How to differentiate-learn when う at the end is required

Hi all,

There are some particular words that sound very much the same with or without the う at the end. And most of my review mistakes come from these, for example:

  • Past: きょ
  • Today: きょう

Is there a tip to learn them a bit better so that I know when typing them if it should have the う at the end? I already know that both sound like KYO, is the later one KYO-U?

More than this particular example I want to avoid failing again and again when I think “I have it” but i get a red error message instead.

Thanks in advance!

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Well, for starters 今日 is a vocabulary word, while 去-as-きょ is merely a kanji reading - you’ll never encounter 去 on its own - it’s always attached to something else. Like 去年 (きょねん) or 過去 (かこ) or 去る (さる).

Perhaps focus on the mnemonics - WaniKani uses “Kyoto” when the reading is きょう and “Little Kyoto” when it’s きょ.



That makes sense now. Will pay a bit more attention on those particular mnemonics. Thanks you! Guess this was a quick thread.


Mnemonics for issues like this help a lot. For example, I don’t remember what WaniKani’s mnemonics are for と and とう readings, but with my own mnemonics I always make up a story about a toe for と and something getting towed (like a truck) for とう. If your brain jumps to one or the other of these vastly different images while processing something it won’t mix them up.

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Those are actually fantastic mnemonics, I will borrow them from you, If I may :slight_smile:

I have attempted some mnemonics of my own (for example, the default mnemonic for ふゆ - winter just did not stick with my brain), but I try to stick with the official ones as they were created for a reason.

But yes, your sample is a very good tip, I will try to be more imaginative when things don’t “stick” with me.

The sound is the same but it’s duration is diffrent. You’ll learn to distinguish those in time. But for now try to prounce them multiple times when learning and focus on sound duration.

きょ is one beat
きょう is two beats


I believe the mnemonic for と is usually “toe” and for とう it’s “Tokyo”.

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I didn’t find these easy enough to distinguish between - one of the few kanji that has the reading きょ that I could readily visualise is giant, and that works better for me in making a mnemonic.

I’m not sure exactly what you mean by that about it being a noun. The meaning of 巨 in this sense is just おおきい.

Noted and edited (I leapt from 巨 to 巨人).

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Thank you! A bit of an extended “o-u” sound at the end?

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They missed the opportunity to use “Microscopic Kyoto” for き.


Look into long vowels.

Yes, it something between English O and U sounds.

Here are a few examples of short (きょ)vs long(きょう) sounds.

Begining of a word
audio for 去年 (きょねん)
audio for 共有 (きょうゆう)

End of a word
audio for 選挙 (せんきょ)
audio for 状況 (じょうきょう)

Thanks again. Got it, it lingers a bit more on the う ones.

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