Kanji / parts of speech

Hey all,

I’m not entirely sure how to phrase this question but I was wondering about the pink kanji and whether they need to be specifically noun, verb, adjective or adverb? For example, 決 in its kanji form is labeled decide - verb. And the corresponding vocabulary is decision - a noun. So if during a review, I were to put the kanji down instead of decide, is that wrong? Can a single kanji exist outside of its single correlating vocabulary?

I ask because this has been popping up a lot for burn items and I don’t have the overwrite script installed. It’s incredibly frustrating to be so close to a burn but fail simply because the part of speech was off.

One more question: Does anyone know if Kanji derives its meaning from the vocabulary it is used in OR was Kanji given a concept and from that, vocabularies were made?

Thanks in advance!

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決 in its kanji form does not belong to any parts of speech. I cannot find the word “verb” anywhere on https://www.wanikani.com/kanji/決 and that is correct, because 決 (き) is not a verb. Nor is it a noun or an adjective or anything else.

When it’s in the vocab form, such as 決める or 決まる, then it’s a verb. Or maybe it’s 決 (けつ), which is a noun. But you know this because you’re level 46.


Kanji had associated concepts in Chinese before they were imported. How one chooses to define them in some other language is always going to be a bit imprecise.

As plantron mentioned, a single kanji doesn’t have a part of speech.

If you check a Japanese kanji dictionary, you’re likely to see a definition for 決 that uses a verb (as seen here). But honestly, no Japanese person would bat an eye if you went with 決めること instead of きめる for your definition of 決. That would be splitting hairs.

Of course, some concepts can’t really ever be verbs, but I suppose those would avoid the confusion to begin with.


Thank you!

So your saying when typing in the English meaning of the kanji, it doesn’t necessarily have to conform to the definition WK gives it? Ie 決 = “decision” or “decide”. 'cause in a review, decision is too many letters devient to decide and would be marked wrong.

Yes, generally speaking, going verb or “nounified verb” isn’t really going to make a difference in a kanji definition.

Just be careful of ambiguous English meanings like “express” (is it “convey a thought” or “operating at a high speed”) when you do switch things around.


Got it! Nice one :+1:

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