Why is 月 so Tricky?

I cannot seem to get a hold of when this guy is pronounced げつ or がつ. It seems totally random to me. Like, it’s げつ in 今月, but がつ in 毎月. What gives?!

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For annoying kanji like this it helps to browse the “Found In Vocabulary” section of the kanji’s page to help find a pattern:
月 page

If you look at it there’s an overall pattern. Names of months use 「がつ」but compound words use 「げつ」
That makes up almost all of the words on the list, with the exception of 月見(つきみ)、何月(なんがつ)、and the two words that use the small つ.

Out of 24 words you only have to memorize 2 big exceptions. It’s actually pretty easy relative to other terms.
PS: 毎月 uses げつ too.


I was just having this problem. I felt confident I had figured it out, until 毎月.

This is how I like to think of it:
がつ is for specific months (january, february, etc.). That’s also why 何月 is なんがつ because you’re looking for a specific month when you’re asking somone what month, yes?
げつ is just general, like counting months, saying this/next/last/every month, etc.


Oh my gosh I get it now!! I was so frustrated…



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I wouldn’t bother with まいげつ. まいつき is what you need - 毎月. When does anyone use まいげつ?

The way I remember it is this: specific months are がつ whereas non-specific months are げつ. 何月 also uses がつ because you are asking “which month specifically?”

Hope that helps you! : D

EDIT: @Maddieplier beat me to the same answer. Really, it’s what makes the most sense. : D

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inb4 人words


The one that’s started giving me trouble lately is 大. at least for the newer vocab I can never remember when to use たい and when to use だい.


Yeah, that one too!

Me right now is 日 . Is it ka? Is it nichi? Is it jitsu? Is it hi? Is it ni but with a tsu to skip chi???


TBH, i always that 月 was pronounced つき, because I watch Haikyuu!! too much

Actually, in everything I’ve seen, it’s been jitsu.
Let me look through my unlocks; will update with protips if possible…

EDIT: Looking through stuff rn, the predominant pattern seems to be nichi if 日 is at the beginning of the word (except 毎日 and 何日- those take nichi), ka, jitsu, and hi (rendaku’d to bi in most cases) if it’s at the end.
Ka is only for counting days. (There is a higher-level exception…)
Jitsu is for general days (weekday, holiday, holy day, etc.)
Hi/Bi is for days of the week (monday, tuesday, etc.) and for birthday.

*If you’re having any trouble remembering the difference between 四日 (yokka) and 八日 (youka), I just use short before long. (Short vowel is with 4th day, and long vowel is with 8th day.)
**一日 takes both ichinichi and tsuitachi.

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It is…?

As was said, it’s has various onyomi in compounds, but it’s pronounced つき on its own as a vocab word.

Surely you’ve gotten to 一日 and 二日

That’s the kun’yomi, so you’d use it when the kanji is on its own, or with kana (and occasionally with other kanji, but you usually use the on’yomi for that).

i think that つき is the kunyomi, but I could be wrong

It is. That’s why I was confused by you suggesting it’s not pronounced that way the way you phrased it.

Yeah I remember now, I just updated my post.

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