WaniKani "Context" section: at what point were you able to understand it?

I’m a beginner in Japanese. I’m currently going through Genki 1 and in WaniKani I am level 3. When doing WaniKani lessons I can hardly ever understand the “Context” and “Word use” sections.

If I keep studying Genki 1 and then Genki 2, when can I expect to be able to get more from those sections? Or maybe I won’t even by the end of Genki 2?

Has anyone had a similar experience?


The biggest issue will be the words, around 30 you’ll know most. Besides whenever you start to read them, or books, it’s harder to apply grammar than knowing it.
I don’t personally read the Japanese though, just the English to get a sense of how the word is used

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Most of the context section (as in the word use examples) didn’t exist when I was doing the early levels that are full of it now, but…

I would think Genki 1 could get you to understand a lot of it, given that primarily you just need to know how the particles work. を, の, に, etc. That’s all so fundamental that the first Genki book should equip you with at least some idea of what they do.

The full example sentences, on the other hand? Pretty universally disliked around here. There are some scripts to add other examples (like one from anime I believe) if you’re so inclined. But the WK provided ones are often written at much too high of a level for someone just starting out.


I don’t personally read the Japanese though, just the English to get a sense of how the word is used

That’s probably what I am supposed to do at this level. Thanks.

The full example sentences, on the other hand? Pretty universally disliked around here.

I don’t like them too. They are way too random, nothing like anything one might find when reading the usual beginner/intermediate material. They are in line with the crazy mnemonics though. Those I like a lot, as they have worked for me mostly.

There are some scripts to add other examples (like one from anime I believe) if you’re so inclined.

I was not aware of that. I will check it out. Thanks.


Here you go :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you. You guys are awesome.


I would normally look up Patterns of Use, in phrases and context anyway; before more recently, Patterns of Use and Common Word Combinations were added.

Context sentences have been existing for a while, much longer.

However, it is also true that, without some grammar and vocabularies, Patterns of Use might not be readable after all. Context Sentences may also include even more vocabularies, including those that are usually written with Kanji, but feigned easiness with Kana form.

My thought? Do read Patterns of Use / Common Word Combinations, but don’t take too much attention to context sentences, if you are somewhat a beginner. I see that Word Use’s may just be memorized, while of course, they can still be improved a lot.

Anime context sentences might be a better source of sentences, if it is to your liking; but it isn’t necessarily easier to really parse than WaniKani context sentences. (The truth is, Anime’s are easier; as WaniKani’s inappropriately use less Kanji.)

[Userscript]: Hide Context Sentence Translation somehow works including on Patterns of Use, and on Anime context sentences too.


I will say this in the least bombastic way I can, so I will say this…

I fucking HATE WaniKani’s context sections as it uses kanji you technically dont even know with words you dont even know and somehow its supposed to reinforce the idea of how to use the vocab. It is one of the most piss poorly thought out parts and arguably one of the most important. It’s not i+1, its i+bananas.

Going back to WK after a couple years of reading though I can get through it fine, but it is still a missed opportunity if you ask me since the large appeal is the mnemonics, you could have made some memorable sentences that are easy to grasp the meaning as well.

WK thank you for all you do, but I never vented this until now.




Whaaat? Count me out of that “pretty universal” category. I LOVE the example sentences, they give me such a laugh. And it’s easy to find “straight” examples elsewhere.


at this point, i get most of the context sentences. of course there are still tons of words, kanji or otherwise, which i don’t know. but with something like tenten reader (a browser plugin which pops up definitions and readings if you hover your mouse over japanese words) i can usually figure it out.

except when there’s like a dozen okurigana attached to the verb, then it gets iffy… :sweat:

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Yeah, we see plenty of people talking about enjoying the example sentences, so “universally disliked” is definitely an overstatement. We get positive and negative feedback about the example sentences.


I also do not use the context section (examples sentences) as much as I would if it was simpler / more progressive. I think there should be furigana, or at least a button to show furigana (I do not speak of extensions, as it kinda external tools solving the lacks of WK and I do not add extensions to my browser except what blocks intruding / tracking).
With furigana one can afford more having difficult sentences, with words/kanji you do not know yet : it helps familiarizing with a higher level. But without furigana you cannot memorize what you do not comprehend and cannot read, you need to check a dictionary or something of the sort to learn, which is not very ‘learner-tool’ like if you have to bother checking a dictionary as much as any text.

I rather use “Kanji Study” app (on smartphone, that is the only bother to have to use my phone when I am studying WK on PC) with the paid add-on of Kanji Learner Course Graded Reading Sets. Kanji Study is a very good app to complement WK and discover vocab and good example sentences.

I see however on WK there have been some more precise info in contexte section lately on how to use certain words (what it means when it is used with a particle or another), so if it is being improved maybe I’ll check it more

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Fellow beginner here :raised_hand:t2: I went through approx. the first 9 levels of WK before starting Genki 1. Others might oppose the idea of not doing grammar study since the very beginning, but I find this learning method suits me very well.

In the beginning, I use the WK ‘common word combinations’ and ‘context sentences’ for a “reading out loud” practice, no matter how slow I read or how awful I sound. Of course, I couldn’t fully comprehend the meaning of those word combinations or sentences.

So far I’ve covered Genki I until chapter 3, and I notice that I’ve started to be able to understand some of the WK context sentences. Usually the first or first two examples are simple enough for me to understand or “guess” correctly, while the third example is often the most complicated one (e.g. using difficult kanjis & vocabs, very long sentences, etc.). I don’t bother too much whether or not I can correctly understand each example. If I do understand it, great! If not, that’s fine for me. What’s important for me is that now I actually try to analyze the structure of the sample sentences instead of just relying on the English translation.

For those who don’t know, for the WK context sentences, someone actually made a userscript to highlight which kanji you have studied in WK and grey out the ones you haven’t. It really helps me out a lot in reading the context sentences.

Of course, knowing the kanji doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll understand the vocab consisting of the said kanji… but at least it encourages me to try recall what I remember about the kanji.

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I know this is a bit of a necro, but I wanted to point out that I’m also firmly in the “hate them” camp. They have wildly varying levels of difficulty from reasonably easy to overly complex, some use disproportionately advanced grammar compared to their level and worst of all they throw random vocabulary and kanji at you that you haven’t even been taught yet. As someone correctly pointed out, they are not i+1, its i+bananas. Considering Wanikani knows exactly what Kanji and Vocab you’ve been taught, it feels like pure laziness.

This is more of a personal preference, but I also dislike their often nonsensical nature - that works well for mnemonics, but for context sentences I would like to see simple, real-world examples that reinfornce how the vocab would be used in a real-life situation.

I will say that I enjoyed the anime context sentences script much more and I found it much more interesting trying to translate them without looking at the English, but as I spent more and more time with it I came to realize that the process of working through context sentences was making my lessons take exponentially longer than they would otherwise. In the end, I drifted away from them, as I would prefer to spend that time reading actual Japanese material - it is often suprising how quickly I come upon a word just after learning it on Wanikani.

I quite like the context sentences myself. Are they pre-digested and easy for beginners, no. Did they potentially miss a huge benefit by not making them easier, yes. Do I actually read through them because I find them amusing, challenging myself occasionally with new grammar and vocab I would otherwise not have been exposed to unless I was reading instead of just glancing over them, also yes! I do like for example bunpro’s vocab sentences where they start out with 2 N5s, followed by 2 N4s and then an assorted amount of higher level ones, and would love for WK to do something similar, but I really enjoy the off-beat nature of the current batch and would dread missing them.

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