My nemesis, 月, and how to overcome his evil ways

That doesnt really seem logical too me since 一ヶ月 has a number and uses げつ
The statement above was that only if there is a number kanji right in front of 月 it becomes がつ
So 正月 seems to be an exception of that rule

Hmm, It could just be an odd exception. I asked my husband and after thinking for awhile, he said “Whatever, I was just trying to be helpful to a beginner.” (aka he has no answer. :joy: )

But even so, I think it’s helpful that most things seem to follow the rule. Especially for doing reviews, I think it helps cut down on the guess work.


Thats true, its really helpful and kind of an eyeopener.
I guess no language is without its exceptions so remembering them is always part of the challenge


Wow, this seems right… and even if there are some exceptions to the rule, I feel like it’ll help a lot of us get our 月 readings right 90% of the time rather than the coin toss we newbies have probably been working with.



Realizations are important.

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I’ve personally always used the mnemonic that 「がつ」 is used when referring to something specific whereas 「げつ」 tends to crop up in relative terms.

「四月」uses the 「がつ」 reading because it’s referring specific month of April.
「四ヶ月」 uses the 「げつ」 reading because it’s referring to a relative period of 4 months.

This also works for 「正月」 because it’s referring to a specific period of the year.
Whereas 「月末」 refers to a point in time relative to the current month.

Again, this is probably riddled with exceptions, but it works for me.

I’m certain that I’m not the one who came up with this mnemonic, rather I think I came across it on these forums a few years back, but for the life of me I wouldn’t be able to tell you who originally posted it.


Whatever works for you is great - and if your way can help others too, that’s also awesome! This was just something my husband said off the top of his head that seemed to work well enough and would help me a lot with one of my biggest struggles, so I thought I’d share~

Your explanation is also really useful though and I’ll certainly be keeping it in mind, too. So thanks for sharing! :smiley:


I think that somewhere out there (probably 80/20 Japanese?), I remember seeing the advice that the がつ reading is basically used for the names of months, and げつ for pretty much everything else. Don’t know enough to guess how many exceptions there might be, though.

It’s a definitey good rule. That is definitely helpful to remember. Next can you have him explain oyaji gag? :joy:

As to the people claiming exceptions to her husband’s guidance, well of course there is. Just think of the English “rule” of “I before E except after C” which has quite a few exceptions (science, conscience, reign, etc.). Nothing in a natural language is without this.


This is so precious: both the story and the rule. Thank you so much!!!

If you ever happen to have others like this one. Please share with us!

(Also thank you because you remind me of a friend who married a Japanese guy and moved there. She happens to sound just like you when she writes. I haven’t have the opportunity to speak with her in a while and I miss her. So thank you for that, too. :slight_smile: )


Well “reign” isn’t an exception if you continue the rhyme :wink: (Or when sounding like “ay” as in “neighbor” or “weigh”)

But yeah, pretty sure that “rule of thumb” has way too many common exceptions to be useful. I never really got it.

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It’s generally useful as long as you know it’s limitations. Just like with Mikki’s husband’s rule of thumb.

You’re never going to find a perfect rule without exception in any natural language. Maybe Esperanto is free of such things?


Thank youuuuu!!! This is gonna help so much <<<33


Thank you!!


This is incredibly timely, as I just got 今月 as a vocab word. I was thinking “Hm, month names always seem to be number-がつ, so maybe everything else is げつ”. Awesome to have that confirmation!


Just a quick update, but I was able to benefit from this realization today. I had my review to move 毎月 from master to enlightened and I got it right with zero hesitation. :smiley:


I will definitely do so!
And aww, you’re welcome~ It seems lately that quite a few people have been telling me I remind them of another friend they have, haha. Anyway, I hope you catch up with her soon then! :slight_smile:

Yay!! I’m glad it could help you out! :relaxed:


I asked my Japanese teacher about this question: 人 = ジン , ニン.
At first she didn’t get what the problem was :slight_smile:
Then she googled and found some academic research on the question. The conclusion was that ニン implies an activity or an action or performance that the person does; whereas ジン implies a status or a characteristic of the person.
I’ve been testing it on my reviews since and it seems to be quite a good guide.


Yes, but as I mentioned above, this is only when it’s a true suffix. Like when we’re talking about putting 人 onto the end of アメリカ to make アメリカ人, or onto the end of 案内 to make 案内人. In those cases, you can apply the rules.

If the kanji is just part of a word that came directly from Chinese as is, and it wasn’t added as a suffix, then the reading is based on when it entered the language. With にん being older and じん being newer.

Coincidentally many of those “came as a compound” words will superficially fit the suffix rules, which is where people tend to take it a bit too far I think.