Have you come across any interesting JLPT grammar?

SKM is shin kanzen master, right? I thought the skm series is a JLPT preparation series. What do you mean when you say going though a JLPT book isn’t necessary, but then recommend SKM?

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I thought you linked to a JLPT book, but it’s a normal textbook. However you can use the linked textbook in the same way:

  • Read only the grammar notes.
  • Read what you enjoy.
  • ??? Books later go through the textbook.

It’s ‘grammar points’ like this that make it seem like what makes a grammar point and what doesn’t is arbitrary. It’s as though some 官僚 sat down in a meeting room and pulled out bits and pieces of the language at random, and smacked the grammar label onto it. There is nothing about these ‘grammar points’ that make them hard to understand if you already know the constituent words. 〜末(に) is another example, which is no different than 〜後 (structurally, not semantically).

I’ve spent a little bit of time thinking about what grammar really is, and the only thing I’ve been able to think of is syntax and morphology (which seems consistent with OED, at least), but it’s mostly just led to confusion. I have a degree in linguistics, by the way.

Anyway, I’ve come to just treat grammar as vocabulary, in the context of language learning, learning it as I come across it.

/end rant (sorry)


The grammar points are just ways Japanese teachers decided to break stuff down for students of Japanese and they get constant feedback and maybe update how they present it. The JLPT is supposed to test modern Japanese, so as long as you have a high understanding on modern Japanese, you never need to use a JLPT book.

I think this method doesn’t work for everyone. For example, after seeing the CureDolly youtube channel being praised online, I tried to watch it and literally couldn’t follow anything. It’s funny cause throughout the videos, she constantly says stuff like “see how easy this is??!” lol my answer is “NO!!”

There is also that small amount of people who can start picking up Japanese novels after finishing Genki 1 and 2 and pretty much just learn Japanese from that. I don’t think I have have met any in real life, so I assume it is pretty rare.


Well, not genki 1 and 2, I went all the way to N3 through standard university classes (also, we used みんなの日本語, and then at the N3 level a different textbook that I have never seen mentioned online, but anyway) and then I just kept reading manga until I managed N2, then used anki for vocabulary and kept reading manga then novels until N1. (Technically, I read a JLPT grammar book a week before N1, but my impression was the same as @Arctagon ”why is this a grammar point?”, about nearly everything)
Interestingly, I’ve been trying to guess what could be a N2 or N1 grammar point in the series I am reading now, and the best I managed was N3. Maybe I should check a list and find them more proactively :sweat_smile:


I don’t know. That seems like a very roundabout way of doing it if we’re considering the types of ‘grammar points’ I mentioned in my previous post, as it could’ve better been categorised as vocabulary.

This is true, but unfortunately, once a test is introduced, people are just going to study specifically for that instead (and an uncomfortably large number of people believe it to be the same as learning the language, which is a shame).

The levels of masochism required to pull this off are so high it filters out basically everyone delusional to even try, so you assume correctly.

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Going straight for novels is probably not a good idea, but I could read manga comfortably (with the help of a dictionary) around the time I got the N4. Considering that’s pretty much all I did between N3 and N2 (with the added intent to learn the vocabulary), I don’t see why people would not be able to manage the same between N4 and N3 :thinking:

I did like the classroom environment better than learning on my own, but I’ve met people with the opposite preference :person_shrugging:
In fact, I think there’s a large proportion of people on the wanikani (kanji learning site) forum that went the basic grammar → learn from native material route.

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Genki 1 and 2 brought me to the N3 level. And then, at the Japanese university I was at, we had a custom textbook for that level that would allow you to begin bridging the gap between N3 and N2. so I would definitely be considered one of the people who has been able to read manga/news articles/stories (and translate them on my own) just from using the Genki series, like @Wakaman mentioned. I know a slew of people like this lol.

Almost everyone I know that’s used the Genki series can/has done the same :sweat_smile: I’ve also known people who started reading before finishing Genki 1 and they were doing alright.

The only reason I have JLPT books is for the sake of the exams themselves because of how they’re set up. American’s have the SATs and there are specific books for them to help you get used to the format of the test and what kind of answers they actually want, even if you could just study everything on your own from your notes from middle school up until high school. The book specialized for it will target it. I only recommend using the JLPT books if you’re actually going to take the JLPT–other than that, I don’t think it’s necessary to begin learning through those routes because you’ll always have to supplement it with something more to be able to gain the full understanding of it.

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I think the emphasis there was on reading novels, not just reading. I only managed novels when I had a solid N2 level, so I’m not surprised that someone getting right into it would have troubles. (Then again, I know people who did it anyway, but they are much rarer)

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lol, I think it’s because we all had the tenacity to not care :sweat_smile: We had no issue sitting with a dictionary since, as time goes on, the reading will become easier. Or it could also be that all of us already had plans to live abroad/were already in Japan so there was no time like the present. I was often at the hospital, so I spent a loooootttt of time reading stuff that I don’t even read in English lol. and the logistics of banking.

But, they would start Genki, start reading maybe Yotsuba or another series that isn’t too difficult, and by the time that they finished Genki 2, they were on novels/light novels. I think it’s because the goal for us was to build up what we thought was our weak spot? Some people already felt that kanji/reading was a weak spot, so they kept targeting that area for themselves through native materials rather than just kanji flashcards.

That’s funny because my experience has basically been the opposite. I tried reading Genki and Tae Kim but found their explanations to be confusing. So yes, different methods work for different people. I watched all of Cure Dolly and just jumped straight into reading from there.

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… Oh. So you did mean novels.
Well, then no, I did not manage that. While I was in the situation you mentioned (and that’s how I managed to get to N1 and beyond), just fighting against a novel at a low level felt too inefficient. If I wanted to have fun, manga were good; if I wanted to study, I just made/practiced flash cards at that point. I did slog through a (short) novel when I got to N2 but that was not a good time.

I definitely feel that! I have some that I’ve enjoyed reading passages from, but recently, I’ve been reading manga because I like to translate it and then send it to friends for corrections. Especially for ones where not everything is said upfront. But since I’m about to take the JLPT again, I’m making myself read some non-manga so that I can actually read stuff that doesn’t have photos associated with it on the exam.

Now I don’t feel crazy when I say that I hate Tae Kim grammar…I don’t even put it in my recommendations list when people ask me.

The real masochism to me is learning via a textbook through N2+ before reading at all! I do hope most people are at least reading manga or something for practice, even if novels are too painful for them.

Personally, I used Japanese From Zero books 1-3 for basic grammar, learned a bunch of kanji on WaniKani, and learned 2000-3000 words on iKnow, and then I just transitioned to learning via immersion. I studied a bit of N3 grammar via Bunpro, but for the most part I haven’t studied “textbook” grammar since N4. I do have the TRY and SKM N3 and N2 books which I’d like to go through at some point, but not sure when.

For the record, I wouldn’t say I quite jumped immediately into books. You can check out my Natively profile if you’re interested (the dates on there are accurate), but in short I read two volumes of manga, then my first children’s book, then a handful more manga, then another children’s book, more manga, first LN, and so on. Much of that (some manga, all the books) was with WaniKani book clubs, so I certainly had help. I would not say I got comfortable reading for another year and a half after that. But I did have fun reading most of that time, even if it was tough!


I did it! I found an N1 “grammar” point!
さぞ (certainly/for sure, but formal)

Oh, and while we’re at it ~が故に is also N1

There’s also ~上げる in there, which, to me, feels more like what I would call grammar, but it’s only N3.

Meanwhile ~所 is N2… I don’t get it.


This is grammar? I remember learning it from Jojo a year ago or so, but only as a word meaning, like you said, ‘certainly/for sure’…

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Same, I also learned it as a word (and still think it makes more sense to consider it so). I was inspired by your post in this thread and googled random formal words I came across + JLPT, and it worked! :joy:

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Found one while reading yesterday.


Same お嬢様 character used this N1 point a few times: ~なり~なり

Not going to list out examples of this one, but another headscratcher is that ってば is listed as N1


But it’s just a word! This is why grammar lists are stupid!

Even this one… 故に is “therefore” / “consequently”, so it’s not that hard to guess the meaning. I suppose there’s some benefit to looking up that one (as I wouldn’t have thought to compare it to ために), but I think 90% of the meaning is obvious. If anything, the only interesting “grammar” here is that the が seems to be the classical usage, making it more like の in this case.

所 is an annoying one for me… too many meanings depending on the situation/usage. I should probably review all those again…

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Found 〜といったらない (N1) while reading 穴 | L38