Stuck on the same things. Can not move on... Help


I am a bit of a slow learner, and I can not find a pattern of some sorts, I find it hard to understand what it is I a learning, or trying to figure out. For instance, I will not move on to the next learning stage until I have mastered what I am learning now, and I am stuck on a few certain things that trip me up every time.
The biggest things at the moment are when to use かん, for say the phase わたしは いっかげつかん にほんごを べんきょう しています. Here かん is not used わたしは にかげつまえに アメリカに いきました but it is used here わたしは ろくしゅうかんまえに にほんに きました, the last two examples both contain the words まえ and a period of time, months and weeks. Am I right thinking I only use かん when months are involved, not weeks…
Next is います and いました, when do I use these terms, because it is confusing me to be honest. I thought います and いました are used for living/animate objects and or people, i find it confusing when i have phrases saying he or she are doing this and that and the phase does not end います or いました. Is there a trick to using these terms, because i have not sussed it out yet.
Lastly, and this one may seem odd, but yeah, every time it gets me… わたしは さむかったです and
かれは さむく ありませんでした, oddly enough i get these wrong almost all the time (95%). I think the last examples would fall in to the います and いました cat. but also it is the spelling of “Cold” that gets me mostly. I understand the, was not/wasn’t, idea.
The biggest issue i think is います, i had an idea it was or should be used when ever something alive is mentioned, such as he, she, i and you. But it is not.
Ideally though, all questions i have brought up, i would very much like answered, so i can move on to the next stage of my learning.


I’m not sure about かん, but I guess it just means “a period of”, so you can use it or drop it.
About さむい, this is what you call an i-adjective, because it ends with い. These words have their own way of conjugation to the past.
(高い is たかい)

Just to be clear, the 2 sentences you posted are in different forms, first in casual, the other is polite. So each one of them is conjugated differently. That may be the source of your confusion.


かん/kan is a period of time. I just guessed it was just used for months, but then I read what I posted again and realised it is used for weeks too. So, I have no idea why or how it is used in these instances. And, yes, I am sure in real life you could just ignore かん/kan, but here in the lessons, you just get a yellow no no. Suppose it is better than a big fat red no no, eh.
As for the さむい/samui thing, I see your point, not sure why I did not google this one in the first place. I looked at your reply, it hit me like a brick and got it, I think I am getting too used to the polite versions and basically ignore the nonpolite versions.
Thank you for the reply, it helped.


the problem with lots of courses on memrise is that they’re not courses, but only the excercises of courses, which means the explanations are absent


So, it makes learning a little difficult, somewhat. I may not be getting far with my learning abilities, but I am still enjoying it.


i’ve quit one of those courses because of it
in the beginning i was learning words, expressions and short sentences
but when the sentences become longer, i noticed differences which seemed illogical
via sites i found out about the difference between i- and na-adjectives, which explained why those sentences were different
and i could move on
but then another grammar problem came up, with verbs this time
and so it went on
it finally turned out i was building my own course, which was very time-consuming
and that was it for me
i didn’t see me capable of finishing that course

mind you: it is possible to make good courses with memrise, it just turns out people don’t do that, propably because they do it for free: they just can’t afford to spend time doing it


I have noticed these JLPT course have a few problems, thankfully they are few, or this course would be a freaking nightmare.
From what I have been told, they run on some sort of template, they are all the same with each and every language, which in some respects is lazyness on the programmers behalf, because what works for one course will not work for another. Take Japanese for instance, what would work for a French course would not for a Japanese course, or English to Japanese.
Like I said, few, and fewer the better. But, yes, it is a pain in the Arse, and for me, it is slowing my learning down a hell of a lot. I am still stuck on this course, and will not move on till I feel comfortable enough to do so. As stated, I am stuck on how Kan and Mae works on this course, I am also having the same problem with Dewa, it just does not make sense at times, when, how and what, I am starting to wonder if the programmers actually go through these courses.
Ideally there should be options once you input your answers, correcting mistakes and explaining why and how this and that works.
For now, I will carry on, learn what I can and eventually move on and work it out my own way using these course as some sort of guide. It is the best anyone can do, at the end of the day, you are not going to win any awards for doing these courses, they are not up to standards in my personal opinion.
There is room for improvement, plenty of room.


Concerning the かん, as RyouBakura said it is used to indicate a period of time. And it’s not just used for months, you can use it for minutes (五分間 - ごふんかん - for five minutes), hours (一時間 - いちじかん - for one hour), days (三日間 - みっかかん - for three days), months (一か月間 - いっかげつかん - for one month, as used in the example sentence) and years (六年間 - ろくねんかん - for six years) as well.
So わたしは いっかげつかん にほんごを べんきょう しています: I’ve been learning Japanese for one month
The second sentence is about a certain point in time: わたしは にかげつまえに アメリカに いきました -> I went to Japan two months ago. まえに: before (in this case, from ‘now’ I guess)
I’m not too sure about the last sentence. わたしは ろくしゅうかんまえに にほんに きました: I came to Japan 6 weeks ago. So the かん for the period of time (6 weeks) and まえ ‘before’… I would actually put a の between ろくしゅうかん and まえに? But then again, maybe you can leave it out as well, it just seems a bit strange to me^^’’

I’m not sure what problem you have with います and いました? The difference between them (present vs. past tense)? The difference between いる and ある? Or something else entirely? Maybe you could elaborate a bit?^^


The imasu and imashita I know they are present and past, the problem I am having is arimasu and imasu, when to use them and the rules, because I thought you use imasu for animate objects and arimasu for inanimate, but I am finding it hard to know when exactly to use imasu. I had expected to use imasu for “he” did something, or “she” did something, yet I have noticed that arimasen or arimasenn deshita are used.
As for kan, is there a rule as to when and when not to use it.


how can JLPT - Japanese-Language Proficiency Test - have a French version? what has this to do with programmers?

it seems you strongly dislike books. Ok: forbeginners:;;;;;;;;



I don’t think there is a rule for 間 (かん) o.o

So, I had another look at the sentence you had a problem with until I understood it. Took a few minutes. It’s something I rarely encounter/use in my Japanese course xD’
I’m not going to explain in too much detail, you could probably fill pages with this…

First of all いる and ある
Well, you aren’t really wrong (although it’s not he/she DID something but more he/she IS). They are both verbs commonly used to describe that someone/something exists

  • for humans/animals it’s いる: to be (of animate objects), to exist (かれしがいる – I have a boyfriend; ねこがいる – There is a cat)
  • for objects it’s ある: to be (usu. of inanimate objects), to exist, to have (ほんがある – I have a book)

Of course there are other uses for あるand いる.
For example in the first sentence you posted, you can find the ~ている form of verbs. The first sentence you posted was わたしは いっかげつかん にほんごを べんきょう しています. The べんきょう していますused here is the ている form of べんきょうする (to study). The ている form is used for continuous actions (like the English continuous tense).

Now the last sentence you asked about:
I wouldn’t really call this a question between いる and ある. This is a question of negation.
Let’s look at nouns first.
だいがくせいです。I am a university student

  1. だいがくせいじゃないです I am not a university student.
  2. is the form you are probably already familiar with. But you can also negate it with ではありません (or で(は)ない in informal speech)
  3. だいがくせいではありません。 I am not a university student.

It’s the same with adjectives. Let’s use さむいas example: さむいです。It’s cold
Let’s negate this then:

  1. さむくないです。 It’s not cold
  2. さむくありません。It’s not cold
    The sentence かれは さむく ありませんでした is the same (only in past tense).

As for the difference between the ない and ありません, it’s a matter of politeness.

So I wrote all this and then I find a page where this is explained. Oh well, have a look:
(If you don’t want to read everything, look at the last third of the page)

Does this more or less answer your question? ^^


It took me a while but I did find out and understood ない and ありません, also you could add いません, they are all negative. I know ありました and いました are past tense too. I think かった is also past tense too, but not gone in to too much detail with that one.
I am not entirely sure what you mean by the present and past thing about ある and いる, I am guessing you were saying there is or could be a rule regarding ある and いる, and that ある can be used in the past tense, but いる is definitely for present. If I understand this correctly, there does seem to be a rule after all, if I am wrong here, then I am stumped, and may never get it. If this is truly the case, it would be a matter of learning what I can and how I can and hope for the best.
The link you posted has gone in to my favourites, for digestation later. Lots of other stuff in there to read, ponder and understand.


Yeah. Sorry. Eh. What.
No idea what you are on with. But, I will look at the valuable stuff you posted.