The Ultimate Resource For Mastering Japanese Grammar — 57 Comments

  1. I own this and I agree that it’s really really helpful! Amazing resource to have if you are learning through immersion, and much more useful than asking an average Japanese person, as most can’t actually explain why things are used how they are.
    It’s weird that you chose だって as an example because I can remember using this book to work that one out!!

    • Thanks for commenting! I’m glad I’m not the only one who has been helped by this book. And I agree: this is an especially good resource for anyone studying through immersion.

  2. Recently, I was actually thinking about searching the internet for a Japanese-only grammar book like this as it seems like it’d be useful to clear up my Japanese, J-J style. Thanks for cutting out that work for me!

    • My pleasure. If you get the book, please come back here and let me (as well as others here) know what you think about it.

      • I did get the book and have certainly had enough time by this point to get a feel for it.

        Having gotten busy with some other things the past few months though, I have only looked through the book for a relatively limited amount of time. But when I have, I find myself so much clearer on the grammar and words that I’m looking to clear up on more. It’s kind of like, “Alright かろう is crystal clear now… Ooh, I definitely need to read this explanation on かける…” Actually at the point I am at my studies, I think I’m going to significantly bring down my new anki cards per day to give myself more time for this book (at least for awhile).

        Like you mentioned in the post, understanding the explanations really does get easier to comprehend the more of them you read. These explanations combined with the great amount of example sentences makes this book really amazing for the Japanese learner wanting to solidify their grammar. I definitely recommend this book to Japanese learners at an intermediate level and above.

        • Thanks for coming back here and reporting on your experience with the book. I’m so glad it’s proved helpful to you!

  3. Okay, now someone just needs to make it into an Anki deck and we will all be happy. I tried, but there were ridiculously many entries and sample sentences under each one of them…

  4. Thank you for the thorough review. This looks like the perfect J-J companion for the Jalup decks. This is going in my next Amazon JP order.

    • You’re welcome. The idea for this post actually originated in an old recommendation to you (in the comments of a post which I’ve now forgotten). After I wrote that, I thought that this book deserved much more than just an off-the-cuff recommendation. And that’s why it got such a thorough review. So, though I hope everyone gets to see for themselves how useful this book is, I especially hope you do too!

  5. 辞典をおすすめしてくれてありがとう。

  6. I’m ordering this book ASAP. I wish I knew about this sooner; I could’ve cut English out of my grammar learning a lot more effectively!

    • I know what you mean. I also wish I knew about this sooner. And I wish Adam had already made the JALUP decks when I started, too! Like I said in the post, I think these complement each other very well.

  7. I’ve finished all the JLPT-oriented grammar review books so this will be nice for polishing up my Japanese. Especially now that I live in Japan I feel like I no longer have an excuse for poor writing.

    • I’d love to hear your thoughts after using this dictionary. It’s also good to hear that I’m not the only one in the I-need-to-finally-get-good-at-writing club.

  8. I saw this book referenced in an earlier comment (likely yours) and I purchased it right after. I’d been looking for a good grammar dictionary and this thing was perfect!

    • Speaking of awesome Anki decks, and of things I wish I had known sooner, I would have loved to have used your Core 5000 deck instead of iKnow’s Core 6000. Anyway, I agree with you. That series is good. I’d just say that this dictionary is significantly better.

      • I was just about to ask how this book compares to the “Dictionary of [Basic/Intermediate/Advanced] Japanese Grammar” series, since I’ve been considering diving into that after reading some good reviews on Tofugu. I was a little reluctant to purchase (up to) three books though, especially since I’m trying to rid myself of English.

        Sounds like this might be a perfect fit! I hope they have it at my Kinokuniya…

        Thanks for the review!

    • Of course you can! I think it’d prove it’s value while making your way through that deck as well.

    • I am fairly certain that the book you linked to is not a new version of this book. For example, it has different authors and a different publisher.

      That said, it does seem like a variation of it. I looked through the book using the “look inside” feature on Amazon and noticed some differences: this one has translations into English, Chinese, and Korean for the grammatical terms; includes illustrations; devotes more space to things like verb conjugations; and is around 150 pages shorter.

      Does that help any? Depending on where you are in your studies, this may (or may not!) be better for you. You know that better than I possibly could, though, so I’ll leave you to decide.

      • Thanks for your reply. For some reason, Amazon isn’t giving me the “look inside” feature like it used to these days. Maybe it has to do with my browser settings or something. Also, I didn’t mean to say that it was a newer edition, just that it was a newer book. Sorry for the confusion.

        Well anyway, it seems like the first (1998) book might be a better one for me. Thanks for the recommendation!

        • I can confirm that they are different books. I own the one you linked, which is J-E and covers roughly the same content as the Basic Dictionary of Japanese Grammar. Pro: No romaji. Con: Very basic descriptions. Overall, the dictionary series is better.

          The book this article describes is a J-J book.

  9. I have a question (again). I am having the same problems I had with the Dictionary of Grammar series. These books are very informative and helpful if you want to use them like a dictionary… but are too detailed to be used as a textbook and read cover to cover.

    Is there any book which lists grammar points in a similar manner (as this one) BUT with ONLY commonly used and useful points so that it can be used as a textbook?
    Edit: Is this good?

  10. I read and then reread this cover to cover, at a pace of roughly six pages per day. I plan to read it again soon, at an even slower pace of just three pages per day. So that’s an option at least.

    But I understand not wanting to do that–or, rather, of wanting to master a smaller selection of grammar points first. The book you linked to looks good, and it’s got some good reviews, but that’s about all I can say (not having read it and not having time to read much of it via the “look inside” feature).

    Hope you discover something that works for you, whether this book or another. And sorry I couldn’t be of more help with this question.

  11. If anyone likes the concise and casual Tae Kim’s guide to grammar, but doesn’t want to reread it in English, I have something that might be of interest to you. A grammar guide intended for Chinese students learning monolingual Japanese at university, and it is absolutely fantastic. It’s written in layman’s terms and is subsequently a cinch to understand. I highly recommend you have rikaisama(firefox only)installed with Sanseido mode on (accesses Sanseido webs: デイリーコンサイス国語辞典 if you intend to read this. Don’t forget the F function which has a native speaker pronounce words for you!

    Once again, this guide is brilliant. I’ve only read the  文節相互の関係, 文節わけ, 名詞,
    and 動詞 sections. But if those are indicative of the whole corpus, I can give my utmost candid recommendation.

    Anyway, here’s the link:

    Credit to Matt V for finding this guide,

      • Haha, I was confused for a sec, like “wait what’d I miss? 0_o”.

        Thanks for sharing this, though! I didn’t even think to post it on the site =)

    • Haha, I’ve had similar experiences in the past where your mind skips one kanji, and the entire meaning changes.

      However, this is still a good resource!

  12. For anyone who owns this. At what Jalup level/After what Jalup deck can one tackle this amazing resource?

    • I think you’d be able to get a lot of value out of this book once you’ve finished the JALUP intermediate deck–and even more if you’ve completed the advanced deck. There will definitely be words you don’t know, but that’s what dictionaries are for (or, alternatively, the other sentences which you can understand).

      • Thank you for the speedy reply! A few more questions if you do not mind:
        1.Does the book cover JLPT N1 grammar too?
        2.Does the book cover slang? If not, do you know a resource that covers slang?
        3.Is this + Jalup decks = Grammar Greatness?

        The book is in my amazon cart right now a click away from ordering.

        • This book covers N1 grammar, but if you’re looking to pass the N1, I’ve heard it’s best to consult many sources (as there are going to be strengths or weaknesses, and gaps, in them all).

          Some of the sentences contain slang, but it’s nowhere close to being a resource for that.

          As for achieving grammar greatness, I think JALUP decks combined with this book will get you very far toward that goal, especially if you’re immersing yourself in the language.

    • I’d like to add my two cents.

      I would say if you want a relatively painless read (don’t want to look every second word), it’s best to use this after Expert 2. You shouldn’t even need this before that.

      Imo, this book works best as a review book to improve/correct your understanding of known concepts I.e. there is no reason to read it from cover to cover or learn “everything new” (if you *want* to do this, then it’s a different story)

      The order should be Immerse -> Find new grammar -> Anki it-> Refer this Book.

      • Thanks for commenting! There’s definitely a sliding scale in terms of vocabulary. The less anyone knows, the more he’ll spend time looking up words, and the tougher the book will be to use.

        I also agree that it works best to consolidate what you’ve “gotten used to” via immersion. However, I’ve found it valuable to read the book through (slowly) while immersing and then again, to consolidate what I’ve understood. The value of that first read through, to me, was that it helped me to notice things more; it helped me to connect and understand things faster than otherwise.

        This is probably another one of those things that each individual has to decide for himself, however, based on his own likes, abilities, and goals.

  13. I just ordered it, though I am still at the beginning stages. I probably won’t crack it open until I visit Japan next summer for 3 months just to immerse myself in the language and culture. I should be almost done with the advanced material by May 2017 when I arrive. Thanks for the recommendation!

  14. I got this a few months ago and it’s a total godsend. I agree with some of the comments above, it’s not really useful until you’ve finished JALUP intermediate and you still won’t get a lot of it.

    The explanation are really quite detailed, which makes it difficult for people at the intermediate level (like me), but the gold here is the plethora of example sentances for an insane amount of grammar. The example sentances are awesome and I love mining this book for sentances. If I don’t totally get a new grammar point brought up in the JALUP decks, I peek in here to see other examples which usually helps me grasp the meaning better. It can be quite hard to find example sentances for grammar online without having it translated into English, so this book is awesome just for that.

    A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar is an amazing J-E resource for beginners with grammar, and this is the logical evolution of it for J-J learners. Highly recommended!

  15. Does anyone know if this J-J version is written from the perspective of Japanese as taught in Japanese schools? Or do they still try to explain to a Japanese language learner using foreigner grammar perspectives like you would find in your typical learner textbooks? I’m just wondering how different this one is compared to the version they published in english back in 2015.

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