Book Review: Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication

This is the first of many book reviews that I will add to this site. Here we go:

dsc_0030-upload“Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication : A Self-Study Course and Reference” is a book designed for beginner to intermediate students. It contains 142 patterns that are broken down into 12 sections:

  1. Identifying and Describing People and Things
  2. Describing the Existance of Animate and Inanimate Objects
  3. Making Comparisons
  4. Describing Actions in the Present, Future and Past
  5. Actions: in Progress, Completed, Successive, Simultaneous and Miscellaneous
  6. Stating Purpose, Cause and Reason
  7. Commands, Requests, Suggestions, Approval, Disapproval, Prohibition and Obligation
  8. Expressing Ability, Prefrence, Desire, Intention, Resolution and Experience
  9. Describing the Actions of Giving and Receiving
  10. Expressing Conjecture and Hearsay, and Quoting People
  11. Using Conditional, Passive, Causative and Causative-Passive Forms
  12. Making Relative Clauses

The book also contains 4 appendixes: Numerals, Counters, Adjective Inflection Chart and Verb Conjugation Chart. Following this is an index with the patterns indexed in English and Japanese (Romaji).

dsc_0033-uploadEach of the patterns is highly structured containing:

  • English sentences in the target language
  • Japanese versions of the sentence with the key grammar points in bold
  • An explanation of the grammar in English
  • A few more example sentences
  • Vocabulary words that you will need to use in the practice exercises
  • A few practice questions – These are English sentences that you need to translate into Japanese
  • The answers to the practice questions


This structure makes the book very handy as a reference.

I purchased this book to use as a self-study refresher. After passing the JLPT Level 3, I stopped studying for about six months or so. Before starting my studies for level 2, I wanted to review everything that I had studied before learning any new language. Because of the layout of the 142 patterns, it was easy to read a pattern or two in my free time and I could finish the book quickly without sitting down with a notebook and pencil and work on problems in a strict way. This is another advantage of this book.

This book contains two things that I do not like. Every sentence include the sentence in Japanese characters (Hiragana,Katakana and Kanji) as well as the sentence in Romaji. I do not think the Romaji version of the sentence is necessary and it could make some lazier students skip reading the Japanese sentence. I feel that it would have been better to remove the Romaji sentences and include Furigana for any Kanji that was used. The second problem is that the answers to the problems are on the same page. This tempted me to check the answers without really thinking out the answers. I would have preferred it if the answers were always on the bottom of the next page (similar to a riddle book) so that you can find the answers easily without the temptation to “cheat”.

In conclusion, this book is great for beginner / intermediate students that do a lot of self study and need a little more help with grammar. This is also good for students of any level that are trying to make themselves a bit more fluent in Japanese.


About steve

I have lived in Japan since 2004. I love Japan and studying Japanese.