Intro to Japanese Verb Types and Verb Conjugation

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Unlike English, verbs, in Japanese, always come at the end of a sentence or a clause. We We will now learn the types of verbs, which will allow us to define conjugation rules. Before we can learn any verb conjugations, we first need to learn how verbs are categorized.

Japanese Verb Types 1

Basically there are three main categories of verbs. The first type of Japanese verbs is called u-verbs, and is also referred to as “ V1” in LingoDeer Japanese lessons. V1 always end with anう(u) sound when in plain form. The second type of Japanese verbs, V2, is called ru-verbs. V2 are verbs whose endings are a combination of “any kana in the い(i)/え(e) column + る(ru)”.This is why sometimes ru-verbs are also known as iru-verbs and eru-verbs. V3 are verbs constructed in the form of “Kanji+する(suru)”, including these two: “来る(kuru/to come)” and “する(suru/to do).

V1/u-verbs V2/ru-verbs V3

私は明日行く。

(I will go tomorrow.)

李さんは毎日カレーを食べる。

(Mr. Li eats curry everyday.)

私は毎日日本語を勉強する

(I study Japanese everyday.)

飲む, 買う, 書く, etc. 寝る, 食べる, 着る, etc. 来る, する, 散歩する, etc.

Japanese Verb Types 2

If you try to categorize Japanese verbs in a more familiar way, there will be another verb type. In English, verbs which take an object are called transitive verbs, and verbs which do not take an object are called intransitive verbs. In Japanese these are called tadōshi (他動詞) and jidōshi (自動詞) respectively.

Intransitive Verbs Transitive Verbs
ドアが開く。

(A door opens itself)

ドアを開ける。

(to open a door)

閉まる, つく, 消える, 止まる, etc. 閉める, つける, 消す, 止める, etc.

Features of a Jidoushi-Tadoushi/intransitive-transitive pair:

① a pair usually shares the same root but differs by the endings.

② Tadoushi comes after the direct object particle ““, whereas Jidoushi follows the particle ““.

Exceptions:

Apart from verbs that come in transitive-intransitive pairs, there are verbs that are always intransitive those always transitive, and some are both transitive and intransitive.

① Only intransitive: 行く, 来る, 住む, 走る, 泣く, etc.

② Only transitive: 聞く, 話す, 読む, 書く, 食べる, etc.

③ Intransitive form=transitive form: 開く, 休む, 笑う, 終わる, 吹く, etc.

Being able to conjugate each verb into its respective stems in order to add suffixes to verbs and convey specific meanings is an essential step in increasing your Japanese proficiency. The conjugation tables below will show how verbs in the Japanese language are conjugated on the basis of the Verb Types 1. All of these is included in LingoDeer Japanese lessons.

Japanese Verb Conjugations I

  Plain -Masu -Te -Ta -Nai
V1 ~う ~い ~って ~った ~わない
~つ ~ち ~たない
~る ~り ~らない
~く ~き ~いて ~いた ~かない
~ぐ ~ぎ ~いで ~いだ ~がない
~ぬ ~に ~んで ~んだ ~なない
~ぶ ~び ~ばない
~む ~み ~まない
~す ~し ~して ~した ~さない
V2 i ~i ~て ~た ~ない
e ~e
V3 ~する して した しない
~くる きて きた こない

Japanese Verb Conjugations II

  Plain Potential Conditional Volitional Imperative
V1 ~う ~える ~えば ~おう ~え
~つ ~てる ~てば ~とう ~て
~る ~れる ~れば ~ろう ~れ
~く ~ける ~けば ~こう ~け
~ぐ ~げる ~げば ~ごう ~げ
~ぬ ~ねる ~ねば ~のう ~ね
~ぶ ~べる ~べば ~ぼう ~べ
~む ~める ~めば ~もう ~め
~す ~せる ~せば ~そう ~せ
V2 i ~られる ~れば ~よう ~ろ
e
V3 ~する できる すれば しよう しろ
~くる こられる くれば こよう こい

Japanese Verb Conjugations III

  Plain Passive Causative Passive causative
V1 ~う ~われる ~わせる ~わせられる
~つ ~たれる ~たせる ~たせられる
~る ~られる ~らせる ~らせられる
~く ~かれる ~かせる ~かせられる
~ぐ ~がれる ~がせる ~がせられる
~ぬ ~なれる ~なせる ~なせられる
~ぶ ~ばれる ~ばせる ~ばせられる
~む ~まれる ~ませる ~ませられる
~す ~される ~させる ~させられる
V2 i ~られる
e
V3 ~する される させる させられる
~くる こられる こさせる こさせられる

Conclusion:

We learned a lot about Japanese verbs today! I know it is difficult to remember all of it, but it will become clearer the more you hear it and use it. If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment below or contact us via social media @lingodeer

If you want to do exercises on Japanese verbs, you must check out LingoDeer’s Japanese lessons! Our verb chapters  explain in detail how to use them in a sentence. Download the app now!

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