How long can I delay learning grammar?

I’ve reached level 6 in WK and so far I’m getting a lot of kanji and vocabulary, and while it’s good, since I’m in college and working on a degree WK system has been great for me, since whenever I get home I can just do reviews/lessons in small doses (as I do them often enough to keep them small).
rather than sitting and studying from Genki (which requires a lot more focus out of me).

But my problem comes from Grammar, I’ve seen in manga words that are similar to what I’ve learned so far but in different hiragana, apparently that’s due to different forms of a certain vocab word and because of that I couldn’t understand what they meant.

What I want to know is how long can I delay learning grammar while going on WK?
Will it be more harmful to delay it?
I need to know this as I’m getting close to exam season in my college in a month or so.

Answers would be appreciated.


to start off if you know around 300 kanji and 1,000 Japanese vocab then its a grate time to start learning grammar


honestly? the sooner the better. if you can read hiragana and katakana, and especially since you know a handful of kanji at this point, there’s no harm in starting at least basic grammar and sentence structure. grammar is the biggest downfall I have with my japanese studies, and I put it off for a long time out of intimidation. the sooner you start grammar, the sooner you can start reading, which will help further solidify the kanji you know! Tadoku has free graded readers that are good for beginners.


Not at all, imo. Misa’s starting videos, and her videos in general, work great even if you don’t know words. And if you install Yomi-chan (FF, Chrome) you don’t even need words for BunPro which I would recommend using.

Since you can look up a lot of shit with Yomi-chan, I’d say grammar is actually even more important than vocabulary (unless, of course, you aim to live in Japan and need to speak it).


I started learning grammar from Level 8 and it was a mistake. Mostly because I don’t know enough kanji symbols. So sometimes I didn’t understand examples given with every rule. And also I had problems with doing grammar tests. Actually, I was less or more ok with nouns, adjectives and verbs cojugations. But really struggling with particles. I reccomend to start learning grammar not earlier than Level 10.

Also, I’ve uh… admittedly jumped to reply even without reading your first post in detail. But now that I have! Yeah, I hate textbooks, too. I’d really recommend you start using BunPro. This is super controversial, but reading is the most pain in the ass part of it, like reading from textbooks. But here’s the thing: You don’t really need it.
Read the most basic explanation on BP and review away. You’re sure to learn at least the most frequent use of the grammar point, and you’ll get everything else by engaging with the language in the wild. If your understanding is bad, you’ll fail the review. In which case I’d recommend reading a link or two (as soon as you get what you previously didn’t you can stop) from the “Reading” section on that particular grammar point on BunPro. And that’s it. Max bang for buck.

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If you’re not in a rush to learn, and you’re planning on learning your grammar from a book like Genki, it’s ok to wait until you’re about level 10 or so. This way you’ll know a lot of the vocab and kanji from the book, so you can focus more on just the grammar. I started my book at lvl 5 and it was ok, albeit slowish.

But If you plan on trying to read stuff early on then grammar is essential. You can always look up words in a dictionary, but without the grammar you won’t even know when a word starts or ends in a phrase. It will also make wani kani easier, because you’ll likely pick up some new words before they show up here. Whatever you choose to do, good luck :muscle:t3:


You may delay learning grammar until yesterday.


About 95% of the time when I have the option to choose to study kanji or grammar, I go with kanji, even though I really should be studying grammar. I just enjoy studying kanji more.


I think the sooner the better. In the practical application of the language, grammar precedes vocab. With 1 grammar point you can express multitudes more than you can with, for instance, 5 or 10 new words. It’s much easier to search and learn a new kanji/vocab than it is to learn a new grammar point whenever you encounter it. Furthermore, I don’t find a lack of kanji knowledge to be too debilitating when it comes to early grammar points… I find the stigma here of “wait until level 10” a bit confusing because every beginner grammar resource I know of has a kanji list, romaji subtitles, furigana, or some combination of the three. The point of them isn’t to learn vocab, it’s to learn grammar, and learning every new word you encounter isn’t necessary for that.

Good news though is that you don’t need to study grammar even half as much as vocab. There just aren’t as many grammar points to study, and the best way to genuinely nail grammar down is to apply it (same goes for vocab really)


100% same. Nice to know that I’m not the only one. Not that it’s really hard to guess there are others, but it’s still nice to confirm it.

My guess is cause - at least WK vs BP - there’s less conscious thinking involved. I mean, I should use conscious thinking when I’m doing kanji I recently learned (which is most of the time), but unlike grammar I don’t have to. You can get by just by “guessing,” while with grammar, you can’t. I meeaann you coouuld, but only when you know the grammar point really, really, well.

Thanks for telling about Misa’s videos. Looks like it’s a nice way to study grammar. :slight_smile:


It all depends on what your personal goals are, and how it feels best for you to get there! You could even potentially put off formally studying grammar pretty much indefinitely, and just rely on exposing yourself to tons and tons of Japanese content until you start to pick up the grammar intuitively.
OR you could pick up the nearest grammar resource, or the one that looks the most inviting to you, right this second and start analysing and practicing the different ways you can put sentences together.
There isn’t really a clear right or wrong answer, and you’ll hear different people advocating lots of different approaches.
Figure out what you want to do. If that’s reading manga, keep reading manga. Write down stuff you don’t understand, and look it up or ask a native speaker. If it’s preparing for your exams, buckle down and study your course materials.
As long as you don’t stop trying entirely, you’re most likely going to make progress. And you’re probably not going to do anything that’s actively “harmful” to your language learning–it’s hard to actually make steps backwards. Even the things we think of as “bad habits” in a language are usually just weak points that we can overcome once we identify them.

My main advice would just be to focus on the end goal and keep going, without spending too much time on whether you’re doing things the “right” way or not. Do what feels right, or what’s interesting enough to keep you going! That way you’re making some kind of progress no matter what, and the specifics of what you want/need to focus on next will become clearer.


I agree with everything you wrote, except this to an extent. I’ve tried learning grammar like this, and sometimes it’s important to know what the words involved mean. And to know, you need to keep jumping up and down to look at lists, which makes a pain in the ass task, an even bigger pain in the ass. You either learn words, use Yomi-Chan, or use something that doesn’t use as much words, like Misa. Someone more patient might not mind the list approach, but I hate its guts. I initially gave up on grammar because of it.

I honestly wouldn’t know since I haven’t used anything since discovering the Bible (aka a dictionary of japanese grammar) which has the sentence, the sentence in romaji, the sentence in English, and then a detailed explanation of the grammar function in subject. So everything needed is right there. Maybe the point of my post should have been to read the Bible (read: a dictionary of japanese grammar).

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As long as everything is right there I’m all for it :+1:

When I mentioned college in my main post, I meant to software engineering degree, and the exam seasons are for courses relating to that, not japanese.

It’s completely unrelated to japanese studying.

I’m studying japanese out of personal interest and goal of being able to read raw manga or view raw anime and actually understand what I’m reading / hearing.

In the end my wish is to reach that goal in 2 years, but I don’t want to harm my SE degree, as I’m in my 3rd year already ( out of 5), so SE degree has higher priority for me than japanese.

Regarding what other people suggested using translation type of extensions would be problematic for me when trying to read manga online as it’s usually scans rather than actual text.

But I suppose I’ll have to sit with Genki when I’ll have time to.

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You can only delay as long as you want to be unable to read, write, speak or listen to anything. Even the most basic of graded readers requires knowing at least a passing knowledge of the most common particles (は, が, と, の, で, etc.) and at least understanding how to conjugate a verb into past and negative form.


Oh okay, got it!

The good news with manga is that depending on the age demographic, you’ll probably get at least some of the furigana, so it’ll be easier to type some of the words you don’t know into a dictionary app. For anime it can be a little harder, especially when people speak quickly or with exaggerated dialects… but it might be worth googling around to see if you can find Japanese subtitles for them somewhere! I’ve been surprised at how many obscure things have subtitles available online. Japanese subtitles can be a lifesaver if you can find them, because you get used to recognising the words and sentence constructions while hearing what they sound like spoken out loud at a natural pace at the same time. Reading training AND ear training at once!

If you don’t mind reading/watching things multiple times, I’ve had a lot of fun returning to things after a month or two to see how much more I can understand.

And honestly, if Genki requires more focus than you can give to it, no need to push yourself too hard to use exclusively for grammar. You might check out some of the other things mentioned in this thread, like Misa-sensei’s videos or Bunpro. Nihongo no Mori has some fun grammar videos with example sentences, too. It might take some trial and error, but if you can find things that keep you motivated so you’re consistently making progress, you can do TONS in two years!


I’ll look at her videos, it might be easier for me to listen and comprehend rather than reading and comprehending (reading takes a lot more focus for me rather than listening to someone)

I appreciate everyone’s responses, I hope I’ll be able to succeed with the grammar part and continue onward!