Grammar detail: Getting started with Japanese grammar

Getting started with Japanese grammar
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Grammar is the backbone of a language: the way to put the words together to form complete sentences.
So it's very important to learn grammar. But, just as you didn't learn to use your native language every day by memorizing lists of grammar rules, memorizing Japanese grammar is not the best or fastest way to learn Japanese. We recommend that you learn Japanese by using it, which means finding material that's suitable for your current level of knowledge, and learning the grammar, kanji, and words in that material as you go.

Getting started

The best place to start is with our Beginner Lessons. Our Beginner Lessons introduce about 50 basic grammatical concepts, along with suitable example sentences and vocabulary, and the most important 100 kanji.
If you are already using a Japanese textbook, we recommend you use our Textbook Companion, which lets you work through your existing textbook, using Kanshudo as a place to track your progress, study flashcards, play games etc.

How to use the grammar library

The best way to use our grammar library is as a reference tool. When you run into constructions you don't recognize, you can search for them. If you are trying to find constructions of a certain type, use the lists and searches linked from the grammar home page. When you are getting ready for a Japanese Language Proficiency Test, you can use the searches to make sure you know all grammar for your level.
You can tap the star next to any grammar point to add it to your Favorites, and you can then use Quick Study or create Flashcards.

More information

For more information on our approach to learning Japanese generally, see our guide, Getting started with Japanese. For our approach to learning Japanese kanji specifically, see our guide How to master the kanji.
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Change component list
By default the component builder shows the most common components (themselves joyo kanji, or used in at least 3 other joyo kanji). Select an alternative set of components below.

Full details of all components and their English names can be found here.
Help with the component builder
For detailed instructions, see the Component builder how to guide.
To find any kanji, first try to identify the components it is made up of.
For any components you recognize, if you know the English meaning or name, start typing it in the text area. Full details of all components and their English names can be found here.
Alternatively, count the strokes of the component, and scan the list to find it visually.
To find the kanji :
  • Notice that it is made of several components: 氵 艹 口 夫.
  • 氵 艹 口 all have three strokes, so you could look in the list in the 3 stroke section. 夫 has four strokes.
  • Alternatively, you could start typing 'water' (氵), 'grass' (艹), 'mouth' (口) or 'husband' (夫) in the search area, and the components will be highlighted in yellow.
  • Keep adding components until you can see your kanji in the list of matches that appears near the top.