How should I use the context sentences effectively?

For the most part, I just skip the context sentences page. When I’m doing my lessons, I want to get through them quickly while they’re still fresh in my head when it comes to the quiz. But lately, I wonder if I should use them somehow. I just don’t really know how I should be using them to get something out of them. How do you guys treat them and what tips do you have?

Well, I used to skip them too, but now I read all of them during my lessons. For one thing, they help understand the meaning more correctly.
It’s important to note that all WK context sentences are made and checked by native speakers, so they are grammatically correct and are therefore not a bad reading practice.

And some of them are absolutely hilarious :sweat_smile:

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So you don’t find that reading them distracts you from the lessons? I just worry I would spend so long reading them all that I’d forget the first few lessons.

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No, it doesn’t distract me – on the contrary, it helps me memorize it.
However, to be fair, I only started reading them after I’ve gone through all WK kanji, made audiomnemonics of them and listened to them for a while, which helped me not feel demotivated when seeing unfamiliar kanji without furigana. Before I did that, those sentences did distract me.

As a compromise, if you find a context sentence too hard, you can just read English translation. It still helps understanding the context in which the word is used…

Also, different methods work differently for different people, so maybe it would be better for you not to read them at all… Finding out what works for you and what doesn’t – is an essential part of studying…

Anyway, best of luck with your studies!


Alright, thank you :slight_smile:

In my early days, I read English translation. No need to read Japanese ones perfectly.

I have had more freedom with Anki, so I add hyperlinks to ALC and Goo JE, though Weblio JE would probably work the same. They can be easier than WaniKani ones (even with Yomichan).

I then copied dictionary contents to Anki. Doesn’t work that well with WaniKani, though, because there is 5000 character limit. (Also no image and rich text formatting.)

There were UserScripts to add hyperlinks too, but they are probably now non-functional.

I don’t really follow what you mean, about adding hyperlinks. Adding them to what? And what are the links?

Hyperlinks are a button or a text, that can be clicked to go easily to a website. Links are hyperlinks.

For example,観察する/ and ALC

For Anki, a card can be made to show those. For WaniKani, there is no way to create one without a script.

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Yeah, I know what a hyperlink is. I’m guessing you mean they will show sentences from other dictionaries.

I manually copied website contents to “Note” textbox. Not that I particularly recommend this should be done or not.


There is a plug-in which hides the English translations, so that you can show them only if you want/need them. I like to try to read and understand each in Japanese first, which I found difficult to do when the English translation was right there.


Those are the best ones.

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Even if you only read the English translations, they can be very useful in terms of giving you a good idea of how the vocabulary in question is used. Or often times, the various ways in which it is commonly used.


If you dig through the entire history of these forums, you’ll find hundreds of repetitions of the same theme: learn everything in-context. We’re not robots and we don’t actually memorize isolated facts well. We make connections to existing knowledge. It’s been said so many times that we don’t learn kanji, vocabulary, or even grammar in isolation; we learn them in sentences.

WK actually has some good context sentences and IMHO you’re not getting your money’s worth out of WK if you’re not using all the resources it has to offer.

In fact, if you were to make your own Anki deck (for personal use and not to distribute) containing only WK’s context sentences (sentence on the front, furigana and translation on the back), you’d probably become fluent a heck of a lot faster. That’s why services like Clozemaster are so popular - they literally just give you thousands of sentences with fill-in-the-blanks. Given enough sentences, you learn a language, or so it’s been said by multiple sources.


I’d counter that memorization of words occurs in “slots” (collocation), so seeing a word in multiple sentences is what makes it stick. If it’s just 1 word, or maybe even 50, you might not have trouble recalling it in isolation. When you have a passive vocabulary in the multiple thousands and need to recall a specific noun on demand in a social situation, having encountered that noun in multiple sentences is going to result in a lot less fumbling.


is going to serve you much better than 猫=cat. You have a noun, a description of the noun, and a place where the noun was at a point in time.

“What’s that word I am looking for? I know it’s cat but I can’t remember it for the life of me. I just saw one in front of the house not too long ago. OH! That’s right it’s 猫!”


Still better than English glosses WK force you to type.

Regarding (ねこ), I think it’s either from listening or looking at a poster.

Multiple sentences are good, but not perfect. Like rough seeing or hearing can be recognized, but not typing, speaking or writing. If there are troubles, memorization (e.g. mnemonic) might help.

At very least, taking attention to details. Or some engagements.


I think context sentences are in general extremely useful and vital to understanding what nuance a given Japanese word has, because there is a great variety of synonyms (with respect to their English equivalents) which however carry slightly different and often non-overlapping usages.

The problem with context sentences on WaniKani is that often the English translations don’t match too well or the sentence itself is too goofy to be of practical use in real life. You end up with a paradox - once you’re able to understand the Japanese sentences easily, you probably don’t need them.

I myself tried using them at the beginning, but eventually gave up, because they slowed down my progress.

My personal take on context sentences is that they should provide a minimal realistic environment in which the meaning of a word is uniquely demonstrable. So the sentence doesn’t need to be too convoluted and/or abstract. It doesn’t have to mimic a mnemonic so not need for it to be memorable.


Would agree that not all example sentences are made (or translated) equally. Since WK is a kanji site moreso than a vocab site, the actual words don’t matter. You can use any of a dozen websites to look up a kanji, find containing words with example sentences and use those instead, although it adds a bit of extra work. I don’t think more work = slowing you down in the context of SRS, since you have a hard waiting period between reviews anyway.

Basically though it sounds like we agree that more exposure to a concept in different contexts = better memorization.


Yeah, I do have yomichan so I guess I can just give them a go. I do try and get a bit of reading practice here and there, but mainly feel like my ability is inhibited by not yet knowing enough kanji. But as I’m learning more, I find myself just able to read more so I’m hoping in the future it’ll be easier. Do you have any book recommendations? I’ve found it kind of hard to find that kind of thing, especially for free if possible.

Yeah, like I say I would like to be using them, it is a whole page of resources for each item, just when I’m doing the lessons feels like the wrong time. But maybe I’m just being paranoid. But yeah, the last thing seems like a good idea. I have considered that in the past.