Japanese grammar. You start off studying it thinking, “Say, this isn’t too bad!” And then you get into て form, and adjective conjugations, and set grammar constructions, and then you listen to real Japanese people speaking outside of a classroom, and realise that you know nothing, John Snow.

But, you have to learn some kind of rules, so when you go to speak, people can cheerfully smile at you and say 「日本語は上手ですね?」. Japanese people are very polite, you see.

This entry is a bit long, so I am going to talk about apps that I use for grammar in a separate post.


Holy cow, there are a lot of textbooks out there. Let’s go through some of them.


Genki is not bad for grammar. But it has an odd editorial choice once in a while, where it devotes about two paragraphs to a grammatical topic where other textbooks will devote half a page to two pages to several pages.

Japanese For Busy People

No. Just no. Lovely bunch of recipes, but don’t ask why you are adding salt to your apple tart when the moon is full, but you don’t when it is a crescent moon.

Japanese the Manga Way

It seems there are at least two textbooks with the same title. This is the one I own a copy of.

This is a really nice way of covering Japanese grammar. The examples from a variety of manga beside each grammar point really help you associate the text with a visual memory. The explanations are clear and well-written. The only problem I have is that the author uses romaji in all his explanations, but the quality of the information makes up for it.

A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar

This is the best reference book I have in my collection. There are three in the series, the others being intermediate and advanced, but for starting out, the basic one is all you need. They are kind of expensive, and I haven’t gotten to the point where I can say I understand everything in the Basic book. Very highly recommended.

Fundamentals of Japanese Grammar: Comprehensive Acquisition

This addition to my collection has an interesting back story.

I used to love going to the local Japan Foundation library and borrowing books. (Hopefully someday, it will be safe to go to a library again.) (Also, I just noticed you can make a reservation to visit the library. What a world we live in these days. 世界はちょっと。。。)

Anyway, I checked this out, took it home, read it, and immediately searched for where I could get it online, and bought a copy.

This is the grammar textbook Genki wanted to be. I consider it as the needed companion to the Genki series. It takes all grammar points, uses very simple kanji and kana in great illustrative examples, has a great index, goes into just enough depth in each topic covered…really a great book. I recommend it highly.

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