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JLPT N5 Grammar List

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: 私(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: 彼(かれ)はサッカーが好き(すき)です。私(わたし)も サッカーが好き(すき)です。 He likes soccer. I like soccer, too.
  • Example: ケンはケーキも 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.
  • Example: 私(わたし)は映画館(えいがかん)で仮面ライダー(かめんらいだー)の映画(えいが)を見ました(みました)。 I watched Kamen Rider movie at theater.


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(いき)ました。 Rieko went to Rome.
  • Example: 明日(あした)彼(かれ)は美術館(びじゅつかん)へ行く(いく)予定(よてい)です。 He plans to go to museum tomorrow.

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(ほん)をあの人(ひと)に 上げ(あげ)てください。 Please give the book to that person.
  • Example: 冬(ふゆ)に、雪(ゆき)が降り(ふり)ます。 In winter, it snows.

This denotes the object of an action.

  • Example: あの猫(ねこ)は魚(さかな)を食べ(たべ)た。 That cat ate the fish.


This means “Won’t you ~ ?” or “Shall we ~ ?”. It’s an invitation.

  • Example: ケーキを食べ(たべ)ませんか? Won’t you have some cake?
  • Example: 映画(えいが)をみませんか? Won’t you (shall we) watch a movie?

This denotes a topic.

  • Example: 彼女(かのじょ)は嬉しい(うれしい)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(うえ)にボールがあります。 There is a ball on the desk.
  • Example: はこの中(なか)にプレゼントがありますか。 Is there a present inside the box?


This means “there is” or “is” and is used for living things.

  • Example: あそこの木(き)の下(した)に、二人(ふたり)子供(こども)がいます。 There are two children under the tree over there.
  • Example: 教室(きょうしつ)に田中(たなか)先生(せんせいい)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(たべ)ましょう。 Let’s eat!


This is a polite volitional phrase used for suggestions.

  • Example: 食べ(たべ)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(にほんご)で話(はなし)て下さい(ください)。 Please speak in Japanese.
  • Example: 彼(かれ)に言っ(いっ)て下さい(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(りょうり)してもいいですか。 May I cook?
  • Example: 食べ(たべ)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(くるま)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(わたし)は読ん(よんで)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: この林檎(りんご)を食べ(たべ)ないでください。 Please don’t eat this apple.
  • Example: その本(ほん)を読ま(よま)ないでください。 Please don’t read that book.


It means to like doing something.

  • Example: 私(わたし)はアニメを見る(みる)のが好き(すき)です。 I like watching anime.
  • Example: 彼女(かのじょ)は歌う(うたう)のが好き(すき)です。 She likes singing.


It means to be good at something.

  • Example: 彼女(かのじょ)は歌う(うたう)のが上手(じょうず)です。 She’s good at singing.
  • Example: 貴方(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(私)はまだ決め(きめ)ていません。 I haven’t decided yet.
  • Example: 彼(かれ)はまだ帰っ(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)の方(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(すき)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(み)に行く(いく)つもりです。 I’m going to go see a movie.
  • Example: 貴方(あなた)は何(なに)を勉強(べんきょう)するつもりですか? What are you going to study?

~く/ ~になる

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(ふる)くなった。This bicycle became old.

V stem + たいです

Creates the polite ‘want to do’ form of a verb

  • Example: 僕(ぼく)はケーキを食べ(たべ)たいです。 I want to eat some cake.

~たり …~たりする

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(わたし)は本(ほん)を読ん(よん)だりお菓子(おかし)を食べ(たべ)たりした。Yesterday I was reading a book and eating sweets.
  • Example: あの映画(えいが)は面白(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(かのじょ)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(わたし)は東京(とうきょう)へ行ったことがある。 I’ve been to Tokyo.
  • Example: 私(わたし)はそれを聞い(きい)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(わたし)は今(いま)忙しい(いそがしい)んです。 I’m busy right now.
  • Example: 私(わたし)は今(いま)そうじ中(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(やまだ)さんは食べ(たべ)すぎる。Mr. Yamada eats too much.
  • Example: 私(わたし)は食べ物(たべもの)を買い(かい)すぎた。I bought too much food.
  • Example: このシャツは大き(おおき)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: 貴方(あなた)はこの本(ほん)を買っ(かっ)たほうがいい。You should buy this book.
  • Example: 私(わたし)はあのケーキを食べ(たべ)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(ほん)は高い(たかい)ので買わ(買わ)ない。I’m not buying this book, because it’s expensive.
  • Example: あの映画(えいが)を見た(みた)ので他(ほか)の映画(えいが)を見(み)よう。I’ve seen this movie so let’s watch a different one.
  • Example: 彼女(かのじょ)は病気(びょうき)なので来(こ)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: 貴方(あなた)は宿題(しゅくだい)を終わら(おわら)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: 貴方(あなた)は七(しち)時(じ)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(ほん)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(かれ)は泳げ(およげ)ないでしょ? He can’t swim, can he?
  • Example: ドレスは黒(くろ)くて青い(あおい)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(たべる)前(まえ)に手(て)を洗っ(あらっ)て下さい(ください)。Please wash your hands before eating.
  • Example: 私(わたし)は一(いち)時間(じかん)前(まえ)に帰っ(かえっ)た。I came back an hour ago.
  • Example: 私(わたし)はプールで入る(はいる)前(まえ)に30分(ふん)も待ち(まち)ました。 I waited 30 minutes before entering the pool.


It means to do something after doing something else.

  • Example: 考え(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.

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