Update - Tense Hints January/25/2024

Hey everyone!

I hope you’re all having a good year so far! Today I’m here to announce an update for the tense hints within the Grammar Point Fill-in (cloze) questions!

One of the most common types of feedback we have gotten for a long time has been asking us for more clarity on the tense of any given Fill-in (cloze) sentence. So over the past couple of months I’ve been going through and adding the tense information to every single Grammar Point Fill-in (cloze) question that we currently have here at Bunpro that was missing one. (Fun fact we currently have over 11,000 Fill-in (cloze) sentences just for Grammar Points on Bunpro!)

For those wondering how exactly this will impact their studies, here are a few before and after examples of some sentences.

OLD past 2

NEW past 2

Not only have we added the tense to all sentences that were missing it, but also created a more unified and diverse set of hints that will improve overall consistency across the site as well.

I’ll list a few of the more common ones here with some quick examples.

tsukareta no ans
tsukareta ans

shinimashita no ans
shinimashita ans

As you can see, the hint ‘Standard’ points to plain form while ‘Polite’ points towards the polite です/ます forms. This correlatates directly with 普通形 and 丁寧語 in Japanese (more on Japanese in a moment!). We decided to make this change to avoid confusion between ‘polite’ conjugation and ‘formal’ grammar, a common point that we received feedback on. This leads to the next set of hints.

‘Literary’ will be used when a response is either considered ‘bookish’ or on the more formal side. This can be especially helpful when a response is a formal Grammar Point, but ‘Standard’ conjugation like below.

stand lit no ans

Meanwhile, the ‘Casual’ tag has been reserved for grammar that is more commonly heard in conversation between friends and the like.

casual ans

“But Keaka, what about really polite stuff!?” 😱 Fear not, we’ve got you covered. Keigo now also has its own tags as well (Sonkeigo and Kenjougo)!


This should mean that the tense can more accurately point learners towards the correct response in a variety of situations. Keeping in mind that this tier is the absolute ‘base level’ of hint that Bunpro provides beyond the actual grammar specific hints that are already available in both English and Japanese.

Now on to the slightly higher level learners! For you users who prefer to have everything in Japanese, good news! The hints will also be available in Japanese very soon! We have already got all of the translations ready, and are just in the process of creating the language selection process for the tense in settings.

Hopefully this change will lead to an even more streamlined experience for all the learners here as well as better levels of retention across all levels. The tense information now being available on 100% of grammar should remove the need to view the English in order to get that info.

Small addendum that we will continuing to make small changes to some tense hints over the next few weeks where we feel we have added either not enough, or too much info on a case-by-case basis.

If you have any questions feel free to ask them here! Keep up the great effort and I hope you all enjoy! :call_me_hand:


Finally, I won’t confuse “sonkeigo” and “kenjougo” no more! Thank you very much for the update


Beautiful (⁠人⁠⁠´⁠∀⁠`⁠)⁠。⁠゚⁠+

Curious if these will lead to a category filter for cramming these specific tags :thinking: to cram just literary, casual, or the keigos

Either way お疲れ様でした✨


Thank God. I always read the clue and my brain would automatically parse the tense information in English… without flagging it as anything except the most regular present/future tense in Japanese. I’ve already seen quite a few of these fixed clozes and they’re massively helpful.


Please note all that these tense hints are being uploaded to the site as we speak, so it may be an hour or two before it is available across the board for all questions! If anything is missing from your reviews tonight, it probably just hasn’t finished uploading.


Thank you! Just noticed this change today.



Finally, I don’t get things wrong again, because I didn’t know the tense or something like that. :slight_smile:


To be honest, we hadn’t really thought of this, but it sounds like something that could be arranged quite easily and would be quite useful!


I would definitely get a lot of use out of a feature like that.


Yesssssss :partying_face::partying_face::partying_face:


こんなにたくさんの文を一人でアップデートしました?スゲー! 助かりました!



I think in some cases it might be a too big hint? For example ない内に, with “Negative” I immediately knew which grammar point to use.


While cases like this may arise, the tense hints were designed to give necessary information even for users who use no translations or other hints at all; and there are quite a few users who do just that. And in fact, I’d say if you knew exactly what grammar point to use, that can be attributed more to your knowledge of the grammar than anything else. So great job!


as someone with 400+ ghosts currently, I’m pretty sure getting used to these will boost me over 500 ghosts, lol. oh well, I’m sure I’ll get used to 'em eventually.


its beautiful i just tried my reviews and they are so clear


Finally! Thank you so much!


This whole announcement is fantastic news! I especially like …

Specifically, I mean that there will be a direct correspondence between the hint key-words in English and their corresponding source-concept in Japanese.

Which brings to mind something …

Keigo now also has its own tags as well (Sonkeigo and Kenjougo)!

尊敬語 (sonkeigo) could have the English key-word ‘respectful’, to distinguish it from 敬語 (keigo), which could use the generic key-word ‘honorific’. Likewise, 謙譲語 (kenjougo) could use ‘humble’. (These are just suggestions!)

My main point here is that as long as the ‘arrow’ goes from:

[actual Japanese concept] → [distinct-and-unique English key-word]

then as long as those English key-words are chosen to be 1) unique within the context of Bunpro; 2) distinct, as in not too similar to each other, easily recognizable; 3) consistently used in every case where the original Japanese concept-word is intended; then having a system like this will dramatically aid in reducing confusion, and indeed even introducing understanding, just by mere fact of consistent usage of the same key-words to always mean exactly the same thing every time.

Specifically, you could use ‘respectful’ instead of ‘sonkeigo’ as your English key-word, because at least ‘respectful’ already carries the connotation of the English word, whereas ‘sonkeigo’ doesn’t immediately convey the meaning through connotation.

The following thoughts are things you guys have probably either already implemented or considered implementing already. I’m just exanding / brain-storming / brain-dumping in case it might be useful feedback:

When a user switches to the Japanese-only user-interface, all instances of ‘respectful’ would transform into the actual root-concept word 尊敬語(そんけいご).

Or, to provide a ‘bunny slope’ introduction to the equivalent Japanese, you could include (an/some) additional step(s):

  1. Toggle to always show the romaji version of the Japanese concept on hover/mouse-over the English keyword, like (consistently, throughout the site) showing ‘resepectful’, and when hover/mouse-over it shows ‘sonkeigo)’ – instead of just ‘respectful’ without any interaction/hover.
  2. Same idea as 1, but show the romaji appended whenever the English keyword is shown, like ‘respectful (sonkeigo)’ instead of just ‘respectful’ with or without interaction/on hover/mouse-over.
  3. Same as 1 or 2, but using kanji with furigana instead of romaji.
  4. Reverse of 3, showing kanji with furigana and optional hover or appended English key-word.

On a slight tangent: I’ve been using the Vocab tool recently to try to help me differentiate between all these different concepts. So, for example, I didn’t just add 謙譲語 to my reviews, but also the more basal word 謙譲 which, for example, isn’t on WaniKani nor is it in any JLPT level.

One suggestion I made a while back – buried in a comment somewhere but which is now relevant again – was that it would be great if there was a Vocab deck that targeted ‘langauge learning’ concepts, and in particular ‘Japanese language learning’. So, while 謙譲語 is on WaniKani (level 39), on Bunpro it’s tucked away in the A3 deck. Likewise, other Japanese language-specific words are scattered all over the place in the current decks.

If there was a deck (perhaps multiple, if it comes to that) which brought these words together, then we could study those words directly, allowing us to become familiar with the Japanese terminology about Japanese itself. This would of course aid in learning about Japanese grammar, particularly if the words were introduced in a similar order to the Bunpro Grammar order which introduces such concepts, though disguised/translated into English/European grammar words.

In particular, some things we never really learn unless one goes out of one’s way to learn about it are things like the various grammatical parts-of-speech and grammatical cases that Japanese has. For example, if you dig around you’ll find mention of so-called (in English terms) ‘inflectable’ and ‘non-inflectible’ words.

But in Japanese the actual root concepts are things like 助動詞, 補助用言, 連体修飾語, and others. These tend not to correspond directly with their popular English translations, and this confusion often makes Japanese grammar seem random and opaque to outsiders.

If we were able to learn the root Japanese concepts themselves, as Bunpro Vocab alongside Grammar, then we’d be able to get a more consistent and logical understanding of the underlying Japanese grammar. So, having a deck dedicated to these kinds of words would be quite helpful, IMHO.

Finally, in parallel to that, just having a deck dedicated to learning all the Japanese words related to Bunpro itself (specifically, the UI) would enable people to more easily shift over to a Japanese-only UI for Bunpro, which I think would be a great step forward for transitioning to venturing out into general Japanese websites on the interwebs.

Words related to web navigation, various menu and settings options, etc.

Done with brain dump for now. :sweat_smile:


I wanted to suggest adding a vocab deck that have every word necessary to use the UI in Japanese, if it extended to also teach the Japanese terminology of grammar structures it would be even better!


I really like this idea, and it seems like something that shouldn’t be too difficult to do. Will definitely discuss this with everyone.


You know what would be great? Bringing vocab out of beta.