Even though Japanese has relatively few verb tenses and forms compared to many languages, there are still quite a lot of variations – all of which take time to learn and internalize.
That’s where a cheat sheet can help! Something like this…
This Japanese Verb Tense Cheat Sheet summarizes everything you need to know to understand:
There are two versions – one with hiragana, one with romaji – and both are free!
Here’s a quick breakdown of the sections of the cheat sheet:
Two of the first particles that you are likely to encounter when learning Japanese are “ni”「に」 and “de”「で」.
They are often confused with one another for a couple of fairly obvious reasons:
In most cases, however, the difference between these two particles is actually very simple. You just need a proper understanding of what they do.
In this article, I will use examples to show you the clear difference between “ni”「に」 and “de”「で」, and give you a few simple and practical rules you can apply to ensure you always choose the right one.
“Desu”「です」 is a tricky word.
It is one of the first words that most Japanese language students encounter, yet it is also one of the most misunderstood. Far too many people are mistakenly led to believe that it just makes a sentence polite, and although that is effectively all it does in some cases, it is so much more than that.
The truth is that much of the time, “desu” is actually a verb.
In simple terms, “desu” is the copula verb “to be” or “is”. It is the verb that links together two nouns, or a noun and an adjective, as being equal: A = B. Typically, this will be done using the pattern:
A wa B desu.
In polite Japanese, “desu” can almost always be interpreted this way, but it can be much more confusing once we deviate from simple polite sentences. This is because the informal equivalent of “desu” takes different forms depending on the situation.
To truly understand “desu”「です」, we need to take a close look at what role it plays in different situations.
Understanding the role of “desu”「です」 will make it much easier to determine when we should (and shouldn’t) use it, and in what form.
Perhaps more importantly, a proper understanding of “desu”「です」 will also give us a more complete picture of Japanese grammar and sentence structure as a whole.
In this article, I’m going to explore in depth the practical uses of “desu”「です」 and its underlying purpose in different situations.
By the end, you should have a fairly clear understanding of what “desu”「です」 is, when you should use it, and, perhaps most importantly, how it fits into the overall Japanese grammar system.
A very important (and often underrated) aspect of Japanese that will help you communicate effectively is good pronunciation.
Getting your tongue around a new language can be hard work, but the reality is that proper pronunciation is essential to speaking.
If you can speak clearly, you will be understood - even if your grammar and vocab aren't perfect.
The opposite is not true, however, as perfectly formed sentences mean nothing to a person if they can't understand the sounds coming out of your mouth.
Good pronunciation can also greatly improve your confidence, which means you’ll be more willing to put yourself out there and speak as often as possible.
Like all physical skills, the key to good pronunciation is simple...
You can't train your tongue to shape the right sounds by reading about it. The muscles need to be developed, and your ears need to be trained to identify the subtle differences too.
Although this does generally get harder with age (part of the reason immigrant kids usually have much better pronunciation than their parents), with practice, it can still be learnt.
Quite simply, the more you do it, the easier it gets, and the more natural you will sound.
Below is my detailed guide to Japanese pronunciation. It includes a thorough explanation of all the different sounds in the language, as well as audio for each sound and a few useful words to practice with.
Learning Japanese can be a bit overwhelming at times, but it ultimately boils down to a few simple rules.
Remembering and internalising those rules will give you the biggest boost on your path to fluency, because you only need to learn them once and you can then apply them every single time you speak, read, write or listen to Japanese.
It can be hard to bring yourself to study the same things over and over again, so I’ve made a handy little cheat sheet to make it easy.
Well, really, I’ve made two – one with romaji and one with hiragana. Here’s a zoomed-out look at the hiragana version:
The best part? I’m giving these cheat sheets away for free.
Just click below to get your copy of these printable PDFs, which are available in both A4 and A3 sizes.Click here to download the cheat sheet
Want more details before you download?
Read on for a quick breakdown of what’s included on the cheat sheet.