Code and Stuff

Japanese Grammar Recap

by Don on November 22, 2020 underjapanese

It’s been a little while since I’ve written anything on the subject of Japanese grammar, or indeed anything at all, so I figured I’d do a little catch up by making some notes of grammar points and what not that I’ve recently studied on my own and while working with my instructor. This is mostly for my own use, to collect this stuff into a single repository where I can check back on it, but if you find it to be useful at all, then great!

On to the grammar!

Noun+で/から できる/できている

This is a construct to indicate that something is made of something else. から is used when the material isn’t obvious, and できている is used when speaking of something specific, while できる is used more generally.

My house is made of wood.

This car is made of plastic.

Baltimore Berger Cookies are made with a lot of chocolate.

Adjective Stem + さ

If you attach this to an adjective, it becomes a noun - this works for both い and な adjectives.

My lunch isn't spicy enough.

I think the coldness of winter in Canada is hard to deal with.

The warmth of coffee is the best!

Noun + の / Verb + ように

This indicates that something resembles something else, or when something is as the latter part explains.

He looks like a child, but he's 35.

If you keep crying like a baby, you can't go to McDonald's!

If you sing as yo uheard on the CD, you'll become good at it.


This gives a reason for something being famous.

Baltimore is famous for crabs.

Although cats are known for napping, my cats are always running around!

Although Japanese is famous for its difficulty, I want to study it.

Russia is famous for winter.

Verb (non past)+こと(が/も)ある

This indicates that something occasionally occurs.

Sometimes I don't understand Japanese, but I study every day.

Even if I have money, sometimes I don't want to go to a restaurant.

I clean almost every day, but sometimes I relax.

After school, I usually go home, but occasionally I'm hungry and I go to a convenience store.

~か/かどうかは Noun に(よって違う/よる)

This says that something is different depending on the situation.

Favorite foods depend on the person.

Graduation ceremonies vary depending on the school.

Whether you can keep a dog depends on the size of your house.

Verb stem + 始める

This is used to say that you are beginning to (verb).

After I woke up, I started eating breakfast.	

I want to get well, so I started running recently.

When my brother turned on the radio, everyone started singing.

Noun + Particle + の + Noun

Tomorrow, I'm going to a concert which starts at 9pm.

I want to go to Shinjuku, because there's a festival that lasts until Wednesday.

I'm going to buy a game for my brother.

~は Sentenceと言われている

This indicates something is commonly said about the something.

Because of Kanji, Japanese is said to be difficult.

It's said that dogs are very kind.


This is basically “speaking of ~”

Speaking of crab, I'm hungry..

Oh!  Speaking of school, I forgot my homework!

Speaking of Tokyo, have you been to Shinjuku Gyoen?

Speaking of books, last week I went to a new bookstore with my wife.


This lists things in a way that indicates there are more things, much like や, but can also be used for verb phrases. The final とか is optional if it’s followed by a particle, but required if it isn’t. It’s also required when using する.

Every day, I do things like exercising, cleaning and napping.

When I went to Japan, I ate things like ramen and curry.

I like things like kickboxing, bouldering and Aikido.

~というのは (Nounのこと/ということ or Sentenceということ/という意味)

This gives a definition of a word.

"How are you?"というのは「元気?」という意味だ。
"How are you?" means 「元気?」

「ちょっと待って!」というのは"Hold on a moment"という意味です。
「ちょっと待って!」 means "Hold on a moment".

「柔術」というのは"gentle art"という意味です。
Juujutsu means "gentle art".


That’s it for now! Mind you, some of these sentences may not be perfect, or they may be grammatically correct but a bit unnatural to actually use - nevertheless, they illustrated the grammatical concepts enough for me not to be corrected too harshly on them.

Most of this can be found in the first chapter of Tobira, which is a pretty good intermediate level textbook. Of course, you can also find these at many sites around the Internet.

© 2023 Don Walizer Jr