Learning grammar is always tricky, isn’t it?
Even when you were learning your native language growing up, grammar probably presented some serious roadblocks here and there.
According to some, Americans still suck at English grammar!
If native speakers can’t always get it right, it’s only natural that grammar can cause some problems for Japanese language learners.
You might look at Japanese grammatical concepts and be transported back to grade school and the horrors of trying to understand how prepositions work or whether to use “its” or “it’s.”
And sometimes, these mistakes slip by. But don’t worry: Japanese grammar doesn’t have to be so daunting, especially if you have a Japanese grammar checker on hand while you learn.
Why Do I Need to Use Japanese Grammar Checkers?
What are grammar checkers used for (besides the obvious)? We’re glad you asked!
Japanese grammar checkers work just like English ones: they find mistakes, suggest corrections and more. Since Japanese grammar is very different from English grammar, correcting grammar mistakes is important for improving fluency. A grammar checker can help nudge you in the right direction and identify grammar mistakes while learning.
Although grammar checkers don’t set out to actually teach learners about Japanese grammar, they can be used in conjunction with a grammar course in Japanese.
If you’re learning on your own, try typing blocks of text in Japanese as part of your lesson plan, then running that text through a grammar checker to see how accurate you are. You can use the results to see what specific grammar concepts you need more help with (you might find your own personal “its / it’s” recurring issue).
It’s important to remember that Japanese grammar checkers aren’t always accurate and shouldn’t be used in lieu of learning the grammar side of Japanese. Still, using one to check text that you’ve written can provide some useful context.
Finally, running an email or a blog post in Japanese through a grammar checker before hitting “send” or “publish” can help you avoid making your mistakes public.
5 Japanese Grammar Checkers for Proofreading Perfection
We really have to drive this home: Japanese grammar checkers are rarely 100% accurate.
It’s very important to remember this when using one and to understand that you’ll need to seriously study Japanese grammar in order to properly form sentences with fluency and precision. A grammar checker can help you along the way, but it isn’t a substitute for grasping grammar concepts. That would be like saying you’re fluent in Japanese while consistently using Google Translate to form phrases!
To get the most from your grammar checker, make it a part of a full learning program. For instance, you can pair it with FluentU for a powerful combination. That’s because FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Use FluentU’s videos, flashcards and interactive subtitles to build your vocabulary and reinforce your grammar learning, write sample sentences and complete exercises with this new information and then head to a grammar checker to see how well you did.
Check out these great Japanese grammar checking tools!
Do you like simple, clean and straight-to-the-point software? Then you’re sure to like this resource.
The LanguageTool proofreading program isn’t just handy for checking Japanese grammar, it also has quite a handful of other languages to choose from. Everything’s presented in a neat, clean user-friendly interface that anybody can use, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced Japanese learner.
The free version includes the capability to check 20,000 characters at once and detect hundreds of grammar pattern errors. The premium version includes even more niche errors to check for and a doubled maximum of 40,000 characters per check.
LanguageTool has a Microsoft Word add-on, Chrome and Firefox extensions and you can even add it to your Google Docs and many other programs thanks to the community of users.
It’s quite simple to use, as well. Simply type or copy and paste a block of Japanese text and view which portions are highlighted. Click each highlighted part to learn why it’s a grammar error and see suggestions for correcting it. Most errors come with an example section as well, to learn even more about Japanese grammar.
It goes above and beyond just checking Japanese grammar. This app has it all. It includes common grammar words found on the JLPT N5-N1, a dictionary, a useful handbook for understanding Japanese grammar, multiple quizzes, tests, lessons, a “favorite” section for saving common grammar concepts that you tend to get stuck on and, of course, a grammar checker.
Although you’ll have to deal with ads, the app is free to use. Who doesn’t like free stuff? The only downside is that iPhone users won’t get to enjoy this compact package—this app is only available on Android.
If you’ve ever had a friend or family member around who’s fluent in your target language, you’ve probably benefited massively from their help. Having someone who grew up with a particular language can definitely help newbies pick out grammatical errors in their studies.
If you don’t have a Japanese buddy or family member around, Lang-8 is here to help. Consider it a sort of language “forum” but with more structure and reliability. Everyone who posts there really wants to learn their respective language of choice and help others learn the language they’ve been speaking their whole lives.
Simply make an account and post some text in Japanese. Native speakers will be able to correct and critique what you’ve written. You can return the favor by helping English learners improve their grammar as well.
Lang-8 is free to use and very active, making it a great organic type of Japanese grammar checker to try.
If you use the Chrome browser, check out Rikaichan. This ultra-handy in-browser Japanese dictionary covers words, phrases and grammar.
Once installed, simply hover your mouse over a Japanese word and a popup will appear. This popup will include a detailed definition, hiragana spellings and whether or not there are grammatical errors present in the sentence.
You can select an individual character and view its radicals, translation, stroke count, index, hiragana and katakana.
Another benefit of Rikaichan is its ability to look up conjugated words. It can display a conjugated word’s dictionary form and which form it’s in, something that’s missing from a lot of Japanese grammar checkers out there. Rikaichan can even be used with downloadable dictionary files to really amp up your vocabulary.
If you’d prefer a Japanese grammar checker that’s automatically installed into your browser and features a dictionary, check out Rikaichan. It’s totally free, too. And if you use Firefox, you’re in luck: Rikaichan is available as a Firefox extension, too.
The Human Japanese software is available for Windows, Android and Apple products. It’s touted as a “personal sensei in a box” and that isn’t too far from the truth.
Human Japanese goes above and beyond what you’d expect from a regular grammar checker. This application features thousands of live recordings, clear definitions and explanations of grammar concepts, quizzes, reviews, animations of stroke order and much more.
It’s received rave reviews from major publications and is said to be a program that covers grammar, reading, writing, vocabulary and beyond. Talk about the ultimate package! Not only do you get in-depth explanations and critiques of Japanese grammar, you also get all the bells and whistles of a quality language-teaching app as well.
While Human Japanese does come at a cost (around $10-20, depending on which platform you choose) beginners and intermediate learners can enjoy a free trial. Advanced users, although you’re left out of this one, you can definitely benefit from reviewing Japanese grammar with Human Japanese. Nothing like a refresher to get the gears turning!
Japanese grammar checkers are super handy. Pick your favorite from this list and bookmark it (or install it) for future use.
No matter what level of learner you are, you never know when you may need a grammar buddy to help you over a particular grammar hump!
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Japanese with real-world videos.