covered. It’s been introduced as a radical meaning “life”, and as a kanji meaning “life” with the ON yomi セイ and ショウ.

Anyone who has no prior knowledge would read 生ほうそう as “sei housou” or “shou housou”, neither of which appear to be real words, let alone the correct reading.

I wouldn’t say it’s all the time, but it’s definitely frequent enough that I can understand why OP is confused. The example sentences sometimes use readings that haven’t been covered, and I think I’ve even seen a kanji or two appear that hasn’t been covered yet either.

P.S. it’s my first post in the community and I’m on mobile, so I apologize for any weird formatting lol

Edit: just came across this one while learning “shoujo”:


Hisashiburi hasn’t even been introduced let alone the Kanji XD

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Everyone has a different approach, but personally I didn’t read them very often. I mostly only read the English sentence when the English meaning was ambiguous, to avoid misunderstanding the English meanings in case of homonyms. For example, WaniKani defines 右 (みぎ) as “right”. But in English “right” can mean a direction, like “left”, or it can mean “correct”. Reading the example sentences can clarify which it is if it’s unclear. (In this case it’s the direction by the way.) I almost never bothered reading the Japanese sentences in full. But again, everyone has a different approach on this.


I think the context sentences are in many cases just too hard. They tend to not only use unlearned Kanji, the grammar could be easier, too.

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The third example sentence is always intended to be an advanced one, whereas the other 2 will be simpler. So yes, if you are a beginner, you will encounter some sentences that are too difficult to read, since they are there for people who are new to the site but not new to Japanese.

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i use the context sentences when the english meaning of the word is ambiguous. for example, if the english meaning given is earth, does WK mean the planet we live on, or the soil a farmer tills?

i also find browser extensions like rikaichampvery useful, which can give you extra information when you mouse over a kanji or word