Just hit Level 10! Any recommendations for a first Grammar book?

First time poster! Pretty happy about hitting level 10 and continuing my Japanese learning journey :slight_smile: As the title suggests, I was looking for recommendations for a first grammar/extra vocabulary textbook, preferably under $50, but I could possibly go up to $75 if needed! Thank you <3


Are you after something textbook-like, or just a grammar reference?

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Textbook like would be ideal!

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You got some options. I would start by looking into the free resources like tae kims guide to japanese (maybe Cure Dollys videos on Youtube if you like them). If you prefer a book most people go with Genki, beginner Tobira or Minna no Nihongo.
If your native language is not english Minna no Nihongo has different languages as option.

There is a whole plephora of other books out there as well, for example Japanese from Zero or digital material like Human Japanese. I would recommend one that starts with KANA soon since you already know how to read them.

Another option is to go with more of a reference style book without excercises and try to encounter the grammar in native material looking the grammar up “as you go”

If you take a look at some of these options or tell us a bit more about what kind of style you like we might be able to offer more directed advice.


Miku Real Japanese and Japanese Ammo with Misa both have great in-depth grammar lessons for beginners for free on YouTube. I can really recommend that. For a textbook I recommend avoiding Marugoto. Don’t use it.


I liked Cure Dolly’s videos a lot once I got used to the style and presentation of them. I’ve also found Japanese the Manga Way to be a good grammar resource


I personally didn’t use Human Japanese, but going back and looking at it and seeing how clearly everything is covered and explained made me wish I had :smiley: I recommend Human Japanese.


I liked the Genki books when I started out. Later I got Shinkanzen Master for N3+, and they’re great


Personally I used the Genki I and Genki II grammar textbooks! They’re both quite easy to work through and have workbooks for each of them to practice what you learn - as you’re learning. After Genki II, you can choose to go for more advanced grammar textbooks, but in my experience, after you learn the foundations of grammar the rest comes naturally through immersion/searching up whatever you don’t know from books/websites/etc.


A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar by Seiichi Makino and Michio Tsutsui is a staple of the traditional Japanese Language classroom. Although the books are pretty expensive when compared to other options, I find them to be well worth the cost.

You can always purchase an earlier addition for pennies on the dollar if you want to cut costs as well.


I like “Minna no Nihongo” textbook. The main book has good grammar drilling exercices and is entirely in Japanese, providing good immersion practice. You’d need to get a translation book as it explains grammar points and lists new vocabulary.


I like the Dictionary of Basic/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese set a lot too, but they’re definitely “grammar reference” rather than “textbook”, as the titles suggest. I found them good for giving me more detailed explanations of the the things that were covered in the textbook I was using. They have good, long explanations in English of each entry with plenty of examples. The downside is they don’t cover everything that comes up as a “grammar point” in some other references, especially once you get up to N2 and N1 levels, but they have all the important stuff and you can always supplement with one of the “more entries, less detail per entry” reference works later. (For the fill-in-the-gaps reference I like 日本語文型辞典 . Note that it is entirely in Japanese; but then you won’t need it until you’re at a level where you’re OK with that :-))

Overall I would say if you’re the kind of person who likes to get a theoretical understanding of the grammar you’re learning (as opposed to the kind who is happy to trust to immersion and input and figuring things out by example – both learning styles work and you probably know what you prefer) and you want a grammar reference to go alongside whatever textbook you choose, the Do{BIA}J are definitely the reference I’d recommend.


Paid mode: Genki 1 + 2
Free mode: Tae Kim’s Guide to Grammar + Cure Dolly’s videos


As people have already mentioned I also advocate for Genki and Tae Kim’s Guide to Grammar!

I know you’ve mentioned you were looking for more of a textbook solution however I would highly suggest these two digital options as supplements to your main studies :slight_smile:

  1. Imabi.

If you’d like to cover Japanese grammar in depth, to the point where it feels like you’re taking a Japanese language class then Imabi is just for you. It’s a website stacked with grammar, and it’s not just simple grammar. Lessons go really in-depth to the point where sometimes you can get a bit overwhelmed, but this may be your cup of tea :slight_smile: It covers from basic grammar to advanced grammar and can be used as a supplement to your resource.

  1. Bunpro.

If you’d also like to be able to review grammar points on the go and get that same WaniKani feeling then Bunpro is the grammar solution for you. It’s a SRS system that works in the same way as WaniKani but with grammar points. The explanations are straightforward and simple. Each grammar point is filled with examples that also have real Japanese audio attached to it. And, it covers JLPT levels N5 to N1 in order! It’s cheap at under $5/month and comes with a free trial if you’d like to test the waters first.


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Tofugu has a list of beginner textbook recommendations that would probably be worth browsing through if you want an overview of some of the options. Personally, I went with Minna no Nihongo and it’s working out great.

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Either Dictionary of Beginner Grammar OR Genki. Same publisher, so you could probably use both. I recommend Genki over the Dictionary since there is a path it is leading you on where as the dictionary is very much A-Z grammar points with explanations. Which can feel like a dry experience as a learner. Nothing wrong with it if that is how you prefer learning grammar, but I think it might be better as a reinforcement tool.

There is also an Anki deck based on the sentences in the 3 books (8547 Japanese Sentence from 日本語文法辞典) , in the order the grammar appears. For me, it has been the most effective way of learning Japanese grammar out of all the things I have tried. Although I’ve not used the full SRS features, just read each sentence and marked good. If I don’t get something, the book is right there to explain it. It has the added advantage of including lots of Japanese names…

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