What is the rule for う?

Some words have it ( う)where you think it should be and some words don’t have it where you think it should be.
About 1/3 or more of errors I make in reviews are due to this. Is there a rule or a way to remember that I can use?



Out of curiosity, where do you think it should be?


Are you talking about things like onyomi readings of こ and こう or しょ and しょう? That kind of thing?

I’m having a hard time imagining how there could be an overarching rule for that kind of thing.

Unless you also knew the Chinese pronunciations from 800 years ago or whatever.


Doubt there are rules. It’s just spelling, you need to know how to spell words in every language, Japanese is way easier than most though.

Make sure you give extra attention to kanji with う and you’ll remember them better.

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As far as WK, they make a point of using different mnemonics for each usually:

そ soap
そう soul
こ child 子
こう Kouichi
しょ show
しょう shogun
ほ hoe
ほう home

There are some places where they’re inconsistent, but those are exceptions.


yes, exactly that kind of thing. thanks for your reply

Don’t worry. You are not alone. I’m with you man. I’m still having trouble remembering most of them, but over time, you get the hang of it. You should pay attention to the mnemonics, that way you’ll remember them easily. Initially I had trouble with 公 and 古, among other Kanjis, of course back then I didn’t pay attention the mnemonics given by WK, and once I did, with the こう(Kouichi) and こ(child). It got easy =D
Give it time, we both will master it.

thanks for your encouragement. we shall endeavor. あたり!!

I originally thought you were having trouble with う vs お, but apparently that’s not the case. If it’s something like しょ vs しょう that you’re having trouble with, then it’s not only a spelling issue but a pronunciation issue. If you are not already aware, しょう is pronounced with an elongated vowel sound. Look up some videos on YouTube that demonstrate this sound difference.


i struggle with those as well. older/more used ones get better over time but without the mnemonic, i easily forget, yet, the point is to forget the mnemonic altogether.

if i don’t get it right, i repeat it aloud 4 times and shorten short ones/lengthen long ones to train the sound in my mind. it’s artificial but it works a bit.

so if i said tokyou instead of toukyou in a review. i’d then repeat tooooouuuukyou 4 times for example.

of course i don’t sound silly at all.


Thanks for the reply. Essentially thats what I need to do too.

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