2 In Japanese learning journey (:/ Japanese learning resources/ Japanese Textbook Reviews

[Review] Japanese Grammar Dictionary (Korean Version)

A grammar dictionary is a must-have book on your bookshelf if you are studying a foreign language. The best time to purchase one is in the low-intermediate stage where you already have a sense of how the language works and are likely to be learning loads of new grammar points as you work through a textbook. This is what I call the grammar spurt stage and it’s also my favourite stage in language learning.

Personally, I think the intermediate stage is the time where you are just learning LOADS of grammar points. I remember learning 5-6 new structures in one day. The advanced stage is more of a vocabulary spurt.

I bought my Korean grammar dictionary too late, so I wasn’t able to utilise it to the fullest – more of a review tool rather than a learning one. Bought the Japanese one once I was sure that I serious about pursuing it — grammar dictionaries aren’t the cheapest books.

There are a number of awesome Japanese dictionaries around. どんな時どう使う 日本語表現文型辞典 is a very good one (explanations in English, Chinese, Korean) but it was simply tooo expensive in Singapore and I ended up not buying it in Japan because I wanted to travel light lol. I used it before and I really liked it – highly recommended.


Today’s review will be on 日本語文型辞典 (Korean version) – 일본어문형사전 한국어판, a cheaper and just as awesome alternative. 😀

Review under the cut (today’s lead-in was kinda long, sorry!)

I guess the pre-requisite for using the book is that you should have a working proficiency of Korean. The book is very neatly structured, with the grammar points arranged in the hiragana order.

Each grammar point is divided into its various conjugations or common usage. Eg. そもそのN,  そもそも..というのは, そもそも will be grouped under そもそも.

Each of these conjugation points will start off with 3 to 6 example sentences, with furigana used and the Korean translation. This is followed by a short Korean explanation.


Neat and simple.

Now that I’m viewing the book critically, it does seem like the Korean explanation is quite short and concise. However, I didn’t have a problem with that at all when I’m using the book. Not sure if it’s because Korean and Japanese grammar share similar structures or that I’m used to language learning but I get it immediately.

The focus of this review is actually not just on the book, but I wanted to share HOW I’m using it ^^ There’s no one correct way, just sharing my two cents.

I actually use it concurrently with a Chinese website Izaodao, which is kinda like an online Japanese dictionary search engine. I love being multilingual for this reason, more resources to use.

I like it because it offers both the Japanese and Chinese explanation and loads of example sentences. I usually focus on the Japanese explanations – not difficult ^^ In that sense, I guess even non-Mandarin speakers can use this resource. Just that the additional notes comparing similar grammar points are only in Chinese.

These two resources are my go-to tools when I’m learning grammar points.

Being the note-taker that I am, I write them neatly in my book. I need to write to remember 😀


How do I use both resources?

It’s up to you to develop a routine. For me:

1. search up grammar point in izaodao. Read everything.

2. search up grammar point in grammar dictionary. Read everything for the related point (not the other various conjugations in the category)

3. digest

4. write down in my notebook


So what do I write?

Note-taking is NOT about copying everything down blindly. It’s about digesting while you write and a way of structuring your thoughts. I write down most of the stuff from izaodao, not my grammar dictionary.

1. write down grammar point (in grey)

2. write down the conjugation pattern (eg. goes with て form of verb / N + ~ / Vる+ N). I usually take the information from the 接续 section in izaodao

3. write down the page number of the grammar dictionary. For easy reference

4. write down the meaning in Japanese

5. note down a few example sentences – choose the ones with common usage and include examples from a number of context. For example, if a said grammar point can be used to erm describe both feelings and personalities, include examples of both, not just write down 5 examples of feelings.

6. any special notes – eg. different nuances of similar grammar points / which context it cannot be used with etc



I like to put a tick besides grammar points I’ve learnt in the grammar book. One day, all of the grammar points will have a tick besides them! hahaha. okay. Rather cheap thrill. But it does have a good use – it’s a good reminder that you had learnt the point and if you have forgotten, it’s high time to review it again.



I hope this is useful 😀 😀

Good Points:

  • comprehensive
  • neat structure
  • concise explanations

To be improved:

  • detailed explanations of different nuances / differences with similar grammar points would be much much much appreciated

All in all, highly recommended!! 😀 I bought mine off Gmarket.

ISBN: 978-89-402-9074-3

Cover Price: 25,000won

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    7 October, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    Thank you so much for this review and how you take your notes! 😀 I’ll definitely look at izaodao as well. I sometimes use the dictionary on goo.ne for grammar points. The more free resources the better!

    Ah, your notebooks are always so pretty and organized. My first notebook was a mess. The writing itself was neat, but I just threw everything in it without having a real system. Now I’m getting a bit of a system down so if I ever need to look back at something, it’s easier to find and read.

  • Reply
    8 October, 2014 at 2:40 AM

    Question. Have you come across most or all of the grammar points you studied from the book in real life japanese like tv shows ? Ipersonally find it depressing if I learn a grammar and never come across it. ( u waste your effort and time etc).. Which is why My style is that I don’t study from books after a certain stage and then. Look up grammar as I encounter them.

    I remember reading about “kirai ga aru” in tae Kim and having coming across it once or twice since then and I do a lot of stuff in japanese. Of course I had to look it up again in google and went oh that thing from tae kim

  • Leave a Reply