Japanese Verb Conjugation
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Japanese Verb Conjugation

As with most languages, Japanese verbs can be phonetically modified to change the purpose, nuance or meaning of the verb. These modifications are known as "verb conjugations". In the Japanese language, the beginning of a word is usually preserved during conjugations (this is the "verb stem"), whilst the ending of the word is altered in some way to change the meaning (this is the "inflectional suffix"). Unlike other languages, Japanese verb conjugations are independent from a subject's perspective (such as the first/second/third person), gender (i.e. neutral/feminine/masculine) and plurality (e.g. "they").

A revision sheet visually summarizing the conjugations and uses described below

Verb groups

For Japanese verbs, the verb stem remains invariant among all conjugations. When a verb is conjugated with a suffix, it adopts a so called "form". In any verb form, the conjugated suffix can also be changed depending on the tense, mode, or other nuances being conveyed.

Categories are important when conjugating Japanese verbs, since conjugation patterns vary according to the verb's category. For example, (shiru) and (kiru) belong to different verb categories (godan and ichidan, respectively) and therefore follow different conjugation patterns. Japanese verbs can be allocated into three categories:[1]

  1. Godan verbs (?, godan-d?shi, literally: "Class-5 verbs")
  2. Ichidan verbs (?, ichidan-d?shi, literally: "Class-1 verbs")
  3. Irregular verbs, most notably: (suru, to do) and (kuru, to come)

Verbs are conjugated from their infinitive form (also known as their "dictionary form").[1] In godan verbs, the final kana is an inflectional suffix which can span all 5 rows of the goj?on kana table (hence, the classification as a class-5 verb). Therefore, the final kana changes based on the purpose of conjugation. Ichidan verbs are simpler to conjugate: the final kana, which is always ? (ru), is simply replaced with a suffix. This phenomenon can be observed by comparing various verb conjugations to an extracted column of the goj?on table:[2]

Godan Verb
(to read)
Goj?on table
'ma' column
Negative Polite form Infinitive
(no conjugation)
Potential form Volitional form
Negative ?
yomanai
? (ma)
Polite form ?
yomimasu
? (mi) ?
kinai
?
kimasu
??
kiru
?
kirareru
?
kiy?
Ichidan Verb
(to wear)
Infinitive
(no conjugation)
??
yomu
? (mu)
Potential form ?
yomeru
? (me)
tomenai

tomemasu
?
tomeru

tomerareru

tomey?
Ichidan Verb
(to stop)
Volitional form ?
yom?
? (mo)

In summary, prior to adding a conjugation suffix: godan verbs have part of the word changed whilst ichidan verbs have part of the word removed.

Copula: da and desu

There is a special case of ? (da) and (desu) in Japanese that is loosely translated as the English copula "to be". They are generally used to predicate sentences, equate one thing with another (i.e. "A is B."), or express a self-directed thought (e.g. a sudden emotion or realization).[3]

Copula example sentences
English Japanese Function
It is a book. ? (hon desu) predicate
The weather was awful. (tenki ga taihen deshita) copula, A is B
Ah! A cockroach! ?!??! (ugy?! gokiburi da!) self-directed

Conjugation table

These copulae aren't standard 'verbs' and their conjugations are limited to a smaller subset of functions. Furthermore, they conjugate according to their own specific patterns:[4]

Infinitive
(no conjugation)
Negative
(colloquial)
Negative
(formal)
Perfective
(past tense)
te form Conditional Conjecture
(probably)
?
da
?
ja nai [i]
?
de wa nai
?
datta
?
de
(?)
 nare (ba)
(?)
(dar?) [ii]

desu
?
ja arimasen [i]
?
de wa arimasen
?
deshita
?
deare ba
(?)
(desh?) [ii]
[i] (ja) is a colloqial abbreviation of (de wa).[4]
[ii] Although (dar?) and ? (desh?) were originally conjugations of ? (da) and (desu) respectively, they are now also used as auxiliary verbs.[5]

Grammatical compatibility

The ? negative forms, ? (ja nai) and ? (de wa nai), are compatible with all negative tense conjugations (such as the negative past tense or the negative -te form).[4] However, the negative forms, ? (ja arimasen) and ? (de wa arimasen), are conjugated into the past tense by appending (deshita) as a suffix (and are therefore incompatible with subsequent (-nai) conjugations).[4] Furthermore, the perfective forms, (datta) and (deshita), are compatible with the ~tara conditional.[6]

Imperfective

The imperfective form (?, sh?shikei / rentaikei, also known as the "non-past", "plain form", "short form", "dictionary form" and the "attributive form") is broadly equivalent to the present and future tenses of English. In Japanese, the imperfective form is also the infinitive (the basic form of a verb) and is used as the headword or lemma, without using any conjugations. It is used to express actions that are assumed to continue into the future, habits or future intentions.[7]

Imperfective form example sentences
English Japanese Function
(Do you eat sushi?)
Yes, I eat sushi.
(?) (sushi o taberu?)
(un, sushi o taberu)
assumption to continue action
I go shopping every weekend. (mai sh?matsu kaimono suru) habit / reoccurring action
I will study tomorrow. ? (ashita benky? suru) future intention

The imperfective form cannot be used to make a progressive continuous statement, such as in the English sentence "I am shopping". To do so, the verb must first be conjugated into its te form and attached to the (iru) auxiliary verb .

Conjugation table

Since the imperfective form is also the infinitive in Japanese, there are no conjugations.

Infinitive Pattern [2] Imperfect form
Godan verbs No change
(tsukuru, make) -> (tsukuru, make)
(iu, say) -> (iu, say)
(motsu, carry) -> (motsu, carry)
(sagasu, look for) -> (sagasu, look for)
Ichidan verbs No change
(miru, see) -> (miru, see)
(hajimeru, begin) -> (hajimeru, begin)
Irregular verbs
(kuru, come) -> (kuru, come)
(suru, do) -> (suru, do)
Special conjugations
(-masu) -> (-masu)

Grammatical compatibility

The imperfective form can be used to issue prohibitive commands by attaching (-na).[8] For example, ?! (hairu na!, "Do not enter!"). Additionally, the imperfective form is compatible with the nominalizers (-no) and (-koto), which repurpose the verb as a noun. For example, ?! (karaoke de utau no wa tanoshii!, Singing at karaoke is fun!).

Negative

The negative form (, mizenkei) is broadly equivalent to the English word "not".[7]

Negative form example sentences
English Japanese Function
I don't drink alcohol. ? (osake wa nomanai) assumption to continue inaction
I won't brush my teeth. ? (ha o migakanai) immediate inaction
I won't work tomorrow. ? (ashita hatarakanai) future inaction

Aside from negating verbs, the negative form also serves as a definitive means of verb classification. This means every possible verb conjugation can be derived from knowing its negative form (which is not the case for Japanese infinitives).[2]

Conjugation table

The negative form ends with the (nai) suffix. Apart from the verb (suru), the negative form shares its conjugation pattern with the passive and causative forms, albeit with different suffixes.

Infinitive Pattern [2] Negative form
Godan verbs Shift the kana to the ? row, then add
(tsukuru, make) ?? -> ? + ? (tsukuranai, not make)
(iu, say) [i] ?? -> ? + ? (iwanai, not say)
(motsu, carry) ?? -> ? + ? (motanai, not carry)
(sagasu, look for) ?? -> ? + ? (sagasanai, not look for)
Ichidan verbs Remove ? then add
(miru, see) ?? + (minai, not see)
(hajimeru, begin) ? + ? (hajimenai, not begin)
Irregular verbs
(kuru, come) ?? -> ? + (konai, not come)
(suru, do) ?? -> ? + (shinai, not do)
Special conjugations
(-masu) ? -> ? + ? ? (-masen, not) [ii]
Special exceptions
(aru, exist) + (nai, not exist)
[i] For godan verbs ending in (-u), the "?" changes to "?" (wa) in the negative conjugation. It does not change to "?" (a).
[ii] The negative past form of is ? (-masen deshita, did not).[2]

Grammatical compatibility

The negative form is compatible with the ~? (-de) particle for additional functions, such as requesting someone to cease/desist or joining a subordinate clause. It is also compatible with i-adjectives inflections, since the ~ (-nai) suffix ends with ~? (-i).

Negative form: Grammatical compatibility example sentences
English Japanese Function
Please don't eat it. ?? (tabenai de kudasai) request to cease/desist
Without eating, I went to bed. (tabenai de, neta) add a subordinate clause
I didn't talk. (hanasanakatta) i-adjective inflection
(example: negative past tense)


Perfective

The perfective form (?, kakokei / kanry?kei, also known as the "ta form", "past tense" and the "perfect tense") is equivalent to the English "past tense".[9]

Perfective form example sentences
English Japanese Function
I went to Japan. (nihon ni itta) past tense
I practiced piano every day. ? (mainichi piano no rensh? shita) continuous past

Conjugation table

The perfective form ends with the (-ta/-da) suffix, and shares its conjugation pattern with the te form. The conjugation patterns are more complex compared to other conjugations because they're based on the euphony (, onbin) of the verb stem. (See also: Euphonic changes)

Infinitive Pattern [2] Perfective form
Godan verbs Various suffix-specific patterns
? (tsukuru, make) ?? + (tsukutta, made)
? (iu, say) ?? + (itta, said)
? (motsu, carry) ?? + (motta, carried)
? (sagasu, look for) ?? -> (sagashita, looked for)
? (oku, put) ?? + (oita, had put)
? (oyogu, swim) ?? + (oyoida, swam)
? (yobu, summon) ?? + (yonda, summoned)
? (yasumu, rest) ?? + (yasunda, rested)
? (shinu, die) [i] ?? + (shinda, died)
Ichidan verbs Remove ? then add ?
(miru, see) ?? + ? (mita, saw)
(hajimeru, begin) ? + ? (hajimeta, began)
Irregular verbs Shift the kana to the ? row, remove ? then add ?
(kuru, come) ?? -> ? + ? (kita, came)
(suru, do) ?? -> ? + ? (shita, did it)
Special conjugations
(-masu) ? -> ? + ? ? (-mashita, did) [ii]
(-nai, not) ? + (-nakatta, did not)
Special exceptions
(iku, go) ?? + (itta, went)
(tou, ask/blame) + ? (touta, asked/blamed)
(kou, beg) + ? (kouta, begged)
[i] (shinu, to die) is the only verb with the ? (nu) suffix, in the entire Japanese vocabulary.
[ii] The negative perfective form of is ? (-masen deshita, did not).[2]

Grammatical compatibility

The perfective form is compatible with:

  • The "tari form" (or "tari-tari form"), to describe a non-exhaustive list of actions (similar to A?B describes a non-exhaustive lists of objects). It uses ? (ri) as the subordinate conjunction.[10][11]
  • The "tara form" (or "past conditional"), to describe events that will happen as a result of completing something. It uses ? (ra) as the subordinate conjunction.[12][6]
    • It can be used to mean "if and when";
    • It can also be used to reveal an unexpected outcome that happened in the past.

Perfective form: Grammatical compatibility example sentences
English Japanese Function
I read a book, watched TV, etc. ? (hon o yondari, terebi o mitari shita) non-exhaustive list of actions
If I go to Japan, I want to see Mount Fuji. (nihon ni ittara, fuji san ga mitai) if and when
When I went to the cafe, I came across Suzuki. ? (kafe ni ittara, Suzuki-san ni deatta) unexpected past outcome

te form

The te form (, tekei) allows verbs to function like conjunctions. Similar to the word "and" in English, the te form connects clauses to make longer sentences. Conversely, as a sentence terminal, it functions as a casual instruction (like a gentle imperative command). Finally, the te form attaches to a myriad of auxiliary verbs for various purposes.[13]

te form example sentences
English Japanese Function
(I will eat breakfast. I will go to school.)
I will eat breakfast and go to school.
(asagohan o taberu. gakk? ni iku.)
?? (asagohan o tabete gakk? ni iku)
conjunction
Please eat. ? (tabete) gentle instruction
I am waiting. (matte iru) auxiliary verb
(example: present-continuous)

Conjugation table

The te form ends with the (-te/-de) suffix, and shares its conjugation pattern with the perfective form. The conjugation patterns are more complex compared to other conjugations because they're based on the euphony (, onbin) of the verb stem. (See also: Euphonic changes)

Infinitive Pattern [2] te form
Godan verbs Various suffix-specific patterns
? (tsukuru, make) ?? + (tsukutte, make and)
? (iu, say) ?? + (itte, say and)
? (motsu, carry) ?? + (motte, carry and)
? (sagasu, look for) ?? -> (sagashite, look for and)
? (oku, put) ?? + (oite, put and)
? (oyogu, swim) ?? + (oyoide, swim and)
? (yobu, summon) ?? + (yonde, summon and)
? (yasumu, rest) ?? + (yasunde, rest and)
? (shinu, die) [i] ?? + (shinde, die and)
Ichidan verbs Remove ? then add ?
(miru, see) ?? + ? (mite, see and)
(hajimeru, begin) ? + ? (hajimete, begin and)
Irregular verbs Shift the kana to the ? row, remove ? then add ?
(kuru, come) ?? -> ? + ? (kite, come and)
(suru, do) ?? -> ? + ? (shite, do it and)
Special conjugations
(-masu) ? -> ? + ? ? (-mashite, and)
(-nai, not) [ii] + ? ? (-naide, without and)[iii]
? + ? (-nakute, not and)[iv]
Special exceptions
(iku, go) ?? + (itte, go and)
(tou, ask/blame) + ? (toute, ask/blame and)
(kou, beg) + ? (koute, beg and)
[i] (shinu, to die) is the only verb with the ? (nu) suffix, in the entire Japanese vocabulary.
[ii] This conjugation is not reciprocated in the perfective form; the past tense of (-nai) is ? (-nakatta, was not).
[iii] The ? (-nai de) form is only used with verbs, and is used as an imperative or to prefix auxiliary verbs.[14]
[iv] The ? (-nakute) form is used with adjectives and copula, but also used with verbs when expressing a consequential human emotion or contradiction.[14]

Grammatical compatibility

The te form is compatible with particles for additional functions, such as giving permission or expressing prohibition.[15]

te form: Particle example sentences
English Japanese Function
It's okay to eat here. (koko de tabete mo ii) permission
You must not eat here. (koko de tabete wa ikenai) prohibition

The te form is also compatible with an extensive list of auxiliary verbs. These auxiliary verbs are attached after the .

te form: Auxiliary verb example sentences
Aux. English Japanese Function
I'm carrying the bag. ? (kaban o motte iru) [iii] continuous action
Some Arabic letters are written here. (koko ni arabia moji ga kaite aru) completed and remains to be
I'll make a sandwich for later. ? (sandoitchi o tsukutte oku) [iv] prepare for future
I'll try to climb Mount Everest. ? (eberesuto yama ni nobotte miru) attempt
? (I ate.)
I finished eating.
(?) (tabeta)
(tabete shimatta)
emphasize completion
* I accidentally forgot my smartphone! ?! (sumaho wasure chatta!) [v] accident/regret
[iii] Colloquially, the ? (i) is dropped. For example, ?? (motte iru) becomes ? (motte ru).
[iv] Colloquially, (te o-) undergoes morpheme fusion, becoming (to-). For example, ? (tsukutte oku) becomes ?? (tsukuttoku).
[v] In this case, ? is dropped rather than being attached to . This is because ? (chau) is a morpheme fusion of ? (chimau), which itself is a morpheme fusion of ? (te shimau). Similarly, ? (de) is also dropped when attaching to (jau) and (jimau), which are the morpheme fusions of ? (de shimau).

Finally, the te form is necessary for making polite requests with (kudasaru) and (kureru). These honorific words are attached with their imperative forms ? (-kudasai) and (-kure), which is more socially proper than using the true imperative.[16]

te form: Request example sentences
English Japanese Function
Please lend me the book. (hon o kashite kudasai) polite request
Will you lend me the book? ? (hon o kashite kure?) plain request

Advanced usage

During speech, the speaker may terminate a sentence in the te form but slightly lengthen the vowel sound as a natural pause: (te...). Similar to when a sentence ends with "so..." in English, this serves as a social cue that can:

  • give the listener a moment to process;
  • indicate the speaker isn't finished speaking;
  • seek permission from the listener to continue;
  • imply that the listener should infer the remainder of the sentence.

Another usage of the te form is, just as with English, the order of clauses may be reversed to create emphasis. However, unlike in English, the sentence will terminate on the te form (rather than between clauses).

te form: Advanced usage example sentences
English Japanese Function
I'll go to the pharmacy and buy medicine." ?? (yakkyoku e itte kusuri o kau) typical conjunction
I'll buy medicine, by going to the pharmacy (kusuri o kau, yakkyoku e itte) reversed conjunction

Conjunctive

The conjunctive form (, ren'y?kei, also known as the "stem form", "masu form", "i form" and the "continuative form") [17] functions like an intermediate conjugation; it requires an auxiliary verb to be attached since the conjunctive form is rarely used in isolation (hence the name "conjunctive"). In theory the conjunctive form can function as a gerund (a verb functioning as a noun) without the need for nominalizers, however permissible use cases are limited. [18][19]

Conjunctive form example sentences
English Japanese Function
I'll meet the customer. ?? (okyakusama ni ai masu) polite language
I want to win the game. ? (shiai ni kachitai) auxiliary verb
(example: desire)
I'll go to see a movie. (eiga o mi ni iku) particle
(example: purpose)
We're about to change trains.
Don't forget your shopping!
? (mamonaku ressha o norikaeru yo.)
! (kaimono o wasureru na!)
compound words

Conjugation table

The conjunctive form is one of the simplest conjugation patterns due to its lack of irregular conjugations. It does have an additional case for certain honorific verbs, but even those follow a consistent conjugation pattern.

Infinitive Pattern [2] Conjunctive form [i]
Godan verbs Shift the kana to the ? row
(tsukuru, make) ?? -> ? (tsukuri, making)
(iu, say) ?? -> ? (ii, saying)
(motsu, carry) ?? -> ? (mochi, carrying)
(sagasu, look for) ?? -> ? (sagashi, looking for)
Ichidan verbs Remove ?
(miru, see) ?? ? (mi, seeing)
(hajimeru, begin) ? (hajime, beginning)
Irregular verbs Shift the kana to the ? row, then remove ?
(kuru, come) ?? -> ? ? (ki, coming)
(suru, do) ?? -> ? ? (shi, doing)
Honorific verbs Remove ? then add ?
(kudasaru, give) [ii] ? + ? (kudasai, giving)
[i] The English translations use the "-ing" suffix for nominalization. Therefore, they are nouns, not present continuous verbs.
[ii] Other honorific words, such as (gozaru, to be), (irassharu, to come/go) and (nasaru, to do), also conjugate with this pattern.[2]

Grammatical compatibility

The conjunctive form is compatible with particles for additional functions, such as expressing purpose or a firm avoidance.[20]

Conjunctive form: Particle example sentences
English Japanese Function
I'll go to Hiroshima to see the Itsukushima shrine. (itsukushima jinja o mi ni hiroshima e iku) purpose
I don't eat meat. (niku o tabe wa shinai) firm avoidance

The conjunctive form is also compatible with an extensive list of auxiliary verbs. One of which, (masu), is a highly irregular verb.

Conjunctive form: Auxiliary verb example sentences
Aux. English Japanese Function
I'll write a letter. ? (tegami o kaki masu) polite language
I want to buy a new computer. ? (atarashii pasokon o kai tai) desire
It's easy to learn mathematics. ? (s?gaku ga manabi yasui) easy to do
It's hard to understand classical literature. (koten bungaku ga wakari nikui) difficult to do
? I drink too much alcohol. (o sake o nomi sugiru) excessiveness
? I'll drink coffee while walking to the station. ? (eki ni aruki nagara k?hii o nomu) simultaneous action
? Write your name here. (koko ni namae o kaki nasai) polite imperative

Advanced usage

The conjunctive form is also used in formal honorifics, such as (o tsukai kudasai, "Please use this.").

Another common usage is to form compound words, specifically compound nouns and compound verbs. As for compound nouns, the conjunctive form attaches as a prefix to another noun. Compound verbs are formed in the same way, except the conjunctive form attaches to the imperfective form. This pattern can be used to express mutuality if a transitive verb attaches to (-au, to unite).[21]


Conjunctive form: Compound word examples
Verb [conjunctive form] + Noun/Verb [imperfective form] Compound Literal translation Dynamic translation Function
(tabe, eating) ? (mono, thing) (tabe mono) "eating thing" food compound noun
(kiri, cutting) (hanasu, to separate) ? (kiri hanasu) "cutting and separating" to cut off compound verb
(chikai, promise) (au, to unite) ? (chikai au) "promising and uniting" to promise each other mutual verb

Volitional

The volitional form (, ishi kei, also known as the "conjectural form", "tentative form", "presumptive form" and the "hortative form") is used to express speaker's will or intention (volitional), make an inclusive command or invitation (hortative or persuasive)[22] or to make a guess or supposition (presumptive).

Volitional form example sentences
English Japanese Function
I will put off this task for later. ? (sono shigoto wa atomawashi ni shiy?)[23] personal volition
Let's go home! ?! (kaer?!) inclusive command
Shall we eat outside? ?? (soto de tabey? ka?) inclusive invitation
There will probably be many objections at the meeting. ? (kaigi de wa ?ku no hanron ga dasarey?)[23] making a guess or supposition

Conjugation table

The volitional form ends with the ? (u/y?) suffix. Phonetically, ? is surfaced as ? (o) in volitional form, unlike instances of ? in infinitive/imperfective form; for example, (tou, to ask) and (to?, let's ask).

Infinitive Pattern [2] Volitional form
Godan verbs Shift the kana to the ? row, then add ?
(tsukuru, make) ?? -> ? + ? (tsukur?, let's make)
(iu, say) ?? -> ? + ? (i?, let's say)
(motsu, carry) ?? -> ? + ? (mot?, let's carry)
(sagasu, look for) ?? -> ? + ? (sagas?, let's look for)
Ichidan verbs Remove ? then add
(miru, see) ?? + (miy?, let's see)
(hajimeru, begin) ? + ? (hajimey?, let's begin)
Irregular verbs
(kuru, come) ?? -> ? + (koy?, let's come back)
(suru, do) ?? -> ? + (shiy?, let's do it)
Special conjugations
(-masu) ? -> + ? (-mash?, let's)
(-nai, not) ?? -> + ? (-nakar?, perhaps not exist)
Honorific verbs Change ? to ? then add ?
Honorific verbs [i] ?? -> ? + ? (-r?, let's)
Special exceptions
(aru, exist) [i] ?? -> ? + ? (ar?, probably exist)
[i] Theoretical conjugation only; it's unnatural and not usually used.[2]

Grammatical compatibility

The volitional form is also used to describe intention ? (-to omou)[24] an attempt ? (-to suru) or an imminent action (-to shite iru).[25]

Volitional form: Particle example sentences
English Japanese Function
I think I'm going to make a salad. (sarada o tsukur? to omou) intention
I'll try to go to bed early. (hayaku ney? to suru) attempt
The dog is about to bark. ?? (inu ga hoey? to shite iru) imminent action

Passive

The passive form (, ukemikei) refocuses the verb as the target objective of a sentence; it emphasizes the action as the detail of importance. Although a sentence can include a specific subject enacting the passive verb, the subject is not required.[26] The passive voice can nuance neutrality, a regrettable action (suffering passive) or a means of being respectful.[27]

Passive form example sentences
English Japanese Function
This TV was made by Toshiba. ? (kono terebi wa Toshiba ni yotte tsukurareta) neutrality
My beer was drunk by a friend. ? (watashi wa tomodachi ni biiru o nomareta) regrettable action
Where are you going? ? (dochira e ikaremasu ka) respectful language

Conjugation table

The passive form ends with the (reru/rareru) suffix. This form shares its conjugation pattern with the causative form and, with the exception of the verb (suru), the negative form. For ichidan verbs and (kuru), the passive form and the potential form have an identical conjugation pattern with the same (rareru) suffix. This makes it impossible to distinguish whether an ichidan verb adopts a passive or potential function without contextual information.

Infinitive Pattern [2] Passive form
Godan verbs Shift the kana to the ? row, then add
(tsukuru, make) ?? -> ? + ? (tsukurareru, be made)
(iu, say) [i] ?? -> ? + ? (iwareru, be said)
(motsu, carry) ?? -> ? + ? (motareru, be carried)
(sagasu, look for) ?? -> ? + ? (sagasareru, be looked for)
Ichidan verbs Remove ? then add
(miru, see) ?? + ? (mirareru, be seen)
(hajimeru, begin) ? + (hajimerareru, have began)
Irregular verbs
(kuru, come) ?? -> ? + ? (korareru, have come)
(suru, do) ?? -> ? + (sareru, be done)
Honorific verbs Change ? to ? then add
Honorific verbs [ii] ?? -> ? + ? (-rareru, be done)
Special exceptions
(aru, exist) Does not conjugate.[2]
[i] For godan verbs ending in (-u), the "?" changes to "?" (wa) in the passive conjugation. It does not change to "?" (a).[27]
[ii] Theoretical conjugation only; it's unnatural and not usually used.[2]

Grammatical compatibility

After conjugating into the passive form, the verbs become ichidan verbs. They can therefore be further conjugated according to any ichidan pattern. For instance, a passive verb (e.g. (iwareru, be said)) can conjugate using the ichidan pattern for the te form (, te kei) to join sequential statements ( (iwarete)), or the conjunctive form to append the polite -masu () auxiliary verb ( (iwaremasu)).

Causative

The causative form (, shieki kei) is used to express that a subject was forced or allowed to do something.[28]

Causative form example sentences
English Japanese Function
I make them work hard. (ganbaraseru) forced to
I let them play outside. ? (soto de asobaseru) allowed to
The baseball coach made the players exercise. (yaky? no k?chi wa senshu tachi ni und? saseta)[i] forced to by
[i] The director causing the action can be specified with the ? (wa) or ? (ga) particle, whilst the people forced to do the action are specified with the ? (ni) particle.[28]

Conjugation table

The causative form ends with the (seru/saseru) suffix. This form shares its conjugation pattern with the passive form and, with the exception of the verb (suru), the negative form.

Infinitive Pattern [2] Causative form [ii]
Godan verbs Shift the kana to the ? row, then add
(tsukuru, make) ?? -> ? + ? (tsukuraseru, caused to make)
(iu, say) [iii] ?? -> ? + ? (iwaseru, caused to say)
(motsu, carry) ?? -> ? + ? (motaseru, caused to carry)
(sagasu, look for) ?? -> ? + ? (sagasaseru, caused to look for)
Ichidan verbs Remove ? then add
(miru, see) ?? + ? (misaseru, caused to see)
(hajimeru, begin) ? + (hajimesaseru, caused to begin)
Irregular verbs
(kuru, come) ?? -> ? + ? (kosaseru, caused to come)
(suru, do) ?? -> ? + (saseru, caused to do)
Honorific verbs Change ? to ? then add
Honorific verbs [iv] ?? -> ? + ? (-raseru, caused to)
Special exceptions
(aru, exist) Does not conjugate.[2]
[ii] The causative form has a shortened variation, where the (-seru) suffix undergoes morpheme fusion and becomes (-su); however, the short form is less commonly used than the standard conjugation.[29]
[iii] For godan verbs ending in (-u), the "?" changes to "?" (wa) in the causative conjugation. It does not change to "?" (a).[28]
[iv] Theoretical conjugation only; it's unnatural and not usually used.[2]

Grammatical compatibility

After conjugating into the causative form, the verbs become ichidan verbs. They can therefore be further conjugated according to any ichidan pattern. For instance, a causative verb (e.g. (iwaseru, caused to say)) can conjugate using the ichidan pattern for the te form (, te kei) to join sequential statements ( (iwasete)), or the conjunctive form to append the polite -masu () auxiliary verb ( (iwasemasu)).

Causative passive

The causative passive form expresses that a reluctant subject was positioned (or forced) into doing something they would rather avoid. The causative passive form is obtained by conjugating a verb into its causative form and further conjugating it into the passive form. However, because words such as (mataserareru) are considered difficult to pronounce, the conjugational suffix is often contracted in colloquial speech. Specific to godan verbs only, the (sera-, from ) contracts into (sa-).[30]

Causative passive form example sentences
English Japanese Function
I'm made to study by my parents. (ry?shin ni benky? saserareru) formal
I'm made to wait. ?? (matasareru) colloquial present
I was made to buy something. ?? (kawasareta) colloquial past

Imperative

The imperative form (, meireikei) functions as firm instructions do in English. It's used to give orders to subordinates (such as within military ranks, or towards pet animals) and to give direct instructions within intimate relationships (for example, within family or close friends). When directed towards a collective rather than an individual, the imperative form is used for mandatory action or motivational speech.[8] The imperative form is also used in reported speech.

Imperative form example sentences
English Japanese Function
To a pet dog: Sit! ! (suware!) giving orders
Traffic signage: STOP (tomare) mandatory action
Do your best! ! (ganbare!) motivation speech
Direct speech: "Please begin."
I was told to begin.
?: (chokusetsu wah?: "hajimete kudasai")
(hajimero to iwareta)
reported speech
STOP signs in Japan use the imperative form of (to stop) to command mandatory action.

However, the imperative form is perceived as confrontational or aggressive when used for commands; instead, it's more common to use the te form (with or without the ? (-kudasai, please do) suffix), or the conjunctive form's polite imperative suffix, ? (-nasai).[8]

Conjugation table

Infinitive Pattern [2] Imperative form
Godan verbs Shift the kana to the ? row
(tsukuru, make) ?? -> ? (tsukure, make it)
(iu, say) ?? -> ? (ie, say it)
(motsu, carry) ?? -> ? (mote, carry it)
(sagasu, look for) ?? -> ? (sagase, look for it)
Ichidan verbs Change ? to ?
(miru, see) ?? -> ? (miro, see it)
(hajimeru, begin) ? -> ? (hajimero, begin it)
Irregular verbs
(kuru, come) ?? -> ? + ? (koi, do come)
(suru, do) ?? -> ? + ? (shiro, do it)
Special conjugations
(-masu) ? -> ? (-mase, do)
Honorific verbs Remove ? then add ?
(kudasaru, give) ? + ? (kudasai, give it)
Special exceptions
(aru, exist) [i] ?? -> ? (are, do exist)
[i] Theoretical conjugation only; it's unnatural and not usually used.[2]

Non-volitional verbs, such as (wakaru, to understand) and (dekiru, to be able), have no imperative form.

Potential

The potential form (, kan?kei) describes the capability of doing something.[31] It is also used to ask favors from others, just as "Can you...?" does in English. However, unlike in English, the potential form does not request permission; the phrase (kono ringo ga taberareru?, "Can I eat this apple?" ) is always understood to mean "Do I have the ability to eat this apple?" or "Is this apple edible?" (but never "May I eat this apple?" ).

Potential form example sentences
English Japanese Function
I can read Japanese. ? (nihongo ga yomeru) capability
Can you buy some coffee? ? (k?hii ga kaeru?) requesting favors

For transitive verbs, the potential form uses the ? (ga) particle to mark direct objects, instead of the ? (o) particle.

Conjugation table

The potential form ends with the (ru/rareru) suffix. (suru, to do) has its own suppletive potential form (dekiru, can do). For godan verbs, the potential form shares its conjugation pattern with the conditional form, albeit with different suffixes. However, for ichidan verbs and (kuru), the potential form and the passive form have an identical conjugation pattern with the same (rareru) suffix. This makes it impossible to distinguish whether an ichidan verb adopts a passive or potential function without contextual information.

Infinitive Pattern [2] Potential form
Godan verbs Shift the kana to the ? row, then add ?
(tsukuru, make) ?? -> ? + ? (tsukureru, can make)
(iu, say) ?? -> ? + ? (ieru, can say)
(motsu, carry) ?? -> ? + ? (moteru, can carry)
(sagasu, look for) ?? -> ? + ? (sagaseru, can look for)
Ichidan verbs Remove ? then add [i]
(miru, see) ?? + ? (mirareru, can see) [i]
(hajimeru, begin) ? + (hajimerareru, can begin) [i]
Irregular verbs
(kuru, come) ?? -> ? + ? (korareru, can come) [i]
(suru, do) + (dekiru, can do)
Special exceptions
(wakaru, understand) [ii] ? -> ? + ? ? (wakareru, can understand)
(aru, exist) Does not conjugate.[2]
[i] Colloquially the ? (ra) is removed from ? (rareru) in a phenomenon known as (rameki kotoba).[31] For example, ?? (korareru, can come) becomes (koreru). This contraction is specific to the potential form, and is not reciprocated in the passive form.
[ii] Theoretical conjugation only; it's unnatural and not usually used. (wakaru) expresses potential innately without having to conjugate it to the potential form.

Grammatical compatibility

After conjugating into the potential form, the verbs become ichidan verbs. They can therefore be further conjugated according to any ichidan pattern. For instance, a potential verb (e.g. ? (ieru, can say)) can conjugate using the ichidan pattern for the te form (, te kei) to join sequential statements (? (iete)), or the conjunctive form to append the polite -masu () auxiliary verb ( (iemasu)).

Conditional

The conditional form (?, izenkei / kateikei, also known as the "hypothetical form", "provisional form" and the "provisional conditional eba form") is broadly equivalent to the English conditionals "if..." or "when...". It describes a condition that provides a specific result, with emphasis on the condition.[32] The conditional form is used to describe hypothetical scenarios or general truths.[33]

Conditional form example sentences
English Japanese Function
If you see it, you'll understand. (mireba wakaru) hypothetical
When you multiply 3 by 4, it becomes 12. 3?4??12 (san ni yon o kakereba j?ni ni naru) general truths

Conjugation table

The conditional form ends with the ? (ba) suffix. For godan verbs, the conditional form shares its conjugation pattern with the potential form, albeit with different suffixes.

Infinitive Pattern [2] Conditional form
Godan verbs Shift the kana to the ? row, then add ?
(tsukuru, make) ?? -> ? + ? (tsukureba, if to make)
(iu, say) ?? -> ? + ? (ieba, if to say)
(motsu, carry) ?? -> ? + ? (moteba, if to carry)
(sagasu, look for) ?? -> ? + ? (sagaseba, if to look for)
Ichidan verbs Change ? to ? then add ?
(miru, see) ?? -> ? + ? (mireba, if to see)
(hajimeru, begin) ? -> ? + ? ? (hajimereba, if to begin)
Irregular verbs
(kuru, come) ?? -> ? + ? (kureba, if to come)
(suru, do) ?? -> ? + ? (sureba, if to do)
Special conjugations
(-nai, not) ? -> + ? (-nakereba, if not) [i]
[i] Colloquially the (-nakereba) form is contracted to (-nakya) or (-nakucha), which comes from (-nakutewa). For example, ? (ikanai) could become (ikanakya) or (ikanakucha).

Advanced usage

In its negative conjugation (, -nakereba), the conditional form can express obligation or insistence by attaching to (-naranai, to not happen) or (-narimasen, to not happen (polite) ). This pattern of grammar is a double negative which loosely translates to "to avoid that action, will not happen". Semantically cancelling out the negation becomes "to do that action, will happen" ; however the true meaning is "I must do that action".[34][35]

Conditional form example sentences
English Japanese Function
I have to help. (tetsudawanakereba naranai) obligation
I must go to the dentist. (haisha ni ikanakereba naranai) insistence
Your self-introduction has to be in Japanese. ? (jiko shoukai wa nihongo denakereba naranai yo) obligation / insistence

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 3, Grammar 1: Verb Conjugation". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese I (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 86-88. ISBN 978-4-7890-1730-5.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Makino, Seiichi; Tsutsui, Michio (1989). "Appendix 1 Basic Conjugations". A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (80 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 576-579. ISBN 978-47-89004-54-1.
  3. ^ Lombardo, Cameron; Stainton, Jenny; Suzuki, Mami; Norota, Moeko (2019-09-24). "? and  : Venturing Beyond Textbook Rules into Real-Life Use". Tofugu. Archived from the original on 2021-04-29.
  4. ^ a b c d Makino, Seiichi; Tsutsui, Michio (1989). "Appendix 1 Basic Conjugations". A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (80 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 580-581. ISBN 978-47-89004-54-1.
  5. ^ Makino, Seiichi; Tsutsui, Michio (1989). "Main Entries: dar? ". A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (80 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 100-102. ISBN 978-47-89004-54-1.
  6. ^ a b Makino, Seiichi; Tsutsui, Michio (1989). "Main Entries: ~tara ". A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (80 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 452-457. ISBN 978-47-89004-54-1.
  7. ^ a b Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 8, Grammar 1: Short Forms". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese I (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 190-191. ISBN 978-4-7890-1730-5.
  8. ^ a b c Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 22, Grammar 3: Verb Stem + ". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese II (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. p. 234. ISBN 978-4-7890-1732-9.
  9. ^ Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 9, Grammar 1: Past Tense Short Forms". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese I (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. p. 214. ISBN 978-4-7890-1730-5.
  10. ^ Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 11, Grammar 2?". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese I (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 259-260. ISBN 978-4-7890-1730-5.
  11. ^ Makino, Seiichi; Tsutsui, Michio (1989). "Main Entries: ~tari ~tari suru ". A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (80 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 458-461. ISBN 978-47-89004-54-1.
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  13. ^ Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 6, Grammar 1: Te-form". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese I (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 150-151. ISBN 978-4-7890-1730-5.
  14. ^ a b Makino, Seiichi; Tsutsui, Michio (1989). "Main Entries: ~nai de ?". A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (80 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 271-273. ISBN 978-47-89004-54-1.
  15. ^ Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 6, Grammar 4, Grammar 5?". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese I (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. p. 152. ISBN 978-4-7890-1730-5.
  16. ^ Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 6, Grammar 2: ". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese I (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. p. 151. ISBN 978-4-7890-1730-5.
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  20. ^ Makino, Seiichi; Tsutsui, Michio (1989). "Main Entries: ni? ?". A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (80 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 297-299. ISBN 978-47-89004-54-1.
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  22. ^ Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 15, Grammar 1: Volitional Form". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese II (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 74-75. ISBN 978-4-7890-1732-9.
  23. ^ a b "Y? no imi (dejitaru daijisen)" (?) [Meaning of y? (Digital Diajisen Dictionary)]. goo (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan. April 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-05-23. Retrieved .
  24. ^ Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 15, Grammar 2: Volitional Form + ?". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese II (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. p. 75. ISBN 978-4-7890-1732-9.,
  25. ^ Rita Lampkin (2010-05-14). Japanese Verbs & Essentials of Grammar, Third Edition. McGraw-Hill Education. pp. 14-40. ISBN 978-0-07-171363-4.
  26. ^ Makino, Seiichi; Tsutsui, Michio (1989). "Characteristics of Japanese Grammar: 5. Passive". A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (80 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 33-35. ISBN 978-47-89004-54-1.
  27. ^ a b Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 21, Grammar 1: Passive Sentences". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese II (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 210-212. ISBN 978-4-7890-1732-9.
  28. ^ a b c Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 22, Grammar 1: Causative Sentences". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese II (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 232-233. ISBN 978-4-7890-1732-9.
  29. ^ "? (Causative)". Tofugu. 2020-06-08. Archived from the original on 2021-05-11. Retrieved .
  30. ^ Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 23, Grammar 1: Causative-passive Sentences". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese II (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 254-255. ISBN 978-4-7890-1732-9.
  31. ^ a b Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 13, Grammar 1: Potential Verbs". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese II (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 27-28. ISBN 978-4-7890-1732-9.
  32. ^ Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 22, Grammar 4?". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese II (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 234-235. ISBN 978-4-7890-1732-9.
  33. ^ Makino, Seiichi; Tsutsui, Michio (1989). "Main Entries: ba ?". A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (80 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 81-83. ISBN 978-47-89004-54-1.
  34. ^ Banno, Eri; Ikeda, Yoko; Ohno, Yutaka; Shinagawa, Chikako; Tokashiki, Kyoko (2020). "Lesson 12, Grammar 5/". GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese I (3 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 279-280. ISBN 978-4-7890-1730-5.
  35. ^ Makino, Seiichi; Tsutsui, Michio (1989). "Main Entries: ~nakereba naranai ". A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (80 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times. pp. 274-276. ISBN 978-47-89004-54-1.

External links

  • Japanese Verb Conjugator, online tool giving all forms for any verb
  • Japanese Verb Conjugator, online tool with romaji, kana, and kanji output
  • JLearn.net, an online Japanese dictionary that accepts conjugated terms and returns the root verb
  • [1] Guide to conjugation te form of Japanese verbs
  • [2] List of Free Online Verb Dictionaries
  • [3] Handbook of Japanese Verbs - National Institute of Japanese Language and Linguistics

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