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Sentence Starter Pack 1

So I was sitting there, thinking…”it’s pretty mean to tell people to go find sentences and not even throw them a freaking bone”. So here it is, a few sentences to get you started, or, if you are started, to help you along the way.

They’re based on Yale Anime Society’s list of the 100 Most Essential Words in Anime. These are the first 10 words (1 – 10) on that list.

If you like, I can add more, just let me know (via comment or email) whether you like them or not. I made a point of making this list small, and most of it is based on the Goo dictionary entries, so there shouldn’t be any mistakes. If there are, flame me with nasty correctional comments and/or email.

Q: 道路で遊ぶのは危ない
A: どう・ろ で あそ・ぶ のは(のわ)あぶない (PL2)
Street [in] play [business as-for] dangerous
It is dangerous to play in the street

Q: 子への愛
A: こ への あい (PL3)
Child [toward] love
Love toward a child

Q: 結婚の相手
A: けっ・こん の あい・て (PL3)
Partner [in] marriage
Marriage partner

Q: 教えてくれて有り難う
A: おし・えて 呉れて あ・り がと・う (PL2)
Teach [you-give-me] thanks
Thanks for teaching (me) (教える can mean teach or inform/tell, depending, of course, on the context)

Q: 馬鹿な奴
A: ば・か な やつ (PL2)
Stupid [adjective-suffix] guy

Q: 馬鹿か、お前は!
A: ばか か  お・まえ は(わ) (PL1, PL2)
Retard [question] you [as-for] Are you a retard or what?
→You flipping retard!
→What’s wrong with you?

Q: 化け物が出た
A: ば・け もの が でた (PL2)
Monster [subject] appeared
A monster appeared

Q: べーだ
A: ♪Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah♪ (PL2)

Q: あの娘、美人じゃない
A: あの こ び・じん じゃない (PL2)
That girl babe [isn’t she] That girl’s a total babe, huh.
→That girl’s a total babe, isn’t she
じゃない comes from では(わ)ない
では(わ) frequently gets shortened to じゃ
娘 is usually pronounced むすめ and means “daughter”, but this is a common exception.

Q: 「アメリカの方ですか?」 「あっ! 違います、カナダの者です」
A: 「あめりか の かた です か」 「あっ。ちがいます かなだ の もの です」 (PL4)
“Are you, honorable Sir/Madam, an American?” “Oh dear no, I am humbly Canadian.”
This is an example of 敬語(けい・ご), super-polite Japanese.
There are 4 basic elements to 敬語(けい・ご), two of which are:
1. 尊敬語(そん・けい・ご) respectful words, used when referring to other people, their property and actions
2. 謙譲語(けん・じょう・ご) humble words, used when referring to oneself, one’s property and actions.
方(かた) is the 尊敬語(そんけいご) for 人(ひと)= person
者 is the 謙譲語(けんじょうご) for 人(ひと) = person

  23 comments for “Sentence Starter Pack 1

  1. Andrei
    November 6, 2006 at 08:26

    I, for one, like the idea. More phrases won’t be a bad idea 🙂

  2. Jo
    November 6, 2006 at 09:54

    I also think this is a great idea, and extremely usefull. Thanks already for all the great content you already posted.

  3. Charley Garrett
    November 6, 2006 at 10:51

    Thanks for the sentences! I’ll add them to my growing collection! I still have the majority of the 1 万 sentences ahead of me.

  4. faB
    January 28, 2007 at 01:17

    Thank you,

    what does (PL1), (PL2), etc mean ?

  5. dddave
    February 21, 2007 at 17:42

    Q: 教えてくれて有り難う
    A: おし・えて 呉れて あ・り がと・う (PL2)

    I spent ten minutes trying to figure out what 教えてくれて is before noticing the answer section. Is the くれて supposed to be 呉れて? 🙂

  6. furrykef
    March 8, 2007 at 21:14

    faB – PL1 through PL4 indicate politeness level.

    PL1 – rude or very colloquial language (use with extreme caution).
    PL2 – normal plain speech, often marked by using plain forms of verbs, like “da” instead of “desu”, “aru” instead of “arimasu”, etc.
    PL3 – polite speech, the kind foreigners are encouraged to learn first. Often marked by using polite forms like “desu” instead of “da”, etc.
    PL4 – very formal/honorific speech, used when addressing superiors and the like. Instead of “desu” you might use “de gozaimasu”, etc.

    As an example, I think “doumo” is probably around PL2, “doumo arigatou” is certainly PL3, and “doumo arigatou gozaimasu” is probably around PL4, although I think all three of them are fairly close to PL3. Not having any real command of the language, though, I could be wrong. 🙂

    It’s used to mark the sentence as a whole, not the words used in the sentence. For instance, using a humble verb in reference to yourself may be PL4, but using the same verb in reference to who you’re talking to could be PL1!

    I learned this system from “Learn Japanese Through Comics” and related books. I don’t know where else it might be used.

    – Kef

  7. Hans
    September 12, 2007 at 07:05

    Are you saying that in the MEMO, the question field will have something like this:
    Q: 道路で遊ぶのは危ない

    and the answer will contain this:
    A: どう・ろ で あそ・ぶ のは(のわ)あぶない (PL2)
    Street [in] play [business as-for] dangerous
    It is dangerous to play in the street

    I’m confused about how you’ve suggested avoiding english

  8. khatzumoto
    September 12, 2007 at 07:07

    >avoiding english
    It’s OK in the beginning. Later, it would be best to avoid it…

  9. Smilax
    November 4, 2007 at 22:07

    I aksed my Japanese friend about the “Are you a retard or what?” phrase and he said it usually works without the “yo”. Is this true? I can’t write in Japanese on this computer, sorry. @_@

  10. khatzumoto
    November 5, 2007 at 11:57

    Yeah, he’s right. Both ways work, I think. But now that you mention it, without the よ sounds better (and gets more Google hits, too).
    BTW, trust your friend over me, [in all things but kanji…lol].

  11. Low Key
    February 13, 2008 at 00:33

    How important is the second line in the definition? I’m finding it really hard to translate each word and particle directly without relation to each other. Especially since some words have no English equivalent. It’s basically impossible without looking up grammar rules, and then I end up with confusing messes like this:

    “とう・きょう と おお・さか と どちら の ほう が たくさん あめ が ふりますか

    Tokyo [and] Osaka [and which] [the way of] [sub. marker] much rain [sub. marker] falls [question]

    Which has more rain, Tokyo or Osaka?”

    Doesn’t this fall into the trap of attempting to dissect the language? Could I skip this part and just include definitions of new words? ps. This website is an amazing resource 😀 I wish I’d found it months ago. The way I used to learn Japanese was cringe worthy.

  12. khatzumoto
    February 14, 2008 at 08:40

    >Doesn’t this fall into the trap of attempting to dissect the language?
    You’re right, it does.

    >Could I skip this part and just include definitions of new words?
    Yes, you could. If you still need a translation you could just keep a “natural” translation.

  13. Roderik
    March 21, 2008 at 03:01

    I would like to second Jo on “I also think this is a great idea, and extremely useful.” More sentences, especcialy sentences like these which are actually both a lot of fun to use and very helpful in day-to-day conversations are highly wanted :).

    Apart from that, thanks a lot for this website of infinite motivation.

  14. May 21, 2008 at 01:03

    Hey Khatz, looks like the 100 Most Essential Words in Anime link has moved:

    Also, on your sidebar, you have a link to Looks like is gone for good.

  15. Ezra Martinez
    August 22, 2008 at 22:36

    wait wait so for the question i put the Japaneses sentence as is with no alteration and for the answer i put the translation to each individual word in english + a kana version too or just the english translation only????

    o and whats that dot you put between these characters for? どう・ろ

  16. kev
    October 22, 2008 at 14:31

    I don’t suppose anyone out there would be so wonderfully and splendidly willing to make audio snippets of these phrases being said at an approximately native rhythm/stress? I have come across a lot of phrases but, as I’m just beginning, it’s really difficult to look at a random phrase and know how to say it correctly… And as Anki has nice audio accompaniment for its flashcards this would be an excellent combo!



    • Jeff
      April 6, 2011 at 09:01 is a great site for getting custom Japanese audio.

      The site lets you submit text in any language and then a native speaker will come along and record and upload a recording of it. The two most popular langauges are English and Japanese, so Japanese recording tend to be uploaded pretty quickly, and you get moved up on the list if you upload your own recordings.

      I’m putting 10-20 of my sentences up at a time and getting audio from native speakers. It’s ridiculously helpful.

  17. Brian
    December 9, 2008 at 09:59

    Yo, just thought I’d throw up an example of one of my own all-japanese cards for people to see as well….sorry if it’s long. BTW, the dictionary I use is called ”デジタル大辞泉2009i” and it’s made by “Shogakukan INC.”… case you wanted to know. It’s built in on every mac computer….assuming that you switch it to Japanese.


    そう‐じ【掃除】〘名〙スル 1掃いたり拭いたりして、塵や埃、汚れなどを取り去ること。「庭を—する」「ふき—」


    I think it’s usually good to put the source down too. That way if you for some reason don’t understand a sentence due to context or something, you can always go back and see where you got it from.

  18. Viktor
    February 1, 2009 at 20:26

    Please, add more sentences!

  19. darksyndrem
    April 3, 2009 at 21:06

    Hey khatzumoto, I’ve been looking through these and I think I’m missing somethiing with the readings? I don’t really get exactly how you would learn the readings with these sentences? Or perhaps these sentences are meant for after you’ve learned Kanji readings?

  20. darksyndrem
    April 3, 2009 at 23:51

    Oops, ok I see the readings now xD but I would still like to ask, when would you recommend to start using sentences? I have just recently started learning the Kanji (using RTK and an SRS) and I’ve been trying to figure out when I should start the sentences? If this has already been answered, I’m really sorry.

  21. Mallory
    May 9, 2009 at 12:25

    Thank you for the “freaking bone” XDD
    Really thanks, it gives me something to go on as I start sentence-mining/picking

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