How to improve my Japanese writing skills

Hi disciples of the Crabigator!!

I just wanted to ask you guys if you had any idea of useful tips / resources/ learning methods to improve my Japanese writing skills. I now know a decent amount of grammar and, vocabulary apart (you can always search words in Jisho in case Wanikani hasn´t taught them yet), it´s still hard for me to write in Japanese without making a considerable amount of mistakes (I´ve experienced this while using HelloTalk). I don´t know if it´s because I still need to gain more grammar knowledge, but the thing is even in the easiest grammar structures there seems to be something wrong or unnatural, even though the grammar itself doesn´t look so hard. Many people online happen to say that´s because when one is learning Japanese, you tend to think in your native language and not in Japanese, and because the structures are not the same, you end up sounding weird or ungrammatical. However, I haven´t got a clue as to how to start working on that too.

Many thanks for your help!! Every feedback counts! :smile: :pray:

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I think spending more time reading will provide enough material for you to have a base when actually trying to express yourself in a more natural way.
Read tweets and social media if more interested in casual interactions perhaps.
I think the “obvious”, yet I’m guessing “wrong” answer here would be “practice writing”, a little bit every day 'til it grows on you. :sweat_smile:

How would otherwise you know common expressions and ways of saying things other than trying to translate your own expressions word by word. 「お腹がすいた」、 「空気を読む」for example, how else would those come in your radar for you to use naturally? In Spanish or English those expressions wouldn’t work if translating word by word.

anyway, just my 2 cents.


Are there kanji writing workbooks available? I’d buy a big thick one with stroke orders for the Joyo kanji if possible to practice. I know a small amount of Japanese at this point but wouldn’t be able to write anything to save my life

Although, I realize you probably don’t literally mean HANDwriting japanese

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If you want to practice writing kanji you might want to check out this thread: Want to write Kanji?
There you can also find a site where you can download practice sheets for kanji sorted by JLPT or Wanikani levels.


I second this. You can try following authors or illustrators that you like (or even official anime accounts), because they often dash off a few sentences here and there that you can learn from.

Another idea, though this depends on your preferences, is to watch anime and hunt for transcripts. For anime released after 2013, you can find transcripts on Anicobin, a reaction blog. Just search 「(anime name) (episode number)話 感想 あにこびん」on Google. With some luck, something will come up. I haven’t had too much trouble looking for transcripts for the anime I’ve watched, anyhow. Each line comes with screenshots and viewer reactions on Twitter, so you get to see natural informal Japanese along with the lines from the episodes. You can also look for Japanese YouTubers. Some of them have subtitled videos. Others don’t, but you can still pick up a few things if you pay attention and pick a topic that isn’t too unfamiliar.

A final idea would be to attempt to stop translating into English (or whatever your native language is) when reading Japanese. Try to look at a sentence and understand it as is. I know it’s hard and not very natural at first, but it’s possible if you aim to just capture the concepts represented by each word and then piece them together.

If you’re really out of ideas, then here’s a brief guideline for sentence structure while you get more exposure to Japanese and acquire your own idea of how Japanese sentences work: Japanese sentence structure is basically the reverse of English sentence structure, the fact that the subject usually appears first aside. Within each clause, it’s generally something like

Topic Subject Object Circumstantial-information Adverb Verb

And frankly, the adverbs can be almost anywhere as long as they’re before the verb, though they’re usually pretty near the subject/object. I mean, I don’t really know how to explain this, but give yourself some time to make observations, and I’m sure you’ll agree.

PS: Just for the sake of comparing sentence structures, you can look at how I might have phrased my last sentence in Japanese, along with a word-for-word translation:
Well, well/properly explanation I-cannot-do but, a-bit to (your)self observe do time [object] give-conditional-form, definitely in-such-a-way think manner into become [suggestion/softening of tone].

Notice how each clause is basically flipped around in Japanese. Getting a feel for that word order should help.


Yes, I meant writing skills as to writing production, etc… but for sure someday I´ll start working on calligraphy and handwriting kanji. It sure has to be very relaxing :leaves:

Many thanks @Jonapedia and @Ncastaneda for your feedback! I didn´t know anout Anicobin, so thanks @Jonapedia for that as well! I´ll definitely check it. Maybe, in addition to watching anime and reading manga, I could start writing kind of little diary entries in Japanese just to practice natural sentence production. Has anybody tried this?

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I think some people on these forums have tried it. How they felt about their experience, I have no idea. What I can say though, is that you should probably post at least part of those diary entries on the WK forums or on a site with fluent Japanese speakers. You won’t know if your expressions are natural without correction. When I chat with my friend studying in Japan, his corrections help me notice things that I’ve forgotten and the like. I certainly make fewer big mistakes now, like using expressions that should be swapped for something else entirely, but all the little mistakes like using the wrong particle or mixing up これ and それ (coz I try to go by feel instead of translating from what I would say in English) show me what I need to pay attention to.

Oh, also, you might want to check out dictionaries with translated example sentences like in order to have more examples of good (or at least acceptable) usage at your disposal. You’ll be able to imitate sentence patterns and see how Japanese people would formulate a particular thought, which is helpful since some words in Japanese aren’t really used like their counterparts in English.

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I’ve been practicing writing for a few months now. What I do is write an article or a short story on my own and then review it with a tutor on italki. Sometimes I write a piece in English and we translate it together.

Translating together with a tutor helps learn how to actually express what you want in Japanese. When I write in Japanese myself I tend to write what I can - not what I want to write.

And of course, I read articles, novels, manga. When I encounter useful expressions I make sure to write them down and use them later in my writing.

Sometimes it leads to writing similar things to what I read recently. For instance, I wrote some fantasy themed pieces after reading Konosuba (my tutor found it amusing).


It’s been a while since I last did this, but there’s a free site called Lang-8 designed just for this! You write entries in your target language, and native speakers will come through and make helpful corrections for you. You can also return the favor and correct other people’s English (or any other language you might know). It’s a nice little language exchange!


Sounds fun! Especially since Konosuba’s humour is kinda quirky (though admittedly quite slapstick). Out of curiosity, did you read the novel or the manga? (I’m not sure if there is a manga, come to think of it, but it wouldn’t surprise me.) I used to follow the series a lot (via fan translations), but I decided to hold off a bit for the last two volumes because I decided I ought to learn more Japanese first. I have the Japanese versions of all the volumes up to volume… 15, I think? I haven’t gone looking for the spin-offs though, and I honestly haven’t read much of the volumes I have bought because I was waiting till I was fluent enough to read them smoothly.

Back on topic though, I think a tutor sounds like a very good idea if you’re willing to pay. (I’m not, and so I spend all my Japanese learning budget on textbooks, but thankfully I have a friend to help me.)

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I read the first volume of the LN. Honestly, it’s not that great compared to the anime adaptation. Interesting that a significant portion of Megumin’s character is anime original, probably thanks to the amazing seiyuu cast.

By the way, regarding difficulty I think it’s moderately easy, although I sometimes lose track of who’s speaking. The key is to constantly pay attention to the style, for example, Megumin is always using keigo. Kazuma is always very casual and of course uses male probouns. The style of Darkness and Aqua are a bit difficult for me to pinpoint but luckily it’s not like all 4 of them are talking at the same time. Besides, you can kind of tell them apart by what they are saying.


There is the Challenge: Write a sentence in Japanese every day! thread!

Also: Japanese Sentence a Day Challenge

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This is one area in which it REALLY helps to have a one-on-one teacher. If it is in the budget, definitely try to get someone experienced to go over your work.

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I never noticed, frankly. I felt that the anime was really faithful to the LN. Very few anime adaptations retain as much detail, in my experience. Also, even in the LN, I get the sense that her entire village is meant to have a chuunibyou culture, so I think all the anime really did was bring her to life. However, I’ve only read the first few pages of the first volume (and I once skimmed the web novel ending in order to find out what happened in that first draft of the story), so I can’t really compare the anime and the Japanese version. The translations I read gave me the impression that the anime characters and the LN characters were a great match though.

That’s a relief. Honestly though, when I first tried to read it, I had only been learning Japanese for about 2 months, and I’ve learnt a lot more since then, so perhaps I could try again? I did get the impression that it was relatively easy compared to other LNs though: the first few pages of volume 18 of The Rising of the Shield Hero took me hours about a year ago, but reading it again recently was significantly easier. Konosuba doesn’t seem to use the same sort of language.

Yes, what they talk about is more of a distinguishing feature. However, I remember having a relatively easy time telling Darkness and Aqua apart whenever I read Japanese excerpts of the LNs, so I’m pretty sure there’s some other defining feature.

EDIT: OK, I went and read some excerpts from Volume 8 and 9 to try to get a feel, but Volume 8’s excerpt didn’t reach any point where Darkness said relatively long lines, so it wasn’t very useful. From what I vaguely remember from the anime though… Aqua is the only one in the party who ever calls him ‘Kazuma-san’, though she definitely doesn’t do it all the time. I think the main distinguishing characteristics in the anime (though I don’t know if these are in the LN, and it’s been a year or so since I last watched the anime) are that Aqua’s speech is more feminine, so she might end sentences with の and わ, while Darkness tends to use masculine tone particles like ぞ because she acts tough. Also, I think Aqua’s speech might be a little more informal, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she uses more contractions than Darkness. Oh, also, I think it’s more common for Darkness to say stuff like おい instead of ねえ to get Kazuma’s attention, whereas the other girls in the party tend to use ねえ.

Separately, even though I’m definitely getting along a lot more easily than before… those excerpts still took me a while to get through. Might be better for me to work on other reading material for a bit first and acquire a bit more vocabulary, since the thing about stories is that you tend to want to know what happens next, and that makes slow reading frustrating.

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Judging by the first volume, which a read alongside with rewatching the anime, quite a few events are reshuffled and some are missing altogether. Some scenes play out differently too.

Hm… I’ll take your word for it. It’s been quite a while, so I can’t remember all the details. Very roughly though, from what I remember, there were only 2-3 major events (if by ‘event’ one means ‘episode/little story’) that were completely removed from the first volume, most notably meeting Dust. The order of events being different is likely too. That’s normal for anime. As for scenes playing out differently, I’m not surprised: the way they attack the moving robot (which I shall not name so I don’t spoil too much for people who intend to read/watch Konosuba) plays out differently in the LN. In particular, Darkness doesn’t charge into the robot ahead of everyone else in the LN, unlike in the anime. But my assessment back then (I read translations of the first 4-5 volumes or so right after watching the anime) was that almost all the major events (i.e. the ones that had effects on the plot further down the road) of the volumes adapted were in the anime. And afterwards, when I watched other anime adaptations of LNs, I couldn’t help but regret the fact that they weren’t as faithful as Konosuba. For example, The Rising of the Shield Hero was so popular as an anime that seasons 2 and 3 were confirmed at the same time, and it made me fall in love with the story, but some scenes from the LN were just too long and complex for them to keep in the anime, which was unfortunate. Overlord is even worse, though it’s still fairly exciting (as dark as it can be), but that’s no surprise either because Overlord’s author is extremely detailed. So uh, in my opinion… (let me say something so this seems vaguely on topic :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:) if anyone wants to read an LN that has an anime adaptation that will make following the story relatively easy, Konosuba would be it. I’ve yet to see an anime adaptation that’s more faithful to the original.

Awesome! Never heard of it. Thanks!

Oh that´s definitely a great thing to do. And I so empathize with you when you say that you tend to write what you can and not what you want. It happens to me all the time, and sometimes it really pisses me off :joy: :exploding_head: However, it´s part of the learning process I guess.

Unfortunately, I just went to sign in and it seems they are no longer admitting new members. :sob: They forward you to HiNative, which I knew of, but it´s definitely not the same. This more seems more like to ask general questions, etc., although maybe you could type in your texts and people would also be willing to correct them

That happens to me consistently when reading manga! By the way, regarding the Konosuba debate (I hadn´t heard of that LN before, by the way), at what level do you think it´s appropiate to tackle a LN? I do think that, as some of you have said, reading a lot is definitely one of the keys to reinforcing one´s writing abilities, and in LNs there are loads and loads of text. However, maybe it´s too difficult for a beginner-intermediate…?