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Etymology 1

Alternative spelling

From Old Japanese root verb ? (su, "to do").[1][2] Cognate with Okinawan (sun).

As with all verbs, during the Middle Japanese stage in the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, the (sh?shikei, "terminal or sentence-ending form") was gradually lost as the (rentaikei, "attributive form") came to be used for both the attributive and terminal grammatical roles, realigning the conjugations.


  • Tokyo pitch accent of conjugated forms of ""
Source: Online Japanese Accent Dictionary
Stem forms
Terminal ()
Attributive ()
?? [sùrú]
Imperative ()
Key constructions
Passive ? [sàrérú]
Causative ? [sàsérú]
Potential ??? [dèkí?rù]
Volitional ??? [shìyó?ò]
Negative ? [shìnáí]
Negative perfective ?? [shìná?kàttà]
Formal ??? [shìmá?sù]
Perfective ?? [shìtá]
Conjunctive ?? [shìté]
Hypothetical conditional ??? [sùré?bà]


o (surutransitive or intransitive suru (stem ? (shi), past (shita))

  1. (intransitive)
    1. (of inanimate objects) to exist; to come up
      inabikari ga suru
      Lightning occurred.
      nioi ga suru
      There is a smell.
    2. (of a specified state; of a specified quality) to exist (in someone or something)
      gasshiri shita honegumi
      a rigid structure
    3. to be worth; to have the value of
      gooku en mo suru e
      a painting worth 500 million yen
    4. (of time) to pass; to elapse
      ichinen mo sureba wasureru dar?
      It will be forgotten after one year.
  2. (transitive)
    1. to do; to perform an action
      Nani o shite imasu ka.
      What are you doing?
    2. to act as; to play a role of
      watashi ga shikai o suru
      I am the anchorman.
    3. to render; to make become
      Usually "A ? B ? / ? + ", to make A become B.
      musuko o sensei ni suru
      He is training his son to become a teacher.
      hitori ni shinaide
      please don't leave me to be alone by myself
      heya o kirei ni suru
      to clean up one's room
    4. (to be in a specified state; to have a specified quality) to be
      kowai metsuki o suru
      to have an intimidating glare
    5. to wear (accessories)
      Nekutai o suru.
      I wear a necktie.
    6. to decide; to choose or to make a judgment
      m?, kore de yoshi to shiy?
      Alright, let's go with that.
      shutsuj? o toriyame ni suru
      I decided to quit the competition.
  3. (auxiliary)
    1. "Verbal noun + emphatic particle (e.g. ?, ?, , ) + ", emphasizing the verb.
      yuki wa furi wa shita ga tsumoranakatta
      It did snow, but the snow did not pile up.
    2. "Volitional form of verb + ? + ": to be about to; to incline to
      hi ga shizum? to shite iru
      The sun is sinking.
    3. " ? / ? + ", to give a condition or standpoint, either real or hypothetical: if / since; assuming that / now that
      sh?saku to sureba j?j? no deki da
      It is of a considerably good quality as for a practice writing.
      oya to shite wa shinpai suru no wa t?zen da
      It's inevitable to worry about that if you were the parent.
      donna ni isoida ni shite mo ma ni awanakatta dar?
      It would never have been done in time no matter how hard we had worked.
    4. (humble) " ?(?)/?(?) + verbal noun + ", a humble form of the verb.
      ?() (todokeru, "to deliver") -- ??()? (o todoke suru, "to deliver", humble)
      ?() (tomo, "company") -- ??() (o tomo shimasu, "to accompany", humble)
      (?) (annai suru, "to guide") -- ?(?) (go annai shimasu, "to guide", humble)
Usage notes
  • The verb ("to do") is seldom written in kanji ().
  • It is common to use after certain nouns to indicate that the noun is being done; this is highly productive, meaning many nouns can be used as verbs in this way. Some examples are:
    • (benky?, "studying") -> (benky? suru, "to do studying" -> "to study")
    • (ryok?, "journey") -> (ryok? suru, "to do journey" -> "to travel")
    See Category:Japanese suru verbs.
  • (to do): ?()? (itasu) (humble)
  • (to do): (yaru) (colloquial)
  • (to do): ?(?)?, ?(?)? (nasu) (somewhat archaic, usage is more limited)
  • (to do): ?()? (okonau, "to carry out")
  • (used to make a verb): (-ru), a much less productive suffix for turning a noun into a verb
See also
  • ? (su)

Etymology 2

Reading for various kanji spellings.


o (suru

Various verbs deriving from senses similar to "to slide" or "to rub":

  1. , : to print something (from the way the paper would be placed on the printing block and rubbed)
  2. : to pick someone's pocket (possibly from the way a pickpocket must slide along unnoticed;[1] compare English slick)
  3. , , , : to slide, to rub, to chafe, to strike (as in a match, by rubbing); to lose or waste money
  4. : irregular reading for (soru, "to shave")


  1. ? 1.01.1 1988, () (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), T?ky?: Shogakukan
  2. ^ 2006, (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), T?ky?: Sanseid?, ->ISBN
  3. ^ 1998, NHK (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), T?ky?: NHK, ->ISBN

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