Questions regarding example sentences in Wanikani

Hi, mates:

I have some questions regarding some example sentences that we are given throughout our lessons in Wanikani

In order for me to understand these sentences, I usually break them down. But, sometimes I come across some difficult ones.

If you would do me the honor of helping me out with these questions, I will be forever grateful to you all.

This is one case:

Kanae’s parents were very strict about teaching her to elegantly use a knife and fork.

If I break this sentence down, would it be like this?


Kanae は always elegantly knife and fork を use way to (よう?) に parents from strict said (言われている?)

Is 言われている passive or how does it work? And please also tell me a bit more about よう in this sentence

Thanks in advance.
Greetings from Peru.

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  1. ように
    This means “in order to meet a goal”, or “in hopes to”. In this case, Kanae’s parents wanted her to use a knife and fork elegantly, so they were very strict on her.

More resources:ように-you-ni/

  1. 言われている
    This comes from 言われる (passive) + ている conjugation.

Remove the ように part in the sentence for a bit:


Maybe a direct, on-the-nose translation could be:
Kanae gets harshly talked to by her parents.

Add this:
In order to always use the fork and knife elegantly,

So… Perhaps an on-the-nose and direct translation can be:

In order to always elegantly use a knife and fork, Kanae gets harshly talked to by her parents.

WaniKani rewords it to make it sound more natural in English, so that’s why you get:
Kanae’s parents were very strict about teaching her to elegantly use a knife and fork.

TBH, if they’re using were it might need to be 言われていた。 To me, 言われてる implies Kanae is still receiving scolding for her messy utensil usage.


Thanks a bunch for your answer.

Apropos, be so kind as to tell what the difference would be between these two statements:


ている is a て-form for ongoing states.
One of the simplest examples would be our good friend 食べる.

  1. ラーメンを食べる (I eat ramen)
  2. ラーメンを食べている (I’m eating ramen)

But how does this play for 言われる and 言われている?
Something that’s ongoing can be still going for a while, right? So the first sentence implies that Kanae’s parents are still talking harshly and trying to teach her to elegantly use her utensils, while the second sentence means that it happened once. It doesn’t explicitly say that it’s an ongoing process. Just like if I’ll eat ramen and maybe finish it versus you catching me eating ramen at this very instance.

More resources:

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Much obliged for your answer.

Nevertheless, I still keep wondering why Wanikani is translating this sentence as WERE.

It would be better if Wanikani translated as:

Kanae’s parents ARE BEING very strict about teaching her to elegantly use a knife and fork.

Would you not agree?

I personally agree. Many of WaniKani’s sentences and translations are creative to be more memorable and interesting, but sometimes small inconsistencies like this may appear. It might be such a small mistake.

I guess there’s always contacting them via their suggestion form or emailing directly. :sweat_smile:

I have a second doubt regarding this sentence


The first rule of Tofugu’s softball team is that you have to leave your vanity on the bench.

Breaking it down would be something like this (if I am not mistaken):


Tofugo + softball team+に+ enter (はいる?) on the occasion (際) first rule は, dignity at the bench leaving behind +おく + こと (nominalizer?) is.

I cannot figure out why おく is in that sentence. Can you?
What about 入る際?

Thanks in advance.

  1. -ておく is another て form that’s used to modify a verb in preparation for something. I’ve first learned this grammatical bit with a scenario like studying for a test.

Because I have an exam tomorrow, I’m going to study tonight.

In this situation, the speaker is going to study in preparation for tomorrow’s exam.

  1. 際に essentially looks like a relatively more formal version of 時に. I think the meaning and rules are similar. There do seem to be nuances, so you may want to look at more sample sentences to understand this phrase better.

So the literal translation can be:

The first rule on the occasion of joining Tofugu’s softball team is that you have to leave your vanity at the bench. (in preparation to joining the softball team)

It’s tricky because 「Tofuguソフトボールチームに入る際の」is literally a description for 「第一規則」, so there’s a lot in the sentence to process.

こと makes that whole verbal action (虚栄心をベンチに置いておく) a noun to properly describe the first rule. It’s not very different than saying something like:

The first rule is a lie.

More resources:

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I personally wouldn’t say “are being.” Probably just “are.”


So, in this sentence 時に can be translated as ON THE OCCASION OF, right?

Viet was chuckling softly to himself, especially when Koichi was yelling.

But If I rewrote it with 際に, would the sentence be the same?
From what I have I read in the links you shared, 際に is formal.

  1. Why is に「Tofuguソフトボールチームに入る際の」omitted here? Does it mean that に is optional? I don’t think の is replacing に because as you said の makes that sentence a NOUN, right?

  2. Regarding this sentence.


If I wrote:


would both sentences be the same?


But there is a slight difference between both, is there not?

This use of ている strikes me as “habitual action” rather than “present progressive.” So, because it’s a regular occurrence, but not necessarily happening right at this moment, “are” seems more appropriate to me than “are being.” Though that’s just the feeling I get from the sentence, and the other interpretation isn’t necessarily impossible.

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This の is the same の that you use to link two nouns together. In this case 際 and 第一規則. So the の is there, because both terms are nouns.

So, when you terms are NOUNS you can omit に?

It is not omitting. You just need different particles on different occasions (pun slightly intended).

Though the two examples seem very similar (際/時), and seem similarly translated, they are fulfilling different grammatical roles in the two sentences.

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So in this case, since Tofuguソフトボールチームに入る際の is a NOUN and it is attached to 第一規則, it doesn’t need に. But if I don’t change it into a noun and omit 第一規則 , this sentence would be OK, wouldn’t it?

Tofuguソフトボールチームに入る際に, 虚栄心をベンチに置いておくことです

際 is always a noun. But it also denotes a moment in time, so sometimes it can the に you use for time. And sometimes it can take the adverbial に.

But when you look carefully at the sentence you have now

it doesn’t make sense without 規則. The basic construction of the sentence was
X は Y です。
But now you have got rid of the X は part.

Edit: btw, I am on a train now, so keeping my replies short. Apologies if explanations don’t come across well

Thank you kindly and may you have a nice train ride and day.

Pardon my slowness to understand some things.

  1. If I added the は、would it be ok?

  2. In regards to 際/時, you say they fulfilled different grammatical roles. So if I were to replace 際 for 時, these two sentences would be different?


Now I am just waiting for Japanese class to start :grin: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to deepen my understanding of this aspect of the language. Do also bear in mind that I am only on the way to N3 level still.

If you substituted は for the に after 際? It would be grammatically correct, but the meaning would not be the same.

“The occasion of entering/joining the tofugu softball team, is to leave your vanity on the bench.”

In their respective sentences they were fulfilling different roles. What you did here, is just substitute one noun for another. Aside from changing the meaning of this one word, the sentence remains unchanged. Just like substituting nouns in English:
The woman is a bartender.
The woman is a doctor.

The reason I made this change is because according to this link

both are almost the same with the peculiarity that 際 is more formal

But you mention they are fulfilling different roles. Please tell me what those roles are.

For example, I have this sentence which was originally written with 時に


According to the link I mentioned, I could replace 時に for 際に and I would make it more formal?