The grammar guide that nobody wanted and nobody asked for.

Light version: click here

Q: Something here is wrong. Where do I tell you?
A: Post it here. A: Post it here:

Q: I found a typo, can you just fix it?
A: This was written in like two days with maybe a couple hours of editing several weeks later. Then converted to HTML. There are just going to be typos.

Q: Why does ‹thing› come before ‹other thing›?
A: It's just not possible to introduce everything in a clean order.
 There are too many basic things that are best to leave until after a whole lot of other things have been introduced, and some things that are more advanced that can be introduced at any time. There's also just a very large amount of very basic grammar.
 Yes, ALMOST EVERYTHING here is very basic grammar. Really! You need to know it all! "Advanced" here just means that it's less basic. It's still basic!

Q: This example sentence is mistranslated.
A: I don't know Japanese. Just kidding. My Japanese is okay.
 But it's very likely that I translated something wrong because I was trying to avoid using certain words or phrases, or I was trying too hard to show the original Japanese grammatical structure, or I forgot the English term for something (bless you 数の大小).
 Do not take any of the example translations here as objective. It's not possible to unambiguously translate the typical Japanese sentence into English out of context. For other reasons why, see the list below.

Q: update pls
A: I hate maintaining things, please don't bother me about it.

You learn languages by doing listening and reading practice. Grammar study and vocabulary memorization are just supplements that make it easier to read and listen!

Compound words in Japanese work the same way as English.

会議 meeting/conference
会議室 meeting room/conference hall
科学 science
科学者 scientist
可能 possible
不可能 impossible

Japanese nouns do not have grammatical number or grammatical gender.

N - noun or noun-like object
V - verb
A - い-adjective
Na - na-adjective
X - Something arbitrary, like a phrase or word (one that fits)
... - An arbitrary phrase (one that fits)

Nだ, Nです
someone/something is N
Nだった, Nでした
someone/something was N
someone/something isn't N
someone/something wasn't N

This is called "state of being".

Na-adjectives are also allowed to be used in these patterns.

N is the subject of an action or state of being (e.g. the "I" in "I killed him")
N is the direct object of an action; something caused to change by an action, or inherent to an action (e.g. the "him" in "I killed him", "the lever" in "I pulled the lever")
a statement or situation is predicated on the topic of N (e.g. the "Computers" in "Computers, they suck", "Today" in "Today, I lost my coat")
1) N is the indirect object of an action; the recipient of the effects of a complete action (e.g. "to him" in "I sent a letter to him")
2) N is the general location of an event or action; "at", "on", "in"
3) N is the precise destination of a change in location; "on", "onto", "in", "into", "to"
今度 (this time, topic)
(I, subject)
お前 (you, indirect object)
(strength, direct object)
貸す! (lend, present/future tense action)
This time (or next time), I (will) lend my strength to you!
From: Full Metal Daemon Muramasa

The neutral sentence structure in Japanese is

‹Topic› ‹Subject› ‹Indirect object› ‹Direct object› ‹Adverbs› ‹Verb›

Adverbs can go almost anywhere, but the location affects what they modify. When they modify the verb directly, they go after the direct object.

If it doesn't add ambiguities, most parts of a sentence can be moved around without changing what it means.

The subject and object can both be dropped completely, unlike English. Dropping the subject or object is like using pronouns, even if they would be a pronoun if they were stated.

Japanese can mark the subject or object as a topic (は) instead of subject (が) or object (を) if it makes sense and isn't misleading.

Verbs do not change form for the gender (he/she), number (I/we), or perspective (I/you/he) of their subject.

N is described by the na-adjective Na
大切 (precious, adjectival)
(day, days)
"precious day" or "precious days"
(日 can also mean "sun" but doesn't here)

Na-adjectives act like nouns if they don't have な attached to them. Sometimes, it's unnatural to use a specific na-adjective as a subject or object, especially if it's too abstract like "precious".

1) N2 is owned by N1
2) N2 is described by N1, as though N1の is an adjective

(My, possessive)
"my strength" or "strength of mine"

(Night, adjectival)
(ocean, sea)
the night sea


Describes an action or event politely

This is the です from Nです, but the phrase Aです is a bit different. です does not mean "is" here. It just adds politeness. Aです isn't a conjugation, it just replaces the nonexistent/impossible A-ます conjugation.

People also say Vです, which means ALMOST the same thing as V-ます. But it's not really a conjugation, it's just using です as a politeness word.

Japanese has two categories of regular verb conjugation.

In the first category, the final syllable is dropped from the verb, and the conjugation is appended to the new form.


In the second category, the last syllable changes depending on the conjugation.


The first category is called single-row (一段). The second category is called five-row (五段). The names come from traditional hiragana/katakana charts. With the last core syllable in a given single-row verb, it always stays on the same row. With the last core syllable in a given five-row verb, it can be a kana from any row, depending on the conjugation.

The rule/pattern for a given conjugation depends on which category the verb is from. It's not always as simple as deleting the る from single-row verbs or respelling the last syllable for five-row verbs.

The last core syllable of a verb in the dictionary form/present tense always ends in the vowel "u".

Irregular verbs: する "do", くる "come"



Various forms for formal state of being

These are essentially the formal versions of だ, だった, じゃない, and じゃなかった. In this case, the formal versions are the older versions. That means that である (actually it was であり at the time) turned into today's だ, etc. Also, the ある in である is a verb, and conjugates like one.

the subject doesn't V / isn't V-ing (i.e. negative form) (e.g. "I'm not studying", "he doesn't open the door")

The very common five-row verb ある, "to be", takes the negative form ない, not あらない.

Irregular verbs:

the subject isn't A (i.e. negative form) (e.g. "he's not red")

In Japanese, い-adjectives conjugate too, not just verbs. Just not the same way as verbs. Surprised? い-adjective conjugations are based on the consonant "k", rather than the syllable い.

the subject did V (past tense)

A little explanation for the past tense of five-row verbs is in order. The final core syllable switches to an "i" syllable, just like for the ます form. But when the た is attached, the conjugation gets slurred together. This isn't a slang thing. This conjugation slurs together absolutely everywhere except for archaic-sounding writing or speeches.


Be careful: there's a sentence-ender, んだ, that looks a lot like the past tense of ぬ/ぶ/む verbs, but is actually something completely different.

Irregular verbs:


the subject was A (past tense)

The past tense of い-adjectives is irregular for unintuitive etymological reasons. Just learn it.

Most verb conjugations from here on out will not have equivalents for い-adjectives.

the subject did not V (negative past tense)

ない is, itself, an い-adjective. You just can't conjugate it to itself (i.e. no 食べなくない).

Irregular verbs:



Conjugations of ます

These are the negative, past tense, and negative past tense forms of the V-ます conjugation, because the past tense doesn't conjugate and V-ない doesn't have a ます form.


Alternative polite negatives

These are alternative polite negatives. Like Vです, they're not considered conjugations, they're just using です as a politeness word.

1) N is the destination or direction of something; "to" "towards"
2) The idea of "towards N"-ness

The choice between に and へ for destination depends on the specific kind of movement or travel. に focuses on the destination or specific direction, へ focuses on the motion or travel.

From N, for almost all meanings of "from", including both physical and metaphorical meanings of "from"
1) N is the tool or means by which something is realized (like the "with a sword" in "I killed the monster with a sword")
2) N is the general location of a situation

The choice between に and で for location depends on the specific combination of situation and location. If it helps, で is more like "at" or "by", and に is more like "in" or "on".

turns an い-adjective into a noun representing a reflection on the quantity or magnitude of that い-adjective
hotness / heat (as an amount, not a concept)

Unlike most other い-adjective conjugations, this one drops the last core syllable (the い) entirely, instead of replacing it with a "k" syllable.

turns い-adjectives, especially ones about sensations or subjective impressions, into nouns representing the sensation or impression of that い-adjective's quality
sweetness (can be an amount or a concept)

1) A simple request to do V
2) If ください is attached, becomes a polite request
3) Connects verbs into compound verbs
4) Connects related statements

Conjugates exactly the same way as the past tense, but with て/で instead of た/だ.

From: Common
Eat, please.
From: Common
ってもらう (compound verb)
someone fights for me / is fighting for me / will fight for me
From: Common
I don't wanna lose anyone. That's why I fight, I protect.
From: Kajiri Kamui Kagura - Akebono no Hikari

Usage 3 can change the nature of the verb so much that the meaning of the subject and/or object change. It depends on what specific verb is added. 4 can't do this, it just strings statements together, like a comma or semicolon.

V1-ろ, V5-え
Proper imperative. Usually overbearing.
Take a look at this!!!
From: Narisokonai Snow White
...Look at the stage, not me.
From: Shikkoku no Sharnoth -What a Beautiful Tomorrow-

The form for five-row verbs replaces the "u" from the last core syllable with an "e".

Irregular verbs:

するせよ (less common)

1) Lists adjectives that all apply to the same thing
2) Connects related statements
Hot, hard, and big.
From: Astelight Shuushuubako
I ate breakfast, then left (departed from home) right away.
From: Aete Mushi Suru Kimi to no Mirai ~Relay Broadcast~


1) N is described by the verb/adjective V/A
2) N is described by the statement ending in the verb/adjective V/A
Surprise! You can use entire statements as adjectives! As long as they don't end in だ or です or ます or a bunch of other exceptions. These are called adjectival clauses. Except in the case of lone adjectives, in which case they're just adjectives. 自分も考える時間が欲しい。
I want time to think too.
From: Shugaten! -Sugarfull Tempering-
Looks like it's gonna be hot today, too.
From: Aete Mushi Suru Kimi to no Mirai ~Relay Broadcast~

Weak nouns modified by verb phrases

These are basically ways of using a verb like a noun. Vaguely similar to English's "~ing". こと and もの act like nouns being modified by a relative clause consisting of V or V's statement. But の acts less like a noun being modified and more like some kind of indescribable conjugation-that-isn't-a-conjugation particle-that-isn't-a-particle thing.

Again, こと and もの are also normal nouns. This is just a specific pattern that uses them in a specific way.

1) Vこと as an instruction
2) Vこと as a vague or indirect description of a situation

This is some kind of extremely indirect instruction that something must be done (or if V is negative, not be done). Not always an instruction, can also just be a way of framing a statement as a description of itself.

That you knock when entering a room.
From: Hoshizora no Memoria
To be stared at by Karen. For Karen to look at me with such eyes.
From: Futsuu no Fantasy
There are times when V happens. / V happens.

Speaker uses V as an explanation/justification/excuse for something.

To do V with N
Since I'm thinking about how to spend the day with him.
From: Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm
Right, with someone I like.
From: Dracu-Riot!

と can also come at the end of certain adverbs like ちゃんと, ずっと, and きっと, and is also a listing marker, and a conjunction, so be careful about that.


Quotative/relativizing と and って

These are ways of creating a relative clause from nothing, without it needing to modify a noun, not even weak nouns like こと or もの or a dummy noun like の. Sometimes the phrase on the left is a literal quote. Yes, と here can be pretty confusing.

I heard that there was some kind of, big thing that happened, though...?
From: Magical Charming!

Quotative phrases as topics

Simply put, these use a quotative phrase as a topic. Often used to define words, or to use a word (rather than the thing described by that word) as the context of a statement.


Common view, opinion, definition, name, etc. by "saying" a relativized or quotative clause

These convey that a notion is described by a given phrase or that a given phrase is how something is viewed. They can also be used to modify nouns with phrases that would be very difficult to attach to nouns otherwise, like phrases ending in another noun.

‹question word›...だ?
‹question word›...?

Ways of asking questions

These are ways of asking questions. Do not actually attempt to memorize the list, it's extremely redundant.

Questions made with か or tone of voice focus on learning new information, questions made with の or のか focus on exchanging ideas or notions. That said, they can both be used both ways.

の can be slurred into a ん sometimes.

The の here is the の that can turn verbs into nouns.

Hello... Why are you still here?
From: Aete Mushi Suru Kimi to no Mirai ~Relay Broadcast~
Wait, where are you going?
From: Common
Still eating?
From: Watashi ga Suki nara "Suki" tte Itte!
Now, how about I eat.
From: Watashi ga Suki nara "Suki" tte Itte!
う、ううっ、どっちが年上だ どっちが先輩だ
Er, uhh... Who's older? Who's the senior?
From: Clover Point
Is it fine? / Can I?
From: Common

It's pretty common for の/のか questions to be answered with のだ/のです/んだ/んです statements. のだ statements carry the mood of conveying explanatory information or giving an answer or greater context to an idea/notion/curiosity, rather than just any kind of information or an answer to a desire for information.

け, っけ

Confirmation questions

These are ways of asking for confirmation about something. じゃない and じゃん are also used for expressing surprise by pretending to ask a question (like "Well well, isn't it the boss himself?")

Yes, じゃない really can mean both "it isn't" and "isn't it". You just have to get used to it.

It like you just said, isn't it?
From: Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai
What was that again?
From: Common

1) A simple request not to do V
2) If ください is attached, becomes a polite request
Don't eat, please.
From: Common

1) An action as a topic
2) A weak, nonliteral condition

Most of the time, the two meanings are basically indistinguishable without context, unless it's part of a construction where only a topic or only a condition makes sense.

It's bad for you to fight! / It's bad if you fight.
From: Dies irae
Contraction of ては.
For adjectives.

1) Inclusive topic
2) Non-contrastive topic

Non-contrastive means that mentioning the topic isn't an act of excluding other topics. For example, saying "You did well tonight" is contrastive, and implies that other days they might not have done well. Saying "You did well tonight, too" is non-contrastive, and implies that they did well on other days too.

も includes one topic among a group of other implied valid possible topics. In other words, it usually means that the statement is true of other topics (like "other people are leaving"), and is additionally true of the given topic (like "I'm leaving too").

I'm going too! (inclusive topic)
From: Common
The ability to choose between も and は for topics means that, by choosing one when you don't need to state the topic at all, you're either playing up the topic being special (with は), or playing up that the topic is like other topics (with も). ……昨夜、そんなに痛かったですか?
...Did it hurt that much last night, too? (non-contrastive topic)
From: Kimi no Koe ga Kikoeru

Saying that something is "included" among other options affects logical entailment*. Non-neutral logical entailment can trigger linguistic polarity* weirdness when part of questions, conditions, or negative statements.

It's 100% okay if you have no idea what the fuck you just read. Just take the following example for granted.

Looks like there's nobody here. (negative polarity example)
From: Common

Nでは, Nじゃ
1) Implement/means of an action, as a topic
2) Circumstantial location as a topic
3) Circumstance as a topic
4) A start-of-sentence conjunction signaling a change in topic/focus
With such a short sword, you can't do anything to spears but deflect them.
From: Fate/Stay Night
She can't die here.
From: Fate/Stay Night
At this rate it's going to be a problem.
From: Common
(Common expression politely signaling end of conversation and intent to depart)
From: Common
1) Ahahahahaha good luck trying to learn this from a grammar guide
2) Basically it means "even"
3) Or the inclusive/non-contrastive version of Nでは
3.5) This is often realized in polite requests or suggestions about doing something as a way to imply that other options are also okay
4) As an extension of 3, it can mark when a false statement is indeed false, especially when there are multiple things that make it false. It can even list multiple such things.
5) It can also be a start-of-sentence conjunction (But ...) or a between-sentences conjunction (..., but ...) that basically means "but". There are other ways to say but, this is just one of them.
5.5) Its use as a between-sentences conjunction is basically an extension of being a start-of-sentence conjunction. It's almost always "、でも", but if it were a normal conjunction it would be "でも、".
The absolute logic and reason in this world are the mathematical inequalities, elementary mathematics, that even children understand.
From: Dies irae
If you have time, why don't we go exploring (or something) together?
From: Twinkle Crusaders
Neither words nor reason will get through to them. Only force.
From: Full Metal Daemon Muramasa
But please be careful.
From: Common
Got it, but don't get lost, hear me?
From: Dracu-Riot!
1) Ahahahahaha good luck trying to learn this from a grammar guide
2) Most of its meanings overlap directly with でも's meanings, but they have different levels of commonness.
3) When it's used at the beginning of a sentence, its attitude is more contradictory and explanatory than than でも, and it can mean different things as a result. It can even basically mean "come on, listen to me" or "what I'm saying is" rather than "but" or "even" because of how contradictory and explanatory it can be.
4) Sometimes it's just a (possibly very short) statement ending in だ with the って relative clause particle attached. In those cases, none of the complications above apply.


These mean "why", as a question word, with varying degrees of attitude.
Nだから, Nですから
Vから, Vのだから, Vのですから
Aから, Aのだから, Aのですから

Because of an event or situation described by the statement V, A, or Nだ.

There are many other ways to say "because", this is just one of them. だから and ですから can also be start-of-sentence conjunctions, without a noun.

ので, そして, etc
There are many more ways to express "because/since/due to".
Oh, and I haven't put on my panties yet, so... hey, can I go put them on first?
From: Trinoline


These mean "be" or "exist". Not as in one thing being another, but as in something being real, having a location, or in general just existing.

ある is for subjects that are unlike life, いる is for subjects that are like life. This ある is the same ある from である.

1) In the process of doing the continuous action V
2) In the state resulting from doing the non-continuous action V
3) In a long-term situation described by V
I'm thinking.
From: Common
That is the way of life of one whose heart is dead.
From: Dies irae ~Interview with Kaziklu Bey~
State of something having been done

てある turns transitive verbs into intransitive verbs expressing that something has had an action done do it. Expresses the state resulting from the action, not the event of the action being done to it.

Tea's done (being steeped).
From: Shugaten! -Sugarfull Tempering-

To do V for now ("let's leave for now"), either to prepare for something or to resume doing something later.
1) "go and V" or "V and go"
2) V is happening now and will continue into the future
3) Ghetto future tense (because Japanese doesn't have an explicit future tense)
1) "come and V"/"V and come"
2) V started in the past and has continued to the present moment
1) finish doing V
2) do V and live with the consequences of doing so
3) have done V now
This is a humble or dialectal version of ている.

V-てる, V-とく, V-てく, V-とる
Contractions of V-ている, V-ておく, V-ていく, and V-ておる.

Less likely to mean "... and V". More likely to have to do with how the verb progresses over time. The て or と can be voiced like で or ど for verbs like 死ぬ that conjugate to 死んで for the て form.

V-ちゃう, V-ちまう
Contractions of てしまう.

Less likely to mean "finish doing V". The ち starts where the て used to be. Can also be じゃう or じまう for verbs like 死ぬ that conjugate to 死んで for the て form.

これ, それ, あれ, どれ
Express an unnamed noun.

これ means "this thing". それ and あれ mean "that thing", with the difference being that それ is for things the other person would say "this" for but not the speaker, and あれ being for things that both people would say "that" for. どれ means "which one".

このN, そのN, あのN, どのN
These determine which N is being mentioned.
But... This book sure is, how do I put it...
From: Chronobox
ここ, そこ, あそこ, どこ
Here, there, there, where
こう, そう, ああ, どう
Like this, like that, like that, in what way

There are more words of this kind, like こちら/こっち/etc, but once you know how they work they're very easy to figure out.

Means "who", as in "Who's there?", not "someone who I know".
Means "what", as in "What do you want?", not "I mean what I say".
Means "when", as in "When did you go?", not "he left when I came in".
はい, ええ, うん, etc
These are all ways of saying yes or expressing confirmation.
いいえ, いや, ううん, etc
These are all ways of saying no or expressing refusal.

In actual speech, うん/ううん are pronounced completely differently.

V1-られる, V5-(a)れる
1) Passive. Means that the subject is having the action done to it. Turns the direct object into the subject, marked with が. If the doer (the old subject) is stated, it's marked with に.
2) One-row verbs only: can also be the potential (can V / is able to V) or passive-potential (V-able, e.g. knowable) instead.

The conjugation for five-row verbs turns the vowel of the last core syllable into an "a", then adds れる.

I guess this girl goes feral when her panties get seen.
From: Flyable Heart
Thus, if you will be killed regardless, then fight, fight to the very end.
From: Dies irae

Irregular verbs:

V1-られる, V1-れる, V5-(e)る
Potential form (can V / is able to V).

The passive form of single-row verbs doubles as a potential form. There's a short potential for single-row verbs too, if you see it, you can be 99% sure that it's a potential (can X), not a passive (was/got Xed) or a potential-passive (Xable / can be Xed).

The conjugation for five-row verbs turns the vowel of the last core syllable into an "e", then adds る.

But not being able to read kanji would make it hard for someone just to go through life. Probably.
From: Twinkle Crusaders

Irregular verbs:


V1-させる, V5-(a)せる
Causative. The subject is causing someone/something else to perform an action or experience an event. This can be like "makes him eat", "lets him eat", or anywhere in between.
1) The subject is causing someone to experience "NをV".
2) The subject is causing N to do V.
I'm taking off the girl's clothes, so leave the rest to me and Mia. (i.e. go somewhere that you won't see her naked)
From: Yoake Mae yori Ruri Iro na
I didn't want to let you die.
From: Sen no Hatou, Tsukisome no Kouki

Sometimes both the direct object of the original verb and the direct object of the causative verb (so, the person being made to do something) are included. In this case, the original direct object is probably going to use を or go unmarked, and the causative direct object is probably going to be marked with に or something.

If I do things that way, I won't "need" to make Saber kill people.
From: Fate/Stay Night
V1-さす, V5-(a)す
Short version.

Prescriptivists consider it wrong for five-row verbs ending in す, and for single-row verbs, but those kinds of verbs still use it once in a blue moon.

Some verbs have fixed special versions that are used way, way more than their causative conjugation, like 見せる (so in 見せる's case, it's almost always used instead of 見る's 見させる).

Irregular verbs:

V1-させられる, V5-(a)せられる
Causative passive. To be made to do something.

Something is more ... than X.
Stronger than me.
From: Yoake Mae yori Ruri Iro na (but common as part of longer lines)
That girl's stronger than everyone thinks, isn't she.
From: Fureraba ~Friend to Lover~
Means ... on the level of/as much as X.
Means ... not on the level of/not as much as X.
Means "from X to Y". Either of the two parts can be left out.

V1-よう, V5-(o)う
Let's X / how about I X
Let's go / How about we go?
From: Common
Try to V / try out doing X - uses the て form
I'll try to think about it.
From: Common
Want someone to V
I want to know. (I want you to tell me.) Is this place really on campus?
From: Tokeijikake no Ley Line -Tasogaredoki no Kyoukaisen-
Want to do V to N
I want to eat ramen.
From: Love of Ren'ai Koutei of LOVE!
What do you want to eat?
From: Common

V1-れば, V5-(e)ば

Expresses that if one thing happens, another thing is or will be true. Usually focuses on the condition, not the result.

If I untie it I'll die.
From: Fate/Stay Night
If I shift her underwear, Amane's privates will be completely visible.
From: Flyable Heart
it's obvious / you can understand it just by looking at it
From: Common
What should I do?
From: Common

Irregular verbs:

For adjectives.

Contractions of A-ければ.
If you can't walk, you can't run.
From: Dies irae

If X, ... / Given X, ... .

Means that if one thing is true, so is the other. Doesn't describe cause and effect. Focuses on the result. Not anywhere near as much of a condition as ~ば is. Sometimes it's basically used as though it's a topic marker that's even more contrastive than は.

Metaphorically speaking, they specialize in combat and war, respectively.
From: Dies irae
You can do it!
From: Aete Mushi Suru Kimi to no Mirai ~Relay Broadcast~
Same as なら but emphasized so much that it turns into a "real" condition.
Fixed phrase that basically means "as for why", meaning that the following statement is going to explain something.


Doesn't describe cause and effect. Can be used for things like "If you're free tomorrow, come see me", which ~ば can't.


Attaches to statements, not nouns or whatever. Usually has a comma after it, but not always. Describes cause and effect. Used for things that are generally true, not coincidences or unique situations. Attaches like 行くと for verbs, Nだと for nouns, etc.

...ながら, ...あいだ(に), ...うちに, ...つつ
These are all different ways of saying "while/as/during/at the same time as ...". They're all used in different situations and have different meanings.
Breathing through her nose, she shook and rocked her head front-to-back.
From: Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm

After V, ...

Try not to confuse this with たから.

けど, でも/V-ても, しかし, Vが/Aが, Nだが
These all mean but/despite/however/etc. They're more similar to one another than the ways of saying "while" are, but they're still different.

けど can also be けれど, けども, or けれども, which all have different levels of formality and politeness.

You've already seen でも as a conjunction before. ても is でも but for verbs (and adjectives), and doesn't have the same oddities/caveats that でも as a conjunction has with nouns.

しかし is only used as a start-of-sentence conjunction.

However, it's the truth.
From: Itsuka, Todoku, Ano Sora ni. (but common as part of longer lines)

The が here is not the subject marker, and it doesn't attach directly to nouns.

I even try to raise my voice, but there's no response.
From: Hoshizora no Memoria

ちょっと, きっと, ずっと
These are fixed adverbs that end in っと. There are lots of them.
しっかり, きっかり, しゃっきり, はっきり, etc
These are onomatopoetic adverbs that happen to end in っかり and っきり.

They're endless. There are also such adverbs ending in っさり, っぱり, っとり, etc. Many of them can take と to emphasize their adverbialness, or する to turn them into actions about behaving that way.

どんどん, そろそろ, めちゃくちゃ, びりびり
These are onomatopoetic adverbs that repeat two syllables, maybe with some variation in one of the syllables.

Many of these can also take と to emphasize their adverbialness or する to make them actions, just like the っきり/っかり ones.

に makes na-adjectives act as adverbs. Some non-na-adjective nouns can also turn into adverbs this way.
Many na-adjectives can also take と to act as adverbs.
This makes nouns act like Na-adjectives meaning "N-ic" or "N-al" (as in "economic" or "original", from "economy" or "origin").

Turns the number X into an amount.

Normal Japanese nouns are uncountable. You can't say "five stores" or "four stores" with the normal word for "store". This is just like how in English you can't say "five rices" when you're referring to pieces of food or grains of rice. You say "five pieces of food" or "five grains of rice" instead. But in Japanese, almost all nouns aren't countable, so almost every way of counting things is something like "pieces of food" or "grains of rice".

There are other counting words than つ, which are almost all nouns, but they're restricted to counting specific kinds of things.

And then give me another. / After that, one more thing. (e.g. one more thing to explain)
From: Common

A mere N / just a A
Means that the N is nothing more special than what is said about it by calling it an N. ただ‹number›
Only a certain amount.
ただだ, ただです
Free (of cost), no strings attached, etc.
Sometimes ただ takes the form たった, but たった can also just be a verb like 立った or something.
ね, よ, ぜ, な, わ, etc
Sentence enhancers

These are sentence-ending particles that convey the speaker's attitude towards what they're saying or how the person they're saying it to is going to take it. They can express things like assertion, agreement, free-willed-ness, caution, etc. か is technically one of these but serves more of a grammatical function.

だね, だぜ, etc
Compound sentence enders

Compound sentence ending particles don't follow the same rules their parts would follow on their own, so you can say things like いいだぜ just fine and it doesn't seem weird at all, even though "いいだ" is objectionable at best on its own.

Expresses prohibition

This is not the same な from the list of sentence-ending particles above, even though it is identical.

Stay away!
From: Common

Yes, Vな as in prohibition and な the sentence-ending particle are ambiguous. You just have to get used to how they're used so you can tell which is which.

Polite order.
From: Common
Short version of V-なさい. Not ambiguous with the な sentence ending particle or prohibition, it's a conjugation, not a sentence ender.

For someone to do V for the sake of the first person. The subject is the first person.
For someone to do V for the sake of the first person. The subject is the doer.
For the speaker to do V for the sake of another person. The subject is the doer/first person.
For someone to do V, with V affecting someone, regardless of whether that someone wanted it or not.

誰か, いつか, なにか, etc
Vague reference to some person/time/thing/etc

These mean "someone", "some time", "something", etc. as in "Is someone there?", "I know someone who can deal with this", "something fell out of my bag", etc.

...Is someone there?
From: Clover Point

誰も, いつも, なにも, etc
These mean "anyone", "any time", "anything", etc., as in for negative statements.

These aren't really used for "anyone" in positive statements. 誰も and いつも can be used for "everyone" or "all the time" in positive statements, but that's irregular behavior.

N-, no. I didn't say anything.
From: Flyable Heart

It's not always possible to translate them into English as "anyone" etc, so some dictionaries define these words as "nobody", "never", "nothing", etc. But it's important to realize that the "no" is not part of the Nも phrase, it's part of the statement as a whole.

Nobody's coming.
From: Common
誰でも, いつでも, なんでも
"Any X" in the sense of a particular X.

These can be used with positive phrases. In negative phrases they're like an emphatic version of the Xも phrases.

Anyone could understand. / Anyone can understand it.
From: Common
That guy walked within those fires, looking to save someone, anyone was fine, and found my very self.
From: Fate/Stay Night

~や~や, ~と~と, ~とか~とか, ~か~か
These are ways of making various kinds of lists of things.

This is like how "and", "or", "and/or", and commas are used in English. They do not, however, literally translate into just "and", "or", or "and/or". They also all mean slightly different things.

The listing particle is often omitted from the last entry in a list. Some kinds of lists can work even if there's only one item.

Like lonely, or sad.
From: Tokeijikake no Ley Line -Asagiri ni Chiru Hana-

Also remember that でも can be used as a listing particle, especially when the list is part of a bigger negative structure.

Basically means "things like X" or even X and things like X".

Lists past events to describe what kind of stuff happened.

たり is formed the same way as the past tense. Sometimes there's only one past event.

There are a very large number of ways of listing actions or statements, just like listing nouns. ~たり~たり is only a single way of doing it.

Xだけ, Xのみ, Xばかり/Xばっかり
These are various ways of expressing "only", "just", etc.

These have different nuances and are used in different situations.

だけ and のみ mean that the statement only applies to what they're attached to.

Am I the only one who heard it?
From: Twinkle Crusaders
Then there is only pursuit. (can only chase after them or just have to chase after them)
From: Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai -Dreaming Sheep- (fandisk)

ばかり expresses that there's so much of something, or so little of anything else, that you can't think of it any other way.

Wow, Senpai's instincts are all about sex.
From: Clover Point
The weather just gets worse and worse.
From: Shugaten! -Sugarfull Tempering-

ばかり can work on the "time" something happened, like with さっき "recently/a short while ago", even if it's not directly attached.

But we just became lovers recently.
From: Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai

Used chiefly with negative statements, means "(nothing) but X"

This doesn't operate on question words like the other stuff here, but it's affected by polarity like they are.

Right now, there's nobody here but Saber and myself.
Fate/Stay Night
Isn't madness all that's left for me now?
From: Sekien no Inganock -What a Beautiful People-

...と思う, ...かも, ...かもしれない
These are ways of hedging a statement someone's not sure about so that it doesn't seem like an absolute.
...っぽい, ...らしい, V-そう
These mean that something seems some way.

Can have a wide range of implications, everything from "someone is ...ish" to "I think I'm gonna ...".

1) Already ...
2) Again/more/still (especially in fixed phrases)
もう行っちゃうの? もっとお話ししたいのにな
Are you leaving already? I still have stuff to say, though.
From: Ama Koi Syrups ~Hajirau Koigokoro de Shitaku Naru Amagami-sama no Koi Matsuri~
Want to try doing it again?
From: Common
I'm okay now.
From: Common
もう!, もう..., etc
As an interjection, expresses exasperation.

Comes from meaning 1 from above, like "もういい" "enough already".

もう...ない (or any negative expression)
Not/don't ... anymore
I'm not afraid anymore.
From: Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm (but common)
Don't talk anymore.
From: Common

Still ...
But I'm still tired...
From: Hanahira!
まだ...ない (or any negative expression)
Not ... yet
That's right, I still can't sort anything out in my head yet.
From: Silverio Vendetta
I saw her panties again.
From: Aete Mushi Suru Kimi to no Mirai ~Relay Broadcast~
A conjunction. "Otherwise", "or".

There are many "or" phrases like または. They're used in different situations and mean slightly different things.

V-ず, V-ずに
These mean "without doing V".

Forms the same way as the negative, except する's ず form is せず/せずに, not しず/しずに.

V-なくてはならない, V-なければならない, V-なくちゃだめ, V-なけりゃいけない, etc
These mean "must V".

Any phrase that goes "‹negative condition› ‹expression of wrongness›" means "must", but they all have different nuances.

V1-ようとする, V5-(o)うとする
Means "trying to V".
Isn't it because you guys are trying to run away!!
From: Axanael
Attempting to try to dodge it would surely be meaningless.
From: Fate/Stay Night
V1-まい, V1まい, V5まい
This is basically a negative version of the V1-よう/V5-(o)う form.

Normally comes after the full dictionary form of the verb, but for single-row verbs, the る can be dropped as well (i.e. V1-まい).

Not normally used as a way to say "let's not X". Almost always presents negative conjecture.

I see. In that case, there's no way it would end that easily.
From: Fate/Stay Night
Means "trying not to ...". Like a negative version of the V1-ようとする/V5-(o)うとする pattern.
A stilted formal version of だろう.
ではあるまい, じゃあるまい
This is basically a negative version of だろう.

Most of these contractions apply in general, not just with the given word/phrase.

Common contraction of V-ない.
Common contraction of すごい. Same deal as above.
Contraction of ひどい. Same deal as above.
Contraction of なにしてるの.

Contractions of しらない.
Often a contraction of いらない "not needed/I don't need it".
Contraction of Nさんのうち (N's house/N's place).
This is a contraction of です.
This is almost always a contraction of おはようございます. Yes, really.

These are dialectal/regional versions of だ.


Various even more formal forms of である

These exist. They mean exactly what they look like they mean. When you get to Nではありませんでした and Nじゃありませんでした they start to look like unintelligible hiragana stew, but you get used to it.

Q: Why didn't you include X?
A: I only included very basic grammar. There might be a couple things that don't look basic here, but I assure you, really, if I didn't include it then I probably didn't consider it to be basic enough.

Q: Why didn't you include ‹N3 grammar point› / Why did you include ‹N1 grammar point›?
A: Because JLPT grammar classifications are like 50%~80% bullshit.
 There's a lot of fundamental grammar that people call N1 grammar, like とは, and there's a lot of things that literally mean the sum of their parts that people call N3 grammar, like とは限らない. Yes! とは is considered N1, but とは限らない, which literally includes とは, is considered N3! N1 is the more advanced level!
 Also, some "grammar points" in the JLPT are actually just, literally, particular uses of common words, like 向け.
 This does not mean that N1 grammar as a whole is not more advanced than N3 grammar, just that the individual items aren't all in the right places.

Q: Why are the example sentences individually sourced?
A: All language resources should only use examples found "in the wild". And they should source every single one of their examples, so you know they're not made-up.
 Not a single example sentence should be written from scratch by the author, even if they are a native speaker of Japanese.
 Made-up examples always have quirks that real examples don't, or lack quirks that real examples have.
 This isn't philosophical. There are many English textbooks (for non-natives) with made-up example sentences that are extremely unnatural or downright wrong.
 Including made-up examples and not sourcing real examples are signs of the inexperience or carelessness of the creator/creators of a resource.
 Examples consisting of two or three words, that don't make up a full sentence, don't need to be sourced, as long as they're common phrases.

Q: This grammar explanation is wrong.
A: It probably isn't. I mean it might be, just probably not. Everything here is so basic that even someone with bad Japanese could teach it somewhat reliably. It's just incomplete.
 It's not possible to give a complete explanation about ANY grammar. In any grammar guide, there are always going to be patterns that look just like other patterns (ones it doesn't teach), or ways of using them that it doesn't teach.
 This grammar guide will not teach you how to produce fluent, correct Japanese. In fact, no grammar guide can. Only lots of reading and listening can do that.
 Grammar guides are for making it easier to understand things, not to learn how to say them.

image of cute voiceroid sleeping Top
Intro Q&A
Introduction (base knowledge)
Default sentence structure


relative clauses・こと・もの・の・ことがある・もの・もん

これ etc・この etc・etc・誰・何・何時(いつ)・はい・ええ・うん・いいえ・いや・ううん
ちょっと etc・しっかり etc・どんどん etc・に・と・的

ず・ずに・なくてはならない etc
ねー and other contractions
であります and other forms
Ending Q&A
Footer (cute image)
Table of Contents