Is it grammar time already?

わたしまた - here I am again with another (stupid) thread - ごめんごめん!!
I just wanted an opinion from you guys: at what WK level do you suggest it’s time to start learning jap JPN grammar??
My initial idea was at the end, or nearly, say level 50, based on my pace - but after making some calculations, I’ll reach level 60 in 380 days and I thought how embarassing I’d be to be able to “speak” a language for a year like a robot would do, without any structure :sweat_smile:
So maybe I should start earlier?? idk

又, how long do you reckon it’ll take to learn the entire grammar at the fastest speed possible with the best resource out there (cause I’ve got time and lust)??


ps: I’m not using Google translate, that’s cheating, this is the Japanese I know (and I’m sure it’s wrong) and I looove to flaunt it! :heart_eyes:


I don’t think there’s a single resource that will teach you all Japanese grammar. You’ll probably have to use a variety of resources (and a lot of practice) to get to an advanced level, and even then it’s hard to determine if you truly know “all” grammar.

As for when to start grammar though, that’s another matter entirely. Knowing at least basic grammar will make learning all other parts of the language significantly easier (or at least, it’ll help you understand sentences a lot better). I started with grammar around level 5, and that worked well for me, but you can basically start learning grammar without knowing any kanji at all if you want to. Knowing a bit of kanji and vocabulary just makes it so that you can read example sentences a bit easier.

So I recommend to just start learning. Pick a good resource that fits your current level and just keep regularly learning.


Really, I would start right now if you could.

This question is kinda hard to answer since really theres a lot of stuff you could consider grammar that you’re not really going to pick up till you start reading. Now if we are talking in terms of “how long will it take to be familiar with every grammar point that the JLPT exams test you over” I would say like 6 months if you put in a good amount of work and less if we are talking about going as fast as possible. The problem is that “knowing” something when asked about it doesn’t always equate to “comprehending” something when you come across it while reading.

Grammar is more like tools to build meaning by using vocabulary as the building material. So, like tools, they can be used in many different kinds of sentences and in many different ways (Especially if we are going to talk about things like particles). One piece of advice I have for you since you seem new to japanese is to not have any expectations that everything can be memorized and done with. Japanese is incredibly different from english when it comes to how thought and meaning is expressed. Since they’re very different languages, truly acquiring language ability often times takes more than just reading a page about a certain grammar concept.


I second this. You technically don’t need to know any Kanji to learn the language. Especially since most learning resources have furigana for all Kanji.

Learning the Grammar is also something that takes time. Leaving it till very late might leave you pretty frustrated, when you can read most Kanji but aren’t fluent enough in the language constructs to properly understand them. I might be speaking from experience here.


EDIT: TLDR, because I realised I tried too hard to answer ‘how fast can I learn all grammar’ and ended up rambling a lot – I think you can read and study all structures up to N1 within a year if you have lots of free time. However, that’s not going to guarantee you’ll be able ot understand things, because the first hurdle to understanding Japanese is learning to parse sentences. Furthermore, Japanese has tons of idiomatic expressions and little structures with special meanings (e.g. だけに is something like a strong ‘because’. That’s not something you’d guess from how だけ and に usually are used), so if you call those things ‘grammar points’, which is what most people do… there’s really a lot to learn. Learning ‘all’ of it isn’t realistic. Learning enough to be able to understand lots of Japanese, and doing so quickly? That’s possible.

It really depends on what you call ‘all Japanese grammar’. If we’re talking about ‘grammar’ in the same way that it’s used in other languages, then… OK, basic modern Japanese verb conjugations, common functions of all the common particles, basic feel of sentence structure… maybe three months if you’re just reading and studying resources that explain them. There are people here who have completed Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese, for instance. I don’t know how long it took them, but I think one year was probably enough time.

Here’s the problem though: Japanese grammar is, at least in my opinion, a lot less ‘centralised’ than European language grammar. Chinese presents the same sort of problem: zero conjugation, but lots of things to pay attention to in terms of sentence structure and common idiomatic structures that have special meanings. Those are things you’re not going to be able to cram into three months. There are just too many. For that matter, never mind three months: look at all the questions that people, including those who have finished Tae Kim’s Guide, ask on these forums regarding grammar, even as they’re studying N1 stuff in the meantime. I’m one of the people who tries to answer those questions, and I haven’t finished any grammar guides…

My point is this: reading about how a structure works isn’t always going to be enough for you to understand it in a sentence. Some things require experience that you can only get from reading examples and taking the time to break things down. Also, one of the biggest hurdles you’re going to face right from the outset is ‘how exactly do I parse this sentence?’ It’s not going to be obvious because Japanese word order is completely different from European language word order, and it’s going to take a while before you’re used to holding entire chunks of information in your head in a new order that you’re not familiar with. (However, I suspect, from your post, that you speak German or a similar language, which could help since certain German clauses have word order that’s similar to Japanese.)

Anyway, in conclusion: start whenever you want, but I think the earlier you start, the better. The basics probably won’t take too long, and I think one year (providing you’re fairly free) is more than enough to be able to handle long sentences and so on. Whether or not you’ll know all the possible idiomatic expressions… well, you probably won’t, but I’ll just say that you’ll probably know more of them if you immerse yourself in native material than if you just try to use a grammar guide, even if some books are very good and really do cover lots of structures, including obscure ones. No language can ever really be ‘completely’ learnt, and Japanese has a lot of little special combinations with unique meanings that aren’t necessarily the same as what you’d guess from their constituent parts, so wanting to learn ‘all’ the ‘grammar points’ is going to be a tall order. I think it’s much better (and perhaps more realistic) to aim for a certain level of understanding, and that’s going to come from exposure, not just grammar study. (Final bit of proof: I have a friend who studied ‘all’ of German grammar within… three months? Six months? He was very intelligent. He wasn’t very fluent, ultimately, even if his sentences were perfect. Grammar isn’t enough. You need practice, so starting as soon as possible is definitely a good idea, as long as you study grammar and examples, real sentences and short texts etc.)


Thank you everyone…

A few more things to add:

  • I’m Russian, I’ve been speaking Russian for the first 7 years of my life, then I was raised in Italy and now I’m a native Italian speaker (I’m 30 years old)

  • I live in the UK and I can fluently speak English (learnt for 8 years, spoken for 5 years)

  • I’ve been learning German for 13 years, and French for 3 years

  • I have a knack for languages, understanding the grammatical structure of a language becomes quite easy for me, after listening to people speaking it for a while

  • I said at the fastest speed possible and the entire grammar beacuse I need to have an idea about how to plan my future, as Japanese is the first language I’m learning on my own and not in school, though I really have a lot of time… but yea, I’m not expecting to actually be able to learn the whole grammar, the most important key parts are enough to start a good conversation in Japan

  • and last but not least, there are some Japanese people I know in my city in Italy I can conversate with, but I want to wait to have a basic level of grammar to add to WK first

So I reckon, if I start introducing grammar from tomorrow, in one and a half year I’ll be able to have a good conversation with Japanese people, if I dedicate myself everyday to both WK and grammar… よね?


Yeah, um, for a guide to learn the language, I recommend using refold, which is pretty much a guide/plan on how to learn and memorize a language permanently. It’s completely free, so that’s nice. It doesn’t teach you the language, only how to go about learning it.


Every day is grammar day. Put that on a shirt guys.


Seems like a pretty realistic goal if you ask me, yeah.


If you’re just looking at conversation, then I think one year should be enough. It might not be a perfect conversation, but I think you’ll be able to converse fairly smoothly, because conversational grammar is usually slightly less complex than what you’d see in a text. Again though, I think actual conversation practice will be needed to get to that point, or at least lots of examples to absorb, like from TV shows.

I’m not looking to start an argument, but my take is this: Refold’s recommendations for immersion are pretty good and pretty close to what I used to successfully improve my French by leaps and bounds. However, Refold also seems to recommend delaying output, at least until the end of an initial ‘input’ stage, after which it seems to be assumed that output will come naturally. My experience is that doing output practice with a friendly partner who can provide corrections or recommendations is a good way of reinforcing learning and getting sentences to really flow, so provided you have someone like that around, I’d recommend you not delay output. That aside though, again, it seems Refold’s recommendations are decent.


You really shouldn’t use that abbreviation for “Japanese”, it is generally considered a racial slur and has been used in some absolutely horrible, dehumanizing propaganda.


I didn’t realize it was that bad, but yeah, it’s probably a bad idea.

Ah, thank you



Use JPN if you want to abbreviate.

Like most of the other replies, I agree that the notion of a single definitive resource for Japanese grammar is not really something that exists.

My personal reason for feeling this way is verbs… Oh sure, beginner class teachers love to tell you “Japanese verbs are so easy. They only have two tenses, and they don’t conjugate by person or number”

That is sort of true, but it downplays the seemingly never ending number of suffixes that can be stuck to the end of verbs (especially in the て form) to make different expressions.

I’ve been studying Japanese off and on for 20 years. I’m still finding new verb… (attachments?) is there a word for these things?

In any case, I’ve always found that every new resource you come across will likely have a few things you’ve never seen before. I doubt you’ll ever find a master list of all Japanese grammar.


Currenetly I am halfway through level 3. I started working on grammar with Genki I and it’s pretty fun! I don’t use it as dilligently as WaniKani just yet but the first couple lessons are easy to grasp, and since it starts out with hiragana it’s good for a beginner like me. To revise the grammar points I’m also working with BunPro and since that works pretty similar to WaniKani with an SRS system it’s easy to keep up with daily reviews.

I think that if you want to start with grammar there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. There are a lot of beginner friendly resources that ease you into it, and while I saw advice in the forums here that you have a small head start when you make it to around level 10 of WaniKani, you can still go for it now.

I hope you find something that suits you!

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Grammar time is nigh. The creators of WaniKani recommend you start grammar at about level 10, because by then you’ll know enough Kanji that they will use in the grammar lessons, but if you start slow, I bet you could handle starting sooner, and just accept they’ll occasionally introduce a kanji you don’t know yet.

If you don’t start grammar until level 50, you’ll spend a year working up there, and know 2000+ Kanji and still not be able to say “I’m hungry”, but you’ll be able to say “Withdrawl of troops”


That’s probably a bad example since you learn 腹が減った at level 29. :wink:


I need to have an idea about how to plan my future

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson

It has always seemed to me that language learning plans are especially unlikely to resemble what actually happens in the end. I’m not sure there’s much benefit in planning past the next few months.

Not to understate your achievements but learning Japanese is comparatively harder than German, French, and English.

So about the fastest speed possible, I’ve heard some can do it in a year or two (passing the JLPT N2). I think a reasonable estimate is between 2 - 4 years.

If you want an “efficient” study regimen, you can check out reddit’s r/LearnJapanese study guide: A Year to Learn Japanese

If I may give some unwarranted advice: the most efficient method may not be the best method for you. I think it’s better to find out for yourself what activities involving the language that you enjoy the most (reading, writing, or speaking) and then start to tailor your lessons with that. For example, if you enjoy speaking, get a tutor or speaking partner. You’ll eventually get comfortable speaking and pronouncing words that adding the other two skills will be much easier. Though, I might be talking to a genius (with a lot of time). In that case, feel free to study all the ways of using the language at the same time.