Struggling with Vocabulary, have any advice?

I’m only on level two, and I prefer to get familiar with the vocabulary before starting a new level.

However, I’m always mixing my vocabulary up, and not remembering which is which. For example 大した and 大きい get switched up, and I always forget whether 大 is おお or たい in these vocab. I’ve gotten way better at these, but does anyone have any advice, so I can prevent this problem in the future?

Thank you!!


The vocabulary is there to reinforce different readings and give the kanji in different contexts, so it’s understandable to be struggling with readings. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to solve this problem; it’ll be present throughout the rest of your Japanese learning journey.

What has often helped me is speaking these words outside to myself and using the example sentences to give context. Like with 大きい I’ll find something big in the room and be like, わー!大きいテレビだな!If I say it out loud and give it something concrete, it helps me remember.

Of course, this is just what helps me. You may not find a benefit in speaking, but speaking for me allows me to get that sound of a word in my head. Other people who have been here longer and have more experience than me on WaniKani specifically might say something different.


Stick with it, trust me it gets easier. You could try doing less lessons per day and focus on what you’ve learnt so far until its all guru+
Remember learning any language to a high level takes time, with Japanese a bit longer but many have done it and if you stick with it, I know you will too.
Also in addition to @caraage 's advice, start getting familiar with trying to read Japanese, check out N5-Beginner タグが付けられた記事一覧を表示しています。 -free web magazine written in easy Japanese language
They have a dictionary pop up for new words and they explain grammar as well. All for free and without needing you to sign up for anything.

@adeli You got this!


The word 大きい is an adjective, distinguished by ending in the character い. The 「きい」 portion of the word is called okurigana.

The word 大した is a compound of 大 + した (which you may recall WK mentioning on the page for this word). In this case, because the した portion is a standalone word itself, it is not okurigana.

Over time, as you move up levels in WaniKani, you’ll discover the following:

  • Words with okurigana typically use one reading, and words without okurigana use another reading.
  • The verb する (which した is the past-tense version of) can be added to many different words. These words use the “no okurigana” reading.

By the way, 大した is kind of an odd one in its difficulty for early-level WK. Most early vocabulary will be easier.


I second this.

I also use KaniWani for vocab recall without it affecting my WK progress at all so I can practice recalling readings for vocab freely.

Overtime the reading “rules” will be clearer and you’ll have an easier time in guesswork, but of course the ultimate goal is the knowledge of the reading rather than guessing–unfortunately that’s achieved with constant exposure to the vocab in the wild.


Thank you so much! I’ve also learned spanish, so I guess the best thing to do is keep practising! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Thank you! I haven’t learned much about grammar yet, but once I do (the site I’m using says to get past level 10 first) it will most likely be much easier. Also, I will try out the speaking the sentences. I haven’t done that yet, but I think it will help!!

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Thank you for replying! I didn’t know what okurigana meant, but I’d read it being used. Also, thank you for helping me discover those two things. It will definitely make my future learning easier!

Ah. My advice may not be as helpful bc I’m coming onto WaniKani with a bit of grammar knowledge from classes. Sorry about that!

Brute force through :grin:

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Don’t be afraid to fail at those a few times in your reviews, since it means you’ll see it more frequently. Like others mentioned, putting it into context helps, especially if you are also studying grammar now. If you don’t have a sentence ready in mind, or the wanikani example sentences aren’t doing it for you,, under each word then “links” you can find a whole slew of example sentences.

I’ll add one more:
If two words or kanji that are similar keep tripping me up, I put them side-by-side on a sheet of paper so I can look for what’s the same/different about it and commit the differences to memory. I don’t look at it during reviews, just after failing the reviews.

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My only recommendation outside of what others have said, and it may seem silly given the focus of WK is reading, write them down. Anything you can’t seem to get to stick, write it down. It has helped me even if all I did was write down a romanized version. Just the tactile action seems to reenforce it in my mind for some reason. Might work for you as well?


I do this with my leeches (items that just won’t stick in my head) too.


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