My study book writes some words like あまり and おおぜい in pure hiragana and I can't figure out whether it is common to write these words in hiragana as the books says, or I'd better write them in their kanji correspondences that I see in a dictionary. For example, I know that I can write うるさい as either 煩い or 五月蝿い but I also know that to write うるさい in kanji in the first place is not a common practice. So I have no problem with うるさい but not with those new words above and more words to come.

What I usually do is to type the word in google, wait for the search bar to drop suggestions and see if the word is in hiragana or kanji. But this definitely has a limit (since most of the time suggestions show both uses) and I can't just make a new post every time I see a new word to ask which one to use.

Is there any good way to know how a word is commonly written?

  • When you type a word with your IME and the IME doesn't transform the word into a kanji form, it's a fair chance that hiragana is the most common form for the word.
    – oals
    Apr 11, 2015 at 12:07
  • Otherwise, I'd recommend ditching your textbook (all hiragana? probably detrimental to learning), and instead reading real books / manga / magazines / www to get a good handle of the correct kanji/kana balance.
    – oals
    Apr 11, 2015 at 12:11
  • But keep in mind that the reverse is not true, just because the IME knows the kani does not mean it is the best choice. My IME (google) happily outputs 迄, 伊太利亜, 英吉利, 五月蝿い, 頁, 或いは, 所謂, 之, 蟷螂, 蝙蝠, 蜥蜴, 蜻蛉, 屡々, 暫く, 愈々 &c.
    – blutorange
    Apr 11, 2015 at 12:19

1 Answer 1


Google searches for this are pretty useful. There are sites like Jisho.org (http://beta.jisho.org/) that can tell you if something is usually written in kana. It also gives you alternative kanji forms.

I don't know too many specifics, but the suggestions given by Google or Microsoft Word usually suffice. Please correct my errors though.

Here's a good link: When should I replace kanji with hiragana?

  • 2
    FWIW, jisho.org is just a front-end for Jim Breen's edict project; a lot of web sites providing ja->en dictionaries use edict.
    – oals
    Apr 11, 2015 at 12:18

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