Jim’s Japanese Grammar Summary

This summary of some basic Japanese grammar has been derived from the Japanese grammar text books that were used at Swinburne University when I was studying Japanese there in the 1980s. I copied these points into a small notebook to use as revision while travelling, etc.. I have decided to key them in and make them available as a WWW page which can supplement Keith Smillie’s introduction to Japanese grammar.

The summary starts with the assumption that the reader knows the basic sentence structure, etc. Each grammatical point is briefly outlined, then followed by one or more examples. There is quite a lot of kanji in the examples, so I have added furigana to the ones a beginner might not recognize. The Swinburne course never used romaji. (The astute reader will note a certain Australian bias in the examples.)

Note that the nomenclature of the Swinburne course is retained, so you need to be aware that “adjectival nouns” are 形容動詞, i.e. what some people call “quasi-adjectives”, “na-adjectives” or “prenominal adjectives”. Verbs are sometimes referred to as “Type I”, i.e. 五段動詞 and “Type II”, i.e. 一段動詞. Most of the nomenclature is self-evident.

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