JLPT Guide/JLPT N5 Grammar

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Here is a list of the grammar points likely encountered on level N5 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. This list is taken from several years' old official test specifications. However, the test changes slightly from year to year, and occasionally some extra terms are included.


This means "is", "am", or "are" (depending on the situation), though the meaning in English is a lot broader than in Japanese. Some other words (「いる」 and 「ある」) also mean "is", depending on the situation.

  • Example: わたしはマイクですI am Mike.
  • Example: これはペンですThis is a pen.


This means "too", "and", or "also".

  • Example: かれはサッカーがすきです。わたしサッカーがすきです。 He likes soccer. I like soccer, too.
  • Example: ケンはケーキクッキーをたべました。 Ken ate both cake and cookies.


This means "at" or "in", and is used when specifying where something happens.

  • Example: エミは学校すう学をべんきょうします。 Emi studies math at school.


This means "to", and is used when describing a destination.

  • Example: リエ子はローマいきました。 Rieko went to Rome.


This is a general use preposition. It can mean "in", "at", "to", "for", and other general prepositional phrases, depending on the context.

  • Example: あの人本を与えてください。 Please give the book to that person.
  • Example: 冬、雪が降ります。 In winter, it snows.


This denotes the object of an action.

  • Example: あの猫は魚食べた。 That cat ate the fish.


This means "Won't you ~ ?" or "Shall we ~ ?". It's an invitation.

  • Example: ケーキをたべませんかWon't you have some cake?
  • Example: えいがをみませんかWon't you (shall we) watch a movie?


This denotes a topic.

  • Example: 彼女嬉しいです。 She is happy.


This means "there is". It is used for non-living things (use 「がいます」 for living things).

  • Example: つくえの上にボールがありますThere is a ball on the desk.
  • Example: はこの中にプレゼントがありますか。 Is there a present in the box?


This means "there is" or "is" and is used for living things.

  • Example: あそこの木の下に、子ども二人がいますThere are two children under the tree over there.
  • Example: きょうしつに田中先生がいますかIs Mr. Tanaka in the classroom?"


This is a particle used to link nouns in a complete list.

  • Example: サラダはレタスにんじんラディッシュからしました。 The salad was made from lettuce, carrot, and radish.


This is a polite volitional phrase, meaning "I'll" or "let's".

  • Example: 食べましょうLet's eat!


This is a polite volitional phrase used for suggestions.

  • Example: 食べましょうかHow about we eat?


This is used to link verb copulas, ending in "て" or "で", to "ください", making it into a request.

  • Example: 日本語ではなしてくださいPlease speak in Japanese.
  • Example: 彼にいってくださいPlease go with him.


This is used to link verb copulas to "もいいです" meaning "it's enough" or "it's good". It can be used as a request for permission.

  • Example: 料理してもいいですかMay I cook?
  • Example: 食べてもいいですyou may eat.


This is used to link copulas to "はいけません", meaning "it's not good". It is used to scold or otherwise disapprove.

  • Example: サーラーの手書きはいけませんSarah's handwriting is not great yet.

"はいけません", meaning "No you must not..." This is formed by using the te-form. て-form + はいけません...

  • Example: ここに車を止めてはいけませんYou must not park the car here.


Phrase meaning "from".

  • Example: この電車はサンホセからサンフランシスコにいきます。 This train goes from San Jose to San Francisco.


いる, when used after the て form of a verb, indicates that an action is ongoing (progressive tense, marked in English by "ing",) or in a certain state.

  • Example: 私は 読んでいますI am reading.
  • Example: ドアが開いていますThe door is open.
  • Example: 僕は結婚していますI am married.
  • Example: 子供は走っていますThe children are running.


It means to go somewhere or to go do something. If meaning to go do something, the にいく is used after a stem (a verb in its ます form without the ます, for example: the stem of 書きます is 書き).

  • Example: 私は泳ぎに行くI go swimming.
  • Example: 彼は勉強に行ったHe went to study.
  • Example: 彼女は東京に行くShe's going to Tokyo.


This means "please don't do", used in place of a ない form of a verb.

  • Example: このりんごを食べないでくださいPlease don't eat this apple.
  • Example: その本を読まないでくださいPlease don't read that book.


It means to like doing something.

  • Example: 私はアニメを見るのが好きです。 I like watching anime.
  • Example: 彼女は歌うのがすきですShe likes singing.


It means to be good at something.

  • Example: 彼女は歌うのがじょうずですShe's good at singing.
  • Example: あなたは泳ぐのが上手ですか。 Are you good at swimming?


It means to be bad at something.

  • Example: 私は踊るのがへたですI'm bad at dancing.
  • Example: 彼は勉強するのが下手ですHe's bad at studying.


It means that someone hasn't done something yet.

  • Example: 私はまだ決めていません。I haven't decided yet.
  • Example: 彼はまだ帰っていません。He hasn't returned yet.


It means that something is more (interesting/expensive/etc.) than something else.

  • Example: この本のほうがあの新聞より高い。This book is more expensive than that newspaper.
  • Example: 図書館の方が学校より静か。Library is quieter than school.


It means the best from something or the most (new/old/expensive/likeable/etc.).

  • Example: あの図書館のなかでこの本がいちばん。This book is the best book in that library.
  • Example: このお菓子の中でクッキーがいちばん好きです。From these sweets I like cookies the most.


This means a plan or an intent of doing something.

  • Example: 私は映画を見に行くつもりです。I'm going to go see a movie.
  • Example: あなたは何を勉強するつもりですか? What are you going to study?

~く/ ~になる[edit]

It means to become (smart/tall/etc.). If used with -na adjectives it's adj+になる, for -i adjectives it's adj+くなる.

  • Example: あの女性はきれいになった。That woman became beautiful.
  • Example: この自転車は古くなった。。This bicycle became old.

V stem + たいです[edit]

Creates the polite 'want to do' form of a verb

Example - I want to eat some cake - 僕は ケーキを 食べたい です。- Boku-wa kēki-o tabetai desu.

~たり …~たりする[edit]

It makes a list of activities or attributes. It means something like "this and that/sometimes this and sometimes that/in some parts this in other parts that". With nouns or -na adjectives it becomes "~だったり …~だったりする".

  • Example: 昨日私は本を読んだりお菓子を食べたりした。Yesterday I was reading a book and eating sweets.
  • Example: あの映画は面白かったりつまらなかったりする。That movie is interesting in some parts and boring in other parts.
  • Example: 彼女は親切だったりきれいだったりする。She's nice and beautiful.


It indicates that something has (or hasn't ever) happened in the past.

  • Example: 私は東京へ行ったことがある。I've been to Tokyo.
  • Example: 私はそれを聞いたことがない。I've never heard of this.


This is a particle used to link nouns in an incomplete list.

  • Example: 猫や犬や猿が動物園にいます。 There are cats and dogs and monkeys (among other things) at the zoo.


It accents the sentence's content or softens a request or an order. It may be also said as "~のです". With -na adjectives and nouns it becomes "~なのです".

  • Example: 私は今忙しいんです。I'm busy right now.
  • Example: 私は今そうじ中なのです。I'm cleaning right now.
  • Example: テニスはするんですか? Do you play tennis? (at all, not right now)


It means "too much" or "too (big/small/expensive/etc.)".

  • Example: 山田さんは食べすぎる。Mr. Yamada eats too much.
  • Example: 私は食べ物を買いすぎた。I bought too much food.
  • Example: このシャツは大きすぎる。This shirt is too big.


It means "it's better" or "it would be better", it may be also used to say that something should (or shouldn't) be done.

  • Example: あなたはこの本を買ったほうがいい。You should buy this book.
  • Example: 私はあのケーキを食べないほうがいい。I shouldn't eat that cake.


It means "because" or "so". The cause is more impartial (like because a building is red or tall) than with "から" or "だから" where it's more subjective (like because you think an apple tastes good). With nouns and -na adjectives it becomes "なので".

  • Example: この本は高いので買わない。I'm not buying this book, because it's expensive.
  • Example: あの映画を見たので他の映画を見よう。I've seen this movie so let's watch a different one.
  • Example: 彼女は病気なので来ない。She isn't coming because she's sick.


It means that something has to be done (lit: it's bad not to do it).

  • Example: あなたは宿題を終わらなくちゃいけない。You have to finish your homework. (It's not good for you to not finish your homework.)


It means something like "isn't it/aren't you/aren't I/etc." or "right?". It's used when the speaker isn't sure about something or in rhetorical questions.

  • Example: あなたは七時まで帰るでしょ? You'll come back before 7 o'clock, right?
  • Example: これは本でしょ?' 'It's a book, isn't it?
  • Example: あのビルは普通じゃないでしょ? That building isn't normal, is it?
  • Example: 彼は泳げないでしょ? He can't swim, can he?
  • Example: ドレスは黒くて青いでしょ? The dress is black and blue, isn't it?


It means "before doing (something)" or "ago" (like 3 days ago).

  • Example: 食べる前に手を洗って下さい。Please wash your hands before eating.
  • Example: 私は一時間前に帰った。I came back an hour ago.
  • Example:私はプールで入る前に30分を待ちました。 I waited 30 minutes before entering the pool.


It means to do something after doing something else.

  • Example: 考えてから言ってください。Please speak after thinking.
  • Example: 私は手を洗ってから食事をした。I had a meal after washing my hands.
  • Example:私はしゅくだいをしてからねました。 I went to sleep after doing homework.


The list of grammar terms was compiled by Jonathan Waller, [1].