Advice on splitting up sentences?

Hi! I’m enjoying the course so far but struggling a bit with breaking down phrases so that I really understand them rather than just parroting the whole thing. I always find it harder to remember things if I don’t understand them fully.

For example “of course, that’s fine”
Literal = of-course, good isよ(why is “yo” not translated here by the way?)
Romaji = mochiron, ī desu yo

I see that mochiron is “of-course” but “good” and “is” is trickier and took various googling. Am I right that ī = good, desu = “it is” and “yo” is just for emphasis?

Are there any reliable tools/tactics you can recommend in these situations? Or maybe it just helps to also be studying a separate course on grammar along side? Just trying to keep the flow going as it quickly gets very frustrating to stop to break down each sentence without a reliable goto source.


Japanese is a little difficult to break down as a beginner because there aren’t usually spaces between words. I’m only on Level 1.3 of the current official Memrise course, but I have a bit of experience with Japanese outside of Memrise, so I hope this tip will be helpful.

Japanese is a Subject-Object-Verb language, but in practice, the subject is often omitted. The object is also sometimes omitted, but the verb seldom is. So, barring a little addon particle like か, よ, or ね, the last few syllables are usually the verb. In beginning Japanese, you’ll most often see “masu” form verbs or the “to be” irregular verb です. I think they’ll start teaching verb conjugation in grammar lessons, but for the first bits in Japanese 0 and Japanese 1, you probably won’t run into too many exceptions to this.

In beginner sentences, there’s usually either a comma or a particle like は, を, に, へ, で, or が between whatever comes before the verb and the verb itself. So if you see, for example…


…You might first think, “Okay, it ends in a か, so it’s a question.” Then you might see ます and know that’s part of the verb. Looking backwards, you eventually see は, which is a common particle. So, taking that information all together, you might think, “The verb must be わかります and the subject is likely to be えいご.”

Memrise will tell you the meaning of the bits and bobs, so you’ll know that えいご is “English” and わかります is “to understand.”

This sounds like a lot of work, and it is in the beginning, but it becomes more intuitive with practice. (It also gets easier once you start using kanji.) I do recommend reviewing grammar lessons outside of Memrise. When I was brand new to studying Japanese, I used the Genki series textbooks for self-study and found them very useful.

Good luck! I hope my explanation was at least a little helpful!

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