To Raise/Rise/Climb Context sentences make no sense

I’m still very new to learning Japanese and just want an explanation for the following confusion I’m having.

Currently learning the Raise/Rise/Climb Vocab but I’m getting annoyed as it appears that none of the context sentences given every use the word that they are supposed to show examples of. For example here are the To Rise Context Examples:

I can go up to the roof.

I climbed up stairs to the 10th floor.

I saw a salmon swimming upstream.

As you can see, none of them ever use 上る in a sentence but rather 上って . Although I’d love to understand why this is the case. I still don’t understand why you’d use these as examples especially without even explaining why they don’t actually have the exact word in them which defeats the whole purpose of showing them as examples…


Unfortunate reality is that dictionary forms of verbs are seldom used. In real life, verbs are conjugated, which is a matter of grammar, not kanji.
Japanese is tough. :slight_smile:


WaniKani doesn’t teach Japanese grammar. I think they imagine you’ll get the idea from the English translations that these are different forms of the same word.

In any case, you should still be able to read all of them, which is the purpose of WaniKani. The inflected portion doesn’t affect the reading.


It’s like having “climbed” or “climbing” in an example sentence for the word “climb” in some alternate universe where WK taught you English instead.

Would that make sense to you, because it seems perfectly fine to me, though I know it’s a bit confusing before you know the basics of the grammar.

EDIT: Considering WK will never teach you 上がって、上がった、上がれる、上がらせる、上がらない、上がらなかった、上がれない、上がらせない、上がります、上がりません etc etc etc it seems a bit limiting to me for it to only ever contain sample sentences with the dictionary form…


Specifically, the conjugations are:

上りましょう = polite-form volitional
上った = plain past tense
上って = continuative form

Note that in all of these cases, the kanji is still read as のぼ - it’s only the okurigana ending る that gets modified during conjugation.

P.S. Those are the example sentences for “to climb”.


I too am new here and often become confused at tenses etc. 上る is the dictionary for but when used in sentences its meaning isn’t always as clean cut.
The following website has a few short videos that really helped me understand vocab forms:

Also the following site is like wanikani but for grammer:


As others have said, it’s a grammar thing. All of the sentences use 上る(のぼる)as the base word, but it has a different inflection each time. For each sentence:

上りましょう is the polite volitional form, or in other words a statement of intent to do something. I find it’s often used to say “let’s do [thing]”, for example:
「あの山を上りましょう」- “Let’s climb that mountain over there”

上った is the plain past form. It changes the sentence in the second example from saying “I will climb up stairs to the 10th floor” to “I climbed up stairs to the 10th floor”

上って is the te-form of the word, which has a bunch of different uses. When you see te-form + いる though it indicates an ongoing action or a continuous state. So 上っている means “to be climbing”, although in this case “climbing the river” means the salmon is swimming upstream.

I’ve been using the website Bunpro for a few weeks now and it’s taught me some really good stuff when it comes to grammar, I highly recommend it. It explains in detail what each conjugation does and how to form it from the dictionary form. Its SRS system is based off of WK as far as I can tell as well, so nothing too crazy to get used to. Duolingo is also a good option but I find they try to balance learning vocab with grammar so the progress can be a bit slower.


It’s a similar idea to the change in English verbs(conjugation) - i.e. i climb (present tense), i climbed (past tense) i am climbing (present continuous), etc. all stem from the dictionary form of “to climb”. Japanese does the same thing with their words, and it’s part of the basic grammar you will learn when you venture into that area (as explained by everyone else).
I second Bunpro to help with grammar, it’s taught me everything i know about verb conjugations. It works on a similar idea to Wanikani, so if this works for you then again, id have a look. Even the one month free trial is definitely worth checking out. You can also find some other resources that work for you from the extra readings section in their lessons. There’s heaps of grammar resources, and pretty much all can be found in the ultimate resources list under Grammar if you wanna check that out.

Also since it’s your first time posting:
\textcolor{MediumPurple}{\huge \textsf{Hi}} {\huge \textsf{@KazumaOnline}} \textcolor{MediumPurple}{\huge \textsf{!}}


It’s great to have you here!

If you haven’t already check out the Forum Guidelines and the Wanikani User Guide .
There’s also tonnes of things on the forums to help you on your way such as The guide, The Ultimate resource list, and API and Third Party Apps.

If you have any questions, check out this thread; but if this doesn’t answer your questions, feel free to create a thread like you’re done here, or email The Wanikani staff.

Good luck, and I look forward to seeing you around!


At least in Japanese or English you CAN use the dictionary form of a verb to construct sentences. Try that in French or German :smiley:

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Kein Problem sein! Einfach machen!

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In my early days of wanikani (don’t be fooled by my low level … I have paused many times!!) I gave up on the sentences as in my grammar lessons I only knew the mas-form - I was also confused by learning the dictionary form in the vocabulary! But as I have progressed in my grammar learning (I do classes using Minna No Nihongo) I have got more of a grasp on some of these different forms and their use and have started to use the sentences again.

Best of luck in your learning :grin:

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I’ve been thinking about Bunpro for a little while but I’m not sure how much kanji I need to know for it. Do you think it would be okay to start now with level 3 WaniKani? Also, are you using the paid version or just what they give you for free?

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I started with Bunpro at level 5 WK, most of the kanji in the lessons you can click on for a reading and translation, which helps a lot. LingoDeer is the other one you can try, but I didn’t like it as it started out too slow for me since I’ve done previous study.


Mais, c’est facile à faire, non ?


One of the things I don’t like is that in examples you find kanji that have not yet been studied in your current level.
It would seem more logical to me if for instance you’re in level 5, the examples use kanji you studied so far and not kanji you won’t see until a (far away) subsequent level.


I should specify:

Sentences using ONLY the dictionary form. Try again in hard mode :stuck_out_tongue:


From what I can tell, the 3 examples get progressively harder. So you should be able to read the first example at the level you’re at, but you’ll probably need to come back later to read the second, and much later for the third. But you can still read the English translation and study the vocab you’re focusing on and get an idea of how it’s being used grammatically.


The grammar points themselves (at least the ones I’ve come across doing the N5/N4 levels) have very little Kanji in them, and if they do it’s given to you as kana first, and you can see the Kanji by mousing over them. The exercises are designed that you are given the base word, and you have to make it fit in the sentence in a grammatically correct way, so not knowing a word is fine. Also, the Kanji content (at least for the N5) is limited to basic Kanji/words like:

行く(いく)- to go
好き(すき)- like / desirable
嫌い(きらい)- dislike / undesirable
上手(じょうず)- skilled / good at
下手(へた)- unskilled / bad at

I’ve been using the free version so far, but my subscription just expired :sweat_smile: Gonna get the paid version though, as it’s been great so far. As for when to start, whenever you feel like starting should be fine. I don’t think there’s really any “minimum level” you need to be at to go for it.

Hope that was helpful!


That was really helpful! Thanks! I’ll probably be starting it soon. :grin:

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Können wir das schaffen? Jo, wir schaffen das!

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