OMG I am so confused between On'yomi and Kun'yomi

Reading explanation in some of the Vocabs I’m doing :
When a vocab is a single kanji with okurigana, chances are it’s going to be the kun’yomi reading, which you don’t usually learn in the kanji (you usually learn the on’yomi reading).

Reading explanation in other Vocabs I’m doing :
When a vocab is a single kanji with no okurigana (hiragana attached to the kanji), it usually uses the kun’yomi reading.

I am so confused now, vocabs with single Kanji with no okurigana and with okurigana, both uses the Kun’yomi reading? Then why confuse us by mentioning it? Just say that single Kanji vocabs use kun’yomi reading, or am I am getting this wrong?


It’s contrasting those with compounds. If it’s a single kanji, with okurigana or no okurigana, then it’s often kunyomi. If it’s a compound, it’s often onyomi.

Both things they said are true. The ratio of kunyomi to onyomi is probably greatest with okurigana present. Then a solo kanji is probably a slightly higher chance of onyomi than when it has okurigana, but still majority kunyomi.


By compound you mean a vocab with mulitple Kanjis? I don’t think I have learnt a single vocab with mulitple kanjis in it yet, so I can’t tell. I figured what they said is obviously true, but it confused tf out of me. Going back to some of the vocabs and reading the “reading explanations” for a bit kind of clarified it.

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Yes, that is what I mean. There are a few on level one, such as 人工 (artificial) and 人口 (population), both of which use the onyomi readings.

大人 (adult) is also taught in level one, but does not use onyomi, which would be だいじん or something to that effect, or kunyomi, which would be おおひと or something to that effect. It’s a special kind of reading called jukujikun (おとな in this case), which is like when multiple kanji get a single kunyomi reading. I don’t think they bother mentioning jukujikun… I think they just say it’s an exception, which is also true.

EDIT: To confuse things even more, I guess, たいじん actually is a reading of 大人 you can find in the dictionary, though its meanings are slightly different. It’s not very common though.


Ok ok, I just read through this thread multiple times, and I think all these rules are engraved to my mind a bit better and it all makes sense now. Thanks for your help mate, appreciate it.


At first glance, the contrast between the two pictures seems super confusing, doesn’t it? :wink:

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