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。わたしも サッカーが すきです。 He likes soccer. I like soccer, too.
  • Example: ケンは ケーキ クッキーも 食べ(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(がっこう)で 数学(すうがく)を 勉強(べんきょう)します。 Emi studies math at school.


This means "to" and indicates such things as location of person or thing, location of short-term action, etc , and is used when describing a destination.

  • Example: リエ子は ローマに 行きました(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: この本を あの人 あげてください。 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、二人(ふたり) 子どもがいます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: そのサラダはレタスと にんじんと ラディッシュから 作り(つくり)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(かれ)にいってくださいPlease tell it to 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(てがき)は よくありません(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 車を停め(とめ)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(ひらい)ていますThe door is open.
  • Example: 僕(ぼく)は 結婚(けっこん)していますI am married.
  • Example: 子供(こども)たち 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(かき)ます is 書き).

  • Example: 私(わたし)は泳ぎ(およぎ)に行くI go swimming.
  • Example: 彼(かれ)は勉強(べんきょう)に行ったHe went to study.
  • Example: 彼女(かのじょ)は東京(とうきょう)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(みる)のが好きです。 I like watching anime.
  • Example: 彼女は歌う(うたう)のが好きですShe likes singing.


It means to be good at something.

  • Example: 彼女は歌う(うたう)のが 上手(じょうず)ですShe's good at singing.
  • Example: あなたは泳ぐ(およぐ)のが上手(じょうず)ですか。 Are you good at swimming?


It means to be bad at something.

  • Example: 私は踊る(おどる)のが下手(へた)ですI'm bad at dancing.
  • Example: 彼(かれ)は 勉強する(べんきょうする)のが下手(へた)ですHe's bad at studying.


It means that someone hasn't done something yet.

  • Example: 私は まだ 決めて(きめて)いません。I haven't decided yet.
  • Example: 彼(かれ)は まだ 帰って(かえって)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(ほん)のほうが あの新聞(しんぶん)より 高い(たかい)。This book is more expensive than that newspaper.
  • Example: 図書館(としょかん)の方(ほう)が 学校(がっこう)より 静か(しずか)。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(としょかん)の中(なか)で この本(ほん)がいちばん。This book is the best book in that library.
  • Example: このお菓子(おかし)の中(なか)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(わたし)は 映画(えいが)を 見に行く(みにいく)つもりです。I'm going to go see a movie.
  • Example: あなたは 何(なに)を勉強する(べんきょうする)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(じょせい)は きれいになった。That woman became beautiful.
  • Example: この自転車(じてんしゃ)は 古く(ふるく)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(きのう) 私は本を読んだり お菓子(おかし)を食べたりした。Yesterday I was reading a book and eating sweets.
  • Example: あの映画(えいが)は 面白かったり(おもしろかったり) 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(しんせつ)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(ねこ)や 犬(いぬ)や 猿(さる)が 動物園(どうぶつえん)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(いそがしい)んです。I'm busy right now.
  • Example: 私は 今 そうじ中(そうじちゅう)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(ほか)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(びょうき)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: あなたは七時まえに 帰る(かえる)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(ふつう)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(あらって)下さい(ください)。Please wash your hands before eating.
  • Example: 私は一時間(いちじかん)前(まえ)に帰った。I came back an hour ago.
  • Example:私はプールで入る前に30分も待ちました。 I waited 30 minutes before entering the pool.


It means to do something after doing something else.

  • Example: 考えて(かんがえて)から 言って(いって)ください。Please speak after thinking. or Think then speak please.
  • Example: 私は 手を洗ってから 食事(しょくじ)をした。I had a meal after washing my hands.
  • Example:私は 宿題(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].