Is Cure Dolly Wrong?

Most of my Japanese studies have been done at language schools/college, so I didn’t have much of this “what method to use” dilemma.

That being said, I’ve read Cure Dolly’s book (the videos I just find unbearable) and I think it has some good grammar explanations that can be useful for many learners.

I do, however, also find Cure Dolly a bit unsettling. Sure, other content creators also go around and criticize methods (didn’t Matt have a whole video on why Wanikani is bad and RTK good?), but at least they do so while exposing themselves and letting you know who they are.
I mean, as cringey as they are, you can see a lot of videos of Matt going around and talking with Japanese folks in Japanese, if you want. The same for Dogen’s pronunciation videos. He is not just talking about pronunciation, he has a shitload of full-Japanese content you can use to check his skills by yourself. And for both you can know how they’ve learned Japanese themselves, what methods they advocate, etc.

Cure Dolly… no. They are there talking a lot about how their method is so much better (and supposedly “natural”) while not giving any credentials.
Although I find it ok watching a couple of their YT videos if you can stand the voice, I don’t think I would ever advocate it or go for payed content if it was a thing.

1 Like

Speaking of credentials, while I understand the desire for such, to me Cure Dolly’s credentials are in the form of everything she explains that makes me say “oh, that makes sense!” after every other source I tried didn’t make sense. Especially if I later read on a grammar site written in Japanese that says the same things.

As one example, the うけみ as a “passive voice conjugation” never made sense to me, especially when resources try using another particle to mark the subject. But after seeing Cure Dolly’s video(s) on it, it all makes perfect sense and is completely understandable for me.


every sentence MUST have a subject and a verb…that’s it…
The subject is marked by が the topic is marked by は (which is honestly confusing what’s the difference between subject and topic to a native English speaker…that’s part of the confusion IMO)

However… 食べる。 Is a perfectly complete sentence…there is no を particle telling you what will be eaten … but it must be something… same thing… who ate it… this drove me nutz for for a long time not knowing the subject…instead of worrying about Ga/Ha…

ask yourself who or what is doing the verb…

私は晩御飯を食べた。 As for me, Ate dinner … that’s the literal translation (which is kind of non sensible…but you know what it means)

If I said (not natural Japanese) but you can translate literally
私は私が晩御飯を食べた。 As for me, I ate dinner. (this is why the Ha) is the non logical particle…drop the As for me… still makes a complete sentence…

Honestly it just takes some getting used to …but as was said by

This is the important part… You might want to take a look at some (albeit not perfect) stuff I did a while ago…was playing with the Cure Dolly method on a short story from GJBu. I shared what I did here

If this doesn’t work for you then don’t use this method…no sense in trying to bend your mind to something that doesn’t work…but if you do think this way THERE IS ALWAYS A SUBJECT and whether or not there is a GA or not… there MUST BE A Subject… the trouble is trying to find it in when it’s so often assumed.

Best of luck!!!


That would be fine if she had the attitude of just being a fellow language learner sharing things she found helpful, rather than the guiding light to take down all the people who have devoted their lives to studying this stuff and how to teach it.

There are people out there who have intuitive and really helpful channels without the crusader atmosphere.

I’m probably going to drop out here, since I’m just going to veer harder and harder toward bashing, and I think the OP’s question was already resolved.


Cure Dolly is explaining Japanese grammar to people who are used to English grammar. This is why her explanations don’t make sense to native Japanese speakers.


Thanks all. I think I’m just going to ignore Cure Dolly’s “Japanese is always poorly taught” schtick but continue checking out some of her videos since I’ve gotten at least a few good ideas from them today.


Your wife is right, but Cure Dolly is also right, in a way.

The “invisible が” is just a way of thinking about sentences that don’t have an explicit が-marked subject. I think that such sentences often lend Japanese the feeling of “vagueness” that many beginners encounter. By identifying the un-mentioned subject and its invisible が, you can make a sentence’s meaning more concrete.



Dat voice tho:

I think we’ve all learned something today:


Plot twist: Cure Dolly is OP’s wife


I watched some of Cure Dolly’s videos recently and she does have a knick for explaining grammar structures in a more succinct and to-the-point way than many other learning materials I’ve seen. If it helps people understand how certain grammar structures work, that’s awesome I think :slight_smile: .

That being said, I think inventing extra addons to the language like “invisible が” or similar can distract from getting a native understanding of the language. Not only because Japanese people won’t be able to relate, but also it adds a nuance which may be less important than it seems.

I’ve personally never heard of “invisible が” outside of her resources, but was always irked by how が and は are always explained together, while they mean different things and that’s also kind of confusing :frowning: .


From here Videos it’s self evident she’s studying or has studied some sort of linguistics.
I’m a person who really likes to get a simple sound model to understand something, I want to get rid of the extra fluff. (I’m studying physics and mathematics, so logic is for me always simpler than just learn to heart).
I might not be that far through Wanikani but grammarwise I understand about everything except some special things in Tae Kim’s Guide, so I have seen the grammar explained in different ways etc.

If you’ll catch up with enough ideas of Cure Dolly you’ll see her model is definitely correct, but she’s building up structure, so you might first learn some unnatural sentences, which will allow you later to
understand why other expressions are more natural.

Also I’d recommend her as, she gives you a general feeling of the language, such that you can pick up a lot as you move forward. I for instance learning pretty much all essential grammar from Tae Kim through Immersion and only later revisited it in theory. I was only able to do this, because her ideas really do work always, even if you haven’t seen some grammar before, with her methodology and toolbox you can crack it.

Without a doubt, the subjectless sentence model from Cure Dolly is the simplest model of Japanese grammar I’ve ever seen. Tae Kim is also great, but his little choice to let the absence of だ at the end of some sentences be grammatically correct forces him to always add in his grammar, here you absolutely have to include だ, here you don’t need to etc. Making his model based on a little more assumptions.


Ok, I will put in my two cents.
I watched through a bunch of her videos a couple of years ago. They were a good balance, at the time, to some of the inaccuracies of the other grammar resources I was reading.
But of course she has her own inaccuracies.
I am glad I watched the videos. Some of the things she said helped me to decipher sentences.
You need to take things in balance. The “invisible が” is a nice little mental trick early on. It helps you to understand some sentences that you had trouble with before, then you move on and forget it.


I didn’t want to react, but I have to.

While Cure Dolly has some good ideas and presents things in a different, logical way. I see a lot of flaws that make me unable to see her videos.

Well… Cure Dolly spends half of her videos ranting about textbooks. I just can’t bear it. If she made videos more straight to the point without ranting so much, it would be more bearable.

I have the same issue. I don’t know who she is, and basically on some points I don’t trust her.
For instance I don’t buy that thing that there is no conjugation in Japanese. Is that claim backed by some Japanese linguistic scholars? Or is it just a trick to make more sense for some people?

Because of that, even when she is right on a specific point, I can’t consider it as right until I find a confirmation somewhere else (like で as the て-form of the copula for instance).


Despite all the praise I gave her grammar, I have to second all your other points.


It’s correct that every sentence has a subject, even if it is not specified.

I think the main confusion here is using が as a placeholder for the word “subject”. The が particle may be used in a sentence to specify the subject.

An invisible subject in a Japanese sentence is common.
An invisible が is just nonsense. It’s either there or it’s not.


As someone who already speaks 3 languages and is now learning Japanese, Cure Dolly has a fundamental understanding of the Japanese language structure, that often native speakers don’t because they’ve learned to accept how their own language works without ever having to compare it to another one and realize how quirky it is. Cure Dolly explains the mechanism of Japanese very well from a linguistic POV, especially you already speak another language like English, French or Spanish. The way she explains が vs は is brilliant and cleared up a lot of the confusion for me.


with all respect to matt, I don’t really think he can really criticize any method. A guy had 2-3 free years where he could devote literally 99% of his time to Japanese. At that time frame, anybody can reach decent fluency with any method.

Speaking about click baits and credentials- you have to bear in mind that overwhelming majority of cury dolly subs are language learners who already tried to tackle Japanese grammar from common textbooks and it always gave them a confusing expression. For them, cury dolly explanations works much better. Its very rare to find someone who started learning japanese grammar from cury dolly first.


If が always marks the subject, and it is common for a subject to be invisible, then how is it “nonsense” for the particule が (that always marks the subject) to ALSO be invisible???
It actually makes a lot sense…


Me, who spends more than 33% of my time sleeping:


Generally speaking, I think we have to ask the following questions: What is the definition of “conjugation” (or “inflection”)? What is the definition of 「活用(かつよう)」? Answering these gets someone the first step of the way to deciding whether they feel the terms are interchangeable.用言/動詞-4-五段活用-音便/

This page (among others on the site) shows verbs changing their う sound to あ, い, う, or え before having ない, or ます, etc. attached. I’d say it’s up to the individual learner whether they want to say this is considered “conjugation” or not.助動詞/だ/

This page lists で as the conjunctive/continuative (連用形(れんようけい)) form of だ.