Lesson 14 – How To Express Should Using べき・はずだ

Lesson 14 – How To Express Should Using べき・はずだ

During this lesson, you will be taught how to express the feeling of “should” or “ought to.” Since Japanese is a suggestive language this grammar point will prove to be especially useful in your Japanese learning journey.


There are two ways to express should in the Japanese language, and while the two of these grammar points are extremely similar there is still a distinction.

  1. べきだ

Think of べきだ as a casual way to express “should.” It is more casual because rather than expressing the listener’s judgment, it expresses the speaker’s judgment. You should not use べきだ when suggesting what someone else “must do.” It can be used as a soft suggestion for what they can do. Overall べきだ is a balance between formal statement and slack suggestions.


べき follows verbs in their plain dictionary form. It is always accompanied by the ender だ。It can be conjugated into present positive or negative depending on the situation.

Verb Dictionary Form + べきだ

Verb Dictionary Form + べきじゃない

Verb Dictionary Form + べきじゃなかった

Irregular Verb する(す) + べき・べきじゃなかった・べきじゃない




Since I have an exam I should eat something.



I should wash my hair.



We should see that new movie together.



I should take my medicine since I am sick.



You should not have said those things.



You were supposed to do your homework by yourself.



You should not just marry anybody!


  1. はずだ

If はず were to be compared to an English meaning, the closest term used to describe it would be “assumption.” Unlike べきだ、はずだ is used when the person has enough knowledge and experience about the noun being changed. It is more of a ‘predictive’ grammar form when matched up with べきだ。


はずだ is actually a noun itself, but it is never used alone. It can be used by adding it the end of a sentence after the conjugated verb or adjective.

Noun + はずだ

Verb + はずだ

~はずがない (Negative Form)



This book was not so hard to read. (Having experienced the book)


He should know that (judging on what I know he knows)


My mom should be here soon (judging on the information that I know already).


This grammar point is simple and works very well when in suggestive situations. But, always be careful when using べきだ as it should not be used for speaking to someone who is higher in status than you. Let us try an exercise to test your knowledge of べき・はず





What should you do in the following scenarios?

Use your imagination, but stick to the script ?

Answer In Japanese.


You are sick, and your doctor gives you medicine…

Your friend has no money…what should you do?

You want to buy a car in your favorite color. (Your color is red)

You need to wash your hair because you have a party to go to tomorrow.



Answer Key (Answers may vary)







Lesson 13 – Time Adverbs And How To Use Them


Hello everyone! This lesson we’ll be discussing some a little bit off the standard path we’ve been taking so far. But, it can still be considered an essential part of language learning, especially in such an expressive language like Japanese. Today we’ll be looking at adverbs of time that you can use to express your Japanese more, naturally.  Adverbs are everywhere in Japanese and you’re bound to hear at least 2 of them in a structured sentence at any given point in time.

In This Lesson

You’ll learn a list of super helpful adverbs that can be used in just about any situation.

-Adverbs of Time


Adverbs of Time

Japanese Adverbs 副詞(ふくし) English Translation
1.      後(あと)で Later
2.      今(いま) Now
3.      前(まえ) Before
4.      まだ Still, Yet
5.      ここ Here
6.      そこ There
7.      あそこ Over There
8.     どこでも Everywhere
9.     どこか Anywhere
10.  どこにも~ない Nowhere
11.  今夜(こんや) Tonight
12.  昨夜(さくや) Last night
13.  今朝(けさ) This morning
14.  明日(あした) Tomorrow
15.  今日(きょう) Today
16.  昨日(きのう) Yesterday

In order to use adverbs of time, you have to be aware of sentence order. Good thing for you is that sentence order in Japanese doesn’t really matter once your sentence makes coherent sense (this is another lesson entirely).

Example of Using Adverbs of Time


I will go to bed after studying


I’m here now.


He is everywhere and nowhere.

Do you see what I mean when I say that adverbs can go どこか in a sentence? Just be sure they make sense at the end of the day and that your grammar is correct.

When To Use Adverbs of Time In Japanese

I’m sure as some of you may be aware, Japanese is a language where saying less means saying more. The more concise you be while using as little detail as possible will work out to your benefit. Meaning that if you choose to use a time adverb you’ll be contracting the details of what you want to say or write. Here are some examples.

八時午後(はちじごご)に公園(こうえん)に歩(ある)きました。= 今夜公園(こんやこうえん)に歩(ある)きます。

At 8 pm I am walking to the park = Tonight I am walking to the park.

Substituting the exact time for a general portion of the day may be less precise, but it still gets your message across.

かどでテーブルにいます。= あそこのテーブルにいます

I’ll be at the table in the corner = I’ll be at that table over there.

Another way you can use adverbs of time is to replace a specific location with a general direction.



Now that you’ve learned some of the basics to time adverbs, you should be able to find your way around a conversation with our good friends Takeshi and Mary.

Find the time adverbs used in the following dialogue. After finding the adverbs, do your best to accurately translate the scenario.






Okay, Mary and Takeshi are a bit of a handful in this scenario, so if you don’t understand some of the words they are using I’m here to help!

現(あらわ)れせてもらってください – Please show me

準備(じゅんび) – Preparations

期末試験(きまつしけん) – Final Exam




Answer Key






メアリ:Takeshi, why do you always go to sleep after you study?

たけし:That’s not fair! It was that one time only. Besides, yesterday I had a final exam.

メアリ:Oh, is that so. Well, what are you up to now?

たけし:Well…. I have a date later so I’m getting ready.

メアリ:REALLLYYYY!!!??? Did you just say a date? Well after you’re done getting ready, you’ll have to show me a picture of this person’s face, because I really don’t believe you.

Lesson 12 – Talking About Future Intent つもり


Konnichiwa! The last lesson taught you to express what you did last week, so now you know how to explain to your friends that you’re not a “total” loser. You can tell them that you went to that awesome rock concert or that packed street festival. This lesson will focus on future intent and will introduce you to the grammar particle つもり and おう/よう。

Before we continue it is important to note that both grammar particles technically mean the same thing, however, the one difference is the formality.

つもり is more formal than おう・よう

The importance of this grammar point lies in its abilities to express specifics rather than just the future tense.  Sure, you can always use ~ます or the dictionary form of the verb to express future tense, but it will lack intent, and intent is what you want in a language where saying less means saying more.

Let’s look at this grammar particle in action through a conversation between Mary and Takeshi








Mary: Takeshi, where are you planning on going today?

Takeshi: Well… there is a festival in Ikebukuro. Perhaps, I’ll go.

Mary: Do you plan on going alone? That sounds so lonely…

Takeshi: No…Nothing like that! Mary, did you plan on going with me?

Mary: Obviously! We are friends, aren’t we?


Okay so clearly Mary has some attachment issues, but let’s break this conversation down grammatically.

The つもり grammar particle is attached to the end of a verb in its dictionary form, and it can be used in past tense form as well. In the dialogue, we see 行くつもり and 行くつもりでした


Remember dictionary from + つもりです・だ ( is short form)

For the short form of つもり, it’s a bit trickier but there is a sure way to master it. おう is for u verbs and よう is for ru verbs, simply drop the u or the ru and add おうor よう


Here is a table of example verbs and the つもり/ おう。よう grammar particle


Verb Verb Type Tsumori Ou-you
食(た)べる RU- VERB 食べるつもり 食べよう
買(か)う U- VERB 買うつもり 買おう
飲(の)む U- VERB 飲むつもり 飲もう
する IRR- VERB するつもり しよう
来(く)る IRR – VERB 来るつもり こよう


All, except for the last two being する and くる follow the pattern mentioned above. する and 来る are irregular verbs. Meaning they act differently from other verbs, so try and add a bit more extra effort to memorize those readings!



Takeshi and Mary are at a restaurant having dinner, can you translate their conversation into Japanese using the new grammar you just learned? Feel free to use long or short form ?. Good luck!

Takeshi: Mary, what do you plan on eating?

Mary: Maybe, I’ll get the potatoes and chicken

Takeshi: Oh, I see, that sounds delicious

Mary: What about you Takeshi?

Takeshi: Ummm… last week I started a new diet so I only plan on drinking red wine.

(See the answer key below if you need help)



Mary and Takeshi Lesson About Tsumori







Answer Key






Lesson 11 – Talking about last week


We learned about verbs (past tense) in the previous lesson. In this lesson, will practice how to use some of the verbs you have learned in your daily conversation.  Please review Lesson 5, 6, and 10 if you forgot about verbs.

Try to use these verbs and talk with Japanese people near you!


In this Lesson
You’ll learn how to make a conversation by using the verbs you’ve learned.

ともこ: しゅうまつ、なにをしましたか?
いちろう:がっこうに いきました。

Tomoko: Syumatu, nani wo shimasita ka?
Ichiro: Gakkou ni ikimashita.
Tomoko: Eh? Doushite?
Ichiro: Denwa wo nakushimashita kara, sagashimashita.
Tomoko: Soudesuka… Denwa wa arimashita ka?
Ichiro: Iie. Arimasen desita.

Tomoko: What did you do last weekend?
Ichiro: I went to school.
Tomoko: Rearlly? Why?
Ichiro: I lost my phone, so I looked for it.
Tomoko: Is that so? Did you find it?
Ichiro: No, I couldn’t find it.



Pronunciation Meaning
しゅうまつ Shumatu Weekend
なに Nani What
しました Shimashita Did
がっこう Gakkou School
Ni To
いきました Ikimashita Went
え? Eh? Really?
*どうして? Doushite? Why?
でんわ Denwa Home phone/ cell phone
なくしました Nakushimashita Lost
から Kara …,so…
さがしました Sagashimashita Looked for…
そうですか Soudesuka… Is that so?
ありました Arimashita Found it
ありませんでした Arimasendeshita Didn’t find it


*どうしてmeans why? If you’re talking to your friend, you can also say なんで?(Nande?) なんで? sounds more casual than どうして?


Change this conversation into Japanese.

1. Sakura: What did you do last weekend?
Toru: I went to Royal Randwick Racecourse.
Sakura: Why?
Toru: It was a Sport’s event.

2. Hitomi: What did you do last weekend?
Goro: I had Japanese food at Sushi Train.
Hitomi: Is that so?
Goro: It was 7 pm, so it was crowded.



  1. さくら:しゅうまつ、なにをしましたか?

  2. ひとみ:しゅうまつ、なにをしましたか?
    ごろう:Sushi Trainでにほんりょうりをたべました。


  1. lesson11_img02

Lesson 10 – Past Tense Verbs


In the previous lesson, we learned all about time and the months in the year. Now that you have several lessons and a lot of very basic Japanese under your belt, let’s switch gears and learn about past tense verbs. It has been a while since we have worked on verbs, so you may want to review Lessons 5 and 6. This lesson will focus on the past tense of verbs. If you want to learn more verbs, look for them in future lessons or use a dictionary. The essential patterns for forming the conjugations you will need can be found in this lesson and applied to other verbs.

In this lesson

–          Past Tense Verbs: Affirmative

–          Past Tense Verbs: Negative

–          Homework

–          Answer Key

Past Tense Verbs – Affirmative

The way you conjugate verbs into past tense will depend on whether the verb is a る verb, a う verb, or an irregular verb. For starters, る verbs will conjugate like so:

ねる à ねます à ねました

The starting point is always the dictionary form of the verb. This is what you will see if you look up the verb in the dictionary. Dictionaries do not usually give you any specific conjugations of a verb, unless they are in example sentences or the dictionary is a special verb dictionary. Knowing the dictionary form of a verb is very important!

Since ねる is a る verb, we get to the present affirmative tense by removing the る and adding ます. Now to move into the past affirmative tense, you simply remove the す and add した. This makes the verb past tense. Alternatively, you can start with the dictionary form, remove the る, and add the past tense ending ました. Either way is fine. ねました therefore is the past tense of ねます. So if you wanted to say you slept on Tuesday, you would use: かようびにねました.

Now let’s consider a う verb. Look at the pattern below.

のむ à のみますà のみました

Remember that with う verbs, you change the last syllable of the verb and add ます. Since のむ ends in む, you change it to み. If the う verb you are working with ends in う, you would change it to い and so on. (If you are looking at a hiragana chart, you change the final syllable to the one that appears above it on the chart!)

Here, just like the る verbs, you change ます to ました.

For irregular verbs, you just have to memorize their past tense form. They do not follow a pattern like the る and う verbs do. However, they do still follow the change ます to ました rule!

する à します à しました

くる à きます à きました

Past Tense Verbs – Negative

Now for conjugating verbs in the negative form! This is really easy to do once you know the present affirmative, present negative, and past affirmative forms. Look at the pattern below.

たべる à たべません à たべませんでした

As you can see, all you have to do is take the present negative form of a verb and add でした to the end of it, thus making it past tense (and still negative).

かう à かいません à かいませんでした

するà しません à しませんでした

Simple, right?

Now it’s time to practice what you’ve learned. Use the exercises below to learn more verbs and practice conjugating them.


Section 1: Look at the pictures below. Think of the verb that fits the picture and then conjugate it into the past affirmative and past negative forms.






Section 2: In the table below, you will find some Japanese verbs with their English translations. The verbs are listed in dictionary form, and you may or may not have seen them in previous lessons. The type of verb is given in the last column. Use this information to conjugate each verb into present affirmative, present negative, past affirmative, and past negative forms.


Japanese English Verb Type
きまる To be decided; certain
きく To hear; to listen
おちる To fall; to come off
まかす To entrust to; to defeat
する To do Irregular
たすかる To be saved
ほめる To praise
たべる To eat
かう To buy
だます To deceive or cheat
ためす To test; to try
うたう To sing; to express
かえる To return
なくす To lose something or someone
ことわる To refuse; to decline
かわかす To dry
いる To be, stay, be doing
はなす To speak; to talk
でかける To go out
はじめり To begin; to open



Answer Key

Section 1:

  1. おきました おきませんでした
  2. のみました    のみませんでした
  3. しました しませんでした
  4. ねました ねませんでした
  5. かきました    かきませんでした

Section 2:

1.きまります  きまりません  きまりました          きまりませんでした

2.ききます            ききません      ききました                 ききませんでした

3.おちます            おちません      おちました                 おちませんでした

4.まかします        まかしません  まかしました             まかしませんでした

5.します                しません          しました                     しませんでした

6.たすかります    たすかりません たすかりました            たすかりませんでした

7.ほめます            ほめません      ほめました                 ほめませんでした

8.たべます            たべません      たべました                 たべませんでした

9.かいます            かいません      かいました                    かいませんでした

10.だまします    だましません            だましました            だましませんでした

11.ためします    ためしません            ためしました            ためしませんでした

12.うたいます    うたいません            うたいました            うたいませんでした

13.かえります    かえりません            かえりました            かえりませんでした

14.なくします    なくしません            なくしました            なくしませんでした

15.ことわります ことわりません    ことわりました        ことわりませんでした

16.かわかします かわかしません    かわかしました        かわかしませんでした

17.います            いません        いました        いませんでした

18.はなします    はなしません            はなしました            はなしませんでした

19.でかけます    でかけません            でかけました            でかけませんでした

20.はじめます    はじめません            はじめました            はじめませんでした


Lesson 09 – Months, Seasons, Time


In the previous lesson, you learned how to talk about the days of the week. You also learned common time words such as the words for “tomorrow,” “weekend,” and “today.” This lesson will continue the theme of time and teach you how to say the months of the year as well as tell time in a general sense. Practice telling time in Japanese during your everyday life and this lesson will stick with you!

In this Lesson

–          Months of the year

–          How to tell time

–          Homework

–          Answer key


The table below gives you the Japanese words for the twelve months of the calendar year. These are really very easy if you already know your numbers!

English Hiragana Japanese
January いちがつ 一月
February にがつ 二月
March さんがつ 三月
April よんがつ 四月
May ごがつ 五月
June ろくがつ 六月
July しちがつ 七月
August はちがつ 八月
September くがつ 九月
October じゅうがつ 十月
November じゅういちがつ 十一月
December じゅうにがつ 十二月


From the chart above, it is easy to tell that each month is simply named by number plus the ending of がつ. がつ means “month.” The kanji for this is shown in the “Japanese” section of the table, along with the kanji for the numbers (which you should already know from Lesson 4)!

Seasons go along with months of the year, so check the table below for the translations of the seasons!

English Hiragana
Spring はる
Fall あき
Winter ふゆ
Summer なつ
The four seasons しき


How To Tell Time

Now, let’s move on to telling time in Japanese. The chart below details how to tell time when it is on the hour. Note that the table goes 1 through 12. The words for AM and PM are ごぜん and ごご respectively.

Arabic Numeral Japanese reading
1 一じ
2 二じ
3 三じ
4 四じ pronounced よじ
5 五じ
6 六じ
7 七じ
8 八じ
9 九じ pronounced くじ
10 十じ
11 十一じ
12 十二じ


Notice that the readings for time in Japanese are just the Japanese word for the number plus じ. If you want to say half past a certain time (meaning 3:30 instead of 3:00), you can simply add はん after じ. So, to say 3:00, it’s さんじ, but 3:30 is さんじはん.

You can also use the numbers you already know and ふん/ぷん to add minutes to the time. The ending ふん or ぷん means “minutes.” Depending on what number you are talking about, the word for “minute” fluctuates between ふん and ぷん. Look at the table below to learn which numbers take which ending.

English Hiragana
1 minute いっぷん
2 minutes にふん
3 minutes さんぷん
4 minutes よんぷん
5 minutes ごふん
6 minutes ろっぷん
7 minutes ななふん
8 minutes はちふん
9 minutes きゅうふん
10 minutes じゅっぷん

By looking at the charts above, you should be able to form any type of time in Japanese now! Study the charts until you become familiar with them, then try the exercises in the Homework section. First, here is a couple of examples.

2:17 pm = ごご二じ十七ふん

9:50 am = ごぜん九じ五十っぷん

*Note that there are two words for the numbers 4 and 7. 4 can be either よん or し. Usually for telling time, よん is shortened to よ and coupled with じ to form よじ. 7 can be either なな or しち. Usually for time, しち is used (しちじ). For minutes, you can use なな.

You can use the above method for telling times like 8:45, but you can also use another method. In English, you can say “a quarter ‘til 9” instead of 8:45. So, in Japanese you can either say 8:45 by saying 八じ四十五ふん, or you can say 九じ十五ふんまえ. This would be the equivalent of “a quarter ‘til 9.” Literally it would translate as “fifteen minutes before nine o’clock.” まえ means before.


Section 1: Look at the clocks below. Write out the time in Japanese. You do not need to include AM or PM.






Section 2: Translate the following times and short conversations into English or Japanese as needed.

  1. 10:00 AM
  2. 3:30 PM
  3. 12:45
  4. 8:28
  5. 11:56 PM
  6. 4:12 AM
  7. 9:08 AM
  8. 5:45 PM
  9. 7:17
  10. 2:37
  11. すみません、いまなんじですか。
  12. クラス はなんじですか。
    クラス はごぜん十じはんです。
  13. なんじにかえりますか。
  14. いま四じはんですか。
  15. ばんごはんはなんじですか。



Answer Key

Section 1:

  1. 十二じ
  2. 八じ
  3. 八じ四十五ふんor 九じ十五ふんまえ
  4. 七じはん
  5. 一じ十五ふん


Section 2:

  1. ごぜん十じ
  2. ごご三じはん
  3. 二十じ四十五ふん 一じ十五ふんまえ
  4. 八じ二十八ふん
  5. ごご十一じ五十六っぷん
  6. ごぜん四じ十二ふん
  7. ごぜん九じ八ふん
  8. 五じ四十五ふんor 六じ十五ふんまえ
  9. 七じ十七ふん
  10. 二じ三十七ふん
  11. Excuse me, what time is it now?
    It’s a quarter ‘til 10 PM.
  12. What time is class?
    Class is at 10:30 AM.
  13. What time are you returning?
    I’m returning at 3:15.
  14. Is it 4:30 now?
    No, it’s a quarter ‘til 4.
  15. What time is dinner?
    It’s at 6:30.

Lesson 08 – Days of the Week


In our last lesson, we focused on starting to learn some beginner’s kanji. Keep practicing those symbols as you continue with these lessons. There will be kanji lessons again soon, so make sure you have fully mastered the first kanji lesson before taking on those! This lesson will focus on teaching you how to talk about the days of the week and time. We will use the verb する (します/しません) a lot, but you should remember that verb from Lesson 5.

In This Lesson

  • Days of the week vocabulary
  • Usage
  • Homework
  • Answer key

Vocabulary for Days of the Week

In the table below, you will find the Japanese words for all of the days of the week. The kanji for these terms will be taught in a later lesson. For now, just focus on learning the hiragana! Below the table, there are some examples of how to talk about the days of the week.



Sunday にちようび
Monday げつようび
Tuesday かようび
Wednesday すいようび
Thursday もくようび
Friday きんようび
Saturday どようび
weekend しゅうまつ
today きょう
tomorrow あした
yesterday きのう


As you can see, each day of the week ends in the same sound (ようび). Only the first few syllables change, so the days of the week are easy to learn. In order to use them in a sentence, you can place the particle に after the day you are talking about. Normally, the day of the week you are talking about will go at the beginning of the sentence. This may change later as you get more comfortable with Japanese and learn more about the language. For now, leave the days of the week at the front of the sentence.

You can ask someone what they are doing on a specific day by saying ______になにをしますか. Or you can say ______になにがありますか. The latter means “what do you have on ______ (day of the week)?” This is usually used when talking about a schedule. But you can also just simply ask “What are you doing on  _____? with the first option listed above.

Since we have not had a lesson on あります yet, we will mostly focus on the first type of question for now. Later, you can learn how to answer an あります question.

Here is a sample conversation:

A: げつようびになにをしますか。

B:クラス にいきます。あなたはげつようびになにをしますか。

A: わたしはアルバイトにいきます。

Here is the translation: Person A says “What are (you) doing on Monday?” Person B answers: “Going to class. What are you doing on Monday?” Person A then responds: “I am going to my part-time job.”

This is a simple and typical conversation that really illustrates how to use the days of the week. You can replace げつようび with any of the days. You can also replace the activity that you are doing.

To use しゅうまつ, きょう, and あした, you can simply use that word where you would normally place a name like Monday or Tuesday. This time, however, you can leave off the に particle. Here is an example: “あしたがっこうにいきます.” This means “I am going to school tomorrow.” The word for “yesterday” is also listed in the vocabulary list above; however, since we have not covered past tense verbs yet, let’s save this word for later!


Section 1: Look at the images of the activities below. Make sentences about them in Japanese and choose a day of the week to place in the sentence. (Note: There is no answer key section for this part because you can make up several different scenarios for the pictures!)

Section 2: Translate the following from Japanese into English.

  1. きんようびにがっこうにいきますか。
  2. いいえ、きんようびにがっこうにいきません。
  3. しゅうまつなにをしますか。
  4. げつようびににほんごをべんきょうします。
  5. すいようびにクラスにいきます。
  6. もくようびにアルバイトにいきません。
  7. かようびにテニスをします。
  8. あしたぎんこうにいきます。
  9. きょうわたしはデパートにいきます。
  10. しゅうまつきょうとにいきます。
  11. にちようびにいえにかえりますか。
  12. はい、にちようびにかえります。
  13. きょうはなんようびですか。
  14. きょうはきにょうびです。
  15. あしたはどようびです。


Answer Key

Section 2:

  1. Are you going to school on Friday?
  2. No, I’m not going to school on Friday.
  3. What are you doing this weekend?
  4. On Monday I will study Japanese.
  5. On Wednesday I will go to class.
  6. On Thursday I will not go to my part-time job.
  7. On Tuesday I will play tennis.
  8. Tomorrow I’m going to the bank.
  9. Today I’m going to the department store.
  10. This weekend I’m going to Kyoto.
  11. Are you returning home on Sunday?
  12. Yes, I will return home on Sunday.
  13. What day is today?
  14. Today is Friday.
  15. Tomorrow is Saturday.



Lesson 07 – Kanji 1


Now that you have gotten a few of the more basic lessons out of the way, let’s move on to something more complicated (and sometimes more frustrating): kanji. Actually, in Lesson 4, you were taught the Japanese numbers along with their kanji. If you have not yet memorized the kanji from that lesson, it is probably best if you backtrack and learn this kanji completely first. Once you have that kanji under your belt, you should move on to this lesson.

In this lesson

  • Basic Kanji
  • Tips for learning kanji
  • Homework
  • Answer Key

Basic Kanji

To get started with some kanji unrelated to numbers, let’s take a look at these 15 symbols. Remember that kanji is the third system of writing in Japanese (hiragana and katakana are the two alphabets). Kanji is not an alphabet. These symbols were borrowed from Chinese but given Japanese pronunciations, and sometimes the meanings were changed. Each kanji symbol can stand for a word, a phrase, or an idea. This is why kanji can be really complicated. Kanji is further complicated by the fact that the symbols themselves can be made up of many, many strokes. Also, one kanji can sometimes have multiple meanings and translations.

Below are some kanji that are good for beginners to learn (in fact, all of the kanji below are taught to Japanese students in first grade). The best way to learn these is to practice writing them over and over again.

Kanji Hiragana English
みぎ right (as in direction)
あめ rain
まる / えん yen, circle, round
おら sky
おう king
spirit, vitality
はな flower
おと / ね sound, noise, tone
きん / かね / かな gold, money, metal
した below, under
やす to rest
かい shell, shellfish
がく student, place of education
たま / ぎょく gem, jewel


That’s it for the kanji list this time! There are more kanji that are taught to Japanese students in grade 1, so look for them in the next Kanji lesson! In the meantime, memorize the kanji for the numbers you have already learned and work on this kanji. Use the chart for as long as you need to before you move on to the next lesson!

Tips for Learning Kanji

1. First off, as stated above, take your time with the chart above. Kanji is very complicated, and it is often very hard for native speakers of Western languages to learn because these symbols are so much different than any of our languages. If you are a native speaker of another Asian language, you may have an easier time learning these kanji. No matter what your background is, kanji can still be complicated and difficult to learn because the only way to learn them is to memorize them. (If you don’t practice them after you learn them, you will quickly forget them!)

2. Make flashcards. Some people learn and memorize better this way. Write the kanji on one side and the English on the other. Quiz yourself by looking at the kanji symbols, saying the hiragana pronunciation and the English translation, and then checking your accuracy by looking at the back. Then try going the opposite way and look at the English translation first. You may also want to write the hiragana on the English translation side.

3. Write the symbols many times. It may help you to write the above symbols down in a vertical column on a sheet of paper. Then, start with the first symbol and write it over and over again in a row until you reach the end of the page. Move down to the next line and repeat.

4. Learn kanji over a period of time and review frequently. It may benefit you to take a few symbols at a time and study them intensively before moving on to a new small set. This first lesson has 15 symbols, but you could easily divide them up into groups of 5 or less and learn in increments. After you have learned them all, review them at least once a week by writing them out to make sure you don’t forget them.

5. Always write the kanji instead of the hiragana when you know it. This will help you remember which kanji is associated with which word instead of having just a bunch of random kanji floating around in your head!

6. Finally, persevere! You can do it!


Section 1: Look at each picture below. Write the kanji from this lesson that best corresponds to each picture.


















Section 2: Write the English translation for the kanji below.


Answer Key

Section 1

Section 2 (if you have an alternate translation that is in the above chart, that is okay too!)

  1. king
  2. spirit
  3. money
  4. fire
  5. flower
  6. to rest
  7. rain
  8. gem
  9. shell
  10. yen
  11. student
  12. right
  13. under
  14. sky
  15. sound

Lesson 06: Negating Verbs



In the previous lesson, we learned how to conjugate verbs into the present affirmative form. In this lesson, we will focus on conjugating verbs into the present negative form! We will look at each type of verb.


In This Lesson


–  る verbs

–  う verbs

–  Irregular verbs

–  Common Particles

–  Homework and Answer Key


る Verbs


In order to make る verbs into the present negative form, you will need to remove the る and add ません. ません tells you that the verb is being negated whereas ます tells you that a verb is actually happening.


First, let’s take one of the examples from the previous lesson. みる is the dictionary form of the verb “to see/watch.” If we want this in present affirmative, we would end up with みます. If we want to say we are not watching something or didn’t see something, we would need to drop the る and add ません, so our ending result would be みません.


Example: テレビ をみません。= I am not watching TV. (This can also mean “I don’t watch TV.”)


う Verbs


う verbs will conjugate a little differently, depending on what they end in. For example, かく (“to write”) is かきます in present tense affirmative. In present tense negative form, it is かきません. The ます changes to ません, and the く changes to き just like in the present tense affirmative form.


Other う verbs, such as かう (meaning “to buy”), will conjugate a bit differently since it ends in う. The present tense affirmative form is かいます while the present tense negative form is かいません. Since かう ends in う, you drop the う before adding います or いません. For う verbs, you should learn them as a set as you come to them (meaning learn the dictionary form, the present affirmative form, and the present negative form).


Example: わたしはたべものをかいません。 = I am not buying food/I am not going to buy food.


Irregular Verbs


The irregular verbs consist of くる and all verbs that use する. You will recall from the previous lesson that the present affirmative forms of these two verbs are きます and します respectively. These you must memorize since they follow no pattern. The present negative form of くる is きません and the present negative of する is しません. This also works for verbs like べんきょうする, which would be べんきょうしませんin present negative form.


Example: わたしはべんきょうしません。= I am not studying/I will not study.


Common Particles


You have already been introduced to the particles of は and を. We use は to mark the subject of the sentence and we use を to make the object of the sentence.


There are a couple of other particles which are very useful for creating Japanese sentences. The most common ones are に, の, and で.


にusually means “to” and is used with verbs like “いく.” For example, if you wanted to say you were going to Japan, you would say にほんにいきます. The に needs to be in the sentence before いきますbecause it shows you are going TO Japan.


の is used to mean “of” and as a possessive marker. If you want to say something is yours, you can say わたしの and then whatever the item is. Example: わたしのほん = my book.


で is used to show that you are performing an action in a specific location. For example, you can say you study Japanese at the library. としょかんでにほんごをべんきょうします。The で goes after the location in this sentence. You can also just say としょかんでべんきょうしますwhich means “I study at the library” or “I am studying at the library.”



Section 1: Look at the images below and write something that is NOT happening. Use your new knowledge about how to conjugate verbs in the negative present form! Look additional verbs up in the dictionary or online if you have to.


Section 2: Translate the following into English.

  1. わたしはたべません。
  2. にほんごのほんをよみません。
  3. うちにかえりません。
  4. わたしはこれをみません。
  5. わたしはべんきょうしません。

Section 3: Answer the following questions.

  1. Which particle do you use when you are talking about somewhere you will go?
  2. Which particle do you use to mark the subject of the sentence?
  3. Which particle do you use to mark the object of the sentence?
  4. Which particle do you use to show possessives?
  5. Which particle do you use to show you are doing something at a certain location?
  6. Which particle do you use to say “of?”


Answer Key

Section 2:

1. I am not eating/I will not eat.

2. I am not reading a Japanese book.

3. I will not return home/I am not returning home.

4. I will not watch this/I am not watching this.

5. I am not studying/I don’t study.


Section 3:

1. に

2. は

3. を

4. の

5. で

6. の

Lesson 05: Introduction to Verbs



In this lesson, you will be introduced to some Japanese verbs and how they work. You will learn the three types of verbs and how to conjugate them. For now, we will focus only on the present tense verbs. Past tense verbs will be taught in a later lesson.


In this lesson


– る verbs

– う verbs

– Irregular verbs

– Homework and answer key


る verbs


The first type of verb we will learn about in this lesson is the る verb type. These verbs all end in the Japanese character る. Since they are categorized like this, all of these kinds of verbs can be conjugated the same way.


One example of a る verb is たべる. たべる is the dictionary form of the verb and means “to eat.” This means that it has not been conjugated. In order to conjugate this verb into the present affirmative form, you must drop the る and add ます to the end of the verb. So たべる becomes たべます. You can use this in the following sentence structure.


X は Y をたべます.


In this sentence, を is a particle that goes after the noun that is being eaten, since our verb means “to eat.” Look at the example below.


わたしはりんごをたべます。 = I am eating an apple.


You will conjugate all る verbs this same way, but they will not always fit in the same sentence structure. Another る verb that will fit into this form is みる. みる becomes みます (to see/to watch).


う Verbs


These verbs are a little more difficult to conjugate. Once you just remember which verbs are う verbs and which ones are る verbs, you will have a much easier time conjugating. These verbs don’t have to end any certain way, but there is always a “u” sound on the end.


One example of a う verb is のむ. For this verb, you change the む to み and add ます. The verb (meaning “to drink”) becomes のみます.


Another う verb is かく (to write). This will becomeかきます when it is conjugated into the present affirmative tense.


Irregular Verbs


There are only two irregular verbs that you need to remember. For these, there is no pattern on how they will conjugate. The two verbs, in dictionary form, are する and くる. Since they end in る, they look like る verbs. Just keep in mind that not all verbs that end in る are actually る verbs.


In present affirmative, する becomes します (to do/play) and くる becomes きます (to return/come).  Also keep in mind that some additional verbs will end in する. If they do, you must conjugate them as if you are only conjugating する. One example is the verb べんきょうする. This would become べんきょうします and means “to study.”




Section 1: Conjugate the following verbs into present affirmative form. Then guess what the verbs mean in English by using the picture clues.

る Verbs

1. おきる


2. みる


3. たべる


4. ねる


5. あげる

う Verbs

1. はなす


2. のむ


3. きく


4. かく


5. まつ

Section 2: Translate the following sentences into English. Use a Japanese dictionary if you do not recognize a word.

  1. わたしはをみます。
  2. わたしはおきます。
  3. わたしはすしをたべます。
  4. けいたさんはねます。
  5. なにをみますか。
  6. にほんごをはなしますか。
  7. てがみをかきます。
  8. いまおんがくをききます。
  9. あなたはみずをのみますか。
  10. なにをききますか。

Answer Key

  1. おきます To get up.
  2. みます To see or watch.
  3. たべます To eat.
  4. ねます To sleep.
  5. あげます To give.


  1. はなします To speak or talk.
  2. のみます To drink.
  3. ききます To listen or hear.
  4. かきます To write.
  5. まちます To wait.


  1. I am watching TV.
  2. I am getting up.
  3. I am eating sushi.
  4. Keita is sleeping.
  5. What are you watching?
  6. Do you speak Japanese?
  7. I am writing a letter.
  8. I am listening to music now.
  9. Do you drink water?
  10. What are you listening to?