A big part of learning Japanese is learning their vocabulary. Their words can be categorized into 4 different types[1. This is based off Japanese: The Spoken Language textbook series]:

  • Verbal, which is like our verbs
  • Adjectival, which is like our adjectives
  • True nominal, which is like our nouns
  • Na-nominals, which is a cross-over between our nouns and adjectives.

Now there are many ways you can go about learning/memorizing all these vocabs, but I recently discovered Smart.fm, a new way to learn. This site allows you to set goals and offers activities to help you achieve them. There are materials for a wide number of subjects, from geography to SAT words to foreign languages, and of course, there are also many Japanese material for you to use.

I’m currently using the Japanese Core 2000 series, which features the 2000 most commonly used words in Japan. I highly recommend this for beginners or for higher-level speakers who want to review their vocabs. They have activities to test your listening, reading, and comprehension skills, and there is also a calendar to track your progress.


how many words do you recognize?

There are also many other Japanese learning material for you to use, including a Core 6000 series, word lists from popular Japanese text books, as well as a couple grammar and sentence structure material. Best of all, this site is completely free to use!

If you join Smart.fm, don’t forget to friend me :)

A while back I talked about the giving verbs, ageru and kureru, and how to use them, so today I’ll be talking about morau, the verb of receiving. This is the basic sentence structure:

Giver + ni/kara + receiver + ga + item received + o + morau.

The [receiver + ga]  part is often omitted, since the receiver is usually the speaker or someone in the speaker’s in-group. Let’s look at some examples:

Kinou nihon no tomodachi ni tegami o moratta. || Yesterday I received a letter from a friend in Japan.
Okasan kara Yamato-kun ga inu o moraitai. || Yamato wants to receive a dog from his mom.

If you’re receiving something from someone of a higher rank than you, you would use itadaku instead of morau. The same structures apply.

Te-form verbs + morau

Like the giving verbs, morau can also be used in conjunction with verbs in their te-form. In this case, the verb in te-form is the action you had someone perform on your behalf (and you received its benefits). This is the basic structure:

Performer of action + ni + receiver + ga + item received + o + te-form verb + morau.

This can easily be confused with the te-form + giving verb structure, so let’s compare:

Tomodachi ni kono muzukashii nihongo o yonde moratta. || I had a friend read this difficult Japanese for me.
Tomodachi ga kono muzukashii nihongo o yonde kureru. || A friend read this difficult Japanese for my benefit.

You really have to look at it from the perspective of giving and receiving, which is difficult in English since we don’t really differentiate. Sometimes both the giving verb and receiving verb can be used together:

te-form verb + moratte + kudasai

ex: Kaite moratte kudasai. || Please have it written down.

Ok, I some of my notes for morau at school, so this is all I have so far, but there is more complicated stuff that I will add to this soon. When I get my notes that is.

In this session of Japanese with Jenny, I’m going to be talking about how to use “to omou“, which translates roughly to “I think…“. Since Japanese speech style tends to be more indirect than Western speech style, using “to omou” becomes relatively common. The sentence pattern is:

[noun + da] OR [direct form adj.] OR [direct form verb] + to omou.

Of course, perfective tense can be used for the noun/adj/verb as well. The most important thing is that the direct form must always be used before to omou. Some examples:

Hana da to omou. || I think it’s a flower.
Takai to omou. || I think it’s expensive.
Nihongo o benkyou suru to omou. || I think I’ll study Japanese.

Questions words like nani or itsu plus ka can also be used before “to omou”, as long as the entire predicate is in direct form. In this case, “to omou” would translate to “I wonder…”. So for example:

Nani ga ii ka to omou. || I wonder what is good.
Kaigi wa itsu ka to omotte imasu. || I’ve been wondering when the meeting is.

The -tai form verb with “to omou”, which expresses your wish, is also regularly used together. Some examples:

Nihon de ryoko sitai to omou. || I think I want to travel in Japan.
Takai desu kedo, kono hon o kaitai to omou. || Though it’s expensive, I think I want to buy this book.

But when we use a direct consultative-form verb before “to omou”, it expresses intention. Remember, the consultative-form verb by itself usually means that you’ll probably perform the action of that verb. So for example:

Ichi nichi tyuu tenisu o siyou to omou. || I think that I’m going to play tennis all day.
Sono sushiya de tabeyou to omou. || I think that I’m going to eat at that sushi place.

Now let’s turn the direct consultative-form verb into a question by adding ka after the verb, but before “to omou”. Much like the previous pattern with question word + ka, it means that the activity is still questionable or in the process of debating. For example:

Kare wa koen ni ikou ka to omou. || I wonder if he’ll go to the park.
Hana o ageyou ka to omou.  || I wonder if I’ll give flowers.

Finally, a comparison of all the different patterns:

Nihongo o benkyou suru to omou. || I think I’ll study Japanese.
Nihongo o benkyou sitai to  omou. || I think I want to study Japanese.
Nihongo o benkyou siyou to omou. || I think that I’m going to study Japanese.
Nihongo o benkyou siyou ka to omou. || I wonder if I’ll study Japanese.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, but never really had the time to get to it since classes have been keeping me busy. As some of you might know, I’m taking Japanese classes right now and on my way to pursuing a minor in the language. And if any of you has tried learning the language, you’ll know that with all these grammar points, phrases, and verb conjugations, it’s a LOT to memorize. I usually take notes in my texbook, but then it gets really disorganized and I can never find what I’m looking for, so from now on, I’m going to be writing out my Japanese notes here :D But some things first:

  • These notes are not meant for newbies.
    So if you have no knowledge in Japanese, you probably won’t know what I’m talking about, since I will not be covering the basics.
  • These are meant for people who have basic knowledge in the language and would like to further their understanding in the grammar structures.
  • That being said, these are my notes, and I’m only a student myself, so bear with me if there are any mistakes in them.
  • If you do see any, please let me know in the comments!
  • These notes work best if you use the “Japanese: The Spoken Language“[1. Horrible material in my opinion, but I don't have much of a choice there -_-] textbook series, as that’s what I use for my classes.

So for those of you who are ONLY interested in my Japanese notes, please subscribe to Japanese with Jenny via rss. If you’re already subscribed to my blog, you don’t need to subscribe again. You also check out the most recent articles on my sidebar under “Japanese Notes“, and for the complete series, you can find it under “Japanese” in the archives. Yeah, I know, so far I only have 1 article, and that one grammar point has been screwing me over since last semester. -_-

Lastly, if any of you are interested in guest writing Japanese notes, let me know :D Credit will be given to you for that article, plus you get a cool little blurb after the post about yourself.

Hi and welcome to Japanese with Jenny! In this post I’ll be talking about the 3 Japanese giving verbs — kureru,  ageru, morau — and how to use them alone and with conjugated -te form verbs.


This means that someone else gives something to you (or someone in your in-group) for your benefit.  If the giver is of a higher rank or status (ex. your teacher or boss), then you use kudasaru instead. The sentence pattern is as follows:

Giver + ga/wa + receiver + ni + object given + o + kureru/kudasaru.

When /receiver + ni/ is omitted, it implies that the speaker is the receiver. So for example:

Takashi-kun ga Sayuri-chan ni hana o kureru. || Takashi gave Sayuri flowers (for her benefit).
Sensei ga hon o kudasaru. ||  The teacher gave me a book (for my benefit).


This means that you (or someone in your in-group) gives something to someone else for their benefit.  If the receiver is of a higher rank or status (ex. your teacher or boss), then you use sashiageru[1. Generally not used with the te-form verb.] instead. If the receiver is of the same or lower rank (ex. your younger brother a pet), you use yaru. The sentence pattern is as follows:

Giver + ga/wa + receiver + ni + object given + o + ageru/sashiageru/yaru.

When /giver + ga/ is omitted, it implies that the speaker is the giver. So for example:

Ueki ni mizu o yaru. || I water the plants. (lit. I give the plants water for their benefits.)
Sensei ni  shukudai o sashiageru. ||  I give the teacher my homework (for his benefits).

Te-form verbs + kureru/ageru

Instead of simply giving an object, now an action is given. In other words, the verb in te-form is performed for someone (and their benefit), depending on whether ageru or kureru is used. An object can still be involved, but the focus is now on the action performed (te-form verb). The sentence pattern are as follows:

Giver + ga/wa + receiver + ni + object given + o + te-form verb + kureru/kudasaru.
Giver + ga/wa + receiver + ni + object given + o + te-form ver + ageru/yaru.

Again, when /giver + ga/ is omitted for ageru or when /receiver + ni/ is omitted for kureru, it implies that the speaker is the giver/receiver. So for example:

Takashi-kun ga hana o katte kureru. || Takashi buys me flowers (for my benefit).
Sayuri-chan ni tizu o kaite ageru. || I draw a map for Sayuri (and her benefit).