How do you remember which reading is correct?

This has been especially hard for me when a single character has two different readings, like month. I remember the mnemonics but I can never remember which is supposed to be つき and which is supposed to be がつ. This is something I can never seem to wrap my head around.

I’m sure people can recommend mnemonics they personally used and whatnot, but the words that use 月 are quite common, and so the most lasting solution is to expose yourself to more Japanese content. And the words will take hold more firmly.

Yeah, I get that for the most part context is what’s going to help out but when I’m doing reviews on wanikani is when this problem is rearing its head.

I’m not so much referring to context… What I mean is, certain words are so common that they kind of solve problems of trying to remember them on their own.

We don’t get a lot of threads about people complaining that ねこ or かわいい are words that they struggle to remember the correct reading for. Because they are so common that even people who are just starting Japanese seriously often have them ingrained from exposure.

The 月 words are probably not in the same category, but maybe they’re a tier down or something. Their level of commonness is such that with some more exposure they should become like ねこ or かわいい in terms of you just see a month or something and it’s not even a question of what it could be.


Let the SRS do its thang. You’ll eventually get it. Like Leebo said, it’s about exposure.


The standalone vocab word (purple background) is つき. The kanji question (pink background) wants you to type either げつ or がつ.

The kanji on its own will always be read つき when you come across it in the wild (unless it’s an abbreviation for 月曜日 like you might see on a calendar).

In compound words, it can be one of all three readings, and sometimes even two readings are acceptable, though one will be more common.

I was trying to find a post I wrote on this once, but couldn’t find it. This thread from a while ago might be of help:

My nemesis, 月, and how to overcome his evil ways


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