When to use a grammar book?

konnichiwa minna!

I am new in learning Japanese and recently reached Level 5, then I started wondering, when do I start learning Japanese grammar? To be specific, I bought the book “A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar”, and I begun to read the first few pages.

While I did learn how some sentences worked, I felt like I didn’t have enough Kanji in my head to read it alone.

I did not want to use the romaji, as I felt like I was just cheating.

So then I begun to wonder, should I learn a whole bunch of Kanji before I start reading the book, or should I be confident in my rudimentary knowledge of Kanji to blast through the book.

I know that some of you might tell me to read as I go along, but, I find that a bit awkward and can lead me to get lost easily in my studies.

Thank you for reading my issue.

Start now. Imho it makes no sense to wait. Ideally grammar would be acquired through exposure but it’s very difficult on beginner levels, especially with Japanese not being an Indo-European language and its writing systems that take long time to learn.

“A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar” is a great book and I love it myself (I mean really, its in depth explanations leave next to no space for confusion), but I don’t think that it’s that good as a primary source for learning grammar. It’s great to have, but at the end of day - it’s a dictionary. You don’t learn vocabulary by studying vocabulary and it’s true also for grammar. After all it’s arranged in an alphabetical order.

For beginners I’d recommend watching videos. Not only they can provide you with a solace of immersion, but they’re also entertaining.

You can try Japanese Ammo with Misa, Miku Real Japanese and Learn Japanese From Zero!. They’re all great.


Start as soon as you can. Just the basics will help a lot.
I used the Japanese video series on youtube.
I also went through the first genki book.

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I’ve found that having a basic understanding of grammar is something that should be learned when you learn kana. A lot of the vocab on WK is strange because it isn’t singular japanese words or they are conjugations. Knowing how things are put together in japanese grammar will help you even where you are at.

Edit: I highly recommend learning your basic grammar from audio sources before using a book. For me at least, hearing stuff then doing workbook and reading afterwards made it easier to understand. also there is no harm in reading stuff in romaji at first, all your typing will be in romaji that is converted while typing.

I agree with everyone else here. Start now.

If you don’t want to focus on romanization, you may struggle to find things you can work with.

You won’t know a lot of the kanji. You absolutely cannot let that discourage you from learning though! You don’t know what you don’t know.

The “A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar” is awesome as it offers kanji and romanization so you can start using it now without feeling discouraged by not know the kanji… you just have to make sure you break the romanization reliance ASAP.

I have not seen any resources that are furigana’ed or only use kana, so your option is romanized or wait longer before jumping into grammar, sadly.

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It’s always grammar time!


Also, this is a great way to get a jump start on shadowing and developing natural pronunciation of Japanese.

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