Remembering How to Use Vocabulary

Hi! So I don’t have any trouble memorizing vocabulary/meanings on their own, but I am having trouble remembering how to use them, for example, if a word is a noun, suffix. Anyone here have any tips, apps or methods for this? Thanks!

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Well, verbs are verbs. I assume you meant word.

Verbs always end with something in the う set of sounds (う, く, す, etc.)

I’m not too sure what you mean by telling nouns and suffixes apart. Many suffixes have a form that can also be a noun.

Like 時 by itself is とき, time, a noun. But you can also use it like a suffix, such as in 非常時 (非常 ひじょう emergency + 時 じ time, at the time of an emergency).

Maybe you can explain more what you mean exactly.

One important thing that will always be helpful no matter how long you study a language is to just pay attention to how native speakers use words. In particular, look at the phrases that appear frequently with various words.

There are resources out there specifically for learning about how to use vocabulary and maybe some others have recommendations they can make as well.


Exposure. Read a lot. Listen a lot. Speak in Japanese to other Japanese speakers a lot. Write (email) a lot.


Perhaps it’s time for you to branch out and start consuming more Japanese media in the formats that you like and prefer. :slight_smile: Read manga/books if you like that. Watch anime or JP dramas or whatever you prefer. Games are harder as a starting point, but perhaps further on?

But, I think part of your confusion is just lack of experiencing Japanese and seeing/hearing it used in actual sentences in “the wild”. You develop an ear for what is what after a while, like you do with any language. You’ll just have to have a bit of patience with yourself as you try to navigate it all in the beginning, when it’s the most confusing.

In any case, good luck with your studies! :slight_smile:


Agreed but I’d advise doing a lot of the first two (listening and reading) before seriously attempting the latter two.

You need to be very familiar with how the language works before you can count on producing anything that’s not a total pain to put together and completely riddled with mistakes. I’d say at least 200 hours of native input (reading and listening to stuff made BY natives FOR natives, so not textbooks and stuff) before actively looking for conversation buddies and stuff.

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With some of the nouns in the vocab section, you also sometimes get a bit of extra info like "する verb” or “な adjective”.
For a quick reminder of the different usages you could also have a look at using KaniWani. When asking for the correct japanese word they give you the info what the word is used for, e.g. noun, suffix, adverb, expression. Looking at these honestly saved me from forever getting things like おんな and おんなのひと wrong.

But yeah, definitely reading and getting used to the natural usage of these words.

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Thanks for the replies all! Will try to look into consuming more Japanese media. Right now I’m just watching Terrace House on Netflix. :slight_smile:

One thing though, I remember when I was starting learning, there was a website where you can write some sort of journal in the language you were learning in, and people would get points for correcting your mistakes or giving suggestions. Anyone know this?

Sorry, I’m not familiar with the usage difference, do you mind pointing it out for me? :smile:

Yep! It’s

I was thinking about getting back into that website as well

EDIT: looks like registering as a new user is temporarily unavailable?? Luckily I remembered my old account :smirk: Really takes me back… my last entry was in 2014, haha

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It’s been like that for years now.

Study with a resource that focuses on these topics.
There are a few of these kinds of books on my shelf and I don’t read them often enough.

On WK, you’ll get the hang of this easily in a general sense, but not in a usage sense. Meaning, you’ll develop an intuitive recognition of nouns vs. verbs vs. suffixes (-…) but not necessarily how to put them together in a sentence.

They both mean “woman” but the second one is a bit more polite. In KaniWani it get’s the extra tag “expression” added. Same with おとこ and おとこのひと (man).
With kanji it’s 女/女の人 and 男/男の人.You’ll get vocab for the polite versions in lesson 3 and 5 respectively.

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Ah there! Thanks! Got my old account back too. Going to try composing daily journals and maybe read them out loud for practice.

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I really dislike that I was only taught polite forms in first year japanese, it must have made me sound like real idiot.

Better to be a bit more polite than rude. :wink:
A chinese exchange student at my uni prefered being polite and use “Sie” (polite “You”) in conversation instead of “Du” (“you”, 2nd singular) because the verb-form for the polite form is the same as the infinitive. Otherwise he’d have to use the more complicated conjugation. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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It is a good thing that you do not have problems with memorizing vocabs and its meaning. I think you just need to use and speak it frequently.

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