WK + Grammar - Help or Hinder?

I hope this is the right category…

I’m trying to decide whether I should add in grammar alongside my WK lessons and reviews. Don’t get me wrong, I know I will need to tackle grammar EVENTUALLY, the question is not if but when.

A little background: I am a low intermediate speaker, conversant with basic grammar and vocabulary covered in say Genki 1 or Japanese for Busy People 1. But things like compound sentences, using clauses, passive and causative verbs, those are beyond me.

Obviously I wish I could spend several hours a day on both, but that’s not possible because of all the Adulting. So I’m wondering whether adding in grammar studies would help me be more efficient overall or would result in a net slow down as I get behind on lessons. I’d love to hear from veterans about what they would do (or have done) in a similar situation.

tl;dr: Is it better to do a little grammar and WK simultaneously, or to finish WK and then use all that time that was being spent on WK to work on grammar?

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As youre a lifetime user and dont have to go fast I’d do both at the same time. Taking WK in a slower approach will result in more accuracy, grammar study might reinforce learned kanji and grammar will tell you more about the language than kanji overall imo.


I’d definitely recommend doing both. Your grammar study will support your kanji study, and vice versa. I regret not paying more attention to grammar and just speeding ahead with kanji, because with reading practice even when I can read the kanji in a sentence, I often have trouble understanding the sentence as a whole. Grammar has to be built on, as does kanji, so learning both gradually but steadily is a solid strategy.


I was maybe three years into WK before seriously starting to delve in to grammar. At first I wanted to create a base of vocabulary, but I postponed grammar for too long. Definitely include grammar in your studies, that’s useful.

I recommend continuing into Genki 2 or buying A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar. It has exactly what you mentioned: compound sentences, passive and causative verbs, etc., and it’s all explained very well. But it’s a dictionary, not a workbook, so there are no exercises. What I’ve sometimes done is just write my own sentences copying the pattern of the example sentence.

What has also worked for me is iknow.jp. It’s a vocabulary learning site with every word having 1-2 example sentences that are spoken aloud, so you pick up grammar by osmosis.


Another vote for concurrent WK + grammar study :raising_hand_woman: WK will help you be able to read, but grammar will help you be able to understand ^^


I also do both! I find that sometimes I’m more eager to do more WK lessons and learn more Kanji, so I do only that for a few days and only review grammar that I already know. Likewise, when I feel like I could really do with learning a new grammar point, I do less WK lessons and use the rest of my study time to focus on grammar and work with Genki.

So far this balance has been working out for me pretty well. Doing both every single day burned me out pretty quickly, so I’m trying to avoid that.

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Thanks for the advice, everyone! I’m surprised so far everyone has said the same thing, so I’m really glad I asked!

@Uzuki I have the complete set of Japanese for Busy People, including the workbooks, so I will probably use that instead of investing in Genki, but that’s a great tip about the dictionary! Thanks! :grin:


No prob! :smile::+1: Sounds like you’re all set to go with JBP!

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Doooo bothhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh \o/


Simultaneously. EVEN if you can only do 10 mins of each per day. Do them both, because they will help each other.

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Yeah, I’d go with both.

As someone who did only WK, but practically no grammar, I’d say its better to do both. When i hit Level 60, i knew pretty much all the kanji that i see, but still can’t read anything without grammar. I think if you learn concurrently it’ll be more rewarding since you’ll be able to read more and more, and therefore see some progress

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There’s a (sort of) finite amount of grammar points (like a couple hundred). Compared to the number of kanji/vocabulary there are it’s a pretty low number. If you cover 2-4 points a day (30 min to an hour) you’ll probably be done with N3 or N2 grammar in like a year. Fluent production will require more work but fluency is a long term goal anyway so that’s a different issue.

I found grammar to be a very motivating part of Japanese because it’s 1) very useful and 2) has clear benchmarks unlike vocabulary. It’s very easy to see how you’ve improved which is nice.


Both, then you can read some simpler Japanese material while you complete WaniKani :slight_smile:

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