Vocab reviews

Hi, first time posting in the wanikani forum so apologies if this is in the wrong place -

I’m wondering about the merit of reading all of the example sentences while learning the vocab words. I enjoy reading the sentences, but it takes time. It also adds a slight layer of friction to learning the vocab which makes it just that little bit harder to motivate myself to do all of the new lessons as they arise. I end up doing 10-20 lessons on a given day, instead of doing all of them. I realised that with my current rate of progress, it will take me another 3-4 years to complete wanikani (I’m currently on level 9). However, if I don’t read the vocabulary sentences, I can probably do it in 1-2 years. This is pretty significant, and given that I’m using wanikani as a tool to be able to actually read books + get along with daily life in Japan, speed is key. It does feel like a terrible waste to ignore the example sentences though - they’re really good, and I do pick up interesting bits of knowledge when I read them.

What do other people do? Do you read the example sentences when learning vocab, ignore them completely, or find another way to feed them in? Ideally I would read them at a later time, like while I’m doing reviews, but the only way I know how to do this is to click on the kanji while doing reviews and then read the examples, which isn’t practical at scale. Any tips or thoughts welcome!

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Personally, I usually only choose one out of the three example sentences to read. I find it to be a good way to encounter some of the previous vocab words in a more “natural” way. Plus, as a beginner, it helps me practice reading hiragana as well. I haven’t learned grammar yet, but I imagine reading the sentences will also provide additional practice for that. You’re right, though, reading those example sentences takes time, especially if you’re doing all three. That’s why I only choose the one I like the most, but even then I sometimes skip all of them if they’re all too long or if I’m feeling too lazy haha. Ultimately, I think it depends on your goal. If you want to go through WaniKani as fast as possible, then it’s probably a good idea to skip those sentences. But for just learning Japanese, you’re going to have to read sentences sooner or later, so might as well do it along the way.

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WaniKani sentences are super hit or miss. It’s a complete toss up on whether a given sentence is way below my level, about right, or some super long sentence(s) that have a pile of unknown words.

Try and do a super fast read of the sentence and that will help you gauge whether or not it’s too far above your level. If it seems like an adequate level, go ahead and read through it, since that definitely helps solidify some grammar and vocab. Otherwise, or when you’re short on time, then absolutely feel free to skip out on them.


I only read the sentences if the vocab is a vague concept, just to see how it’s used and how it translates. I wouldn’t need to for concrete words like 猫, etc.


The sentences are trash. Most of them you would never actually use.

I skip past them. It makes adding 10 or so vocab nice and quick.


I read the sentences in English if I’m not sure of the proper context of a word. I might try and read a sentence in Japanese if it doesn’t look too troublesome, but these days I mainly use the Anime Sentences script to get context and reading practice.


This is the script I use to show the sentence while I review

Honestly it’s great to read the sentences as it will help you remember how the words can be used grammatically. The anime context script is also good although it doesn’t automatically show. It’s good for getting a better idea of how vocab is used in speech and what particles get dropped, etc.

What I would do though is if you know the reading and meaning of the vocab in 2 seconds or less, don’t bother actively reading the sentences. If it takes you longer than that or if you get it wrong, then read the sentence.

Hopefully this can help you out! Happy learning!

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Absolutely not. As someone else mentioned already, sentences are trash. You’re better off consuming material on your own.

Satori reader is really good for this. You can import the kanji you’ve already learned from wk and so when you read stories, only the words you’ve already learned will not have furigana.

Just a suggestion. There are plenty of resources out there where you can read from. I spend enough time already doing reviews and lessons (though I’m taking a break from lessons for now) as it is. No way in hell I’ll devote time to those vocab sentences :yawning_face:

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The main issue I’ve had with WK sentences is that they are often too complex.

The ideal sentence for vocab learning is such that:

  • it contains only 1 unknown, i.e. it is made of vocab and grammar you already understand, plus the unknown vocab you are about to learn. This makes reading the sentence and understanding its context very easy and quick, and in addition helps strenghening your understanding of the new word.

  • it is sourced from material you care about, like a tv show or a book you are reading. Having a personal connection or attachment to the sentence makes the review process easier, and leaves a stronger impression in your brain, which in turn makes you remember more.

WK sentences fail in both regards, because 1. they often contain kanji and vocab that hasn’t been introduced yet, and/or advanced grammar, and 2. they aren’t sourced from material you care about.

Learning vocab in context is very important and should be done. However, if doing it on WK means you are gonna go through the SRS at a snail’s pace, that’s even worse. Assuming you want to stick with WK, my suggestion is to ignore the example sentences and just go through the lessons/reviews as fast as you can, and then use the time gained to immerse in Japanese content and find example sentences there. Remember that the only way to get better at reading books is reading more books, not flashcards.

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Ignore the sentences, they are not needed. You’ll get better, natural sentences as you immerse and it’ll stick better. So skip the sentences and immerse. Time much better spent.

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I think the sentences become slightly more manageable once your overall language skills are above N4 and even then it very much depends on the sentence. Some are natural and have reasonable translations, some have translations that don’t match up too well or are too abstract to be useful in general.

When in doubt about a word I use a combination of dictionaries like Jisho, Goo and one other JP-EN with context sentences.

But in general there is no hard necessity to read them I think.

This is only the case if reading the sentences demotivates you from doing lessons. In the broader scheme of things you are gated by how many reviews you can manage a day and how many reviews you get wrong which delays the time-to-burn. Time spent in the lessons themselves is meaningless in the context of how quickly you can progress.

I’m the author of the userscript that @DIO-Berry references and I use it almost exactly as he describes. I don’t typically bother reading sentences in the lessons, and for most vocabulary, I don’t bother reading the sentence during a review. However, if there’s a vocabulary item I’m looking at and I think I should know it, but it’s just not coming out, I will read the sentence. For leeches, I will review the sentence and it’s translation and then read the sentence during the review.

I don’t agree with those who are calling the sentences garbage, I think it just matters as to what your expectation is and how you use them.


Yeah, they’re quite bad. I don’t use them either.

Whoa, wait you can import kanji you know from wanikani to satori reader?

Okay yup I just found it…thanks!

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Thanks, that’s a good idea! Maybe I’ll adjust it based on my mood on a current day.
It is true that I’ll have to read Japanese sentences sooner or later, and it’s also the case that I do pick up interesting things from time to time from the example sentences. In my case I’m living in Japan so I get quite a lot of opportunities to read things anyway, and I also really want to be able to enjoy reading manga, subtitles on shows, books, messages, etc., so by skipping the sentences I may actually open up more energy and opportunity to just get reading ‘in the wild’. I can kind of imagine that in some cases I sit there reading the sentences, but if I looked up from my phone I would see other sentences all around me wherever I am in public, and maybe more relevant to my current circumstances / context and therefore more likely to get lodged in my memory / become building blocks for more language learning :slight_smile:

Yeah this is definitely true, I can usually read 1-2 of them and then the third is way beyond my level, and that’s where I’m mostly getting slowed down. I could just skip over that one for now

good idea!

cheers for the tip. I can’t really imagine actually using the sentences and wouldn’t learn them wholesale, but sometimes I do pick up the odd bit of useful information from them, like how a particular word is used in context, the correct spelling of a word that I didn’t realise I was misspelling, or a bit of Japanese trivia. it’s nice when this happens but it’s not all the time, so if I’m in the mood for speed I’ll probably skip them, and if I have time / energy to gamble for an interesting tidbit, I’ll read them

that’s awesome! i didn’t know that was possible

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I gave up on reading the sentences very early on, and honestly they were still tough to read for months after I’d finished WK.

It seems like they were written for people who already knew Japanese but just needed to learn the kanji. That seems to explain quite a lot about how WK is structured.