How is it possible?!


Seriously how do I seem to get it wrong every time?! Same with たい and だい (for 大)

I’ve realised now I’m coming across items that I could be burning but getting wrong that I need to come up with my own mnemonics to remember the difference rather than just relying on what ‘sounds right’. They often both sound ok to me.

Just wanted a little rant to blow off steam from constantly getting potential burns wrong >_<

Anyone come up with any clever ways of remembering the difference? :slight_smile:


Someone told me a trick for this a while ago. It didn’t help. I was unhappy. Now I just get them wrong, spend some time in my cave with my power animal, and hope in the future I can get them based on sounding right.

I don’t remember what the trick was, sorry.



I usually find that にん seems to imply something more temporary, while じん seems to be used for something more permanent.

So something like 日本人 uses じん because it’s likely if someone’s Japanese they’re always Japanese. Whereas a word like 他人 uses にん because you’re only ‘another person’ in certain situations, not all the time.

It’s a very rough rule but I find it works a lot of the time, and at least help me remember.


I think the easiest solution is to be born Japanese, in Japan, with Japanese parents :sob:


Huh, that’s very interesting. I’ll be sure to look out for that in future!


This isn’t something I do, but I know some people work in an extra mnemonic. So like, 数人 involves the number of people a にんじゃ can cut down without having to take a break, and 人生 reflects on how a life without Gin isn’t a life worth living.
Or something.
Like I said, I don’t do it, so.
But basically make up a Ms Chou type character or object to associate with every word that contains 人.

Or, since you’re wrong 100% of the time, just always put in the answer you think is wrong :smile:


Here’s my two cents: I just try to memorize the hiragana that comes after.
For example:

大いに means Very.
大した means important.

same with 出るand 出す.
出る means to exit
and the other means to put out.

Being that I had to use Jisho to make sure of the meanings… I obviously didnt memorize them well enough.


I can think of a similar dilemma



If you’re wrong 100% of the time, just think of your guess and go with the other one :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, you would probably still be wrong in the end. Just like the USB.


I still mix up sageru and sagaru… – and ageru and agaru.

I would say, try to find a pattern.


Exactly my problem! Even when I second guess myself, I still end up getting it wrong :woman_facepalming:


Okay, give me some time… I have to leave here in a little less than 30 mins. If someone else hasn’t helped you, I’ll try to post something when I get back from work.

Right now, what I have, is that ageru uses the ue kanji. and I try to memorize which is which based upon whether it’s ga or ge.

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Well I found the pattern with those がる and げる verbs and came up with a way to remember the difference, but I can’t seem to figure out any consistency with にん and じん :thinking:


I dont know if nin is used beyond what ive seen at level two. From what I can tell it’s used to say how many people.

Jin is used for what KIND of people or people in general. Describing the people.

Just remember that jinkou has two meanings… artificial and population


For ageru and agaru, there’s a nice little trick.

aGAru → has an A → meaning does NOT have an A → to rise.

aGEru → does not have an A → meaning DOES have an A → to raise.

For sageru and sagaru, it’s a similar trick.

saGEru → has ge → meaning does NOT have GET → to lower

saGAru → does not have ge → meaning DOES have GET → to get lower

For にんand じん, it’s more grammatical and contextual. Not many tricks here.

If the word refers to a count or a collective group, it’s likely にん. If it refers to a characteristic (for example, French), it’s likely じん. There are obviously going to be exceptions, as 他人 (たにん) comes to mind.

It may help you to write them all down and study them.


I try to associate the reading either with an image of a strong and rude man (じん) or with a weak one (にん). It somehow works.


Here’s a more general trick that works with most verbs:
kanji-hiragana with a-hiragana with u: intransitive verb
kanji-hiragana with e-hiragana with u: transitive verb
kanji-hiragana with u: intransitive verb
This usually works except with re for some reason

As for jin vs nin, I assume its jin and just picture Mario or Link as the person if its nin (for nintendo)


Or just that, in general, a = intransitive e = transitive.
はじまる はじめる
あがる あげる
さがる さげる
しまる しめる
きまる きめる

Not an absolute rule though. There are some opposites, and also other patterns. But it helps to memorize these in pairs.

That’s not really true as you continue on.
Neither is the rule about じん being “innate” and にん being “transitory”
Those things can still help as mnemonics, even when they’re clearly not accurate.
“詩人 is しじん because poets are born poets!” can work as a mnemonic even when in reality 詩人 flies in the face of the “rule.”


The じん/にん observation is feeling spot on.

This person is a friend - yūjin
This person is an outsider - gaijin


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