The below Japanese grammar guide assumes no prior knowledge of the language beyond the Japanese syllabary—hiragana and katakana. Trace sheets to help you learn the syllables can be found in the links below.

Beginner Grammar


The Foundations

For the first few sections of this grammar guide I will space out the Japanese sentences to make the grammar easier to see and comprehend, but remember that true Japanese sentences do not use spaces.

Core Particles

Particles are the building blocks of Japanese grammar helping us define the role of each word in the sentence.

Other Basic Particles

Building up Sentences

This section is designed to help you begin to form more complex Japanese sentences. Grammatically, the ability to embed questions and nominalise verbs are absolutely critical. Note that from hereon I will no longer space out words in the sentences (but will always put the furigana above the kanji).

Verb Conjugations I

In Japanese, the conjugation of the verb contains a lot of information and, in many instances, determines the grammatical structure of the sentence. For example, in English we can make expressions such as “I can eat”, “I want to eat”, and “Let’s eat” by keeping the verb (“eat”) untouched and adding other words to the sentence. This is not the case in Japanese—we form these sentences by changing the conjugation of the verb.

Essential Conjunctions

Conjunctions let us join sentences and move from one clause statements to more complex structures. Below we cover the basic conjunctions (because, but, or, etc.) but the one that causes the most headaches is the Japanese equivalent of “and”. This is because, in many cases, Japanese doesn’t have a separate word or particle for this conjunction. To form this conjunction we first need to understand the “te form”—one of the most important and versatile conjugations in the language.


A complete guide to conditionals in Japanese.

More Complex Structures

Talking About Reasons
Talking About Time-Specific Actions
Describing Things
Comparisons & Making Suggestions
Similarity & Hearsay
Other Key Structures

Additional Uses of the te Form

Verb Conjugations II

Intermediate Grammar


A complete introduction to honorifics.

Verbs that Act on Sentence Topics

The meanings of the following structures are varied, but because in many cases they act on the first noun of the sentence the usage difference can become blurred.

Suggestions & Rules

Expressing Conclusions

Inevitability & Obligation
Must & Must Not

The below are more formal ways to express must and must not.