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Grammar Reference - Part of speech

adjective (keiyoushi)

i-adjectives, or keiyoushi are words that denote attributes or properties. Unlike english, Japanese i-adjectives inflect for aspect and mood.
An example: ちいさい chiisai (i-adjective: small) いす isu (noun: chair) = small chair

'kari' adjective (archaic)

No definition yet

'ku' adjective (archaic)

No definition yet

noun, verb, etc. acting prenominally (incl. rentaikei)

A noun, verb, etc. acting prenominally (incl. rentaikei), which means they are used preceeding a noun as a modifier. For example: ええ ee (used prenominally as an adjective: Good) おてんき otenki (noun: weather) = good weather

adjectival nouns or quasi-adjectives (keiyoudoushi)

na-adjectives, or keiyoudoushi are nouns that when combined with the copula (na) denote attributes or properties. When used without the copula (na), na-adjectives are nouns.
An example: きれい kirei na (na-adjective: pretty/beautiful) ひと hito (noun: person) = beautiful person

archaic/formal form of na-adjective

nari is an archaic/formal form of na-adjectives

nouns which may take the genitive case particle "no"

Nouns which may take the genitive case particle "no". The genitive case implies possession, for example: 猫の手 (neko no te) = 'cat's paw')

pre-noun adjectival (rentaishi)

Attributive adjectives, or rentaishi can only be used before nouns and not in a predicative position. Not to be confused with na-adjectives, they are older variants of the standard adjectives and can only be used in specific settings.
For example: 大きな ookina (pre-noun adjectival: big) にわ niwa (noun: garden) = big garden

'shiku' adjective (archaic)

No definition yet

'taru' adjective

No definition yet

adverb (fukushi)

An adverb or fukushi is a word that modifies a verb or adverb. In japanese adjectives can be conjugated to adverbs when in the continuative form (ku), verbs may also be conjugated into adverbs with the partical ni.

adverb (with particle "to")

No definition yet


An auxiliary is a helper word, usually a verb, that conveys additional information to the meaning of the main verb in a clause, for example providing a tense, mood, people, or numbers.

auxiliary verb

Auxillary verbs add functional or grammatical content in addition to that information expressed by another verb. They attach to verb or adjective stems and conjugate as verbs. An example is ます ((i>masu) which modifiies the verb to become more polite


A conjunction is used to link words, phrases, and clauses


Counters or josuushi are used along side numbers to count things, actions or events. There are many different counters for different types of things/events etc, although it is possible to substitute counters with traditional numerals (hitotsu, futatsu etc) - however this is not preferred for native speakers. more information on wikipedia

Expressions (phrases, clauses, etc.)

General expressions, phrases and clauses :)

idiomatic expression

Idiomatic expressions are a type of informal language that have a meaning different from the meaning of the words in the expression. Japanese language contains many idioms as varied as classical chinese references to modern colloquialisms. An english example is: A dime a dozen which means something is common and easy to obtain.

interjection (kandoushi)

An interjection is a word added to a sentence to convey emotion. It is not grammatically related to any other part of the sentence.

noun (common) (futsuumeishi)

Common nouns or futsuumeishi are general words for any people, places and things. Proper nouns are specific names of individual people, places and things.

proper noun

A proper noun is a noun that refers to a specific names of an entity, such as Tokyo, Mars or Michael etc. A common noun refers to a class of entities such as cities, planets or persons etc

adverbial noun (fukushitekimeishi)

Adverbial nouns or fukushitekimeishi, are nouns that can function as adverbs or nouns. Nouns describing measurements, for example directions, distances or timeframes are typically adverbial nouns. An english example is: I ran for an hour (hour is the adverbial noun - it acts as an adverb to ran - the verb)

noun (temporal) (jisoumeishi)

Temporal nouns or jisoumeishi, are nouns that describe a point in time relative to now (be it past or future). These nouns are typically at the start of a sentence and no postposition or modifier is required to use them. For example: ことし kotoshi (temporal noun: this year) かった katta (past-tense verb: won) = this year (i) won.


a pronoun is a word or form that substitutes for a noun or noun phrase. There are many classes of pronouns. Some examples in english are: i, you, that and me etc


Japanese particles, joshi (literally "helper word") or teniwoha, are suffixes or short words in Japanese grammar that immediately follow the modified noun, verb, adjective, or sentence. Their grammatical range can indicate various meanings and functions, such as speaker affect and assertiveness. more information on wikipedia


The japanese language contains many prefixes, they are usually used in compound nouns.
For example 毎 mai (prefix-noun: every) にち nichi (noun: day) = mainichi = every day


A suffix is added at the end of another word which modifies the meaning. For example the suffix さん san is used after a person's name to denote Mr, Mrs etc.

Nidan verb (lower/upper) with 'u', 'ku', etc. endings (archaic)

No definition yet

Yodan verb with 'ku', 'ru', etc. endings (archaic)

No definition yet

Ichidan verb

An ichidan (literally one stage) verb sometimes refered to as a v1 class or ru-verb is a vowel-stem verb.

All ru-verbs end with either eru or iru, however not all verbs that end in eru and iru are ru-verbs. Confused? As your studies progress you will learn to categories these verbs accordingly with practice.

Godan verb with 'u', 'ku', etc. endings

A godan (literally five stage) verb sometimes referred to as v5 or u-verb is a consonant -stem verb that ends in -au, -iu, -ou, -uu, -ku, -gu, -su, -tsu, -nu, -bu, -mu or -ru. Not all verbs ending in -ru, they may be an ichidan verb.

Godan verb - Iku/Yuku special class

No definition yet

Godan verb - -aru special class

No definition yet

noun or participle which takes the aux. verb suru

A noun or participle which takes the auxiliary verb suru. As the suru verb is used to express 'doing', the modified noun becomes a verb - for example the noun れんしゅう renshuu (Practice) becomes the verb れんしゅうする renshuu suru (Practicing)

su verb - precursor to the modern suru

su verb is the precursor to the modern suru which is used to express 'doing'

expression using the aux. verb suru(*)

Expression using the auxiliary verb suru which is used to express 'doing'

suru verb - special class

There are verbs which which conjugate as suru verbs

Kuru verb - special class

There are verbs which which conjugate as kuru verbs. kuru generally means to come, to become etc

intransitive verb

Intransitive verb is a verb that has no direct object. A intransitive verb decribes the state of something as opposed to changing the state of something.
For example まど mado (noun: window - the object) が ga (particle: indicates subject) しまる shimaru (verb: closed) = the window is closed

transitive verb

A transitive verb is a verb that takes a direct direct object via a partical, where the verb is an action applied to the object.
For example まど mado (noun: window - the object) を o (particle: joins direct object to the verb) しめる shimeru (verb: to close) = close the window

Ichidan verb - -zuru special class (alternative form of -jiru verbs)

No definition yet

verb - unspecified (usu. archaic)

The type of this verb is unspecified, it is usually archaic