Japanese Grammar

Wasabi’s Online Japanese Grammar Reference

Grammar Reference

Complete Guide to Japanese Grammar

*Work in progress

We have designed the contents of this grammar guide to be both learning tools and references. Thus, if you’d like to systematically learn Japanese grammar, please read through the guide from the beginning. If you’d like to find or refer to a particular topic, please press “Control + F” (or “Command + F”) and type your search query (such as a sentence pattern that you want to know) in Hiragana. Alternatively, utilize the Custom Search provided by Google. 


Table of Contents

The kindle version is available with audio files for all of the examples at this link. Please visit there if you like to read it at off-line with native speaker’s voice.

Basic Grammar

1. Part of Speech
1-1. Japanese Nouns: State-of-Being: だ, です, じゃない, and じゃありません
1-2. Topic Particle は and Particle も
1-3. Japanese Adjectives with Particle が
1-4. Japanese Verbs: U-verbs, Ru-verbs and Conjugation
1-5. Subjects of Japanese Verbs with Particle は and が
1-6. Objects of Japanese Verbs with Particle を, に, and と
1-7. Particle で: Expressing Supplementary Information
1-8. Particles: から and まで
1-9. Parallel Markers: と, や, か, and とか
1-10. Particle の: Possessor and Modifier
1-11. Combined Particles
1-12. Nominalizers: こと and の
1-13. Relative Clauses
1-14. Japanese Adverbs
1-15. Advanced Adjectives: Noun Phrases & Particular Particles
1-16. Advanced Verbs: Intransitive VS. Transitive
1-17. Sentence Ending Particles: ね, よ, and よね
2. Japanese Counting System
2-1. Japanese Numerals
2-2. Japanese Counters
2-3. How Japanese Counting System Works in a Sentence
3. Interrogative Sentence
3-1. Explanatory のだ(んだ)
3-2. Question Markers: か and の
3-3. Japanese Demonstratives: これ, それ, あれ, and どれ with Identifier Particle が
3-4. Japanese Wh-questions: 何, どの, 誰・どなた, どこ, and どっち・どちら
3-5. Japanese Wh-questions: どんな and どう
3-6. Japanese Wh-questions: どうして・なぜ・なんで, いつ, いくつ, いくら and どのぐらい
3-7. Negative Questions and How to Respond
3-8. How Japanese Question Words Work outside of Wh-questions
4. Others
4-1. Japanese Word Order


Essential Grammar

5. Tense and Aspect
5-1. Present and Future Tense with Time-Nouns
5-2. Present Progressive Tense and Resultant State with Te-form
5-3. Existence and Possession ある and ない
5-4. Past and Present Perfect Tense with Ta-form
5-5. How to Modify Nouns with Ta-form
5-6. Another Function of the Ta-form: Discovery and Recall
5-7. Experience …ことがある and …ている
5-8. Japanese Aspect: 始める, だす,  続ける, つつある, 終わる, やむ, and ところだ
5-9. Other Utilization of Te-form てしまう, てある, ておく, and てみる
6. Key Sentence Patterns
6-1. Expressing Change: なる and する
6-2. Potential Form: (ら)れる and ことができる
6-3. Passive Form: (ら)れる with the particle に, から and によって
6-4. Causative Form: させる with the particle に and を
6-5. Receiving and Giving: あげる,くれる, and もらう
6-6. Helping Verbs: …ていく and …てくる
6-7. Quotation: と, という, and ように
6-8. Comparison: より, 方が, and …(の中)で一番
6-9. Numbers and Amounts: も, だけ, しか, ばかり, and すぎる
7. Modality (Speaker’s Feelings)
7-1. Certainty: だろう, かもしれない, はずだ, and に違いない
7-2. Judgments: そうだ, ようだ, みたいだ, and らしい
7-3. Desire: たい, 欲しい, and …て欲しい
7-4. Volition: …(よ)う and つもりだ
7-5. Invitations and Offers: (よ)う, (よ)うか, and ない
7-6. Command and Requests: しろ, なさい, and て+ください・くれる・もらう
7-7. Obligation and Prohibition: だめだ, いけない, and ならない
7-8. Advice and Permission: てもいい and 方がいい
8. Compound Sentences
8-1. Sequential and Parallel Actions: …て, …たり, and …し
8-2. Negative Sequential and Parallel Actions: …ないで, …なくて, and …ずに
8-3. Simultaneous Actions: …ながら and …たまま
8-4. Time Clauses: …とき, …てから, …後で, …前に, …あいだに, and …うちに
8-5. Reasons: …から and …ので
8-6. Aims: …ために, …に, …のに, and …ように
8-7. Conditionals: …と, …ば, …たら, and …なら
8-8. Reverse Condition:  …ても, …のに, and …が・けど・けれど・けれども
8-9. Major Conjunctions


Advanced Grammar

9. Polite Speech: Keigo
9-1. The Honorific Form, the Humble Form, and the Polite Form
9-2. How Keigo (Polite Speech) Works in Conversation
9-3. Japanese Literary Style: である and ではない
10. Compound Particles
10-1. Target: に対して, について, and にかかわる
10-2. Reasons (Causation): によって, につき, おかげで, and せいで
10-3. Space and Time: において, にて, をもって, にかけて, にわたって, and を通じて
10-4. Means and Standard: によって, を通じて, にて, に沿って, 基づいて, and 即して
10-5. Conditions: によって, 次第で, に応じて, 問わず, にかかわらず, なしで, and なしに
11. Advanced Parts of Speech
11-1. Omissions of Particles and は VS. が
11-2. Compound Verbs
11-3. Supplementary Subordinate Clauses: XをYに
11-4. Interjection and Emotional Expressions
11-5. Generic Nouns: もの and こと
11-6. Suffix and Prefix
11-7. Sentence Ending Particles な, なあ, っけ, わ, ぞ, and さ
12. Advanced Sentence Patterns
12-1. Doubts: かな, かしら, だろうか, and ではないか
12-2. Explanatory わけだ
12-3. Partial Negation and Double Negative
12-4. Difficulty and Possibility …やすい, …にくい, …かねる and …得る
12-5. Topic-related Expressions: というのは, といえば, and だが
12-6. Limitation: 限る, にかけては, ならでは, and ともかく
12-7. Addition: だけでなく, ばかりか, もちろんのこと, and にとどまらず
12-8. Subjective Evaluation: さえ, でも, まで, なんて, くらい, and こそ



We sincerely respect previous research on Japanese language, especially for the following works. Taking this opportunity, let us express our deepest gratitude to the linguists and the editors.

  • 初級を教える人のための日本語文法ハンドブック
  • 中上級を教える人のための日本語文法ハンドブック
  • GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese I
  • GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese II
  • A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
  • A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar
  • 東京外国語大学言語モジュール
  • Tae Kim’s Japanese Grammar Guide

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