Most helpful positive review
73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Verbs and nothing else, but...
on June 27, 2001
This is a wonderful little book. You need to be at a point in your Japanese studies where working with verbs is a problem before you even bother. And you need to know the hiragana to make best use of the handbook. (Everything is written in romaji in addition to kanji though.)
Now if you know a fair amount of Japanese and if you know your kana, you might think you aren't going to need a book that deals only with verbs. Unlike a (proper) English sentence, a Japanese sentence can comprise nothing but verbs (although some of them might be acting like nouns). If you know why you say kawanai, but kaimasu, then you don't need this book. If you know the difference between sumitai and sumitagaru, then you don't need this book.
But if verbs are giving you a problem or if you are moving from a purely auditory learning system to the written language, then you will want this book. I found the "pattern" treatment of Type I or u-dropping verbs particularly helpful. (I learned it in about half an hour.) Also, since I am working with written Japanese more than spoken Japanese, I am finding the comprehensive list of patterns (over 150) extremely useful. But if I were concentrating on the spoken language I would still need to know which form goes with which auxiliary. And it's all here, presented systematically for easy digestion.
My only complaint is that the practices give too much help with the auxiliaries. It really needs two levels of practice -- one that reinforces verb endings and one that reinforces verb ending + auxiliaries.