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The Complete Guide to Learning Japanese

Disclaimer: This is still a work in progress!

What is a complete guide to Japanese?

Despite what many are lead to believe, learning Japanese is not significantly more difficult than learning any other
language. The truth is mastering any foreign language is quite an endeavor. If you think about it, you are
essentially taking everything you've learned in life and re-learning it in a completely different way. Obviously, no
single book can really claim to teach you everything about a language including all the vocabulary a fluent adult
commonly obtains during her life. So what do I mean by a complete guide to Japanese?

Most Japanese textbooks only go over a small subset of what you need to learn Japanese, typically covering a
certain amount of grammar and vocabulary with a smattering of dialogues and readings. However, mastering a
language requires much more than just learning grammar and vocabulary. What most Japanese textbooks fail to
recognize is that they can't possibly hope to cover all the necessary vocabulary and kanji (Chinese characters) to
obtain full fluency. This guide fully recognizes that it cannot teach you everything word by word and character by
character. Instead, it will give you a solid understanding of the fundamentals with a wide collection of dialogues
and examples. In addition, it will go over various techniques and tools to enable you to teach yourself. Essentially,
this book is a guide on how you can learn Japanese to complete fluency by actually using Japanese in the areas of
reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Another important distinction in the complete guide is that it does not try to hide or avoid more casual but
perfectly acceptable aspects of the language. Many textbooks often avoid styles of speech and vocabulary you
would normally use regularly with close friends, family, and acquaintances! In this guide, you will be introduced to
all aspects of the language based on real-world practicality and usefulness; not on an artificial, filtered version of
what others consider to be "proper" Japanese.

Resources and Tools

There are a large number of useful tools on the web for learning Japanese. Not only are there excellent online
dictionaries, which are often better than many print dictionaries, there are also great tools and social networking
sites for online collaboration and language study.

In order to fully utilize these online resources or if you're reading this book online, you'll need to setup your
computer to support Japanese.

You can see a full list of these resources and instructions on how to setup your computer at the following link:

I'm currently writing this as quickly as possible without a lot of proofreading so there WILL be many typos and
mistakes for the first few revisions. Please feel free to point out any mistakes in the comments. I may delete your
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comment after making the correction to keep the comment sections clean for more in-depth discussion but I do
appreciate them very much!!

Table of Contents

Writing Systems and Pronunciation

The Scripts
The Japanese writing system is comprised of three main written scripts: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji.

Hiragana is the main phonetic writing system used to represent every distinct sound in Japanese. Because of it's
phonetic nature, we will first learn Hiragana to also learn how to pronounce all the sounds in the Japanese

While Katakana represents the same sounds as Hiragana, it is mainly used to represent words imported from
other languages.

Kanji, which are Chinese characters adapted for Japanese, are heavily used in writing. There are no spaces in
Japanese so Kanji is necessary in order to separate the words within a sentence. Kanji is also useful for
distinguishing homophones, which occurs quite often given the limited number of distinct sounds in Japanese.

In the next section, we will learn all the characters in Hiragana and how to pronounce them. As we will see, every
character in Hiragana (and the Katakana equivalent) corresponds to a specific sound. This makes pronunciation
very easy as each letter has exactly one pronunciation. However, because there are relatively few distinct sounds
in the Japanese language, you must pay extra attention to proper intonation.

Unlike English pronunciation which is based on accents, Japanese pronunciation is based on alterations between
a high and low pitch. For example, homophones can have different pitches of low and high tones resulting in a
slightly different sound despite sharing the same pronunciation. The largest barrier to proper and natural sounding
speech is incorrect intonation. Therefore, as you listen to Japanese and begin to imitate the sounds, it is very
important that you pay attention to pitch in order to sound like a native speaker.


The table below represents the entire Hiragana syllabary categorized by the consonant and vowel sounds. With
the exception of a few sounds (as shown by the pronunciation in parentheses), most sounds in Japanese are
easily represented by a vowel or consonant-vowel. There is also one consonant-only sound: 「ん」.

Hiragana - Click for stroke order and sound

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n w r y m h n t s k

わ ら や ま は な た さ かあa
ち し
り み ひ に き い i
(chi) (shi)
ふ つ
る ゆむ ぬ す く う u
(fu) (tsu)
れ め へ ね て せ け え e

ろ よ も ほ の と そ こ おo

To understand how this chart works, let's start by looking at the right-most column, which are all the vowel-only

あ a
い i
う u
え e
お o

Here are some sample words for reading practice.

Example: あい - love (read as "ai")

1. あう - to meet
2. いえ - house
3. おい - nephew
4. うえ - above
5. いう - to say

Each additional column represents a consonant sound with each of the five vowel sounds. For example, the "k"
column has the following sounds.

か ka
き ki
く ku
け ke
こ ko

「ん」 is the only character with no vowel sound. It adds an "n" sound as shown in the examples below.

きん - gold (read as "kin")

おんな - woman; girl (read as "on-na")
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おんがく - music (read as "on-ga-ku")

Here are my recommendations for learning how to read, write, hear, and say the characters and sounds in

Reading: You'll be getting plenty of reading practice with the material in this book.
Writing: You'll need to develop muscle memory so use regular pen and paper. You can start with a
practice sheet with trace lines and work up to a free-form sheet. It's important to use the correct stroke
Hiragana tracing practice sheet
Hiragana free-form practice sheet
Hearing: You can listen to the pronunciation for each character by clicking on it in the first chart. If your
browser doesn't support audio, you can also download them at
http://www.guidetojapanese.org/audio/basic_sounds.zip. There are also other free resources with audio
Speaking: Practice repeating the sounds. I recommend recording yourself to get an accurate idea of what
you sound like. Pay careful attention to the "r" sounds!

While most of the sounds are pretty straightforward, the "r" sounds deserve careful attention for English speakers
because there is no equivalent sound in English. It is more similar to the "r" sound in Spanish.

What works for some English speakers (even if it may not be technically correct) is to shape the lips
something like the sound that is made for the English "r," but to make the sound with a single trill or
flap of the tongue against the front of the palate.

Other Tools
Smart.fm has a nice tool for practicing Hiragana recognition at http://smart.fm/series/3322.


Katakana, as already mentioned, is mainly used to represent words imported from other languages. We've
already learned all the sounds when we learned Hiragana. All you need to learn is a different way of writing them.

Katakana - Click for stroke order and sound

n w r y m h n t s k
ン ワ ラ ヤ マ ハ ナ タ サ カ ア a
チ シ
リ ミ ヒ ニ キ イ i
(chi) (shi)
フ ツ
ルユ ム ヌ ス ク ウu
(fu) (tsu)
レ メ ヘ ネ テ セ ケエ e
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ロ ヨ モ ホ ノ ト ソ コ オo

* = rarely used

Due to the straight lines and relatively few strokes, there are many characters in Katakana that look very similar.
In particular, 「シ」、「ツ」 「ソ」、and 「ン」. You should pay careful attention to the stroke order and
direction. You may also notice that the Katakana 「ヘ」 is virtually identical to its Hiragana counterpart
「へ」. They are in fact, written pretty much the same way. The sheets below should help you get some writing

Katakana tracing practice sheet

Katakana free-form practice sheet

English words in Japanese

Many words from foreign languages, particularly English, have become part of the Japanese language via
Katakana throughout the years. However, there are relatively few distinct sounds in Japanese and only five vowel
sounds. As a result, these words usually don't bear much resemblance to their original pronunciations. An
important thing to remember is to stay true to the Japanese pronunciation and completely forget how it's really
supposed to be pronounced. To give you an idea, here is a short list of foreign words and their Japanese

Sample Katakana Words

English Japanese

America アメリカ

Russia ロシア

bus バス

motorcycle バイク

French fries フライドポテト (fried potato)

Other Tools
Smart.fm has a nice tool for practicing Katakana recognition at http://smart.fm/goals/24667.

Additional Sounds
Though we have covered all the distinct characters in both Hiragana and
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Katakana, there are additional variations and sounds that still remain to be learned.

Voiced Consonants
Voiced consonants are consonant sounds that require a voice, creating a vibration in your throat. A number of
consonant sounds in Hiragana and Katakana can be changed to their voiced counterpart by adding two small
dashes to the upper-right corner of the character; namely the "k", "s", "t", and "h" consonant sounds. There is also
a semi-voiced consonant sound "p", which is created by putting a small circle in the upper-right corner of the "h"

Voiced Hiragana -
Click for Sound
p b d z g
ぱば だ ざ がa
ぢ じ
ぴ び ぎ i
(ji) (ji)

ぷぶ ず ぐ u
ぺべ で ぜ げe
ぽぼ ど ぞ ご o
Voiced Katakana -
Click for Sound
p b d z g
パバ ダ ザ ガa
ヂ ジ
ピ ビ ギ i
(ji) (ji)

プ ブ ズ グu
ペ ベ デ ゼ ゲe
ポ ボ ド ゾ ゴ o

Y-vowel sounds
A consonant can precede the three y-sounds: 「や」、「ゆ」、 and 「よ」. This is done by attaching a
small, half-size version of the y-sounds to the consonant+i sounds as you can see in the table below.

All small や、ゆ、and よ combinations in Hiragana - Click for

p b j g r m h n c s k
ぴゃ びゃ じゃ ぎゃ りゃ みゃ ひゃ にゃ ちゃ しゃ きゃ ya
ぴゅ びゅ じゅ ぎゅ りゅ みゅ ひゅ にゅ ちゅ しゅ きゅ yu
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ぴょ びょ じょ ぎょ りょ みょ ひょ にょ ちょ しょ きょ yo
All small や、ゆ、and よ combinations in Katakana - Click
for Sound
p b j g r m h n c s k
ピャ ビャ ジャ ギャ リャ ミャ ヒャ ニャ チャ シャ キャ ya
ピュ ビュ ジュ ギュ リュ ミュ ヒュ ニュ チュ シュ キュ yu
ピョ ビョ ジョ ギョ リョ ミョ ヒョ ニョ チョ ショ キョ yo

Hard Consonant Sounds

While no single letter ends in a consonant sound (except 「ん」), Japanese does have a way to carry over
the next consonant sound back with a small 「つ」. This can be used with the consonants "p, k, t, s" to create a
hard stop.

For example, 「ひと」 (meaning "person") would be read as "hi-to". 「ひっと」 however carries the "t"
consonant sound back and is pronounced "hit-to".

Here are some more examples.

トラック (to-rak-ku) - truck

ざっし (zas-shi) - magazine
カップ (kap-pu) - cup

The Long Vowel Sound

We will now go over the long vowel sound which is simply extending the duration of a vowel sound. You can
extend the vowel sound of a character by adding either 「あ」、「い」、or 「う」 depending on the vowel
as shown in the following chart.

Extending Vowel Sounds

Vowel Sound Extended by

/a/ あ

/ i/ e / い

/u/o / う

For example, if you wanted to create an extended vowel sound from 「か」, you would add 「あ」 to create
「かあ」. Other examples would include: 「き → きい」, 「く → くう」, 「け → けい」, 「こ → こう」,
「さ → さあ」 and so on. The reason for this is quite simple. Try saying 「か」 and 「あ」 separately. Then
say them in succession as fast as you can. You'll notice that it's easier to drag out the vowel.

It's important to make sure you hold the vowel sound to the full length of both characters because there are many
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similar words that are only different by the length of the vowel. For example, 「ここ」 means "here" while 「こ
うこう」 means "High school".

Here is a short list of example words with long vowel sounds. The long vowel sound is highlighted.

1. がくせい (ga-ku-se) - student

2. せんせい (sen-se) - teacher
3. きょう (kyo) - today
4. おはよう (o-ha-yo) - good morning
5. おかあさん (o-ka-san) - mother

There are also a small number of exceptions where an "e" vowel sound is extended by adding 「え」 or an "o"
vowel sound is extended with 「お」. We'll see example of these words in later sections.

Long vowel sounds in Katakana are much easier. You simply need to use a dash: 「ー」.

1. ツアー (tsu-a) - tour

2. メ ール (me-ru) - email
3. ケーキ (ke-ki) - cake

Additional Katakana Sounds

「ふ」 is the only sound that is pronounced with a "f" sound, for example 「ふとん」 (futon) or 「ふじ」
(Fuji). That's fine in Japanese because there are no words with other "f" sounds such as "fa", "fi", or "fo".
However, it's problem when converting foreign words such as "fork" into Katakana.

This problem was solved by using small vowel sounds. For example, the small 「ォ」 can be attached to
「フ」 to create 「フォ」 (fo). "Fork" then becomes [フォーク」. There are other gaps that are filled with
this technique. The "v" sounds are also expressed by putting two dashes to the vowel sounds. However, "v"
sounds are rarely used due to the difficulty native Japanese speakers have in pronouncing them.

The following table shows the gaps that were filled using these techniques for Katakana.

Additional sounds
v w f ch d t j sh
ヴァ ワ ファ チャ ダ タ ジャ シャ a
ヴィ ウィ フィ チ ディ ティ ジ シ i
ヴ ウ フ チュ ドゥ トゥ ジュ シュ u
ヴェ ウェ フェ チェ デ テ ジェ シェ e
ヴォ ウォ フォ チョ ド ト ジョ ショ o

1. ソファ (so-fa) - sofa

2. ウィンドウズ (win-do-u-zu) - Windows (as in MS Windows)
3. ウォッカ (wok-ka) - vodka
4. チェック (chek-ku) - check
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The last and most notorious aspect of the Japanese written language is Kanji, which are Chinese characters
adapted for Japanese. Most words in Japanese are written in Kanji even though they are still pronounced with
the Japanese phonetic sounds represented by Hiragana and Katakana.

Stroke Order
When learning Kanji, it is very important to learn it with the proper stroke order and direction from the beginning
in order to avoid developing any bad habits. Japanese learners often think that stroke order doesn't matter as
long as the end product looks the same. However, what they don't realize is that there are thousands of
characters and they are not always meticulously written the way they appear in print. Proper stroke order helps
ensure the characters look recognizable even when you write them quickly or use more cursive styles.

The simpler characters called radicals are often reused as components in larger characters. Once you learn the
radical stroke order and get used to the patterns, you'll find that it's not difficult to figure out the correct stroke
order for most Kanji.

One good general rule of thumb is that strokes usually start from the top-left corner toward the bottom-right. This
means that horizontal strokes are generally written from left to right and vertical strokes are written from top to
bottom. In any case, if you're not sure about the stroke order, you should always verify by looking the character
up in a Kanji dictionary.

Kanji in Vocabulary
There are roughly over 2,000 characters used in modern Japanese so you can imagine that memorizing them
one-by-one as you might for syllabaries such as Hiragana does not work very well.

An effective strategy for mastering Kanji is learning them with new vocabulary within a larger context. This way,
we can associate various contextual information with the character in order to reinforce memory. Remember that
Kanji, ultimately, is used to represent actual words. So it is important to focus not so much on the characters
themselves but the words and vocabulary that include those characters.

In this section, we will learn how Kanji works by learning a few common characters and vocabulary.

Kanji Readings
The first Kanji we will learn is the character for 'person.' It is a simple two-stroke character where each stroke
starts at the top. By clicking the link to the stroke order, you may have noticed that the character as rendered by
the font is not always the same as the hand-written style. This is another important reason to check the stroke

Definition: person

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人 Stroke Order
Kun-yomi: ひと
On-yomi: ジン

Kanji in Japanese can have one or several readings. The reading for Kanji is split into two major categories
called kun-yomi and on-yomi. Kun-yomi is the Japanese reading of the character while on-yomi is based on the
original Chinese pronunciation.

Generally, Kun-yomi is used for words that only use one character. The actual word for "person" is one example.

Example: 人 【ひと】 - person

Kun-yomi is also used for native Japanese words including most adjectives and verbs.

On-yomi, on the other hand, is mostly used for words that originate from Chinese, which often use 2 or more
Kanji. For that reason, on-yomi is often written in Katakana. We'll see more examples as we learn more
characters. With 「人」, one very useful example of an on-yomi is to attach it to names of countries to describe


アメリカ人 【アメリカ・じん】 - American (person)

フランス人 【ふらんす・じん】 - French (person)

While most characters will not have multiple kun-yomi or on-yomi, the more common characters such as 「人」
will generally have a lot more readings. Here, I only list the ones that are applicable to the vocabulary we learned.
Learning a reading without a context within vocabulary will only create unnecessary confusion so I do not
recommend learning all the readings at once.

Now that you have the general idea, let's learn some more vocabulary and the Kanji used within them. The
stroke order diagrams with red highlights show you where each stroke starts.

1. 日本 【に・ほん】 - Japan
2. 本 【ほん】 - book

Definition: sun; day

日 Stroke Order
On-yomi: ニ
Definition: origin; book

本 Stroke Order
On-yomi: ホン

1. 学生 【がく・せい】 - student
2. 先生 【せん・せい】 - teacher

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Definition: academic

学 Stroke Order
On-yomi: ガク
Definition: ahead; precedence

先 Stroke Order
On-yomi: セン
Definition: life

生 Stroke Order
On-yomi: セイ

1. 高い 【たか・い】 - tall; expensive

2. 学校 【がっ・こう】 - school
3. 高校 【こう・こう】 - high school

Definition: tall; expensive

高 Stroke Order
Kun-yomi: たか・い
On-yomi: コウ
Definition: school

校 Stroke Order
On-yomi: コウ

1. 小さい 【ちい・さい】 - small

2. 大きい 【おお・きい】 - big
3. 小学校 【しょう・がっ・こう】 - elementary school
4. 中学校 【ちゅう・がっ・こう】 - middle school
5. 大学 【だい・がく】 - college; university
6. 小学生 【しょう・がく・せい】 - elementary school student
7. 中学生 【ちゅう・がく・せい】 - middle school student
8. 大学生 【だい・がく・せい】 - college; university student

Definition: small

小 Stroke Order
Kun-yomi: ちい・さい
On-yomi: ショウ
Definition: middle; inside

中 Stroke Order
On-yomi: チュウ
Definition: large

大 Stroke Order
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Kun-yomi: おお・きい
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On-yomi: ダイ

1. 国 【くに】 - country
2. 中国 【ちゅう・ごく】 - China
3. 中国人 【ちゅう・ごく・じん】 - Chinese (person)

Definition: country

国 Stroke Order
Kun-yomi: くに
On-yomi: コク

1. 日本語 【に・ほん・ご】 - Japanese language

2. 中国語 【ちゅう・ごく・ご】 - Chinese language
3. 英語 【えい・ご】 - English
4. フランス語 【フランス・ご】 - French
5. スペイン語 【スペイン・ご】 - Spanish

Definition: England

英 Stroke Order
On-yomi: エイ
Definition: language

語 Stroke Order
On-yomi: ゴ

With only 14 characters, we've managed to learn over 25 words ranging from China to elementary school
student! Kanji is usually regarded as a major obstacle but as you can see, you can easily turn it into a valuable
tool if you learn it in the context of vocabulary.

Okurigana and changing readings

You may have noticed some words that end with Hiragana such as 「高い」 or 「大きい」. Because those
words are adjectives, the trailing Hiragana, called Okurigana are needed to perform various conjugations
without affecting the Kanji. The thing to watch out for is remembering exactly where the Kanji ends and Hiragana
begins. For example, you never want to write 「大きい」 as 「大い」.

You may have also noticed that the Kanji readings don't always match the reading in a particular word. For
example, 「学校」 is read as 「がっこう」 and not 「がくこう」. Readings often go through these small
transformations to make pronunciation easier.

Ultimately, you'll want to check the reading for any new words you encounter. Fortunately, it has become much
easier to look up new Kanji thanks to online tools and electronic dictionaries. You can find a tutorial on how to
use these tools at the following link
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Different Kanji for similar words

Kanji is often used to make subtle distinctions or give a different shade of meaning for a word. In some cases, it
is very important to remember to use the correct Kanji for the correct situation. For example, while the adjective
for hot is 「あつい」, when used to describe the climate, you must write it as 「暑い」. When you are
describing a hot object or person, you must write it as 「熱い」 instead.

Definition: hot (for climate only)

暑 Stroke Order
Kun-yomi: あつ・い
Definition: heat; fever

熱 Stroke Order
On-yomi: あつ・い;ねつ

In other cases, while there is generic Kanji that can be used for all situations for a given word, the writer may use
a more specialized version for stylistic reasons. The examples in this book will generally use the generic and
usually simpler Kanji. If you want to learn more about learning the different Kanji for a single word and new
words in general, go to the tutorial at the following link:

Basic numbers and age

1 to 10
Learning the first ten numbers is a one good way to get started in learning any language. For Japanese, it also
allows us to get familiar with some basic and important Kanji. One thing to pay attention to is the fact that 4 and
7 have two possible pronunciations. The more common is in bold.

Numerals 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Kanji 一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九 十
Reading いち に さん し/よん
よん ご ろく しち/なな
なな はち きゅう じゅう

11 to 99
As an added bonus, we don't need to learn any more numbers to count up to 99. The tens digit is simply the
number and ten. For example, two-ten is twenty, three-ten is thirty, etc. We will learn higher numbers past 99 in
a later chapter.


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1. 十一 【じゅう・いち】 - 11
2. 二十 【に・じゅう】 - 20
3. 二十一 【に・じゅう・いち】 - 21
4. 三十九 【さん・じゅう・きゅう】 - 39
5. 四十 【よん・じゅう】 - 40
6. 七十四 【なな・じゅう・よん】 - 74
7. 九十九 【きゅう・じゅう・きゅう】 - 99

Counters and Age

Let's use the numbers we just learned to talk about our age. In Japanese, we must use counters to count different
types of things. The counter for counting age is 「~歳」(さい). Because the Kanji is rather difficult, it is
also written as 「才」 (though it's actually a completely different character)

Counters are simply attached to the end of the number. However, as we saw in the last section, Kanji readings
can often go through small changes to aid pronunciation. The following digits are read slightly differently when
used with the age counter. The age 20 is also a completely irregular reading.

Irregular readings

1. 一歳 【いっ・さい】 - 1 year old

2. 八歳 【はっ・さい】 - 8 years old
3. 十歳 【じゅっ・さい】 - 10 years old
4. 二十歳 【はたち】 - 20 years old

1. 二十歳 【はたち】 - 20 years old
2. 二十一歳 【に・じゅう・いっ・さい】 - 21 years old
3. 四十八歳 【よん・じゅう・はっ・さい】 - 48 years old
4. 七十歳 【なな・じゅっ・さい】 - 70 years old

We will learn many more counters in a later chapter.

Chapter summary and practice

We covered all the sounds in Japanese, how they are written in Hiragana and Katakana, and how Kanji works.
In addition, we also learn number up to 99 and how to count age. Let's apply what we've learned to come up
with a simple self-introduction. The best way to learn a language is to regularly interact in that language and the
only way to do that is to meet Japanese speakers so a self-introduction is an ideal way to apply what we've
learned in this section.

Learning the expressions

You only need a couple of fixed expressions for your simple self-introduction.
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1. はじめまして
Shortened form of an expression originally meaning "I meet you for the first time". it's a standard greeting
similar in intent to "Nice to meet" or "How do you do?"
2. よろしくおねがいします
There is no easy direct translation but it means something along the lines of "please treat me well" when
used at the end of an introduction.

Telling people your name

If you haven't done so already, you'll need to decide on what to call yourself in Japanese. As we've learned,
Japanese has a relatively limited set of sounds so it's very likely that your name will need to sound very different
from its native pronunciation.

I would recommend asking your teacher or a Japanese speaker for help in converting your name to the
Katakana equivalent. You may even want to ask the first person you introduce yourself to.

If you want to give it a try on your own (like right now), you can try this tutorial on finding your name in Japanese:

To say you are that name, you need only attach 「です」 to the name. The pronunciation is usually shortened to
just "dess". We will learn more about 「です」 in the next chapter.

(I am) [name].

1. ブラウンです。
(I am) Brown.
2. アリス・スミスです。
(I am) Alice Smith.

In Japan, the last name is given more weight so it is common to just go by your last name especially in a more
formal environment such as the classroom or workplace. When using the full name, the last name always comes
first for Japanese names. However, it can go either way for names from countries where the order is reversed.

Putting it all together

Using the fixed expressions and the vocabulary we learned in the last section, we now have everything we need
for our simple self-introduction.

Below is a short list of potentially useful nouns to describe what you are for your self-introduction. Don't forget
that you need to add 「人」(じん) to the country for nationality.

1. 大学生 【だい・がく・せい】 - college student

2. 社会人 【しゃ・かい・じん】 - working adult
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3. 韓国 【かん・こく】 - South Korea
4. カナダ - Canada
5. イギリス - England
6. オーストラリア - Australia
7. フランス - France
8. スペイン - Spain
9. ヨーロッパ - Europe
10. ブラジル - Brazil
11. メキシコ - Mexico

Nice to meet you. (I am) Alice Smith. (I'm) American. (I'm a) college student. (I'm) 18 years old.
Please treat me well.

Other expressions
In addition to practicing your self-introduction, a good way to practice pronunciation is to use various
expressions for different scenarios. It's ok if nobody around you speaks Japanese. They'll understand you're hard
at work practicing.

1. ありがとうございます - thank you (polite)

2. すみません - sorry (polite)
3. いただきます - used before eating a meal (lit: I humbly receive)
4. ごちそうさまでした - used after finishing a meal (lit: It was a feast)
5. いってきます - used when leaving home (lit: I'm going and coming back)
6. いってらっしゃい - used as farewell for someone leaving the house (lit: Go and come back)
7. ただいま - used when returning home
8. お帰りなさい 【お・かえ・りなさい】 - welcome home

Nouns and Adjectives

At the end of the last chapter, we used Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji to create a simple self-introduction. In the
process, we used 「です」 to express state-of-being. In this chapter, we will learn more about the state-of-
being and how to use nouns and adjectives.

In English, the verb "to be" is used to describe what something is or where it is, for example: "He is a student"
and "He is at school". In Japanese, the two are described very differently. The state-of-being we will learn is
used to describe only what something is and not where it exists.

The state-of-being is very easy to describe because it is implied within the noun or adjective. There is no need to
use a verb nor even a subject to make a complete sentence in Japanese. Take for example, a casual conversation
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among friends asking, "How are you?"

How are you? (casual)

元気 【げん・き】 - healthy; lively

※Used as a greeting to ask whether one is well

A: 元気?
(Are you) well?

B: 元気。
(I'm) fine.

Polite State-of-being
While the previous dialogue may be fine among close friends, you should use the polite form when speaking to a
teacher, a superior such as your boss, or people you're not very familiar with.

For nouns and adjectives, all that is required for the polite form is to add 「です」 to the end of the sentence.
We did this in our simple self-introduction in the last section and because it's understood by context that you are
talking about yourself, there is no need to add a subject.

We can ask questions in the polite form by further adding 「か」 to 「です」. The 「か」 is a question
marker so a question mark is not necessary. Below is a simple greeting in the polite form.

How are you?

A: 元気ですか?
(Are you) well?

B: 元気です。
(I'm) well.

Practical Applications
Here's an example of a casual morning greeting between two classmates and a polite morning greeting with the

Casual Morning Greeting

1. おはよう - Good Morning (casual)

アリス: おはよう。
Alice: Morning.

リー: おはよう。
Lee: Morning.
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アリス: 元気?
Alice: (Are you) well?

リー: 元気。
Lee: (I'm) good.

Polite Morning Greeting

1. おはようございます - Good Morning (polite)

2. お~ - a honorific prefix used for politeness and never used when referring to oneself

先生: おはようございます。
Teacher: Morning.

スミス: おはようございます!
Smith: Good Morning!

先生: お元気ですか?
Teacher: Are (you) well?

スミス: 元気です。
Smith: (I'm) well.

You can follow a similar model to practice greeting people in the morning. We'll learn the expressions for
afternoon and evening greetings in the next section.

Topic Particles
Context plays a powerful role in Japanese so one word sentences are perfectly fine for simple question and
answers. However, longer and more sophisticated sentences will consist of many words that perform various
grammatical roles. In Japanese, the grammatical role each word plays in a sentence is defined by particles.
Particles are one or more Hiragana characters that assign a certain grammatical function to the word that comes
before it. We'll see how this works by first learning the topic particle.

「 は 」 Topic Particle
As mentioned previously, context is very important in Japanese and is often silently understood by the situation.
However, what you want to talk about may not always be obvious or you may want to change the topic of the
conversation. For that purpose, the 「は」 topic particle is used to indicate a new topic for the conversation.

Note: The topic particle while written as 「は」, is pronounced 「わ」.

1. これ - this
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2. 何 【なに/なん】 - what
3. それ - that
4. ペン - pen
5. 今 【いま】 - now
6. ちょっと - a little (casual)
7. 忙しい 【いそが・しい】 - busy
8. 映画 【えい・が】 - movie
9. 好き 【す・き】 - likable (unlike English "like" is an adjective not a verb)

1. これは、何(なん)ですか?
(As for) this, what is (it)?
2. それは、ペンです。
(As for) that, (it's) a pen.

1. 今は、忙しい?
(As for) now, busy?
2. 今は、ちょっと忙しい。
(As for) now, (I'm) a little busy.

1. 映画は、好きですか?
(As for) movie(s), (do you) like? (lit: is likable?)
2. 好きです。
(I) like (them). (lit: Is likable.)

The topic particle is also used in the greetings for daytime and evening. The expressions were originally full
sentences with a topic meaning, "As for today/tonight, how is your mood?" but they were eventually shortened to
just "As for today" and "As for tonight".

1. こんにちは - Good day (pronounced 「こんにちわ」)

2. こんばんは - Good evening (pronounced 「こんばんわ」)

How are things lately?

1. 最近 【さい・きん】 - recent; lately
2. どう - how
3. 忙しい 【いそが・しい】 - busy

先生: こんにちは。
Teacher: Good day.

スミス: こんにちは。
Smith: Good day.

先生: 最近は、どうですか?
Teacher: (As for) lately, how (is it)?
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スミス: 忙しいです。
Smith: Busy.

「 も」 Inclusive Topic Particle

The 「も」 particle is the the same as the 「は」 topic particle but adds a meaning of "as well" or "also".

Suspiciously busy
1. 今日 【きょう】 - today
2. 明日 【あした】 - tomorrow
3. あさって - day after tomorrow
4. うん - yes (casual)
5. 本当 【ほんとう】 - truth; reality

リー: 今日は忙しい?
Lee: As for today, (are you) busy?

スミス: うん、忙しい。
Smith : Yeah, (I'm) busy.

リー: 明日は?
Lee: What about tomorrow?

スミス: 明日も忙しい。
Smith: Tomorrow is also busy.

リー: あさっては?
Lee: What about the day after tomorrow?

スミス: あさっても。
Smith: The day after tomorrow too.

リー: 本当?
Lee: Really? (lit: Is it true?)

Addressing People
Addressing other people directly
In Japanese, the word "you" is seldom used to refer to a person except in the case of very close relationships.
Most of the time, you will refer to people using their name (last name is more polite than first) usually followed by
a name-suffix. You have probably already heard 「さん」 somewhere at some point. It is the polite name-suffix
used to refer to your social superiors, elders, or people you are unfamiliar with. The most common name-suffixes
are listed below.
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~さん - Polite name-suffix (gender-neutral)

~君[くん] - Casual name-suffix (generally for males)
~ちゃん - Casual name-suffix (generally for females)

If you're not sure which to use to address someone, 「さん」 with the person's last name is generally the safest
option. You can also always ask the person what they prefer to be called by.

Always sleepy

1. はい - yes (polite)
2. でも - but
3. 眠い 【ねむ・い】 - sleepy
4. それ - that
5. 大変 【たい・へん】 - hardship; rough time; tough
6. 大丈夫 【だい・じょう・ぶ】 - ok
7. いつも - always

先生: スミスさんは、元気ですか。
Teacher: Smith-san, (are you) well?

スミス: はい、元気です。
Smith: Yes, (I'm) fine.

先生: リーさんは、元気ですか?
Teacher: Lee-san, (are you) well?

リー: はい、元気です。でも、眠いです。
Lee: Yes, (I'm) fine. But (I'm) sleepy.

先生: それは、大変ですね。
Teacher: That's tough.

スミス: 大丈夫です。リーさんはいつも眠いです。
Smith: (It's) ok. Lee-san is always sleepy.

Talking about yourself

We already saw that it's usually understood implicitly by context when you're talking about yourself. However,
there are times you may still want to refer to yourself as a topic to say, "As for me..." or "me too".

There are several options for referring to yourself depending on level of politeness and gender.

List of different words meaning me, myself, and I

1. 私 【わたし】 - polite, gender-neutral

2. 私 【わたくし】 - same Kanji as 「わたし」 but this reading is only used in very formal situations
3. 僕 【ぼく】 - polite, masculine
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4. あたし - casual, very feminine
5. 俺 【おれ】 - very casual and masculine

How's the pizza?

1. ピザ - pizza
2. おいしい - tasty
3. ううん - no (casual)

ジョン: ピザは、おいしい?
John: As for pizza, tasty?

リー: ううん。
Lee: No.

アリス: 私は、おいしい。
Alice: As for me, tasty.

This short conversation highlights a very important point. The topic only brings up the general topic of the
conversation and does not necessarily indicate the subject of any one particular sentence. The last sentence 「私
は、おいしい」 would be very strange if it meant "I am tasty". However, because "I" is only a general topic,
from the context of the entire conversation, we know that Alice is saying that as for her, the pizza is tasty.

Addressing family members

We've already encountered the honorific prefix 「お」 in 「お元気」. This prefix is used in all sorts of words
and comes from a Kanji which can be read as either 「ご」 or 「お」. However, determining which reading to
use is usually not an issue as this Kanji is usually written in Hiragana.

Definition: honorable

御 Stroke Order
Kun-yomi: お
On-yomi: ゴ

1. お金 【お・かね】 - money
2. ご飯 【ご・はん】 - rice; meal
3. お茶 【お・ちゃ】 - tea

The reason we're looking at it here is because of how the honorific prefix is used to refer to family members.
We'll learn more about honorifics in a much later chapter but the basic idea is to use the honorific prefix to refer
to family members of other people outside your own family. Just like how you should not use 「お元気」 to
refer to yourself, you would not use honorifics to refer to your own family members when speaking with people
outside your family.

However, because honorifics are relative to the person you're speaking to, you should not use them when
referring to members of your own family while talking to another member of your family. This would not likely
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happen unless you had Japanese speakers in your family or you have a Japanese host family. We will learn more
about the concept of inner and outer circle for honorifics in a much later chapter.

The list below is by no means complete and only covers the more common words for the primary family

Family member chart

One's own family Someone else's family

Family 家族【か・ぞく】 ご家族【ご・か・ぞく】

Parents 両親【りょう・しん】 ご両親【ご・りょう・しん】

Mother 母【はは】 お母さん【お・かあ・さん】

Father 父【ちち】 お父さん【お・とう・さん】

Wife 妻【つま】 奥さん【おく・さん】

Husband 夫【おっと】 ご主人【ご・しゅ・じん】

Older Sister 姉【あね】 お姉さん【お・ねえ・さん】

Older Brother 兄【あに】 お兄さん【お・にい・さん】

Younger Sister 妹【いもうと】 妹さん【いもうと・さん】

Younger Brother 弟【おとうと】 弟さん【おとうと・さん】

Son 息子【むすこ】 息子さん【むすこ・さん】

Daughter 娘【むすめ】 娘さん【むすめ・さん】

Smith's parents
1. 山田 【やま・だ】 - Yamada (surname)
2. アジア人 【あじあ・じん】 - Asian (person)
3. いいえ - no
4. でも - but
5. 母 【はは】 - (one's own) mother
6. 日本人 【に・ほん・じん】 - Japanese (person)
7. そう - so
8. お父さん 【お・とう・さん】 - father
9. 父 【ちち】 - (one's own) father
10. アメリカ人 【あめりか・じん】 - American (person)
11. なるほど (exp) - I see

山田: スミスさんは、アジア人ですか?
Yamada: Smith-san, are (you) Asian (person)?
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スミス: いいえ。でも、母は、日本人です。
Smith: No. But, (my) mother is Japanese.

山田: そうですか。お父さんは?
Yamada: Is that so? As for (your) father?

スミス: 父はアメリカ人です。
Smith: (My) father is American.

山田: なるほど。
Yamada: I see.

Sentence-Ending Particles
Let's add some life to our sentences by using sentence-ending particles. These particles are attached at the very
end of the sentence to add a different nuance or tone.

「 よ 」 and 「 ね 」 sentence endings

「よ」 and 「ね」 are two of the most frequently used sentence ending particles.

1. 「ね」 is used when the speaker is seeking agreement and confirmation. It adds a tone similar to saying,
"right?" or "isn't it?".
2. 「よ」 is used when the speaker wants to point something out or make something aware to the listener. It
adds a tone similar to saying, "you know?".
3. The two can be used together as 「よね」


1. 今日 【きょう】 - today
2. 暑い 【あつ・い】 - hot (for climate/weather only)
3. 明日 【あした】 - tomorrow
4. 忙しい 【いそが・しい】 - busy
5. ラーメン - ramen
6. おいしい - tasty, delicous

1. 今日は、暑いですね。
As for today, (it's) hot, isn't it?
2. 明日は、忙しいですよ。
As for tomorrow, (I'm) busy, you know.
3. ラーメンは、おいしいですよね!
As for ramen, (it's) tasty you know, isn't it?!

You look young for a teacher

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1. 田中 【たなか】 - Tanaka (surname)
2. いいえ - no
3. とても - very
4. 若い 【わか・い】 - young
5. おいくつ - how old
6. それ - that
7. 秘密 【ひ・みつ】 - secret

スミス: はじめまして。スミスです。
Smith: Nice to meet you. (I'm) Smith.

田中: はじめまして。田中です。
Tanaka: Nice to meet you. (I'm) Tanaka.

スミス: 田中さんは、学生ですか?
Smith: Tanaka-san, (are you) a student?

田中: いいえ、先生です
Tanaka: No, (I'm) a teacher.

スミス: 本当ですか?
Smith: Really?

田中: 本当ですよ。
Tanaka: It's true, you know.

スミス: とても若いですね。おいくつですか?
Smith: (You) are very young, right? How old (are you)?

田中: それは、秘密です。
Tanaka: That's a secret.

We've already used some adjectives as the state-of-being but we have yet to describe a noun directly with
adjectives. In order to do this, we first have to learn the two different types of adjectives in Japanese.

There are two types of adjectives called i-adjectives and na-adjectives.

Examples of i-adjectives
All i-adjectives end in 「い」.

1. いい - good
2. かっこいい - cool; handsome
3. 忙しい 【いそが・しい】 - busy
4. 楽しい 【たの・しい】- fun
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5. 暑い 【あつ・い】 - hot
6. 寒い 【さむ・い】 - cold

Examples of na-adjectives
All adjectives that do not end in 「い」 are na-adjectives.

1. 好き 【す・き】 - likable
2. 元気 【げん・き】 - healthy; lively
3. 静か 【しず・か】 - quiet

Examples of na-adjectives that end in 「 い 」

Though most adjectives that end in 「い」 are i-adjectives, there are a small number of na-adjectives that end in
「い」. The examples below are two of the most common na-adjectives that end in 「い」.

1. きれい - clean; pretty

2. 嫌い 【きら・い】 - distasteful

Describing nouns directly

You can easily describe a noun by placing the adjective directly in front of the noun. For na-adjectives, you first
need to add 「な」 before you can attach the adjective to the noun (hence the name).

1. 人 【ひと】 - person
2. 時 【とき】 - time
3. ゲーム - game
4. 物 【もの】 - object; thing

1. いい人
good person
2. 元気な人
lively; healthy person
3. きれいな人
pretty person
4. 忙しい時
busy time
5. 楽しいゲーム
fun game
6. 好きな物
likable thing

You're so-so handsome

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1. 山本 【やまもと】 - Yamamoto (surname)
2. 新しい 【あたら・しい】 (i-adj) - new
3. とても (adv) - very
4. まあまあ (adv) - so-so
5. ありがとうございます - thank you (polite)

スミス: 田中先生は、新しい先生ですか?
Smith: Is Tanaka-sensei a new teacher?

山本: そうですよ。
Yamamoto: That's right.

スミス: とてもきれいな人ですね。
Smith: (She's) a very pretty person, isn't she?

山本: そうですか?
Yamamoto: Is that so?

スミス: あっ、山本先生も、まあまあかっこいいですよ!
Smith: Ah, Yamamoto-sensei is so-so handsome too!

山本: ・・・ありがとうございます。
Yamamoto: ...Thank you.

Male/Female Speech
As opposed to polite speech, which is mostly gender-neutral, casual speech has many constructions that make it
sound masculine or feminine to varying degrees. Of course, you do not have to be a specific gender to use either
masculine or feminine manners of speech but you do need to be aware of the differences and the impression it
gives to the listener. The first example of this is how 「ね」 and 「よ」 are used in casual speech.

Declarative 「 だ 」
The declarative 「だ」 is attached to nouns and na-adjectives to give it a more declarative tone and make the
state-of-being explicit. This is important in some grammatical forms we will cover later. For now, we can use it in
casual Japanese to give a more definitive, confident, and somewhat masculine tone. For males, in particular, it is
important to use it before 「ね」 or 「よ」 to avoid sounding too feminine.

Note: Only attach 「だ」 to nouns and na-adjectives. Never to i-adjectives.


1. 日本語 【に・ほん・ご】 - Japanese language

2. 上手 【じょう・ず】(na-adj) - skillful, good at
3. 楽しい 【たの・しい】(i-adj) - fun

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1. 日本語は、上手ね。
As for Japanese, (you're) good at it, aren't you? (feminine)
2. 日本語は、上手だね。
As for Japanese, (you're) good at it, aren't you? (masculine)
3. 日本語は、楽しいよ。
As for Japanese, (it's) fun, you know. (gender-neutral as 「だ」 cannot be used for i-adjectives)

The homework is easy!

1. 宿題 【しゅく・だい】 (n) - homework
2. 難しい 【むずか・しい】 (i-adj) - difficult
3. 簡単 【かん・たん】 (na-adj) - easy
4. うーん - umm
5. 多分 【た・ぶん】 - probably; maybe
6. どっち - which one; which way

アリス: 宿題は、難しい?。
Alice: As for homework, (is it) difficult?

ジョン: 簡単だよ!
John: It's easy!

アリス: 本当?
Alice: Really?

ジョン: うーん、多分難しいよ。
John: Umm, (it's) probably difficult.

アリス: どっちよ。
Alice: Which is it?

Because John is male, he decides to use 「だ」 with 「よ」 with the na-adjective 「簡単」. However,
regardless of gender, you cannot use 「だ」 with i-adjectives so he says 「難しいよ」. 「難しいだよ」 is
grammatically incorrect.

Noun properties
The 「の」 particle has many different uses but one of the most basic usages is for describing nouns with other
nouns similar to how we described nouns with adjectives. This is usually used to describe ownership,
membership, property or any other description that involves another noun.

It is important to remember the order the modification takes place. You don't want to inadvertently say "name's
me" when you meant to say "my name". If you're unsure of the order, I recommend translating 「の」 as "of"
and reading it in reverse.

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1. 私 【わたし】 - me; myself; I

2. 名前 【な・まえ】 - name
3. この - this
4. 車 【くるま】 - car
5. 日本 【に・ほん】 - Japan
6. ペン - pen
7. 机 【つくえ】 - desk
8. 上 【うえ】 - up; above
9. かばん - bag
10. 下 【した】 - down; below
11. 先生 【せん・せい】 - teacher
12. 日本語 【に・ほん・ご】 - Japanese language

1. 私の名前は、キムです。
Name of me (my name) is Kim.
2. この車は、日本の車です。
This car is car of Japan (Japanese car).
3. ペンは、机の上です。
Pen is above of desk.
4. かばんは、机の下です。
Bag is below of desk.
5. 田中先生は、日本語の先生です。
Tanaka-sensei is teacher of Japanese (Japanese teacher).

What's your first name again?

1. 下の名前 - first name (lit: bottom name)
2. 何 【なに】 - what
3. なんで - why
4. え - huh, eh

リー: スミスさんの下の名前は、何?
Lee: What is Smith-san's first name?

スミス: アリスよ。
Smith: (It's) Alice.

リー: アリスちゃんね。
Lee: Alice-chan, huh?

スミス: リーさんの下の名前は?
What is Lee-san's first name?

リー: ジェユン
Lee: JaeYoon.

スミス: ・・・リー君ね。
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Smith: ...Lee-kun, huh?

リー: え、なんで?
Lee: Huh, why?

Noun replacement
The 「の」 particle can also replace the noun entirely when it's understood by the context.

1. 赤い 【あか・い】 - red
2. どれ - which

1. 赤いのは、好き。
Like the red one.
2. スミスさんのは、どれですか?
Which one is Smith-san's?

Negative State-of-Being
Because the state-of-being is implied within nouns and adjectives, expressing the negative is a bit different from
English. The noun or adjective are conjugated directly to say that [X is not Y]. Conjugating nouns and adjectives
into the negative tense is done through two simple rules.

There are only two exceptions to the rule for i-adjectives both involving the adjective meaning "good". The words
「いい」 and 「かっこいい」 (which is a combination of another word 「格好」(かっこう) with 「い
い」) originally come from the adjective 「良い」(よい). Though it is usually pronounced 「いい」 in
modern Japanese, all conjugations still derive from the original 「よい」 reading. You will see similar examples
later as we learn different types of conjugations.

Negative tense for nouns and adjectives

For nouns and na-adjectives: Attach 「じゃない」 to the end

1. 元気+じゃない=元気じゃない
2. きれい+じゃない=きれいじゃない
For i-adjectives: Drop the 「い」 at the end and replace with 「くない」
1. 忙しい+くない=忙しくない
2. かわいい+くない=かわいくない
Exceptions: 「いい」 conjugates from 「よい」
1. いい → よい+くない=よくない
2. かっこいい → かっこよい+くない=かっこよくない

Note: The negative tense is very similar grammatically to i-adjectives. Similar to i-adjectives, you must never use
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Note: The
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Thegrammatically totoi-adjectives.
Complete Guide Similar to i-adjectives, you must never use
Learning Japane…
the declarative 「だ」 with the negative tense.

1. サラダ - salad
2. ステーキ - steak
3. あまり - not very (when used with negative tense)
4. この - this
5. 本 【ほん】 - book
6. 面白い 【おも・しろ・い】(i-adj) - interesting
7. 今年 【ことし】 - this year
8. 冬 【ふゆ】 - winter
9. 寒い 【さむ・い】(i-adj) - cold

1. サラダは、あまり好きじゃない。
As for salad, don't like very much.
2. ステーキ・サラダは、サラダじゃないよ。
As for steak salad, (it's) not salad, you know.
3. この本は、面白くないよ。
As for this book, (it's) not interesting, you know.
4. 今年の冬は、寒くないね。
As for this year's winter, (it's) not cold, is it?

That's not a good thing!

1. 授業 【じゅ・ぎょう】 (n) - class; lecture

2. あまり - not very (when used with negative tense)
3. 面白い 【おも・しろ・い】 (i-adj) - interesting; funny
4. でも - but
5. 難しい 【むずか・しい】 (i-adj) - difficult
6. それ - that
7. いい (i-adj) - good
8. こと (n) - matter; event
9. 全然 【ぜん・ぜん】 (adv) - not at all (when used with negative tense)

ジョン: 山本先生の授業は、あまり面白くない。
John: Yamamoto-sensei's class is not very interesting.

アリス: 私は、面白いよ。
Alice: As for me, (it's) interesting.

ジョン: でも、難しくない?
John: But isn't it very difficult?

アリス: それは、いいことよ。
Alice: That's a good thing.

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ジョン: 全然よくない!
John: It's not good at all!

Negative Nouns/Adjectives in Polite Form

As before, all that's required for the polite form is to add 「です」 to the end of the sentence.

I'm not an otaku!

1. 趣味 【しゅ・み】 (n) - hobby; interest
2. 何 【なに/なん】 - what (read as なん when used with です)
3. パソコン - computer (abbreviation of パーソナル・コンピューター or PC)
4. ゲーム - game
5. 好き 【す・き】 (na-adj) - likable
6. スポーツ - sports
7. いいえ - no (polite)
8. オタク - otaku; geek; enthusiast

山本: リーさんの趣味は何ですか?
Yamamoto: What is your hobby, Lee-san?

リー: パソコンです。ゲームも好きです。
Lee: Computers. (I) also like games.

山本: スポーツは、好きですか?
Yamamoto: Do (you) like sports?

リー: いいえ、あまり好きじゃないです。
Lee: No, I don't like (it) that much.

スミス: リーさんは、オタクです。
Smith: Lee-san is an otaku.

リー: オタクじゃないですよ!
Lee: I'm not an otaku!

Identifying the unknown

「 が 」 identifier particle
With the 「は」 topic particle, you have to know what you want to talk about ahead of time. Obviously this will
not always be the case. For example, if you wanted to know what kind of food somebody liked, it would be
impossible to ask if each kind was his/her favorite using the topic particle saying "as for this" and "as for that".
That is what the 「が」 particle is for: to identify or seek to identify an unknown.

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As for pizza, do (you) like it?
What kind of pizza do (like)? (Among all possibilities)

You can sometimes restructure your sentence to mean the same thing with and without the 「が」 particle.

As for food that (you) like, what is it?
As for food, what is it that you like? (Among all possibilities)

However, while the topic particle can only bring up a general topic of conversation, the identifier particle play a
specific role in that it's identifying a particular thing among other possibilities.

As for Smith-san, busy.
Smith-san is the one that is busy.

Which teacher do you like the most?

1. どの - which
2. 一番 【いち・ばん】 - number 1; the best; the most
3. かわいい (i-adj) - cute
4. 二年生 【に・ねん・せい】 - second year; sophomore
5. 来年 【らい・ねん】 - next year
6. 楽しみに 【たの・しみに】 - something to look forward to
7. なんで - why
8. 授業 【じゅ・ぎょう】 - class
9. 面白い 【おも・しろ・い】 - interesting
10. 難しい 【むずか・しい】 - difficult

リー: ジョンさんは、どの先生が一番好き?
Lee: As for John-san, which teacher do (you) like the most?

ジョン: 田中先生が好きだね。
John: (I) like Tanaka-sensei.

リー: そうだね。かわいいよね。でも、二年生の先生だよね。
Lee: That's so, isn't it? She is cute. But (she's) second-year teacher.

ジョン: 来年が楽しみだ!
John: Looking forward to next year!

アリス: 私は、山本先生が好きよ。
Alice: As for me, I like Yamamoto-sensei, you know?

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ジョン: え?なんで?
John: Huh? Why?

アリス: 授業が面白くない?
Alice: Isn't (his) class interesting?

ジョン: 面白くないよ!難しいよ!
John: It's not interesting! It's difficult!

アリス: そう?
Alice: Is that so?

The one or thing that...

Though it doesn't work all the time, a simple trick to easily distinguish 「が」 is to translate it as "the one or thing
that...". This way, it clearly illustrates the 「が」 particle as identifying a particular thing or person.

1. 田中先生が好き。
Tanaka-sensei is the one that (I) like.
2. 授業が面白くない?
Isn't his class the thing that is interesting?

There are really only two conjunctions in Japanese that can combine two sentences together into a compound
sentence: "but" and "because". However, there are several versions of each with a slightly different level of

Combining two sentences with "but"

You may remember we already used 「でも」 to mean "but" or "however". While 「でも」 is always used at
the beginning of a new sentence, there are two conjunctions that also mean "but" and can be used to combine
two sentences together into one compound sentence, similar to English. The two conjunctions are 「けど」 and
「が」. 「けど」 is fairly casual while 「が」 is slightly more formal and polite. (Note that this 「が」 is
completely different from the identifier particle we learned in the last section.)

1. 今日 【きょう】 - today
2. 忙しい 【いそが・しい】 - busy
3. 明日 【あした】 - tomorrow
4. 暇 【ひま】 - free (as in not busy)

(I'm) busy but (I'm) free tomorrow.

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(I'm) busy but (I'm) free tomorrow.

Note: If the first clause ends with a noun or na-adjective without any tense and you're not using 「です」, you
must add 「だ」.

(I'm) free today but (I'm) busy tomorrow.
1. 今日は暇だけど、明日は忙しい。
2. 今日は暇ですけど、明日は忙しいです。
3. 今日は暇だが、明日は忙しい。
4. 今日は暇ですが、明日は忙しいです。

If the noun or na-adjective is already conjugated to another tense (such as the negative tense 「じゃない」),
you don't need to add 「だ」.

(I'm) not free today but (I'm) free tomorrow.

1. 今日は暇じゃないけど、明日は暇。
2. 今日は暇じゃないが、明日は暇。

Combining two sentences with "so"

You can combine two sentences with 「から」 or 「ので」 to show a reason and result but it's important to
remember that the reason comes first. Therefore, it may be beneficial to remember it as meaning "so" rather than
"because" to match the order. 「ので」 is slighter more polite and formal compared to 「から」.

1. ここ - here
2. うるさい - noisy

(It's) noisy here so (I) don't like it very much.

(It's) noisy here so (I) don't like it very much.

Note: Once again, If the first clause ends with a noun or na-adjective without any tense (such as the negative
tense 「じゃない」) and you're not using 「です」, you must add 「だ」 for 「から」. However, for
「ので」 you must add 「な」 instead.

1. ここ - here
2. 静か 【しず・か】 - quiet

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(It's) quiet here so (I) like it.
1. ここは静かだから、好き。
2. ここは静かですから、好きです。
3. ここは静かなので、好き。
4. ここは静かですので、好きです。

Once again, this only applies to nouns and na-adjectives that are not conjugated to another tense.

(It's) not quiet here so (I) don't like it very much.

1. ここは静かじゃないから、あまり好きじゃない。
2. ここは静かじゃないので、あまり好きじゃない。

Combining two sentences with "despite"

Similarly, you can attach two sentences with 「のに」 to mean "despite" or "in spite of". Similar to 「ので」,
you must attach 「な」 when the first clause ends with a plain noun or na-adjective.

1. 先生 【せん・せい】 - teacher
2. とても - very
3. 若い 【わか・い】 (i-adj) - young
4. 今年 【こ・とし】 - this year
5. 不景気 【ふ・けい・き】 - (economic) recession
6. クリスマス - Christmas
7. お客さん 【お・きゃく・さん】 - customer
8. 少ない 【すく・ない】(i-adj) - few, scarce
9. かわいい (i-adj) - cute
10. 真面目 【ま・じ・め】 (na-adj) - serious; diligent
11. 男 【おとこ】 - man
12. 友達 【とも・だち】 - friend

1. 田中さんは、先生なのに、とても若いです。
Despite the fact that that Tanaka-san is (a) teacher, (she) is very young.
2. 今年は、不景気だから、クリスマスなのに、お客さんが少ない。
This year is recession so despite it being Christmas, customers are few.
3. アリスは、かわいいのに、真面目だから、男の友達が少ない。
Although Alice is cute, because (she's) serious, (she has) few male friends.

Leaving parts out

You can leave out either side of the conjunction if it's understood by context.


スミス: ここは、好きじゃない。
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Smith: I don't like (it) here.

リー: なんで?
Lee: Why?

スミス: うるさいから。
Smith: Because it's noisy.

If you leave the first part out, you still need to add 「です」, 「だ」, or 「な」 just as if the first sentence was

1. 図書館 【と・しょ・かん】 - library

2. ここ - here
3. あまり - not very (when used with negative)
4. 好き 【す・き】 - likable

りー: 図書館なのに、ここはいつもうるさいよね。
Lee: Despite the fact (it's) library, (It's) always noisy here, huh?

スミス: だから、あまり好きじゃない。
Smith: That's why I don't like (it) very much.

Other options would be the same as it would be with both sentences.

1. ですから、あまり好きじゃないです。
2. なので、あまり好きじゃないです。

You can even leave out both parts of the conjunction as seen in the next dialogue.

So what?

リー: 最近は、忙しいよ。
Lee: I'm busy lately, you know?

スミス: だから?
Smith: So?

リー: だから、大変だよ!だけど今日は、やっと暇だから、うれしい!
Lee: So (it's) tough, you know! But (I'm) finally free today so (I'm) happy!

スミス: あっ、そう?
Smith: Oh, is that so?

Listing multiple nouns

「 と」 complete list particle
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The 「と」 particle is used to group multiple nouns together in a complete list.

The poor chicken family...

1. 親子丼 【おや・こ・どん】 - rice dish with chicken and egg (parent and child bowl)
2. 材料 【ざい・りょう】 - ingredient
3. ご飯 【ご・はん】 - rice; meal
4. 玉ねぎ 【たま・ねぎ】 - onion
5. しょうゆ - soy sauce
6. そして - and then
7. もちろん - of course
8. 鶏肉 【とり・にく】 - chicken
9. 卵 【たまご】 - egg
10. 気持ち悪い 【き・もち・わるい】 (i-adj) - bad feeling, gross, unpleasant
11. おいしい (i-adj) - tasty
12. かわいそう (na-adj) - poor, pitiful (as in to feel sorry for)
13. 面白い 【おも・しろ・い】 (i-adj) - interesting
14. 大丈夫 【だい・じょう・ぶ】 (na-adj) - ok
15. 本当 【ほん・とう】 - truth; reality
16. 親 【おや】 - parent
17. 子供 【こ・ども】 - child

スミス: 親子丼の材料は何ですか?
Smith: What are the ingredients for Oyako-don?

田中: ご飯と玉ねぎとしょうゆです。そして、親子丼だから、もちろん鶏肉と卵です。
Tanaka: Rice, onions, and soy sauce. And then, because it's "parent and child bowl", chicken and egg, of course.

スミス: 気持ち悪いですね。
Smith: That's unpleasant, isn't it?

田中: そうですか?でも、おいしいですよ。
Tanaka: Is that so? But it's tasty, you know?

スミス: かわいそうじゃないですか?
Smith: Don't you feel sorry for them?

田中: スミスさんは、面白いですね。本当の親と子供じゃないですから大丈夫ですよ。
Tanaka: Smith-san, (you're) interesting. (It's) not real parent and child so (it's) ok, you know.

スミス: でも・・・。
Smith: But...

「 や 」 and 「 とか」
とか 」 partial list
「や」 and 「とか」 are also used to list multiple nouns together. The major difference is that they imply that
the list is not complete and is a sample among a larger list. 「とか」 is merely a more casual version of 「や」.
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I hate natto
1. どんな - what kind
2. 食べ物 【た・べ・もの】(n) - food
3. お菓子 【お・か・し】 - candy
4. チーズケーキ - cheese cake
5. イチゴ - strawberry
6. ショートケーキ - short cake
7. 甘い 【あま・い】(i-adj) - sweet
8. 物 【もの】(n) - thing
9. 納豆 【なっ・とう】(n) - natto (fermented soybeans)
10. 嫌い 【きら・い】(na-adj) - dislike; hate

山本: スミスさんは、どんな食べ物が好きですか?
Yamamoto: As for Smith-san, what kind of food do (you) like?

スミス: そうですね。日本のお菓子やチーズケーキやイチゴショートケーキが好きです。
Smith: Let's see. (I) like things like Japanese candy, cheese cake, and strawberry short cake.

山本: 甘い物が好きですね。
Yamamoto: (You) like sweet things, don't you?

スミス: 甘くない物も好きですよ。
Smith: (I) also like things that are not sweet, you know.

山本: 納豆はどうですか?
Yamamoto: How about natto?

スミス: 納豆は、嫌いですね。
Smith: As for natto, I hate it.

「 か 」 possible options
「か」 can be used with multiple nouns to list several possible options, essentially meaning "or".

You're just like whatever, huh?

1. 試験 【し・けん】 - exam
2. いつ - when
3. 今日 【きょう】 - today
4. 明日 【あした】 - tomorrow
5. 絶対 【ぜっ・たい】 - definitely, for sure
6. じゃ - then (casual)
7. 適当 【てき・とう】 - haphazard, whatever works
8. 来週 【らい・しゅう】 - next week
9. やはり/やっぱり - as I thought
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アリス: 試験はいつ?
Alice: Exam is when?

ジョン: 今日か明日だよ。
John: Today or tomorrow.

アリス: 絶対今日じゃないよ。
Alice: It's not today for sure.

ジョン: じゃ、明日。
John: Then, (it's) tomorrow.

アリス: 適当だね。
Alice: (You're) haphazard, huh?

リー: 試験は来週だよ。
Lee: Exam is next week, you know.

アリス: やっぱり。
Alice: As I thought.

Explanations and expectations

In English, changing the order of words in the sentence can often change the tone as well. For example, asking
"Is he a student?" sounds very different from "He's a student?" While the former is a very neutral question simply
seeking a yes or no answer, the latter expresses surprise that the person is in fact a student and is seeking
confirmation of that fact.

In Japanese, we saw that sentence order is very flexible due to how particles clearly define the grammatical role
of each word. So in order to express this kind of biased question or answer, we add 「の」 to the end of the
sentence to show that we are seeking or providing an explanation.

For nouns and na-adjectives, you also need to add 「な」 before 「の」.


1. 彼 【かれ】 - he
2. 学生 【がく・せい】 - student

1. 彼は、学生?
Is he (a) student?
2. 彼は、学生なの?
He's a student? (Seeking explanation why he's a student)

In the second sentence, because the person is implicitly seeking an explanation for why he's a student, it gives the
impression that the speaker is surprised or considers the fact that he may be a student to be unexpected.
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Health is important too

1. ところで - by the way
2. どうして - why
3. 忙しい 【いそが・しい】 - busy
4. 僕 【ぼく】 - me, myself (polite, masculine)
5. 水泳部 【すい・えい・ぶ】 - swim club
6. え - eh, huh
7. そう - so
8. でも - but
9. 趣味 【しゅ・み】 - hobby; interests
10. パソコン - computer; PC
11. ゲーム - game
12. 健康 【けん・こう】 - health
13. 大事 【だい・じ】 (na-adj) - important
14. なるほど - I see

スミス: ところで、リー君はどうして忙しいの?
Smith: By the way, Lee-kun, why are you busy?

リー: 僕は水泳部だから。
Lee: Because (I'm in) swim club.

スミス: え?そうなの?
Smith: Eh? Is that so?

リー: そうだけど?
Lee: That's so but?

スミス: でも、趣味はパソコンとゲームじゃないの?
Smith: But isn't (your) hobby computers and games?

リー: そうだけど、健康も大事だから。
Lee: That's so but health is also important so.

スミス: なるほど。
Smith: I see.

Explanation for 「 だ 」 and 「 です」

です 」
When the sentence has additional things following the 「の」 such as 「だ」 or 「です」, the 「の」 is
replaced with 「ん」 to make pronunciation easier. While 「の」 can still be used, it is considered to be old-

What's the problem?

1. あのう - um, er, excuse me

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2. いい (i-adj) - good; fine
3. 言葉 【こと・ば】 - word; language

スミス: 山本先生、リーさんは、水泳部だから、お宅じゃないですよ!
Smith: Yamamoto-sensei, Lee-san is not an otaku because (he's in) swim club.

山本: あのう、スミスさん、お宅はあまりいい言葉じゃないんですよ。
Yamamoto: Um, Smith-san, Otaku is not a very good word, you know.

スミス: そうなんですか?でも、リーさんはお宅じゃないから、いいんじゃないですか?
Smith: Is that so? But Lee-san is not an otaku so isn't it fine?

山本: スミスさん・・・。
Yamamoto: Smith-san...

スミス: はい?
Smith: Yes?

山本: いいえ、いいです。
Yamamoto: No, never mind (lit: (it's) fine).

The phrase 「いいんじゃないですか?」 shows a very important way setting expectations can enhance your
abilities to express certain things. By setting the expectation that it should be good and asking the opposite allows
you to ask questions like, "isn't it?". You can compare the difference in meaning by looking at the different
variations below. This is only to give you the general idea as you'll naturally get the hang of it through the regular
course of exposure to the language.

1. いいですか? - Is it good? (neutral yes/no question)

2. よくないですか? - Is it not good? (neutral yes/no question)
3. いいんですか? - It's good? (seeking explanation as to why it's good)
4. よくないんですか? - It's not good? (seeking explanation as to why it's not good)
5. いいんじゃないですか? - It's good, isn't it?
6. よくないんじゃないですか? - It's not good, isn't it?

Chapter summary and practice

In this chapter, we learned how to use nouns and adjectives to describe what something is or isn't. Here is a
simple list of examples using the various conjugations we learned in this chapter.

Nouns and Adjectives Conjugation Examples

Positive Negative Positive Polite Negative Polite
Noun 学生 学生じゃない 学生です 学生じゃないです
Na-adjective 元気 元気じゃない 元気です 元気じゃないです
I-adjective 忙しい 忙しくない 忙しいです 忙しくないです
Exception いい よくない* いいです よくないです*
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* = exceptions

Questions using state-of-being

Now that we're familiar with the state-of-being, we can already ask and answer many different types of questions
that involve what something or someone is. This includes asking simple yes/no questions or by using a question

Various ways to say yes or no

1. はい - yes (polite)
2. ええ - yes (polite)
3. いいえ - no (polite)
4. うん - yes (casual)
5. ううん - no (casual

Various question words

1. 何 【なに/なん】 - what
2. 誰 【だれ】 - who
3. いつ - when
4. どう - how
5. どんな - what kind of
6. どうして - why
7. なんで - why (casual)

The word for "what" or 「何」 is a bit tricky because it has two readings. When used by itself, it is always
pronounced 「なに」. However, as we've already seen, when used with 「です」 it is read as 「なん」.
There are other cases when it is read as 「なん」 as we'll see later.

As you begin to practice speaking Japanese, you can apply what we've learned in this chapter to ask various ice-
breaker questions.

Sample ice-breaker questions

1. 趣味 【しゅ・み】 - hobby; interests

2. 一番 【いち・ばん】 - number 1; the best; the most
3. 好き 【す・き】 (na-adj) - likable
4. 日本 【に・ほん】 - Japan
5. 食べ物 【た・べ・もの】 - food
6. 英語 【えい・ご】 - English
7. 難しい 【むずか・しい】 (i-adj) - difficult
8. 授業 【じゅ・ぎょう】 - class
9. 楽しい 【たの・しい】 (i-adj) - fun
10. 音楽 【おん・がく】 music
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1. 趣味は、何ですか?
What is your hobby?
2. 一番好きな食べ物は、何ですか?
What is your favorite food?
3. 日本の食べ物は好きですか?
Do you like Japanese food?
4. 英語は、難しいですか?
Is English difficult?
5. 授業は、楽しいですか?
Is class fun?
6. どんな音楽が好きですか?
What kind of music do you like?

Try to come up with your own questions for your teacher, classmates, or conversation partner.

Writing Practice
For writing practice, try writing a brief description about yourself. As always, make sure to correct your work
early to avoid developing any bad habits. You can either ask a Japanese speaker or use http://lang-8.com/.

Here's a short list of words that might be useful.

1. 名前 【な・まえ】 - name
2. 小学 【しょう・がく】 - elementary school
3. 中学 【ちゅう・がく】 - middle school
4. 高校 【こう・こう】 - high school
5. 大学 【だい・がく】 - college
6. 一年生 【いち・ねん・せい】 - first year; freshman
7. 二年生 【に・ねん・せい】 - second year; sophomore
8. 三年生 【さん・ねん・せい】 - third year; junior
9. 四年生 【よん・ねん・せい】 - fourth year; senior
10. 専攻 【せん・こう】 - major
11. 趣味 【しゅ・み】 - interests; hobbies
12. 読書 【どく・しょ】 - reading
13. スポーツ - sports
14. 日本語 【に・ほん・ご】 - Japanese language
15. 好き 【す・き】 - desirable
16. とても - very
17. ちょっと - a little
18. 面白い 【おも・しろい】 (i-adj) - interesting; funny
19. 難しい 【むずか・しい】 (i-adj) - difficult
20. 簡単 【かん・たん】 (na-adj) - easy
21. 食べ物 【た・べ・もの】 - food

For example, here's a short self description by Alice Smith.

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1. 経済 【けい・ざい】 - economy
2. 経済学 【けい・ざい・がく】 - economics
3. サッカー - soccer
4. ちなみに - by the way
5. てんぷら (i-adj) - tempura
6. ピザ - pizza


Similar to nouns and adjectives, the verb always comes at the end of the sentence. In fact, if you consider the
implied state-of-being for nouns and adjectives as a verb, it could be said that all complete sentences always end
with a verb.

At the end of the last chapter, we learned how to set expectations by seeking or providing explanations with
「の」. The same thing applies for verbs.

1. おすしは、食べる?
Do you eat sushi?
2. おすしは、食べるの?
You eat sushi?
(seeking explanation why he/she eats sushi as opposed to a neutral question "Do you eat sushi?")

I love sushi!

1. おすし - sushi (「お」 is an optional honorific prefix)

2. 食べる 【たべ・る】 - to eat
3. 大好き 【だい・す・き】 (na-adj) - lovable; very likable
4. 生 【なま】 - raw
5. 魚 【さかな】 - fish
6. すごい (i-adj) - amazing

ジョン: おすしは、食べるの?
John: As for sushi, (you) eat (it)?

スミス: うん、大好きだよ!
Smith: Yes, I love (it)!

ジョン: でも、生の魚だよ。
John: But (it's) raw fish, you know.

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スミス: だから?
Smith: So?

ジョン: すごいね。
John: That's amazing.

Particles used with verbs

Before we can do much with verbs, we first need to learn some particles that are used to describe how various
parts of a sentence interacts with the verb.

「 を 」 Object Particle
The 「を」 particle is used to designate the direct object of a verb.

Note: While 「を」 is technically a w-consonant sound, it is pronounced the same as 「お」.

1. 映画 【えい・が】 - movie
2. 見る 【み・る】 (ru-verb) - to see; to watch
3. ご飯 【ご・はん】 - rice; meal
4. 食べる 【た・べる】 (ru-verb) - to eat
5. 本 【ほん】 - book
6. 読む 【よ・む】 (u-verb) - to read
7. 手 【て】 - hand
8. 紙 【かみ】 - paper
9. 手紙 【てがみ】 - letter
10. 書く 【か・く】 (u-verb) - to write

1. 映画を見る。
Watch movie
2. ご飯を食べる。
Eat rice/meal
3. 本を読む。
Read book
4. 手紙を書く。
Write letter

「 と」 And/With Particle
We learned that we can list multiple nouns in the last chapter with the 「と」 particle, e.g., salt and pepper. We
can also use the same particle with verbs to express and action that is done together.

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1. 友達 【とも・だち】 - friend
2. 話す 【はな・す】 - to talk
3. 親戚 【しん・せき】 - relative
4. 会う 【あ・う】 (u-verb) - to meet

1. 友達と遊ぶ。
Play with friend.
2. リーさんと話す。
Talk with Lee-san.
3. 親戚と会う。
Meet with relative.

「 に 」 Target Particle
The target particle is used to designate the target of an action whether it's a time or location. It serves the purpose
of many English prepositions such as "at", "in", "to", and "on" as long as it indicates a target of an action.

1. 学校 【がっ・こう】 - school
2. 行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) - to go
3. 明日 【あした】 - tomorrow
4. バス - bus
5. 乗る 【の・る】 (u-verb) - to ride
6. 聞く 【き・く】 (u-verb) - to ask
7. 前 【まえ】 - in front
8. 立つ 【た・つ】 (u-verb) - to stand
9. 友達 【とも・だち】 - friend
10. 会う 【あ・う】 (u-verb) - to meet

1. 学校に行く。
Go to school.
2. 明日に映画を見る。
Watch movie tomorrow.
3. バスに乗る
Ride on bus.
4. 先生に聞く。
Ask teacher.
5. 人の前に立つ。
Stand in front of people.
6. 友達に会う。
Meet friend.

「 で 」 Context Particle
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The context particle is used to describe the context or the means in which a verb takes place. For example, if
you're eating at a restaurant, since the restaurant is not a direct target for eating, you wouldn't use the 「に」
particle. Instead, you would use the 「で」 particle to describe the restaurant as the context in which eating is
taking place.

1. レストラン - restaurant
2. 日本語 【に・ほん・ご】 - Japanese language
3. 話す 【はな・す】 (u-verb) (u-verb) - to speak
4. はし - chopsticks
5. 映画館 【えい・が・かん】 - movie theater
6. 仕事 【し・ごと】 - work
7. 忙しい 【いそが・しい】 - busy

1. レストランで食べる。
Eat at restaurant.
2. 日本語で話す。
Speak in Japanese. (Speak by means of Japanese.)
3. はしで食べる。
Eat with chopsticks. (Eat by means of chopsticks.)
4. 映画館で映画を見る。
Watch movie at movie theater.
5. 仕事で忙しい。
Busy with work. (Busy by means of work.)

「 へ 」 Directional Particle
The 「へ」 particle is similar in some ways to the 「に」 particle. However, while the 「に」 particle
indicates a target for just about any verb, 「へ」 is more specifically used to indicate a direction of motion verbs
such as "to go" or "to send".

Because the 「に」 particle does everything 「へ」 does and more, this particle is not used as often as the
other particles. However, it is still beneficial to be at least familiar with it.

Note: While 「へ」 is normally pronounced as "he", this particle is pronounced as 「え」

1. 手紙 【て・がみ】 - letter
2. 送る 【おく・る】 - to send

1. 学校へ行く。
Go to school.
2. 手紙を日本へ送る。
Send letter to Japan.

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Existence Verbs
With the state-of-being that we learned in the last chapter, we could only describe what someone or something
is. In this section, we'll learn to express whether someone or something exists and where.

There are two verbs that show existence for animate and inanimate objects.

ある (u-verb) - to exist (inanimate)

いる (ru-verb) - to exist (animate)

Without getting caught up with the details, 「いる」 is generally used for things that can move of their own
volition such as humans or animals while 「ある」 is for inanimate objects and abstract concepts such as time.


1. どこ - where
2. 時間 【じ・かん】 - time

1. アリスちゃんは、どこにいる?
Where is Alice-chan? (lit: Alice-chan exists at where?)
2. 時間はある?
Do (you) have time? (lit: Is there time?)

With some additional vocabulary, you can use these two verbs to describe the location of anything or anyone.

1. ここ - here
2. そこ - there
3. あそこ - over there (farther away)
4. 上 【うえ】 - above
5. 下 【した】 - below
6. 右 【みぎ】 - right
7. 左 【ひだり】 - left
8. 前 【まえ】 - front; before
9. 後ろ 【うし・ろ】 - behind
10. 隣 【となり】 - next to

1. 鍵 【かぎ】 - key
2. テーブル - table
3. 銀行 【ぎん・こう】 - bank
4. 郵便局 【ゆう・びん・きょく】 - post office

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1. アリスは、学校の後ろにいる。
Alice is behind (the) school. (lit: As for Alice, exists behind of school.)
2. 鍵は、テーブルの上にある。
Key is above (the) table. (lit: As for key, exists above of table.)
3. 銀行は、郵便局の隣にあります。
Bank is next to post office. (lit: As for bank, exist next of post office.)

Any cute girls there?

1. 明日 【あした】 - tomorrow
2. クラブ - club
3. 行く 【い・く】 - to go
4. する - to do
5. 会話 【かい・わ】 - conversation
6. 練習 【れん・しゅう】 - practice
7. 俺 【おれ】 - me; myself (masculine and very casual)
8. 宿題 【しゅく・だい】 - homework
9. 日本人 【に・ほん・じん】 - Japanese person
10. かわいい - cute
11. 女 【おんな】 - woman
12. 子 【こ】 - child
13. 女の子 【おんな・の・こ】 - girl
14. あのう - um; excuse me
15. 一応 【いち・おう】 - for the time being; just in case
16. やっぱり - as expected (casual)
17. ムカつく - to get irritated

アリス: 明日、日本語のクラブがあるけど、行く?
Alice: There's Japanese club tomorrow, want to go? (lit: Tomorrow, Japanese club exists but go?)

ジョン: 日本語のクラブで何をするの?
John: What do (you) do at Japanese club?

アリス: 日本語の会話の練習をするよ。
Alice: (You) do Japanese conversation practice.

ジョン: 俺は、宿題がたくさんあるから、いい。
John: I have a lot of homework so (I'm) good. (lit: As for me, a lot of homework exists so good.)

アリス: 日本人もいるよ。
Alice: Japanese people are also there, you know.

ジョン: かわいい女の子はいる?
John: Is there cute girl(s)?

アリス: あのう、一応、私も行くけど?
Alice: Um, just in case, I'm going too but?
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ジョン: そう?やっぱり、俺はいいよ。
John: Is that so? As I thought, I'm good.

アリス: ムカつく。
Alice: So irritating.

Negative Tense
Verb Types
In this section, we'll learn how to conjugate verbs to the negative tense. However, before we can learn any verb
conjugations, we first need to learn how verbs are categorized. With the exception of only two exception verbs,
all verbs fall into the category of ru-verb or u-verb.

All ru-verbs end in 「る」 while u-verbs can end in a number of u-vowel sounds including 「る」. For verbs
ending in 「る」, if the vowel sound preceding the 「る」 is an 'i' or 'e' vowel sound, it will be a ru-verb in most
cases. Otherwise, it will be a u-verb.


1. 食べる - 「べ」 is an e-vowel sound so it is a ru-verb

2. わかる - 「か」 is an a-vowel sound so it is an u-verb

If you're unsure which category a verb falls in, you can verify which kind it is with most dictionaries.

There are only two exception verbs that are neither ru-verbs nor u-verbs.

1. する - to do
2. 来る 【く・る】 - to come

Examples of different verb types

ru-verb u-verb exception
見る - to see 話す - to speak する - to do
食べる - to eat 聞く - to ask; to listen くる - to come
寝る - to sleep 泳ぐ - to swim
起きる - to wake; to occur 遊ぶ - to play
考える - to think 待つ - to wait
教える - to teach; to inform 飲む - to drink
出る - to come out 買う - to buy
いる - to exist (animate) ある - to exist (inanimate)
着る - to wear 死ぬ - to die
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Negative Tense
We can now learn the rules for conjugating the verb into the negative tense based on the different verb types. Be
extra careful of 「ある」 which is one extra exception verb for this conjugation only.

Negative tense for verbs

1. For ru-verbs: Drop the 「る」 and attach 「ない」

Example: 食べる = 食べ + ない
2. For u-verbs that end in 「 う 」 : Replace 「う」 with 「わ」 and attach 「ない」
Example: 買う + わ + ない = 買わない
3. For all other u-verbs: Replace the u-vowel sound with the a-vowel equivalent and attach 「ない」
Example: 待つ + た = 待たない
4. Exceptions:
1. する → しない
2. くる → こない
3. ※ある → ない

Negative tense conjugation examples

ru-verb u-verb exception
見る → 見ない 話す → 話さない する → しない
食べる → 食べない 聞く → 聞かない くる → こない
寝る → 寝ない 泳ぐ → 泳がない ある → ない
起きる → 起きない 遊ぶ → 遊ばない
考える → 考えない 待つ → 待たない
教える → 教えない 飲む → 飲まない
出る → 出ない 買う → 買わない
変える → 変えない 帰る → 帰らない
着る → 着ない 死ぬ → 死なない

You don't have a TV?

1. ね - hey
2. テレビ - TV
3. 番組 【ばん・ぐみ】 - program (e.g. TV)
4. どう - how
5. 思う 【おも・う】 (u-verb) - think
6. 全然 【ぜん・ぜん】 - not at all (when used with negative)
7. 面白い 【おも・しろい】 (i-adj) - interesting; funny
8. 分かる 【わ・かる】 (u-verb) - to understand; to know
9. 見る 【み・る】 (ru-verb) - to see
10. なんで - why
11. うち - one's own home, family, or household
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12. うそ - lie; no way (casual)
13. 本当 【ほん・とう】 - truth; reality

ジョン: ね、最近のテレビ番組はどう思う?全然面白くないよね?
John: Hey, as for recent TV shows, how (do you) think? It's not interesting at all, huh?

アリス: 分からないね。私は、テレビを見ないから。
Alice: (I) don't know. As for me, I don't watch TV so.

ジョン: え?なんで見ないの?
John: Huh? Why don't (you) watch it?

アリス: うちは、テレビがないの。
Alice: As for our house, there's no TV.

ジョン: うそ!
John: No way!

アリス: 本当。
Alice: (It's) true.

ジョン: ・・・うそ!
John: ... No way!

アリス: 本当よ。
Alice: (It's) true, you know.

Polite Verbs
Verb Stem
Before we can learn the conjugation rules for the polite verb form, we must first learn how to create the verb
stem. The verb stem is used in many different types of verb conjugations including the polite form. Below are the
rules for changing the verb to its stem.

Verb stem conjugation rules

For ru-verbs: Drop the 「る」

Example: 食べる = 食べ
For u-verbs: Replace the u-vowel sound with the i-vowel equivalent
Example: 行く + き = 行き
1. する → し
2. くる → き

Verb stem examples

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ru-verb u-verb exception
見る → 見 話す → 話し する → し
食べる → 食べ 聞く → 聞き くる → き
寝る → 寝 泳ぐ → 泳ぎ
起きる → 起き 遊ぶ → 遊び
考える → 考え 待つ → 待ち
教える → 教え 飲む → 飲み
出る → 出 買う → 買い
変える → 変え 帰る → 帰り
着る → 着 死ぬ → 死に

Polite Verb Form

Now that we know the rules to create the verb stem, it is very easy to conjugate the verb to the polite form for
both positive and negative tenses.

Polite and polite negative verb conjugation rules

1. Polite Positive: Attach 「ます」 to the verb stem

Example: 食べ + ます = 食べます
2. Polite Negative: Attach 「ません」 to the verb stem
Example: 買い + ません = 買いません

Verb as a target
The verb stem can also be used to make it a target for another verb, typical a motion verb such as "go" or
"come". This is done by attaching the 「に」 target particle to the verb stem.

1. 昼ご飯 【ひる・ご・はん】 - lunch
2. 食べる 【た・べる】 - to eat
3. 行く 【い・く】 - to go
4. 私 【わたし】 - me, myself
5. 会う 【あ・う】 - to meet
6. 来る 【く・る】 - to come
7. 友達 【とも・だち】 - friend
8. 映画 【えい・が】 - movie
9. 見る 【み・る】 - see, watch

1. 昼ご飯を食べに行く。
Go to eat lunch.
2. 私に会いに来る。
Coming to meet me.
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3. 友達と映画を見に行く。
Go to watch movie with friend(s).

My family is in Korea
1. 皆さん 【みな・さん】 - everybody (polite)
2. 今年 【こ・とし】 - this year
3. 春 【はる】 - spring
4. 休み 【やす・み】 - vacation
5. 何 【なに】 - what
6. する - to do
7. 私 【わたし】 - me, myself
8. ここ - here
9. アルバイト - part-time job
10. 家族 【か・ぞく】 - family
11. 会う 【あ・う】 (u-verb) - to meet
12. 行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) - to go
13. 韓国 【かん・こく】 - South Korea
14. いる 【い・る】 (ru-verb) - to exist (animate)
15. 飛行機 【ひ・こう・き】 - airplane
16. ~代 【~だい】 - charge, cost, fare
17. とても - very
18. 高い 【たか・い】 (i-adj) - tall; expensive
19. 帰る 【かえ・る】(u-verb) - to go home
20. そう - so
21. 大変 【たい・へん】 (na-adj) - tough, rough

山本: 皆さんは、今年の春休みに何をしますか?
Yamamoto: Everybody, what will (you) do at this year's spring vacation?

リー: 私は、ここでアルバイトをします。
Lee: As for me, (I) will do part-time job here.

山本: ご家族に会いに行きませんか?
Yamamoto: (You) will not go to meet your family?

リー: 私の家族は韓国にいますから、飛行機代がとても高いです。なので、今年は韓国に帰りま
Lee: My family is in Korea so the plane ticket is very expensive. Therefore, (I) will not go back home to Korea
this year.

山本: そうですか。とても大変ですね。
Yamamoto: Is that so? (It's) very tough, isn't it?

Desire and Volition

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To want to do
In order to describe what someone or something wants to do, we must conjugate the verb into the 「〜たい」
form. This is done by simply attaching 「たい」 to the verb stem. One important thing to note is that this
conjugation changes the verb into essentially an i-adjective. This is because it's no longer an actual action but a
description of what one wants to do. Therefore, you can do all the same conjugations on the 「~たい」 form
as any other i-adjectives.

1. カニ - crab
2. 怖い 【こわ・い】 (i-adj) - scary

1. カニを食べたい。
(I) want to eat crab.
2. 日本に行きたいです。
(I) want to go to Japan.
3. 怖い映画は、見たくないよ。
(I) don't want to watch (a) scary movie.

Volitional Form
We'll learn more about different uses of the volitional form later on but for now, we can simply consider the
volitional form to mean "let's" or "shall we" e.g., "Let's go watch a movie." The rules for changing a verb into the
volitional form is below.

Volitional form conjugation rules

1. For ru-verbs: Drop the 「る」 and add 「よう」

Example: 食べる = 食べ+よう = 食べよう
2. For u-verbs: Replace the u-vowel sound with the o-vowel equivalent and 「う」
Example: 行く + こ + う = 行こう
3. Exceptions:
「する」 becomes 「しよう」
「くる」 becomes 「こよう」

I'm bored
1. ~な (sentence-ending particle) - a more casual and masculine version of ~ね
2. 図書館 【と・しょ・かん】 - library
3. 勉強 【べん・きょう】 - study
4. する - to do
5. つまらない - boring, dull
6. じゃ - then (casual)
7. 大丈夫 【だい・じょう・ぶ】 (na-adj) - ok
8. 絶対 【ぜっ・たい】 - definitely, for sure
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ジョン: 最近は、暇だな。
John: I have nothing to do lately. (lit: Lately, I'm free.)

アリス: 図書館で日本語を勉強しようか?
Alice: Shall we study Japanese at the library?

ジョン: それは、つまらないよ。
John: That's boring.

アリス: じゃ、何をしたいの?
Alice: Then, what do you want to do?

ジョン: 映画を見に行こうかな?
John: Shall (I) go to watch a movie maybe?

アリス: 勉強は大丈夫なの?
Alice: Are (your) studies ok?

ジョン: うん、大丈夫。
John: Yeah, (it's) ok.

アリス: 絶対大丈夫じゃないよ。
Alice: (It's) definitely not ok, you know.

Polite Volitional Form

The conjugation rules for polite version of the volition form is simple and only requires adding 「ましょう」 to
the verb stem.

Polite volitional form conjugation rules

For all verbs: Attach 「ましょう」 to the verb stem

食べ+ましょう = 食べましょう (let's eat)
行き+ましょう = 行きましょう (let's go)
し+ましょう = しましょう (let's do)

It's a good idea!

1. レッスン - lesson
2. 始める 【はじ・める】 (ru-verb) - to begin
3. 天気 【てん・き】 - weather
4. 授業 【じゅ・ぎょう】 - class
5. 外 【そと】 - outside
6. 考え 【かんが・え】 - idea
7. それじゃ - well then

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8. 行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) - to go

Yamamoto: Let's begin today's lesson.

Smith: Teacher, because the weather is good today, let's do the class outside!

Yamamoto: That's a good thought. Shall (we) go outside?

Everybody: Yes!

Telling Time
In order to effectively describe when we want to do certain things and make plans, we'll need to know how to
describe time. Similar to the age counter we learned in the very first chapter, we simply need to use the counters
for hours and minutes.

~時 【~じ】 - hour counter

~分 【~ふん】 - minute counter

Once again, there are a number of reading variations to pay careful attention to. These readings are listed below.

Hour reading variations

Hour 4 o'clock 7 o'clock 9 o'clock
Kanji 四時 七時 九時
Reading よ・じ しち・じ く・じ
Minute reading variations
Minutes How many minutes 1 min 3 min 4 min 6 min 8 min 10 min
Kanji 何分 一分 三分 四分 六分 八分 十分
Reading なん・ぷん いっ・ぷん さん・ぷん よん・ぷん ろっ・ぷん はっ・ぷん じゅっ・ぷん

Though there are words for AM and PM, military time is used more often in Japan.

1. 何時 【なん・じ】 - what hour; what time

2. 午前 【ご・ぜん】 - AM
3. 午後 【ご・ご】 - PM
4. 半 【はん】 - half
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1. 1時1分 【いち・じ・いっ・ぷん】 - 1:01

2. 午後4時44分 【ご・ご・よ・じ・よん・じゅう・よん・ぷん】 - 4:44 PM
3. 午前10時半 【ご・ぜん・じゅう・じ・はん】 - 10:30 AM
4. 18時25分 【じゅう・はち・じ・に・じゅう・ご・ふん】 - 18:25 (6:25 PM)

1. 何時 【なん・じ】 - what hour; what time

What time is it now?
(It's) 2:30.

Days of the week

Below is a vocabulary list pertaining to days of the week. Combined with time, this should be adequate for
making plans in the near future. We will learn how to express complete calendar dates in a later chapter.

1. 何曜日 【なん・よう・び】 - What day of week

2. 月曜日 【げつ・よう・び】 - Monday
3. 火曜日 【か・よう・び】 - Tuesday
4. 水曜日 【すい・よう・び】 - Wednesday
5. 木曜日 【もく・よう・び】 - Thursday
6. 金曜日 【きん・よう・び】 - Friday
7. 土曜日 【ど・よう・び】 - Saturday
8. 日曜日 【にち・よう・び】 - Sunday
9. 先週 【せん・しゅう】 - last week
10. 今週 【こん・しゅう】 - this week
11. 来週 【らい・しゅう】 - next week
12. 毎週 【まい・しゅう】 - every week
13. 平日 【へい・じつ】 - weekday
14. 週末 【しゅう・まつ】 - weekend

Is it really late?

1. 皆 【みんな】 - everybody
2. レストラン - restaurant
3. 何時 【なん・じ】 - what time
4. 夜 【よる】 - evening
5. ちょっと - a little (casual)
6. 遅い 【おそ・い】 (i-adj) - late
7. 毎日 【まい・にち】 - everyday
8. 寝る 【ね・る】 - to sleep
9. 違う 【ちが・う】 (u-verb) - to be different
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10. 大丈夫 【だい・じょう・ぶ】 - ok

リー: 来週の金曜日に皆で日本のレストランに食べに行くけど、アリスちゃんも行きたい?
Lee: Everybody is going to eat at (a) Japanese restaurant next Friday, (do you) Alice-chan want to also go?

アリス: 何時に行くの?
Alice: What time are (you) going?

リー: 夜の八時半。
Lee: 8:30 night.

アリス: ちょっと遅いね。
Alice: (It's) a little late, isn't it?

リー: それは、アリスちゃんが毎日十時に寝るからだよ。
Lee: That's because Alice-chan (you) sleep at 10:00 every day.

アリス: 違うよ!
Alice: That's not so!

リー: じゃ、八時半で大丈夫だよね。
Lee: Then it's fine as 8:30 right?

アリス: いいよ!八時半で!
Alice: Fine! 8:30.

From and until

Two particles that often go together especially with time expressions are "from" (から) and "until" (まで).


1. ~から (particle) - from ~

2. ~まで (particle) - until ~
3. エアロビクス - aerobics
4. クラス - class
5. 授業 【じゅ・ぎょう】 - class
6. 始まる 【はじ・まる】(u-verb) - to begin
7. この - this
8. 会社 【かい・しゃ】 - company
9. 働く 【はたら・く】 (u-verb) - to work
10. 両親 【りょう・しん】 - parents
11. 連絡 【れん・らく】 - contact

1. エアロビクスクラスは、毎週火曜日と金曜日の18時から19時までです。
Aerobic class is every Tuesday and Friday from 6:00 until 7:00pm.
2. 授業は何時から始まるの?
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From what time is class start?
3. いつまでこの会社で働きたいですか?
Until when do (you) want to work at this company?
4. 毎週末に両親から連絡がくる。
(I) hear from (my) parents on every weekend. (lit: Contact comes from parents every weekend.)

Question words and particles

Particles can be used with some question words to form other useful vocabulary. Let's first learn or review all the
various questions words.

1. 誰 【だれ】 - who
2. 何 【なに/なん】 - what
3. どこ - where
4. どう - how
5. どうして - why
6. どちら - which way
7. どれ - which
8. なんで - why (casual)
9. なぜ - why (formal)
10. いつ - when
11. いくつ - how many
12. いくら - how much

「 も」 with question words

The following question words can be used with 「も」 to include and/or exclude everything.

1. 誰も 【だれ・も】 - everybody or nobody when used with negative tense

2. 何も 【なに・も】 - nothing when used with negative tense
3. どこも - everywhere or nowhere when used with negative tense
4. どうしても - no matter what
5. どちらも - both ways
6. いつも - always

Things aren't as consistent as one would hope however. For example, 「何も」 is usually not used to mean
"everything". And 「いつも」 always means "always" for both positive and negative tenses. Other words can be
used instead to express similar concepts.

1. 皆 【みんな】 - everybody
2. 皆さん 【みな・さん】 - everybody (polite)
3. 全部 【ぜん・ぶ】 - everything
4. 全然 【ぜん・ぜん】 - not at all (when used with negative tense)
5. 絶対 【ぜっ・たい】 - absolutely, unconditionally or never when used with negative tense

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「 でも」
でも 」 with question words
The combination of two particles 「でも」 can be used with question words to indicate "any".

1. 誰でも 【だれ・でも】 - anybody

2. 何でも 【なん・でも】 - anything
3. どこでも - anywhere
4. どうでも - anyhow
5. どちらでも - any way
6. いつでも - any time
7. いくつでも - any number of things
8. いくらでも - any amount

「 か 」 with question words

The question marker can also be used with some question words to indicate "some".

1. 誰か 【だれ・か】 - somebody
2. 何か 【なに・か】 - something
3. どこか - somewhere
4. どうか - somehow
5. どちらか - one way (of the two)
6. どうしてか - for some reason
7. なんでか - for some reason (casual)
8. なぜか - for some reason (formal)
9. いつか - sometime
10. いくつか - some number of things
11. いくらか - some amount

Never mind, you guys are too weird

1. ね/ねえ - hey (casual)
2. 今日 【きょう】 - today
3. 昼ご飯 【ひる・ご・はん】 - lunch
4. どこか - somewhere
5. 僕 【ぼく】 - me, myself (polite, masculine)
6. 何でも 【なん・でも】 - anything
7. じゃ - then (casual)
8. おいしい (i-adj) - tasty
9. 物 【もの】 - physical object
10. 当たり前 【あ・たり・まえ】 - obvious
11. 誰 【だれ】 - who
12. 皆 【みんな】- everybody (casual)
13. 相変わらず 【あい・かわ・らず】- as usual, without change
14. 変 【へん】 (na-adj) - strange

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15. 食堂 【しょく・どう】- cafeteria

アリス: ねえ、今日の昼ご飯は、どこかに食べに行こうよ。
Alice: Hey, as for today's lunch, let's go somewhere to eat.

ジョン: そうだね。何を食べようか?
John: Right. What shall we eat?

リー: 僕は、何でもいいよ。
Lee: I'm fine with anything.

アリス: じゃ、何かおいしい物を食べたくない?
Alice: Then, don't (you) want to eat something tasty?

ジョン: それは当たり前だ。誰がおいしくない物を食べたいんだ?
John: That's obvious. Who wants to eat a thing not tasty?

リー: 僕は、何でもいいよ。
Lee: I'm fine with anything.

ジョン: じゃ、今日はおいしくない物にチャレンジしよう!
John: Then, let's challenge (ourselves) today with something not tasty!

アリス: 皆、相変わらず変ね。今日も食堂でいいよ。
Alice: Everybody is strange as usual, huh? The cafeteria is fine for today as well.

We've already been using adverbs extensively without really paying much attention to them because they are easy
to use. They don't require any particles and they can appear almost anywhere in the sentence. Below is a list of
common and useful adverbs, some of which we've already seen.

Useful adverbs
1. いつも - always
2. よく - often
3. たいてい - usually
4. 時々 【とき・どき】 - sometimes
5. たまに - rarely
6. 全然 【ぜん・ぜん】 - not at all (when used with negative tense)
7. 多分 【た・ぶん】 - probably, maybe
8. たくさん - a lot (amount)
9. 少し 【すこ・し】 - a little (amount)

Creating adverbs from adjectives

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There are many words that are not adverbs by themselves but are made into adverbs from other adjectives. This
is similar to how "ly" is added to many words in English to make them into adverbs such as "quickly" or "slowly".

The rules for changing an adjective into an adverb is given below. As usual, 「いい」 is conjugated from the
original 「よい」 pronunciation. This is where the adverb we just learned for "often" (よく) comes from.

Rules for changing adjectives into adverbs

For na-adjectives: Attach 「に」 to the end

1. 静かに
2. きれいに
3. 本当に
For i-adjectives: Replace the 「い」 with 「く」
1. 早い + く = 早く
2. かわいい + く = かわいく
1. 「いい」 becomes 「よく」
2. 「かっこいい」 becomes 「かっこよく」

1. 部屋 【へや】 - room
2. きれい (na-adj) - pretty; clean
3. 女性 【じょ・せい】 - female
4. 声優 【せい・ゆう】 - voice actor/actress
5. わざと (adv) - on purpose
6. かわいい - cute
7. 話す 【はな・す】 (u-verb) - to speak
8. 明日 【あした】 - tomorrow
9. 大事 【だい・じ】 - important
10. 試験 【し・けん】 - exam
11. 今夜 【こん・や】 - tonight
12. 早い 【はや・い】 (i-adj) - early
13. 寝る 【ね・る】 (ru-verb) - to sleep

1. 部屋をきれいにする。
Make room clean (lit: Do room cleanly).
2. 日本の女性声優は、よくわざとかわいく話す。
Japanese female voice actresses often speak cutely on purpose.
3. 明日、大事な試験があるから、今夜は早く寝る。
Tomorrow, because there's an important test, going to sleep early tonight
4. 来年、本当に日本に行くの?
(Are you) really going to Japan next year?

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Verb clauses
Now that we are familiar with both state-of-being and verbs, we can begin to look at how to use verb clauses to
construct more complicated sentences. As we have learned, a complete sentence must end either in a real verb
or state-of-being. This sentence can also be used as a clause as a part of a larger sentence.

Remember also that the polite form only goes at the end of a complete sentence so a verb clause used within a
sentence must be in the plan form.

Verb clauses as adjectives

A verb clauses can be used to describe a noun just like an adjective. Except for nouns and na-adjectives that is
not conjugated to another tense, nothing is required except to put the clause directly in front of the noun.

The highlighted areas show the clause that is a smaller sentence used in the larger sentence.

1. ご飯 【ご・はん】 - rice; meal
2. 時 【とき】 - time
3. テレビ - television
4. 本 【ほん】 - book
5. 読む 【よ・む】 (u-verb) - read
6. 頭 【あたま】 - head; mind
7. 背 【せ】 - height
8. すてき (na-adj) - lovely
9. 高い 【たか・い】 (i-adj) - tall
10. 性格 【せい・かく】 - personality
11. 優しい 【やさ・しい】 - gentle

1. ご飯を食べる時は、テレビを見ない。
When eating a meal, don't watch TV.
2. 本を読まない人、頭がよくない。
People that does not read books are not smart.
3. 背が高い人は、すてきだね。
Tall people are lovely, huh?
4. 性格が優しくない人は、あまり好きじゃない。
Don't like people whose personality is not gentle.

For na-adjectives, as always we need to use 「な」 to attach it to a noun. As for nouns, there is no need to use
a clause to modify a noun with another noun as the 「の」 particle allows us to chain any number of nouns.

1. 形 【かたち】 - shape, form

2. きれい (na-adj) - pretty; clean
3. 果物 【くだ・もの】 - fruit

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4. 運 【うん】 - luck

1. 形がとてもきれいな果物は、おいしい。
Fruit that has very pretty form is tasty.
2. 二年生の日本語の学生は、運がいい。
As for second year Japanese students, luck is good.

I'm going alone

1. 今年 【こ・とし】 - this year
2. 春休み 【はる・やすみ】 - spring vacation
3. 予定 【よ・てい】 - plan(s)
4. 観光 【かん・こう】 - sightseeing
5. メキシコ - Mexico
6. 一人 【ひとり】 - one person; alone
7. つもり - intention
8. 一緒 【いっ・しょ】 - together
9. 訳 【わけ】 - explanation, reasoning

山本: 田中さんは、今年の春休みに何か予定ありますか?
Yamamoto: Tanaka-san, do (you) have some (kind of) plan this spring vacation?

田中: ええ、観光にメキシコに予定です。
Tanaka: Yes, (I) plan to go sightseeing to Mexico.

山本: いいですね。私もメキシコに行きたいですね。
Yamamoto: That's nice. I want to go to Mexico too.

田中: 私は、一人で行くつもりですが・・・
Tanaka: I intend to by myself...

山本: いいえ、私は田中さんと一緒に行きたい訳じゃないですから!
Yamamoto: No, it's not the case that I want to go together with you in particular!

Verb clauses as nouns

Verbs clauses are different from nouns and are limited in many ways because you cannot attach any particles to
them. However, we just learned that verb clauses can act as an adjectives. All we need to treat verb clauses as a
noun is by attaching a generic noun to the clause: 「こと」(事)

「の」 can also be used as a noun replacement. The difference is 「こと」 is a more general statement while
「の」 is specific to the context of the sentence.

1. 事 【こと】 - event, matter, generic happening
2. 料理 【りょう・り】 - cooking
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3. お箸 【お・はし】 - chopsticks
4. ご飯 【ご・はん】 - rice; meal
5. 難しい 【むずか・しい】 (i-adj) - difficult, hard
6. 朝 【あさ】 - morning
7. 早い 【はや・い】 - early
8. 起きる 【お・きる】 - to occur; to awake
9. 苦手 【にが・て】 (na-adj) - poor/weak at

1. 料理をするのが好き。
(I) like cooking.
2. お箸でご飯を食べることは、難しい。
It is difficult to eat rice by way of chopsticks.
3. 朝、早く起きるのは、苦手。
Not good at waking up early in the morning.

What do you like to do when you're free?

1. 今週末 【こん・しゅう・まつ】 - this week
2. 特 【とく】 - particular
3. 本屋 【ほん・や】 - bookstore
4. めんどくさい (i-adj) - bothersome
5. 俺 【おれ】 - me, myself (masculine, casual
6. 暇 【ひま】 (na-adj) - free (as in not busy)
7. やはり/やっぱり - as I thought, as expected

スミス: 今週末は、何か予定ある?
Smith: Do you have some kind of plan this weekend?

ジョン: 特にないけど?
John: Not particularly but?

スミス: 皆で、日本の本屋さんに行くのは、どう?
Smith: How about going to Japanese bookstore with everybody?

ジョン: めんどくさいから、俺はいい。
John: It's too bothersome so I'm fine.

スミス: 暇な時に何をするのが好きなの?
Smith: What do you like to do when you're free?

ジョン: 何もしないのが好きだね。
John: I like not doing anything.

スミス: やっぱり・・・。
Smith: As I thought.

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Chapter summary and practice

In this chapter, we learned how to use describe common activities using verbs. We also learned how to make or
suggest plans by using the 「~たい」 and volitional form. Finally, we learned the concept of verb clauses and
how to use them to create more complicated sentences.

Here is a short list of examples using the various conjugations we learned in this chapter.

Verb Conjugation Examples

Plain Negative Polite Negative Polite
Ru-verb 食べる 食べない 食べます 食べません
U-verb 飲む 飲まない 飲みます 飲みません
Verbs ending in 「 う 」 買う 買わない* 買います 買いません
Exception ある ない* あります ありません
Exception する しない* します* しません*
Exception くる(来る) こない* き ません* きません*

* = exceptions

Future plans and routine activities

In this chapter, we learned how to use verbs to talk about things we do or do not do. The verbs, by themselves,
do not have a specific tense so they can be used to describe activities in the future or an unspecified time.

With the grammar we learned in this chapter, we now know how to make plans with other people and talk about
what the kinds of things we do on a regular basis. Here is a long list of vocabulary describing various times in
addition to the ones we already learned for days of the week. Though the vocabulary list is rather long, you'll
notice that it's mostly different combinations of the same Kanji such as 「日」 for day.

1. 昨日 【きのう】 - yesterday
2. 今日 【きょう】 - today
3. 明日 【あした】 - tomorrow
4. 毎日 【まい・にち】 - every day
5. 先月 【せん・げつ】 - last month
6. 今月 【こん・げつ】 - this month
7. 来月 【らい・げつ】 - next month
8. 毎月 【まい・つき】 - every month
9. 去年 【きょ・ねん】 - last year
10. 今年 【こ・とし】 - this year
11. 来年 【らい・ねん】 - next year
12. 毎年 【まい・とし】 - every year
13. 朝 【あさ】 - morning
14. 今朝 【け・さ】 - this morning
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15. 毎朝 【まい・あさ】 - every morning
16. 昼 【ひる】 - afternoon
17. 夜 【よる】 - evening
18. 今夜 【こん・や】 - tonight
19. 今晩 【こん・ばん】 - tonight
20. 毎晩 【まい・ばん】 - every night
21. ご飯 【ご・はん】 - rice; meal
22. 朝ご飯 【あさ・ご・はん】 - breakfast
23. 昼ご飯 【ひる・ご・はん】 - lunch
24. 晩ご飯 【ばん・ご・はん】 - dinner
25. 春 【はる】 - spring
26. 夏 【なつ】 - summer
27. 秋 【あき】 - autumn
28. 冬 【ふゆ】 - winter
29. 休み 【やす・み】 - rest, vacation

1. 今日は、何をしようか?
What shall (we) do today?
2. どんな食べ物を食べたい?
What kind of food do (you) want to eat?
3. 昼ご飯は、何を食べましょうか?
What shall we eat for lunch?
4. 週末にたいてい何をするの?
What do (you) usually due on weekends?
5. 今年の冬休みに何か予定ありますか?
Do (you) have some kind of plan this winter vacation?
6. 来週末に映画を見に行くのは、どう?
How (about) going to watch movie next weekend?
7. 暇な時に何をするのが好きですか?
What do (you) like to do when (you're) free?

Writing Practice
If you have friends who speak Japanese, great! Next time you're making plans either in an email or face-to-face,
surprise your friend by using Japanese.

Otherwise, for your diary on paper or on Lang-8, you can talk about the kinds of things you do and activities you
enjoy. For example, here is a short self-description of John Brown talking about the things he likes do or (or

I like sleeping the most

1. 趣味 【しゅ・み】 - hobby
2. 特に 【とく・に】 - particularly
3. 寝る 【ね・る】(ru-verb) - to sleep
4. 一番 【いち・ばん】 - #1; the best; -est
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5. 宿題 【しゅく・だい】 - homework
6. 勉強 【べん・きょう】 - studies
7. 話す 【はな・す】(u-verb) - to speak
8. 漢字 【かん・じ】 - Kanji
9. 発音 【はつ・おん】 - pronunciation
10. 将来 【しょう・らい】 - future
11. なるべく - as much as possible
12. 楽 【らく】(na-adj) - with ease; comfortable
13. 仕事 【し・ごと】 - work; job
14. たくさん - a lot
15. 働く 【はたら・く】 - to work
16. どうする - what one should do (lit: how do)
17. 時 【とき】 - time


Nice to meet you. My name is John Brown. As for (my) hobbies, there aren't any particularly but (I) like sleeping
the best. (I) don't like doing things like homework and studying very much. But (I) like speaking in Japanese, you
know. Because things like Kanji and pronunciation are interesting. (I) want to go to Japan sometime. As for in
the future, (I) want to do a relaxing job as much as possible but everybody in Japanese works a lot so what
should (I) do? As expected, (I) want to go when (I'm) a student.

Verb tenses and clauses

At the end of the last chapter, we learned about the concept of the verb clause. In this chapter, we will learn
more ways to utilize the verb clause along with the progressive and past tense.

Progressive Tense
The progressive tense in most cases indicate an action that is ongoing. Some simple examples of the progressive
tense is "I am watching a movie" or "I am eating". The same tense is also used to described an ongoing state
resulting from the action such as, "I am married". In order to learn the conjugation rule for this construction, we
must first learn the te-form, a very useful verb form that we will use in many different types of grammar.

The te-form
The conjugation rule for ru-verbs and the exception verbs are fairly easy as you simply need to append 「て」
to the stem.

To change ru-verbs into the te-form

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Drop the 「る」 part of the ru-verb (same as the stem) and add 「て」
1. 食べる → 食べて
2. 見る → 見て

Conjugating a u-verb to the te-form is a bit more complex because we must break up u-verbs into four additional
categories. These four categories depend on the last character of the verb. The list below has an example of a
common verb with each different ending.

1. 話す 【はな・す】(u-verb) - to speak
2. 書く 【か・く】(u-verb) - to write
3. 泳ぐ 【およ・ぐ】(u-verb) - to swim
4. 飲む 【の・む】(u-verb) - to drink
5. 遊ぶ 【あそ・ぶ】(u-verb) - to play
6. 死ぬ 【し・ぬ】(u-verb) - to die
7. 切る 【き・る】(u-verb) - to cut
8. 買う 【か・う】(u-verb) - to buy
9. 持つ 【も・つ】(u-verb) - to hold
10. 行く 【い・く】(u-verb) - to go

The table below illustrated the four different categories and the conjugation rules for each using the list above.

There is also one additional exception for this conjugation: 「行く」

Te-form conjugations for u-verbs Exception Verbs

Ending Non-Past changes to... Te-form Non-Past Te-form

す 話す す → して 話して する して

く 書く く → いて 書いて 来る きて
ぐ 泳ぐ ぐ → いで 泳いで
行く 行って*
む 飲む む → んで 飲んで
ぶ 遊ぶ ぶ → んで 遊んで
ぬ 死ぬ ぬ → んで 死んで

る 切る る → って 切って
う 買う う → って 買って
つ 持つ つ → って 持って

* exceptions particular to this conjugation

Progressive Tense
In order to change a verb to the progressive tense, we simply need to attach a verb we already learned to the te-
form. This is the ru-verb 「いる」 used to express existence of an animate object. In this case, it is used simply
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as a grammatical construct to express the progressive tense and has little to do with the original verb.

Using 「~ている」 for progressive tense

To describe a continuing action, first conjugate the verb to the te-form and then attach the ru-verb 「い
1. 食べる → 食べて → 食べている
2. 読む → 読んで → 読んでいる

The beauty and simplicity of this construction is because it ends in the ru-verb 「いる」, any additional
conjugations are the same as any other ru-verb, including the polite form. This also applies to the past tense,
which we will learn later.

Progressive Conjugation Examples

Positive Negative Positive Polite Negative Polite
Ru-verb 見ている 見ていない 見ています 見ていません
U-verb 読んでいる 読んでいない 読んでいます 読んでいません
Exception きています(来る)* きていない きています きていません
Exception している* していない しています していません
Exception 行っている* 行っていない 行っています 行っていません

* = exceptions

1. それ - that
2. もう - already
3. 知る 【し・る】(u-verb) - to acquire knowledge
4. ペン - pen
5. 持つ 【も・つ】(u-verb) - to hold
6. 結婚 【けっ・こん】 - marriage
7. 犬 【いぬ】 - dog
8. 猫 【ねこ】 - cat
9. 飼う 【か・う】(u-verb) - to keep; to raise (pets in particular)
10. 太る 【ふと・る】(u-verb) - to get fat
11. 痩せる 【や・せる】(ru-verb) - to get skinny

1. それは、もう知っているよ。
(I) know that already. (lit: In state of having acquired that knowledge already.)
2. ペンを持っている?
Do (you) have (a) pen? (lit: In state of holding (owning) pen?)
3. 結婚していますか?
Are (you) married? (lit: In state of being married?)
4. 何もしていません。
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Not doing anything.
5. 犬を飼っている。
Raising a dog.
6. 猫は、飼っていない。
Not raising a cat.
7. 猫は、太っている。
(The) cat is fat. (lit: Cat is in state of having gotten fat.)
8. 犬は、痩せている。
(The) dog is skinny. (lit: Dog is in state of having gotten skinny.)

Where do you live?

1. 住む 【す・む】(u-verb) - to reside at
2. 寮 【りょう】 - dormitory
3. 見かける 【み・かける】(ru-verb) - to happen to see
4. ずっと - for a long time or distance
5. 東 【ひがし】 - east
6. 方 【ほう】 - direction
7. 所 【ところ】 - place
8. そんなに - that much
9. 遠い 【とお・い】(i-adj) - far
10. 一年生 【いち・ねん・せい】 - first year; freshman
11. 選ぶ 【えら・ぶ】(u-verb) - to choose
12. 一番 【いち・ばん】 - #1; the best; -est
13. 遅い 【おそ・い】(i-adj) - late

アリス: リー君は、今どこに住んでいるの?
Alice: Lee-kun, where are you residing at now?

リー: 寮に住んでいるよ。
Lee: (I'm) living in the dorm.

アリス: そうなの?あまり見かけないけど、どこの寮?
Alice: Is that so? (I) don't see (you) every much, dorm of where?

リー: ずっと東の方にある所。
Lee: The place that's at the far east direction.

アリス: どうしてそんなに遠い所に住んでいるの?
Alice: Why are you living in such a far place?

リー: 一年生だから、住む所を選ぶのが一番遅い。
Lee: (I'm) a freshman so (we're) the latest to select a place to live.

Shortened progressive form

The 「い」 from 「いる」 can be dropped in more casual situations.
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1. 何をしてるの?
What are (you) doing?
2. 何を読んでるの?
What are (you) reading?
3. 犬は、飼ってない。
Don't own a dog.
4. ペンを持ってる?
Do (you) have (a) pen?

Past Verb Tense

Plain past tense verbs
The conjugation rules for the plain past tense are quite simple now that we've already learn the rules for the te-
form. This is because the plain past tense conjugation rules are almost identical to the rules for the te-form. The
only difference is to use 「た」 and 「だ」 in the place of 「て」 and 「で」 respectively.

The past-negative conjugation rule should also be familiar to you as it's identical to the past-tense conjugation
rules for both i-adjectives and negative state-of-being.

Remember that the progressive tense always end in the ru-verb: 「いる」. This means you can use the same
rules as any other ru-verbs to easily change the progressive tense to the past progressive or negative past

Plain past verb tense conjugation rules

Past tense: Conjugate to the te-form and replace 「て」 with 「た」 and 「で」 with 「だ」
1. 食べる → 食べて → 食べた
eat → ate
2. 飲む → 飲んで → 飲んだ
drink → drank
3. 食べている → 食べていて → 食べていた
eating → was eating
Negative past tense: Conjugate to the negative tense and replace the last 「い」 with 「かった」
1. 食べる → 食べない → 食べなかった
eat → not eat → did not eat
2. 飲む → 飲まない → 飲まなかった
drink → not drink → did not drink
3. 食べている → 食べていない → 食べていなかった
eating → not eating → was not eating
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When you don't understand, you should say so

1. 知る 【し・る】 - to know
2. おかしい (i-adj) - odd, strange, funny
3. 一緒 【いっ・しょ】 - together
4. 勉強する 【べん・きょう】 - to study
5. はず - expected to be
6. かな (sentence-ending particle, casual) - I wonder
7. ごめん (casual) - sorry
8. 用事 【よう・じ】 - errand
9. 遅れる 【おく・れる】(ru-verb) - to be late
10. 母 【はは】 - (one's own) mother
11. 急 【きゅう】 - sudden
12. 電話 【でん・わ】 - phone
13. 言う 【い・う】 - to say
14. 教える 【おし・える】(ru-verb) - to teach; to inform
15. 分かる 【わ・かる】(ru-verb) - to understand
16. ちゃんと - properly
17. 伝える 【つた・える】 - to convey
18. べき - should
19. はあ - sigh

アリス: リー君はどこ?
Alice: Where is Lee-kun?

ジョン: 知らない。
John: Don't know.

アリス: おかしいね。ここで一緒に勉強するはずだけど、どこに行ったかな?
Alice: That's odd. (We) are supposed to study here together but (I) wonder where (he) went?

リー: アリスちゃん、ごめん。用事でちょっと遅れた。
Lee: Alice-chan, sorry. (I) was little late due to an errand.

アリス: 何をしていたの?
Alice: What were you doing?

リー: 母から急に電話が来たの。ジョンに言ったけど、教えなかったの?
Lee: A phone call came suddenly from (my) mother. I told John, didn't (he) tell you?

ジョン: ごめん、言っていることが分からなかったから、アリスちゃんに何も言わなかった。
John: Sorry, I didn't understand the thing (you) were saying so (I) didn't say anything to Alice-chan.

アリス: 何か分からなかった時は、ちゃんと伝えるべきよ。
Alice: (You) should properly convey when you didn't understand something, you know.

ジョン: 分かった。
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John: (I) understood.

リー: 本当に分かったの?
Lee: Did (you) really understand?

ジョン: あんまり。
John: Not really.

アリス: はあ・・・。
Alice: Sigh...

Polite past verbs

The rules for the polite past tense is similar to the other polite tenses and are all based on the verb stem.

Polite past verb tense conjugation rules

Past tense: Attach 「ました」 to the verb stem

1. 食べる → 食べました
2. 飲む → 飲み → 飲みました
Negative past tense: Attach 「ませんでした」 to the verb stem
1. 食べる → 食べませんでした
2. 飲む → 飲み → 飲みませんでした

Summary of 「~ます」 tenses

Positive Negative

Non-Past 行きます - go 行きません - don't go

Past 行き ました - went 行き ませんでした - didn't go

Spring vacation is already over

スミス: 山本先生、こんにちは!
Smith: Yamamoto-sensei, good afternoon!

山本: スミスさん、こんにちは。もうすっかり春になりましたね。
Yamamoto: Smith-san, good afternoon. It already became thoroughly spring, hasn't it?

スミス: そうですね。春休みは、本当に早く終わりました。
Smith: That's so, isn't it. Spring vacation really ended quickly.

山本: そうですか。春休みに何をしましたか。
Yamamoto: Is that so? What did (you) do in spring vacation?

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スミス: のんびり休みましたので、特に何もしませんでした。
Smith: (I) rested taking it easy so (I) didn't do anything in particular.

山本: それもいいですね。ちゃんと休みを取るのも大事ですから。
Yamamoto: That is good as well. (It's) also important to properly take rest so.

スミス: 山本先生は、休みに何をしましたか。
Smith: Yamamoto-sensei, what did (you) do for vacation?

山本: 授業の準備で色々していましたよ。
Yamamoto: (I) was doing various things with class preparation.

スミス: 休みをちゃんと取るのは大事ですよ。
Smith: (It's) important to properly take rest, you know.

山本: 本当ですね。
Yamomoto: That's right.

State-of-Being Past Tense

Plain past nouns and adjectives
The conjugation rules for nouns and na-adjectives are identical once again for the past tense. The rule is also the
same for i-adjectives and negative tenses as they both end in 「い」.

As usual, 「いい」 and 「かっこいい」 conjugations start from the original 「よい」 pronunciation.

Plain past state-of-being conjugation rules

For nouns/na-adjectives: Attach 「だった」 to the end

1. 学生だった
2. 暇だった
For i-adjectives/negative tenses: Replace the 「い」 with 「かった」
1. かわいい + かった = かわいかった
2. かわいくない + かった = かわいくなかった
3. 学生じゃない + かった = 学生じゃなかった
4. 暇じゃない + かった = 暇じゃなかった
5. 行きたい + かった = 行きたかった
6. 行きたくない + かった = 行きたくなかった
Exceptions: 「いい」 conjugates from 「よい」
1. いい → よい+かった = よかった
2. かっこいい → かっこよい+かった = かっこよかった

Summary of plain nouns/na-adjective tenses

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Positive Negative

Non-Past 学生 - (is) student 学生じゃない - is not student

Past 学生だった - was student 学生じゃなかった - was not student

Summary of plain i-adjective tense
Positive Negative

Non-Past 高い - (is) tall 高くない - is not tall

Past 高かった - was tall 高くなかった - was not tall

Looking forward to next year

1. 春 【はる】 - spring
2. 学期 【がっ・き】 - school term
3. もう - already; more
4. すぐ - soon
5. 終わる 【お・わる】 - to end
6. やっと - finally
7. 本当 【ほん・とう】 - real
8. 色々 【いろ・いろ】 (na-adjective) - various
9. 夏 【なつ】 - summer
10. 休み 【やす・み】 - vacation
11. 楽しみ 【たの・しみ】 - look forward to
12. 確か 【たし・か】 - certain, sure
13. 二年生 【に・ねん・せい】 - second-year, sophomore
14. なる - to become
15. ~達 【たち】 - pluralizing suffix
16. 喜ぶ 【よろこ・ぶ】 - to be pleased
17. 授業 【じゅ・ぎょう】 - class
18. もっと - more
19. ~な (sentence-ending particle) - a more casual and masculine version of ~ね
20. 全然 【ぜん・ぜん】 - not at all (when used with negative)
21. 聞く 【き・く】 - to listen

アリス: 春学期はもうすぐ終わるよね。
Alice: Spring term will also end soon, huh?

ジョン: やっとだ。今年、本当に色々大変だったからね。夏休みが楽しみ!
John: Finally. Cause it was really tough for various (things). Looking forward to summer vacation!

アリス: 確かに大変だったけど、楽しかったよ。
Alice: It was rough sure but it was fun.

リー: そして、二年生になるんだね。

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Lee: And then, we'll become second-year students, huh?

ジョン: そう!そして、田中先生が私達の先生になる。
Jonn: That's right! And then, Tanaka-sensei will become our teacher.

アリス: 何を喜んでいるの?田中先生の授業はもっと難しいよ。
Alice: What are you getting happy (about)? Tanaka-sensei's class is much more difficult, you now.

リー: 田中先生はかわいいよね。
Lee: Tanaka-sensei is cute, huh?

ジョン: かわいいよな!
John: (She's) cute, huh!

アリス: 全然聞いていない・・・。
Alice: Not listening at all...

Polite past nouns and adjectives

The polite form for past nouns and adjectives is similar to the plain past conjugation rules.

Past state-of-being conjugation rules

1. For nouns/na-adjectives: Attach 「でした」 to the end

1. 学生でした
2. 暇でした
2. For i-adjectives/negative tenses: Add 「です」 to the plain past tense
1. かわいいい + かった+です = かわいかったです
2. かわいくない + かった+です = かわいくなかったです
3. 学生じゃない + かった+です = 学生じゃなかったです
4. 暇じゃない + かった+です = 暇じゃなかったです
5. 行きたい + かった+です → 行きたかったです
6. 行きたくない + かった+です → 行きたくなかったです
3. Exceptions: Add 「です」 to the plain past tense
1. いい → よい+かった+です = よかったです
2. かっこいい → かっこよい+かった+です = かっこよかったです

Summary of polite nouns/na-adjective tenses

Positive Negative

Non-Past 学生です - (is) student 学生じゃないです - is not student

Past 学生でした - was student 学生じゃなかったです - was not student

Summary of polite i-adjective tense

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Positive Negative

Non-Past 高いです - (is) tall 高くないです - is not tall

Past 高かったです - was tall 高くなかったです - was not tall

Note that 「でした」 only applies to nouns and na-adjectives. Japanese learners have a tendency to do the
same for i-adjectives, for example 「いいでした」 but it is incorrect!

How was your vacation?

1. メキシコ - Mexico
2. 旅行 【りょ・こう】 - trip
3. 家族 【か・ぞく】 - family
4. そんなに - that much
5. 遠い 【とお・い】(i-adj) - far
6. 所 【ところ】 - place
7. なかなか - fairly
8. しばらく - little while

山本: 田中先生、メキシコの旅行はどうでしたか。
Yamamoto: Tanaka-sensei, how was the trip of Mexico?

田中: とてもよかったですよ。色々面白かったです。山本先生も行きたかったですよね。
Tanaka: It was very good. Various (things) were interesting. Yamamoto-sensei also wanted to go, right?

山本: ええ。でも家族もいますから、そんなに遠い所に行くのはなかなか難しいです。
Yamamoto: Yes. But because (I have) family, it's fairly difficult to go to such a far place.

田中: 私はもう行きましたから、しばらくは行きませんよ。
Tanaka: I already went so (I) won't go for a while.

山本: ですから、田中先生と一緒に行くつもりは全然ありませんでしたよ。
Yamamoto: That's why (for reasons I already said), (I) didn't have intention of going together with (you) Tanaka-
sensei at all.

Verb sequences
In this section, we'll learn how to describe verbs that happen after, before, and at the same time as another verb.
To describe clauses that happen sequentially, we must first learn all the te-form conjugation rules.

Te-form conjugation rules

For the progressive tense, we only needed to learn the conjugation rules for plain verbs. However, nouns,
adjectives, and the negative tense can also be conjugated to the te-form.

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Te-form conjugation rules

1. Plain nouns and na-adjectives: Attach 「で」 to the noun or na-adjective.

1. 学生+で = 学生で
2. 暇+で = 暇で
3. きれい+で = きれいで
2. I-adjectives and negative tense: Replace the last 「い」 with 「くて」.
1. かわいい+くて = かわいくて
2. 学生じゃない+くて = 学生じゃなくて
3. 食べない+くて = 食べなくて
3. Exceptions: As usual 「いい」 conjugates from 「よい」
1. いい → よい+くて = よくて
2. かっこいい → かっこよい+くて = かっこよくて

Sequence of actions
The te-form we learned at the beginning of this chapter is very versatile and has many uses. In fact, the te-form
alone is used to express a sequence of actions that happen one after another. This will make your conversations
smoother as it allows you to connect multiple sentences instead of having many smaller, separate sentences that
are often too short.

1. 朝 【あさ】- morning
2. 起きる 【お・きる】(ru-verb) - to get up; to happen
3. そして - and then
4. 朝ご飯 【やさ・ご・はん】- breakfast

Morning, (I) woke up. Then (I) ate breakfast. Then, (I) went to school.
Morning, (I) woke up, ate breakfast, and went to school.


1. 優しい 【やさ・しい】(i-adj) - gentle

2. 頭 【あたま】 - head
3. 人気 【にん・き】 - popularity
4. どうする - what should one do (lit: how do)
5. 飲み会 【の・み・かい】 - drinking party

1. 彼女は、きれいで、優しくて、頭もいいから、皆に人気がある。
Because she is pretty, gentle, and smart, (she's) popular with everybody.
2. 宿題をしなくて、どうするんだよ?
(You) don't do homework and what are you going to do?
3. 飲み会は、今日じゃなくて、明日です。
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Drinking party is not today, it's tomorrow.

Before and after

You can use 「前」 and 「後」 to describe an action as happening before or after another action.

1. 前 【まえ】 - front; before

2. 後 【あと】 - after

1. 寝る 【ね・る】(ru-verb) - to sleep
2. 風呂 【ふ・ろ】 - bath
3. 入る 【はい・る】(u-verb) - to enter
4. ここ - here
5. 来る 【く・る】(exception) - to come
6. ちゃんと - properly
7. 連絡 【れん・らく】 - contact
8. する 【す・る】(exception) - to do
9. 昼 【ひる】 - afternoon
10. ご飯 【ご・はん】 - rice; meal
11. 昼ご飯 【ひる・ご・はん】 - lunch
12. 食べる 【た・べる】(ru-verb) - to eat
13. 宿題 【しゅく・だい】 - homework
14. 泳ぐ 【およ・ぐ】(u-verb) - to swim
15. 危ない 【あぶ・ない】(i-adj) - dangerous

1. 寝る前に、お風呂に入る。
Take a bath before going to sleep.
2. ここに来る前に、ちゃんと連絡したよ。
(I) properly contacted (you) before (I) came here.
3. 昼ご飯を食べた後、宿題をした。
Did homework after eating lunch.
4. 食べた後、泳ぐのは危ないです。
Swim after eating is dangerous.

Note: Be careful of the tense of the verb that comes before 「前」 and 「後」. 「前」 is non-past while
「後」 is always past tense.

Another way to describe an action is to use the te-form with 「から」. While similar to 「後」, 「~てから」
conveys a stronger and more immediate relation between the two events, often used for situations where the
previous action needs to be completed for the next action to start.

1. 晩ご飯 【ばん・ご・はん】 - dinner

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2. 習う 【なら・う】(u-verb) - to learn
3. いい (i-adj) - good

1. 晩ご飯を食べてから、宿題をするよ。
(I'll) do homework after (I) eat dinner.
2. カタカナは、ひらがなを習ってから習うのがいい。
As for Katakana, (it) is good to learn after learning Hiragana

Two simultaneous actions

You can express two actions that are taking place simultaneously by attaching 「ながら」 to the end of the stem
of the first verb. The tense is determined by the main verb at the end.

Using 「ながら」 for concurrent actions

1. Change the first verb to the stem and append 「ながら」

1. 食べる → 食べ+ながら → 食べながら
2. 遊ぶ → 遊び+ながら → 遊びながら


1. 話す 【はな・す】 - to speak
2. 行儀 【ぎょう・ぎ】 - manners
3. 悪い 【わる・い】(i-adj) - bad
4. 辞書 【じ・しょ】 - dictionary
5. 使う 【つか・う】(u-verb) - to use
6. 文章 【ぶん・しょう】 - sentence
7. 書く 【か・く】(u-verb) - to write
8. 通じる 【つう・じる】(ru-verb) - to go through, to get across

1. テレビを見ながら、宿題をする。
Do homework while watching TV.
2. 食べながら話すのは行儀が悪い。
(It's) bad manners to speak while eating.
3. 辞書を使いながら、日本語の文章を書いたけど、全然通じなかった。
Wrote Japanese text while using dictionary but (it) didn't get across at all.

Listing multiple verbs

Partial list of verbs
In the second chapter, we learned how to list multiple nouns using 「と」、「や」、and 「とか」. Using the
te-form, we now know how to list multiple verb clauses similar to 「と」. However, in order to create a partial
list of verbs similar to 「や」 and 「とか」, we must use another construction described below.

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Rule for creating partial list of verbs

Conjugate all the verbs to the past tense and attach 「り」 to each verb. Finally, add 「する」 at the
1. 食べる → 食べた+り → 食べたり
2. 飲む → 飲んだ+り → 飲んだり
3. 食べたり飲んだりする。
Do things like eating and drinking.

1. 寝る 【ね・る】(ru-verb) - to sleep
2. ビール - beer
3. スポーツ - sports
4. 散歩 【さん・ぽ】 - walk, stroll

1. 寝たり、本を読んだりするのが好き。
Like to do things like sleeping and reading book(s).
2. ビールを飲んだり、テレビを見たりしました。
(I) did things like drink beer and watch tv.
3. スポーツをしたり、散歩をしたりしますか。
Do (you) do things like sports and strolls?

Partial list of reasons

There may be more than one reason for something but 「から」 and 「ので」 can only connect two
sentences. Once again, we can use the te-form to list multiple verbs for one reason. However, if we want to
imply that the list is only several among a larger list of potential reasons, we can add 「し」 to the end of each
verb clause.

Note:: You must add 「だ」 for plain nouns and na-adjectives.

Because she is pretty, gentle, and smart, (she's) popular with everybody.
Because she is pretty, gentle, and smart (among other reasons), (she's) popular with everybody.


1. 暑い 【あつ・い】(i-adj) - hot (for climate/weather only)

2. 授業 【じゅ・ぎょう】 - class
3. プール - pool
4. 疲れる 【つか・れる】(ru-verb) - to get tired
5. 眠い 【ねむ・い】(i-adj) - sleepy

1. 今日は暑いし、授業もないから、プールに行こう。

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Because today is hot (among other reasons) and there's also no class so let's go to the pool.
2. 疲れたし、眠いし、今日はどこに行きたくないよ。
(I'm) tired and sleepy (among other reasons), (I) don't want to go anywhere today.

Just hanging out again

1. 音楽 【おん・がく】 - music
2. うそ - lie; no way
3. 同じ 【おな・じ】 - same

アリス: 昨日は、何をしていたの?
Alice: What were you doing yesterday?

ジョン: 宿題はなかったし、暇だったから、テレビを見たり、音楽を聞いたりしていたよ。アリスちゃ
John: There was no homework and (I) was free (among other reasons) so (I) watched TV and listened to music
(among other things). What about (you) Alice-chan.

アリス: 宿題はあったよ。それをしていたよ。
Alice: There was homework. (I) was doing that, you know.

ジョン: うそ!
John: No way!

アリス: どうするの?
Alice: What are you going to do?

ジョン: 大丈夫。授業を聞きながらするから。
John: (It's) ok. (I'll) do it while listening to class.

アリス: いつもと同じね。
Alice: Same as always, huh?

Phrasing verb clauses

Quoting a phrase
The most straight-forward reason to phrase a verb clause to quote somebody. A verb clause can be phrased by
adding 「と」 to the end of the clause. For verb clauses that end in an plain noun or na-adjective, we must add
「だ」. A direct quote would use the Japanese version of double-quotes: 「」 but you can also paraphrase.

1. 言う 【い・う】 (u-verb) - to say
2. 彼 【かれ】 - he
3. 彼女 【かの・じょ】 -she; girlfriend
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1. スミスさんは、「今日は、来ない」と言った。
Smith-san said "he/she is not coming today".
2. 彼は、いつも忙しいと言う。
He always says (he/she) is busy.
3. 彼女は、来週暇だと言った。
She said (he/she) is free next week.

授業 で 会話を
会話 を練習している
練習 している時
This grammar is also very useful for defining things and asking how one would say something.

1. 授業 【じゅ・ぎょう】 - class
2. 会話 【かい・わ】 - conversation
3. 練習 【れん・しゅう】 - practice
4. トイレ - toilet; bathroom
5. もちろん - of course
6. お手洗い 【お・て・あら・い】 - bathroom
7. 中 【なか】 - inside
8. 意味 【い・み】 - meaning
9. それでは - well then, in that case
10. 違い 【ちが・い】 - difference
11. 分かる 【わ・かる】(u-verb) - to understand
12. 大体 【だい・たい】 - mostly
13. コンテキスト - context
14. 例えば 【たと・えば】- for example
15. そんな - that kind of, such
16. バカ (na-adj, noun) - stupid
17. 普通 【ふ・つう】 - normal

スミス: ブラウンさん、トイレはどこですか?
Smith: Brown-san, where is the bathroom?

ブラウン: もちろんお手洗いの中にありますよ。
Brown: Of course, it's in the bathroom.

山本: ブラウンさん、日本語では、トイレはお手洗いと同じ意味ですよ。
Yamamoto: Brown-san, in Japanese, toilet has the same meaning as bathroom.

ブラウン: それでは、「toilet」は日本語でなんと言いますか?
Brown: Then, what do you say in Japanese for "toilet"?

山本: 「toilet」も「トイレ」と言いますよ。
Yamamoto: (You) also say 「トイレ」 for "toilet".

ブラウン: 違いはどう分かります?
Brown: How do (you) understand the difference?

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山本: 大体、コンテキストで分かりますよ。
Yamamoto: In most cases, (you) understand by context.

ブラウン: 例えば、「sit on the bathroom」は、日本語でどう言いますか?

Brown: For example, do would (you) say "sit on the bathroom" in Japanese?

スミス: そんなバカなことは、普通に言わないよ。
Smith: Normally, (you) don't say such a stupid thing.

Other verbs for phrasing thoughts

There are many other verbs that can be used with a phrased verb clause as you can see in the following

1. 大学 【だい・がく】 - college, university

2. 食堂 【しょく・どう】 - cafeteria
3. おいしい (i-adj) - tasty
4. 思う 【おも・う】(u-verb) - to think
5. 学校 【がっ・こう】 - school
6. ~まで (particle) - until ~
7. この - this
8. 電車 【でん・しゃ】 - train
9. 早い 【はや・い】(i-adj) - early, fast
10. 遅れる 【おく・れる】(ru-verb) - to be late
11. メール - email
12. 送る 【おく・る】(u-verb) - to send
13. タバコ - cigarette
14. 吸う 【す・う】 - to breathe in; to smoke
15. 約束 【やく・そく】 - promise
16. 留学 【りゅう・がく】 - study abroad
17. 決める 【き・める】(ru-verb) - to decide

1. 大学の食堂はおいしいと思いますか?
Do (you) think the college cafeteria is tasty?
2. 学校までこの電車が一番早いと聞いたけど、全然早くない。
(I) heard that this train is the fasted to school but (it's) not fast at all.
3. 明日は遅れるとメールで送ったよ!
(I) sent by mail that I'm going to be late tomorrow!
4. タバコは吸わないと約束した。
Promised not to smoke cigarettes.
5. 来年、日本に留学しに行くと決めた。
Decided to go do study abroad to Japan next year.

日本語 でメールを書
でメールを書 くスミス
In addition, this grammar also gives us another way to do introductions.
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1. 真理子 【ま・り・こ】- Mariko (female first name)

2. 掲示板 【けい・じ・ばん】 - bulletin board, online forum
3. 英語 【えい・ご】 - English
4. 練習 【れん・しゅう】 - practice
5. 相手 【あい・て】 - partner; other party
6. 探す 【さが・す】(u-verb) - to find
7. たくさん - a lot
8. 一緒 【いっ・しょ】 - together





Nice to meet you. I'm Alice Smith. It was written in the forum that you are looking for a partner to practice
English so I'm sending you this email. I'm currently studying Japanese at an American university and thinking that I
want to practice Japanese a lot. How about studying together?

Smith Alice

Short, casual version of 「 という」

という 」
The phrase 「という」 is used so often and in so many ways that there is a shortened casual version: 「って」.

遊 んで勉強
んで 勉強になる
勉強 になる?
になる ?
1. 遊ぶ 【あそ・ぶ】(u-verb) - to play
2. 遅い 【おそ・い】(i-adj) - late
3. よっぽど - to a greater degree
4. 勉強になる - to get studying done; to become informed (lit: become study)
5. たまに - rarely
6. しっかり - properly
7. 教科書 【きょう・か・しょ】 - textbook
8. 俺 【おれ】- me, myself (slang, masculine)
9. 違う 【ちが・う】 - to differ, to be different

ジョン: アリスちゃんは遅いね。
John: Alice-chan is late, huh?

リー: 勉強で忙しいから、今日は来ないって。
Lee: (She's) busy with study so (she) said (she's) not coming today.

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ジョン: いつも勉強してどうするんだよ。皆で遊びながら日本語を練習するのがよっぽど勉強になると
John: What are (you) going to do, studying all the time? Despite the fact that (It's) said that you'll get a lot more
studying by practicing Japanese while playing with everybody.

リー: そうだね。でも、たまには、しっかり教科書を使って勉強するのもいいと思うよ。
Lee: I guess so. But, I think it's good to use textbook and study properly once in a while.

ジョン: って、俺は全然勉強していないと言いたいの?
John: By saying that, you want to say (I) don't study at all?

リー: 違うよ!
Lee: That's not it!

"Have you ever done [X]?", you can ask a question of this nature quite literally by using the noun for a generic
event: 「こと」(事) and 「ある」.

1. 日本に行ったことはある?
Have you ever gone to Japan? (lit: Is there an event (where you) went to Japan?)
2. カラオケで歌を歌ったことはない。
(I) have never sung song at Karaoke. (lit: There is no event (where I) sang song at Karaoke.)
3. お好み焼きは、食べたことがなかったけど、日本に行った時にやっと食べました。
(I) had never eaten okonomiyaki but (I) finally ate (it) when (I) went to Japan.
(lit: There was no event (where I) ate okonomiyaki but finally ate when went to Japan.)

日本 に 行 ったことはありますか?
ったことはありますか ?






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Thank you for the email. I wrote that I wanted to practice English but I don't have much self-confidence yet so I
will write the reply in Japanese. I live in a place called Kawaguchi-shi north of Tokyo. Have you ever gone to
Tokyo? There are a lot of people and it's a very busy place. And then, there are lots of tasty restaurants. Have
you ever eaten things like Okonomiyaki and Monjayaki? Monjayaki is famous in Tokyo.

As for Smith-san, are you living in America? As for me, I have net yet been to America but I'm thinking I want
to go sight-seeing to places like New York an LA. That's why I'm studying English but it's pretty difficult and
there's still a lot of things I don't understand.

Let's work hard together and study!


Transitive and Intransitive

A transitive verb is one that requires an agent to complete the verb while an intransitive verb is complete in
itself and doesn't require a direct object. In Japanese, it is important to distinguish between these two types of
verbs because intransitive verbs cannot take a direct object (the 「を」 particle). Below is a sample list of
common transitive and intransitive verbs and examples of how the particles change depending on which type of
verb is used.

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Transitive Intransitive

始める 【は・じめる】(ru-
to start 始まる 【は・じまる】(u-verb) to begin

終える 【お・える】(ru-verb) to put to an end 終わる 【お・わる】(u-verb) to come to an end

落とす 【お・とす】(u-verb) to drop 落ちる 【お・ちる】(ru-verb) to fall

出す 【だ・す】(u-verb) to take out 出る 【で・る】(ru-verb) to come out; to leave

入れる 【い・れる】(ru-verb) to insert 入る 【はい・る】(u-verb) to enter

開ける 【あ・ける】(ru-verb) to open 開く 【あ・く】(u-verb) to be opened

閉める 【し・める】 to close 閉まる 【し・まる】(u-verb) to be closed

つける (ru-verb) to attach つく (u-verb) to be attached

消す 【け・す】(u-verb) to erase 消える 【き・える】(ru-verb) to disappear

抜く 【ぬ・く】(u-verb) to extract 抜ける 【ぬ・ける】(ru-verb) to be extracted

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1. 知らない人と会話を始める。
Start conversation with a person (you) don't know.
2. 映画がすぐ始まる。
Movie begins soon.
3. やっと宿題を終えた。
Finally finished homework.
4. やっと宿題が終わった。
Homework finally ended.

What happened?

田中: 何があったんですか?
Tanaka: What happened? (lit: What is it that existed?)

鈴木: このコップが落ちました。
Suzuki: This cup fell.

田中: 鈴木さんが落としたんじゃないですか?
Tanaka: It isn't that Suzuki-san (you) dropped it?

鈴木: いいえ、私は何もしませんでしたよ。
Suzuki: No, I didn't do anything, you know.

田中: じゃ、このコップは、自分で落ちたんですか?
Tanaka: Then, is it that this cup fell by itself?

鈴木: 私がここに来る前にもう落ちていましたから、分かりません。
Suzuki: It was already fallen before I came here so (I) don't know.

田中: いいえ、鈴木さんがそのコップを落としているのを見ましたよ。
Tanaka: No, (I) saw Suzuki-san (you) dropping that cup, you know.

Chapter summary and practice

In this chapter, we learned the progressive and past tense for both positive and negative verbs. We also learned
the te-form for the progressive tense as well a number of other uses.

Here is a list of examples using the various conjugations we learned in this chapter.

Te-form Conjugation Examples

Plain Te-form Negative Te-form
Noun/na-adjective 好き 好きで 好きじゃなくて
I-adjective 大きい 大きくて 大きくなくて
Exception いい よくて* よくなくて*

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Ru-verb 食べる 食べて 食べなくて
す -ending 話す 話して 話さなくて
く -ending 書く 書いて 書かなくて
ぐ -ending 泳ぐ 泳いで 泳がなくて
む -ending 飲む 飲んで 飲まなくて
ぶ -ending 遊ぶ 遊んで 遊ばなくて
ぬ -ending 死ぬ 死んで 死ななくて
る -ending (u-verb) 切る 切って 切らなくて
う -ending 買う 買って 買わなくて
つ -ending 持つ 持って 持たなくて
Exception 行く 行って* 行かなくて
Exception する して* しなくて*
Exception くる(来る) きて* こなくて*

* = exceptions

Past Conjugation Examples

Plain Past Negative Past Polite Past Polite Negative Past
好き 好きだった 好きじゃなかった 好きでした 好きじゃなかったです
I-adjective 大きい 大きかった 大きくなかった 大きかったです 大きくなかったです
Exception いい よかった* よくなかった* よかったです* よくなかったです*
Ru-verb 食べる 食べた 食べなかった 食べました 食べませんでした
す -ending 話す 話した 話さなかった 話しました 話しませんでした
く-ending 書く 書いた 書かなかった 書きました 書きませんでした
ぐ -ending 泳ぐ 泳いだ 泳がなかった 泳ぎました 泳ぎませんでした
む -ending 飲む 飲んだ 飲まなかった 飲みました 飲みませんでした
ぶ -ending 遊ぶ 遊んだ 遊ばなかった 遊びました 遊びませんでした
ぬ -ending 死ぬ 死んだ 死ななかった 死にました 死にませんでした
る -ending (u-
切る 切った 切らなかった 切りました 切りませんでした
う -ending 買う 買った 買わなかった 買いました 買いませんでした
つ -ending 持つ 持った 持たなかった 持ちました 持ちませんでした
Exception 行く 行った* 行かなかった 行きました 行きませんでした
Exception する した* しなかった* しました* しませんでした*
Exception きた* こなかった* きました* き ませんでした*
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* = exceptions

Conjugation practice
We learned many conjugation rules in this chapter which you'll need to practice until they are almost instinctive
both for speaking and listening. I recommend using flash cards to practice conjugation rules using a mix of every
type of verb, adjective, and nouns.

Here are some suggestions and examples of how you might want to make your own cards. The important thing is
to focus your cards on areas you are weak at and to make sure you are comfortable with conjugating any word
in any tense at a moment's notice.

Front side Back side

買 う 【 かう】
かう 】 - to buy 買 う 【 かう】
かう 】 - to buy
past 買った
negative 買わない
negative-past 買わなかった
Front side Back side
買 う 【 かう】
かう 】 - to buy 買 う 【 かう】
かう 】 - to buy
polite 買います
polite past 買いました
polite negative 買いません
polite negative-past 買いませんでした
Front side Back side
買 う 【 かう】
かう 】 - to buy 買 う 【 かう】
かう 】 - to buy
buying 買っている
was buying 買っていた
not buying 買っていない
wasn't buying 買っていなかった
Front side Back side
買 う 【 かう】
かう 】 - to buy 買 う 【 かう】
かう 】 - to buy
want to buy 買いたい
wanted to buy 買いたかった
not want to buy 買いたくない
didn't want to buy 買いたくなかった

To get a good representation, you should use at least these common verbs, nouns, and adjectives.

1. 学生 【がく・せい】 - student
2. 先生 【せん・せい】 - teacher
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3. 元気 【げん・き】(na-adj) - healthy; lively
4. 好き 【す・き】(na-adj) - likable
5. 嫌い 【きらい】(na-adj) - distasteful
6. きれい (na-adj) - clean; pretty
7. 大きい 【おお・きい】(i-adj) - big
8. 小さい 【ちい・さい】(i-adj) - small
9. いい (i-adj) - good
10. かっこいい (i-adj) - cool; handsome
11. 見る 【み・る】(ru-verb) - to see
12. 食べる 【たべ・る】(ru-verb) - to eat
13. 着る 【き・る】(ru-verb) - to wear
14. 切る 【き・る】(u-verb) - to cut
15. いる (ru-verb) - to exist (animate)
16. ある (u-verb) - to exist (inanimate)
17. 話す 【はな・す】(u-verb) - to talk
18. 書く 【か・く】(u-verb) - to write
19. 行く 【い・く】(u-verb) - to go
20. 泳ぐ 【およ・ぐ】(u-verb) - to swim
21. 飲む 【の・む】(u-verb) - to drink
22. 遊ぶ 【あそ・ぶ】(u-verb) - to play
23. 死ぬ 【し・ぬ】(u-verb) - to die
24. 使う 【つか・う】(u-verb) - to use
25. 来る 【く・る】(exception) - to come
26. する (exception) - to do

Telling stories
Conversation is often made up of narratives whether it's about events happening around us or what people think
and feel. In this chapter, we've learned many grammatical structures that allow us to talk about what's happening
and what people are thinking and saying.

A good way to practice what you learned in this chapter is to talk or write about anything on your mind whether
it's something interesting that happened recently, somebody you've recently met, or what your plans are for the
future. Below is a very small list of things you can write and talk about.

1. こと - matter; event
2. 自分 【じ・ぶん】 - oneself
3. 思う 【おも・う】 (u-verb) - to think
4. 感じる 【かん・じる】 (ru-verb) - to feel
5. 最近 【さい・きん】 - recent; lately
6. 起きる 【お・きる】 (ru-verb) - to occur; to awake
7. 面白い 【おも・しろ・い】 (i-adj) - interesting
8. 日本語 【に・ほん・ご】 - Japanese (language)
9. 勉強 【べん・きょう】 - study
10. 理由 【り・ゆう】 - reason
11. 将来 【しょう・らい】 - future
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12. する (exception) - to do

1. 自分が思っていることや感じたこと。
Thing(s) oneself is thinking and feeling lately (among other things).
2. 最近起きた面白いこと。
Interesting thing(s) that happened recently.
3. 日本語を勉強したいと思った理由。
Reason why (you) thought (you) want to study Japanese.
4. 将来にしたいこと。
Thing(s) (you) want to do in the future.

Numbers and amounts

We've been using numbers here and there but we've yet to comprehensively cover how to count or tell the date
and time. We will do that here in addition to learning how to express different amounts and make comparisons.

The Numeric System

Numbers starting from 100
We already learned all the numbers up to 99 in the first chapter. We will now learn the numbers 100 up to 10
quadrillion. If you need a quick review, here are the first 10 numbers.

Numerals 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Kanji 一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九 十
Reading いち に さん し/よん
よん ご ろく しち/なな
なな はち きゅう じゅう

Here are the additional units for numbers starting from 100.

Numerals 100 1,000 10,000 10^8 10^12

Kanji 百 千 一万 一億 一兆
Reading ひゃく せん いちまん いちおく いっちょう

Note: Units larger than 「千」 require another preceding number and cannot be used by themselves. For
example, 「万」 does not mean 10,000, you need to add a one: 「一万」.

Because the Japanese numeral system is based on units of four not three, the same units get repeated once you
get past 10,000 until you get to 100,000,000. In other words, numbers are organized as 1,0000, 1,0000,0000,
10^12, 10^16 and so on.

You'll need to pay careful attention to reading changes for some sound combinations. The chart below outlines
the numbers that are pronounced slightly differently.

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Numerals Kanji Reading
300 三百 さんびゃく
600 六百 ろっぴゃく
800 八百 はっぴゃく
3000 三千 さんぜん
8000 八千 はっせん
10^12 一兆 いっちょう

Large numbers are rarely written in all Kanji as you can imagine something like 「二百三十万九千四百三十
一」 would be difficult to read. You will usually see a combination of numbers and Kanji or just numerals

1. 1,234 【せん・に・ひゃく・さん・じゅう・よん】 - 1,234

2. 5万3千 【ご・まん・さん・ぜん】 - 53,000

Other numbers
Several ways to say zero and other types of numbers are listed below. 「まる」 meaning "circle" is similar to
how we use "O" (the letter) in things like phone numbers, room numbers, and addresses.

1. 零 【れい】 - zero
2. ゼロ - zero
3. まる - circle; zero
4. ~号室 【~ごう・しつ】 - suffix for room numbers
5. マイナスX - negative X
6. 点 【てん】 - period; dot; decimal point
7. X.Y 「X・てん・Y」 - X.Y
8. X分のY - Y/X (Y of X parts)


1. 203号室 【に・まる・さん・ごう・しつ】 - room 203

2. 23.5 【に・じゅう・さん・てん・ご】 - twenty three point five
3. 四分の一 【よん・ぶん・の・いち】 - fourth (1/4)
4. マイナス5 - negative five

It's so confusing!

John: Oh already! (I) don't understand Japanese numbers at all!

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語の数字に変えるよ。例えば、百万は、二足す四で六だから、1 millionになる。
Alice: It's certainly difficult, isn't it? Because in Japanese (you) count by units of four, I just add four, divide by
three, and change (it) into (the) English number. For example, ひゃくまん is 2 plus 4 and (it's) six so it becomes
1 million.

John: No, (I) don't understand at all! Lee-kun, it isn't difficult?

Lee: Korean is the same as Japanese so (it's) easy, you know.

John: That's cheating, isn't it?

Counting and counters

Unfortunately, counting discrete items isn't as straight-forward as just using the numbers we just learned in the last
section. We must use various counters depending on the type of object we're counting. We already learned the
counter for age in the very first chapter. Below are a list of more common counters and when to use them.

Counter When to Use

人 To count number of people
本 To count long, cylindrical objects such as bottles or chopsticks
枚 To count thin objects such as paper or shirts
冊 To count bound objects usually books
匹 To count small animals like cats or dogs
歳/才 To count the age of a living creatures such as people or animals
個 To count small (often round) objects
回 To count number of times
ヶ所(箇所) To count number of locations

As usual, the reading may change depending on what makes pronunciation easier as well as a couple of
exceptions for 「人」. Fortunately, counters are always attached to the end of the number, so we need only
worry about the readings for the first 10 numbers. The higher digits are read the same as any other number.
Below, you can see a list of readings for all these counters. The variations are indicated in bold.

Counting with variations

ヶ 所(箇
人 本 枚 冊 匹 歳/才 個 回
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何 なんにん なんぼん なんまい なんさつ なんびき なんこ なんかい なんかしょ

1 ひとり いっぽん いちまい いっさつ いっぴき いっこ いっかい いっかしょ

2 ふたり にほん にまい にさつ にひき にさい にこ にかい にかしょ
3 さんにん さんぼん さんまい さんさつ さんびき さんさい さんこ さんかい さんかしょ
4 よにん よんほん よんまい よんさつ よんひき よんこ よんかい よんかしょ

5 ごにん ごほん ごまい ごさつ ごひき ごさい ごこ ごかい ごかしょ
6 ろくにん ろっぽん ろくまい ろくさつ ろっぴき ろくさい ろっこ ろっかい ろっかしょ
7 しちにん ななほん ななまい ななさつ ななひき ななこ ななかい ななかしょ

8 はちにん はちほん はちまい はっさつ はっぴき はっこ はちかい はっかしょ

きゅうに きゅうほ きゅうま きゅうさ
9 きゅうさつ きゅうひき きゅうこ きゅうかい きゅうかしょ
ん ん い い
じゅっぽ じゅっさ
10 じゅうにん じゅうまい じゅっさつ じゅっぴき じゅっこ じゅっかい じゅっかしょ
ん い
にじゅうに にじゅっ にじゅうま にじゅっさ にじゅっ にじゅっ にじゅっか にじゅっか
20 はたち
ん ぽん い つ ぴき こ い しょ

There is also a generic counter for when none of the more specific counter applies. This counter goes up to ten

Generic Counter
Numeral How many 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Kanji 幾つ 一つ 二つ 三つ 四つ 五つ 六つ 七つ 八つ 九つ 十
Reading いくつ ひとつ ふたつ みっつ よっつ いつつ むっつ ななつ やっつ ここのつ とお

You may encounter many other types of counters in your studies. In fact, 「一番」, which we have already
seen used as a superlative, is yet another counter meaning #1 where #2 is 「二番」, #3 is 「三番」 and so

Other useful counting vocab

There are some additional vocabulary that are useful for counting in certain ways.

1. ~目 【~め】 - attaches to a counter to indicate order

2. ~ずつ 【~ずつ】 - attaches to a counter to indicate each
3. ~おきに - attaches to a counter to indicate repeated intervals


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1. 紙、二枚ずつをホッチキスで留める。
Staple 2 sheets of paper each.
2. 店に入った三番目の人は、誰ですか。
Who is the 3rd person that entered the store?
3. 一日おきに運動をしています。
Exercising every other day (spaced 1 day in between).

Beer is fattening

Tanaka: Sorry I'm late.

Yamamoto: It's ok.

Tanaka: What are (you) drinking?

Yamamoto: Draft beer.

Tanaka: Didn't (you) say (you) would not drink beer anymore?

Yamamoto: (I) think one bottle every once in a while is fine.

Tanaka: As for beer, (you) get fat soon. Which number bottle is this?

Yamamoto: Isn't two bottles ok every once in a while as well?

Tanaka: (I) think it's not ok.

Dates and Time

Dates are similar to using counters, one each for year, month, and day.

~年 【~ねん】 - year counter

~月 【~がつ】 - month counter
~日 【~にち】 - day counter

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The year counter is pretty straight-forward, as there are no reading variations. However, there are variations for
months and a whole bunch of exceptions for days of the month. The two lists below show all the months in a year
and the days of the month. Special readings or variations are appropriately marked.

Months of the year

Month Kanji Reading
What month 何月 なん・がつ
January 一月 いち・がつ
February 二月 に・がつ
March 三月 さん・がつ
April 四月 し・がつ
May 五月 ご・がつ
June 六月 ろく・がつ
July 七月 しち・がつ
August 八月 はち・がつ
September 九月 く・がつ
October 十月 じゅう・がつ
November 十一月 じゅう・いち・がつ
December 十二月 じゅう・に・がつ
Days of the month
Day Kanji Reading
What day 何日 なん・にち
1st 一日 ついたち
2nd 二日 ふつ・か
3rd 三日 みっ・か
4th 四日 よっ・か
5th 五日 いつ・か
6th 六日 むい・か
7th 七日 なの・か
8th 八日 よう・か
9th 九日 ここの・か
10th 十日 とお・か
11th 十一日 じゅう・いち・にち
12th 十二日 じゅう・に・にち
13th 十三日 じゅう・さん・にち
14th 十四日 じゅう・よっ・か

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15th 十五日 じゅう・ご・にち
16th 十六日 じゅう・ろく・にち
17th 十七日 じゅう・しち・にち
18th 十八日 じゅう・はち・にち
19th 十九日 じゅう・く・にち
20th 二十日 はつ・か
21th 二十一日 に・じゅう・いち・にち
22th 二十二日 に・じゅう・に・にち
23th 二十三日 に・じゅう・さん・にち
24th 二十四日 に・じゅう・よっ・か
25th 二十五日 に・じゅう・ご・にち
26th 二十六日 に・じゅう・ろく・にち
27th 二十七日 に・じゅう・しち・にち
28th 二十八日 に・じゅう・はち・にち
29th 二十九日 に・じゅう・く・にち
30th 三十日 さん・じゅう・にち
31th 三十一日 さん・じゅう・いち・にち

For completeness, here are all the days in the week.

1. 何曜日 【なん・よう・び】 - What day of week

2. 月曜日 【げつ・よう・び】 - Monday
3. 火曜日 【か・よう・び】 - Tuesday
4. 水曜日 【すい・よう・び】 - Wednesday
5. 木曜日 【もく・よう・び】 - Thursday
6. 金曜日 【きん・よう・び】 - Friday
7. 土曜日 【ど・よう・び】 - Saturday
8. 日曜日 【にち・よう・び】 - Sunday

Date formats
The date format employed in Japan is the same international date format used in many other parts of the word:
year, month, day in that order. Once again, it is common to use numerals to make it easier to read.

You may encounter another calendar native to Japan based on the reign of each emperor when filling out public
documents. Basically, the year starts over from 1 (called 元年【がん・ねん】) at the beginning of each new
reign along with the name of the era. For example, the 「平成」 era began in 1989, therefore, the year 2009
would be 平成21年. If you live in Japan, it would be beneficial to remember the current year and your
birthday in the Japanese calendar. Below are the eras going back about 100 years. You can also search online
for convenient converters or charts with each year.

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1. 平成 【へい・せい】 - Heisei era (1989/1/8-)
2. 昭和 【しょう・わ】 - Showa era (1926/12/25-1989/1/7)
3. 大正 【たい・しょう】 - Taishou era (1912/7/30 - 1926/12/25)
4. 元年 【がん・ねん】 - The first year of an era until the end of that year (12/31)

1. 2009年12月24日【に・せん・きゅう・ねん・じゅう・に・がつ・に・じゅう・よっ・か】
2. 2010年4月1日(木曜日) 【に・せん・じゅう・ねん・し・がつ・ついたち(もく・よう・び)】
Thursday December 10, April 1st
3. 昭和56年11月30日【しょうわ・ご・じゅう・ろく・ねん・じゅう・いち・がつ・さん・じゅう・にち】
4. 平成元年9月9日【へい・せい・がん・ねん・く・がつ・ここのか】

We already covered how to tell time in a previous chapter so here's a brief review.

1. ~時 【~じ】 - hour counter

2. ~分 【~ふん】 - minute counter
3. 午前 【ご・ぜん】 - AM
4. 午後 【ご・ご】 - PM
5. 半 【はん】 - half

Hour reading variations

Hour 4 o'clock 7 o'clock 9 o'clock
Kanji 四時 七時 九時
Reading よ・じ しち・じ く・じ
Minute reading variations
Minutes How many minutes 1 min 3 min 4 min 6 min 8 min 10 min
Kanji 何分 一分 三分 四分 六分 八分 十分
Reading なん・ぷん いっ・ぷん さん・ぷん よん・ぷん ろっ・ぷん はっ・ぷん じゅっ・ぷん

1. 1時1分 【いち・じ・いっ・ぷん】 - 1:01
2. 午後4時44分 【ご・ご・よ・じ・よん・じゅう・よん・ぷん】 - 4:44 PM
3. 午前10時半 【ご・ぜん・じゅう・じ・はん】 - 10:30 AM

Time spans

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We need to learn a couple more counters to express a span of time versus a fixed date or time. This counter is
attached to a date or time to express a length of that time.

~間 【~かん】 - span of time

~週間 【~しゅう・かん】 - a span of week(s)
~ヶ月 【か・げつ】 - a span of month(s)

While these counters are pretty straight-forward, there are a number of reading variations. In particular, while
【一日】 usually means the first of the month and read as 「ついたち」, it can also mean a span of one day
when read as 「いちにち」.

一日 【ついたち】 - 1st of the month

一日 【いち・にち】 - span of one day
一週間 【いっ・しゅう・かん】 - span of one week
一ヶ月 【いっ・か・げつ】 - span of one month
十ヶ月 【じゅっ・か・げつ】 - span of ten months

1. 二日間 【ふつ・か・かん】 - span of two days
2. 三週間 【さん・しゅう・かん】 - span of three weeks
3. 二ヶ月 【に・か・げつ】- span of two months

Various amounts
Now that we learned how to use numbers and express date and time, it would be a good time to review how to
express various amounts. Most amounts can be expressed with just vocabulary, many of which we've already
seen. Below is a list of just some of the vocabulary used to describe various amounts.

1. 少し - a little
2. ちょっと - a little (casual)
3. たくさん - a lot
4. 少ない 【すく・ない】 (i-adj) - few
5. 多い 【おお・い】 (i-adj) - many
6. まだ - not yet
7. もう - already; more
8. もう少し 【もう・すこ・し】 - a little more
9. もっと - a lot more
10. ずっと - a long time
11. こんなに - this much
12. そんなに - that much
13. あんなに - that much (over there)
14. ~くらい/~ぐらい - about ~

Expectation of more
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There are two particles that are used to express the word "only": 「だけ」 and 「しか」. Just like every other
particle, these particles attach to the end of the word that they apply to. The primary difference with 「しか」 is
that it must be used with the negative and emphasizes the lack of something.

1. 肉 【にく】 - meat
2. 今夜 【こん・や】 - tonight

1. 肉だけ食べる。
Eat only meat.
2. 肉しか食べない。
Not eat anything but meat.
3. 今夜は、二人だけで行きましょう。
Let's go just the two of us tonight. (lit: As for tonight, let's go by way of only two people.)
4. 500円しか持っていません。
(I) have only 500 yen.

Too much of something

An excess of something is expressed with the ru-verb 「過ぎる」(す・ぎる) which means, "to pass" or "to
exceed". There are several rules for attaching this verb to adjectives and other verbs. As 「すぎる」 is a regular
ru-verb, all subsequent conjugations are the same as any other ru-verb.

Using 「すぎる」 to indicate it's too much

Verbs: Change the verb to the stem and attach 「すぎる」

1. 食べる+すぎる = 食べすぎる
2. 太る → 太り+すぎる = 太りすぎる
Na-adjectives: Attach 「すぎる」
1. 静か+すぎる = 静かすぎる
2. きれい+すぎる = きれいすぎる
I-adjectives: Remove the last 「い」 and attach 「すぎる」
As always, 「いい」 conjugates from 「よい」
1. 大きい+すぎる = 大きすぎる
2. 高い+すぎる = 高すぎる
3. いい → よい+すぎる = よすぎる
Negative verbs and adjectives: Replace the last 「い」 from 「ない」 with 「さ」 and then attach
1. 食べない → 食べなさ+すぎる = 食べなさすぎる
2. 面白くない → 面白くなさ+すぎる = 面白くなさすぎる

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1. 昨日 【き・のう】 - yesterday
2. 飲む 【の・む】(u-verb) - to drink
3. 二日酔い 【ふつ・か・よい】 - hangover
4. 頭 【あたま】 - head
5. 痛い 【いた・い】(i-adj) - painful

1. 昨日は飲みすぎて、二日酔いで頭が痛いです。
(I) drank too much yesterday and (my) head hurts with hangover.
2. 量が多すぎるから、もっと小さいサイズを頼んだ。
The amount is too much so (I) ordered a much smaller size.
3. ダイエットはいいけど、食べなさすぎているよ。
Diet is fine but (you're) not eating too much (too much of not eating).

On a diet

Alice: (I'm) hungry. (lit: stomach has emptied)

John: Why? It's still 2 o'clock, you know.

Alice: (I) didn't eat anything but breakfast today.

John: Why didn't (you) eat lunch?

Alice: Last night, (I) ate too much dinner so (I'm) on a diet.

John: Normally, (you) don't say you're on a diet after you ate a lot yesterday.

Alice: That's why I just started.

John: (You) intend to be on a diet until when?

Alice: (It's) no good already. (I) will quit from tomorrow.

John: (I've) never heard of a one day only diet.

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Alice: (I) wonder if that's why (I) don't lose weight?

John: Obviously.

In order to make a comparison, you have to define either side of the comparison using 「方」(ほう) and/or
「より」. 「方」 defines the direction the comparison is leaning toward while 「より」 defines the side it's
leaning away from. The important thing to remember is that 「方」 is a noun while 「より」 is a particle.
Another particle often used in making comparisons is 「ほど」, which describes the extent of something.

1. 方 【ほう】 - direction; side
2. ~より (particle) - rather than ~
3. ~ほど (particle) - extent of ~
4. どちら - which way
5. 犬 【いぬ】 - dog
6. 猫 【ねこ】 - cat

1. 犬と猫、どちらの方が好き?
Which do (you) like more, dog or cat? (lit: Dog and cat, which side is the one (you like?)
2. 犬の方が猫より好き。
Like dog more than cat. (lit: Like the side of dog rather than cat.)
3. 犬の方が猫より嫌い。
Hate dog more than cat. (lit: Hate the side of dog rather than cat.)
4. 猫は、犬ほど好きじゃない。
Don't like cat as much as dog. (lit: Don't like cat to extent of dog.)

Chapter summary and practice

In this chapter, we learned how to work with numbers and amounts. Numbers, dates, and counting is a fairly
tricky thing to master with all the various readings and exceptions so it's something that will require quite a bit of
practice to master.

Here is a list of simple questions you can ask or answer to practice various dates and numbers.

1. 今日の日付は何ですか?
What is today's date?
2. 明日は何月何日ですか。
What month, what day is tomorrow?
3. 誕生日はいつですか。
When is (your) birthday?
4. おいくつですか。
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How old (are you)?
5. 今、何時ですか。
What time is it now?
6. 店は、何時から何時まで開いていますか。
From what time to what time is (the) store open?
7. ご家族は何人ですか。
As for (your) family, how many people?

Shopping and other activities involving amounts

All the work we did in this chapter to learn how to use numbers, count, and compare amounts will come in handy
when dealing with money in Japan. If you are planning to visit Japan, you'll be able to get a lot of practice for this
chapter by shopping, dining, and generally getting around.

Yen, the Japanese currency, is roughly equivalent to a penny so 100 yen is around one US dollar. The counter
for yen (円) is actually pronounced 「えん」 ("en").

1. 電子【でん・し】 - electronic
2. 辞書【じ・しょ】 - dictionary
3. いくら - how much?
4. 円【えん】 - Japanese currency counter

Alice: How much is this electronic dictionary?

店員: 3万円です。
Store clerk: (It's) 30,000 yen.

アリス: ちょっと高すぎますね。もう少し安いのは、ありますか?
Alice: (It's a) little too expensive, isn't it? Is there (one) that is a little more cheap?

店員: こちらのモデルは、2万5千円です。
Store clerk: This model is 25,000 yen.

アリス: これとどう違いますか?
Alice: How is (it) different with this?

店員: 中国語を勉強していますか?それは、中国語も入っていますから、もう少し高いです。
Store clerk: (Are you) studying Chinese? That also has Chinese (in it) so (it's a) little more expensive.

アリス: 日本語を勉強するためには、どちらの方がいいと思いますか?
Alice: For the purpose of studying Japanese, which (do you) think is better?

店員: そうですね。こちらのモデルは、英語しかありませんが、そのモデルより例文や単語数が多
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Store clerk: Let's see. This model has only English but (there's) more example sentences and words so (I) think
this model is better.

アリス: そうですか。じゃ、これにします。
Alice: Is that so? Then (I) will go with this one.













Potential and uncertainty

Culturally, Japanese people tend to only be assertive when they're absolutely sure of something. In order to
accurately convey how sure one is of something, Japanese has many ways to express various degrees of
certainty. In this chapter, we will learn how to express how sure we are by talking about things that are possible,
probable, and conditional.

Expressing potential
Potential Form
The potential form describes the feasibility of the action. The rules for changing a verb into the potential form is
given below. All verbs in the potential form become ru-verb.

Rules for creating potential form

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For ru-verbs: Replace the 「る」 with 「られる」
1. 食べる+られる = 食べられる
2. 見る+られる = 見られる
For u-verbs: Replace the u-vowel sound with the e-vowel equivalent and attach 「る」.
1. 飲む+め+る = 飲める
2. 持つ+て+る = 持てる
1. する → 出来る【で・き・る】
2. くる → こられる

You can also drop the 「ら」 from 「られる」 for ru-verbs. For example, 「食べる」 becomes 「食べれ
る」 instead of 「食べられる」. However, you should start practicing with the full conjugation first as the
shorter form is more casual.

Various degrees of certainty

There are a number of sentence endings that indicate various degrees of certainty to a statement.

Indicating a fair amount of certainty

You will often hear 「でしょう」 at the very end of the sentence during, for instance, a weather forecast. It is
used to express a fair amount of certainty when used with a flat intonation.

In casual situations, it is also used to seek agreement similar to 「ね」 when expressed with a rising intonation.
However, while 「ね」 is used for what the speaker believes to be generally agreeable, 「でしょう」 can be
more assertive and opinionated.

「だろう」 is another more masculine version of the casual usage of 「でしょう」. Both 「でしょう」 and
「だろう」 are attached at the end of sentence. Typically, the polite form is not used with these sentence
endings (excluding 「でしょうか」 which we'll see in a much later section).

Indicating a possibility
「かもしれない」 is another sentence ending that expresses a neutral possibility with about 50% level of
confidence. It is simply the 「か」 and 「も」 particle combined with the potential negative form of 「知る」.
This means that it conjugates just like any other negative ru-verb.

Appearances and hearsay

We often make deductions based on appearances and observations. In this section, we will learn how to
describe what things appears to be based on our own and other people's observations.

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Appearance or manner
The noun 「よう」(様) is the most generic word used to describe an appearance or manner of a state or
action. It can be used in various ways the same as any other noun.


Outward appearance
「よう」 can be substituted by 「みたい」 in more casual situations when describing an outward appearance
or what someone or something looks like.

「みたい」 at first glance, looks identical to 「見たい」 meaning "want to see". You could even say it has a
similar meaning as an outward appearance is how one wants to see something. However, the key difference is
that while all verbs in the 「~たい」 form such as 「見たい」 conjugate as an i-adjective, this 「みたい」
acts like a na-adjective.


Guessing from observation

In English, "seems like" or "looks like" is also used to guess an outcome or what something is based on one's
observations and deductions. In Japanese, this is expressed by appending 「そう」 to the verb or adjective with
the following rules. The resulting word becomes a na-adjective.

Rules for guessing outcome using 「そう」

Verbs: Conjugate to the stem and append 「そう」

1. 落ちる+そう = 落ちそう
カップが落ちそう - Looks like cup is about to fall)
2. 降る+り→降り+そう=降りそう
雨が降りそう - Looks like it's going to rain
Na-adjectives: Append 「そう」
1. 暇+そう=暇そう
I-adjectives: Drop the last 「い」 and append 「そう」
1. おいしい+そう=おいしそう
Looks tasty.
2. 楽しい+そう=楽しそう
Looks fun.
Negative tenses: Drop the last 「い」 and append 「さそう」
1. こない+さそう=こなさそう
Looks like (he/she) will not come.

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2. おいしくない+さそう=おしくなさそう
Looks not tasty.

Expressing hearsay
Appearance from hearsay or behavior

There are several different ways to try something in Japanese including making an effort toward something,
making an attempt at something, and trying something out to see what happens.

Striving for a goal

In order to express "try" as striving toward a goal, we use the same 「よう」 we learned in the last section to
describe the manner or appearance of the way we want to act. In this case, we use the verb "to do" and the
「に」 target particle to do toward the manner or appearance of the verb clause.

1. タバコを吸わないようにする。
Try not to smoke cigarettes (lit: Do toward manner of not smoking).
2. 甘い物を食べないようにしている。
Trying not to eat sweet things (lit: Doing toward manner of not eating sweet things).
3. もっと運動をするようにしていたけど、すぐあきらめた。
Was trying to exercise a lot more but soon gave up (lit: Was doing toward manner of doing more exercise
but soon gave up).

Making an attempt
The volitional form can also be used to describe an attempt to do a single action. For this expression, we use the
volitional form followed by 「と」 and the verb "to do" (する).



Phrasing questions
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When we want to talk about a question in a larger sentence, we can treat the sentence as a phrase by using the
「か」 question marker.

1. 田中さんはいつ来るか、分かりますか。
Do (you) know when Tanaka-san is coming?
2. 来年、日本に留学しに行くか、悩んでいる。
(I'm) agonizing whether I should go to Japan next year for study abroad.

When it's a yes/no question, you can append an optional 「どうか」 to represent the other choice.

1. 悩む 【なや・む】 - to be troubled over something, to agonize over a decision
2. 留学 【りゅう・がく】 - study abroad

1. 田中さんは、明日来るかどうか、分かりますか。
Do (you) know whether Tanaka-san is coming tomorrow or not?
2. 来年、日本に留学しに行くかどうか、悩んでいる。
(I'm) agonizing whether I should go to Japan next year for study abroad or not.
3. 日本に行きたいかどうか、分かりません。
Whether (I) want to go to Japan or not, (I) don't know.

Chapter summary and practice

Optional and required
In this chapter, we will learn how to talk about things that one may or may not have to do. This includes asking
for favors, making requests and suggestions, and the various command forms.

The expression "even if" is used when something happens regardless of another action. In Japanese, the same
idea is expressed more literally with the te-form and the 「も」 inclusive particle.



Asking for permission

In Japanese, we can ask and grant permission by saying it's ok or fine even if we do a certain action using the
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same 「~ても/~でも」 grammar.


1. トイレに行ってもいいですか。
Is it fine even if (I) go to the toilet?
2. お姉さんが、食べてもいいと言ったよ!
(You) older-sister said it's fine to eat (it)!
3. 遅くても来週までは大丈夫だ。
Even if it's late, it's fine until next week.
4. 身分証は、学生証でも大丈夫ですか。
As for identification, it is ok even if it's (a) student id?

Things we don't have to do

Similarly, for the negative tense, if it's ok or fine even if we don't do a certain action, it means we don't have to do

1. 何もしなくてもいい。
Don't have to do anything. (lit: (It's) good even if (you) do nothing.)

Unintended consequences
Sometimes our actions have unintentional consequences that wasn't intended to happen.

Required actions
Asking for favors
Making requests
Making suggestions
Command Forms
Chapter summary and practice

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