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Appendix:Japanese verbs

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Modern JapaneseEdit

This section deals only with Japanese as written and spoken in 21st and late 20th centuries, using terminology and the analysis from traditional grammar (which was developed by Shinkichi Hashimoto and also known as  (がっ) (こう) (ぶん) (ぽう) (gakkō-bunpō, school grammar)). Alternative terminology and analyses are possible, and have been widely employed in textbooks targeting non-native speakers. The following table compares the forms and conjugation classes in traditional grammar and their equivalents in alternative grammars:

Traditional grammar Alternative analysis
未然形 (mizenkei, imperfective or irrealis form) ない形 (nai-kei, nai form) minus the -nai, also the stem of 受身形 (ukemikei, passive form) and 使役形 (shiekikei, causative form), as well as the stem of 意向形 (ikōkei, volitional form) and 可能形 (kanōkei, potential form) before contraction
連用形 (ren'yōkei, continuative or stem form) ます形 (masu-kei, masu form) minus the -masu, also the stem of て形 (te-kei, te form) and た形 (ta-kei, ta form) before contraction
終止形 (shūshikei, terminal form) 基本形 (kihonkei, lemma form) or 辞書形 (jishokei, dictionary form)
連体形 (rentaikei, attributive form)
仮定形 (kateikei, hypothetical form) ば形 (ba-kei, ba form) or 条件形 (jokenkei, conditional form) minus the -ba
命令形 (meireikei, imperative form) 命令形 (meireikei, imperative form)
五段活用 (godan katsuyō, godan or five-grade conjugation) Group I, -u verbs, or consonant-stem verbs
上一段活用 (kami ichidan katsuyō, kami ichidan or upper-monograde conjugation) Group II, -ru verbs, or vowel-stem verbs
下一段活用 (shimo ichidan katsuyō, shimo ichidan or lower-monograde conjugation)
カ行変格活用 (ka-gyō henkaku katsuyō, k-irregular conjugation) Group III or irregular verbs
サ行変格活用 (sa-gyō henkaku katsuyō, s-irregular conjugation)

Conjugation classesEdit

In traditional Japanese grammar, modern Japanese has five verbal conjugational classes: godan (five-grade), kami ichidan (upper monograde), shimo ichidan (lower monograde), ka-gyō henkaku (k- irregular), and sa-gyō henkaku (s- irregular). Some English-language resources simplify them to three: Group I (consonant stem, comprising godan), Group II (vowel stem, comprising the ichidan’s), and Group III (irregular). The first two groups are also known as -u and -ru verbs, respectively, in reference to the dictionary form (i.e. the nonpast) endings.

Five-grade (五段 godan)Edit

Five-grade (五段 godan) is the class of consonant stem verbs and is the largest verb class with native vocabulary. The stem-final consonants include -k, -g, -s, -t, -n, -b, -m, -r, and -w. The dictionary form is formed by attaching -u to the stem, making (ku), (gu), (su), (tsu), (nu), (bu), (mu), (ru), and (u). Traditionally, the stem-final consonant is considered as part of the inflecting suffix, so a verb like 書く (kaku, to write, stem kak-) is segmented as (ka-ku), with the inflecting part being -ku. Since the stem-final consonant play a role in some of the conjugation patterns, we include it in the paradigm below as well.

Dictionary form Base 未然形
mizenkei
連用形
ren'yōkei
終止形
shūshikei
連体形
rentaikei
仮定形
kateikei
命令形
meireikei
Volitional1 音便 onbin forms Notes
kaku
書く
kak- kaka-
kaki
kaku
kaku
kake-
kake
ka
こう
kaita, kaite
いた・かいて
oyogu
泳ぐ
oyog- oyoga-
およ
oyogi
およ
oyogu
およ
oyogu
およ
oyoge-
およ
oyoge
およ
oyo
およごう
oyoida, oyoide
およいだ・およいで
hanasu
話す
hanas- hanasa-
はな
hanashi
はな
hanasu
はな
hanasu
はな
hanase-
はな
hanase
はな
hana
はなそう
hanashita, hanashite
はなした・はなして
matsu
待つ
mat- mata-
machi
matsu
matsu
mate-
mate
ma
とう
matta, matte
った・まって
shinu
死ぬ
sin- shina-
shini
shinu
shinu
shine-
shine
shi
のう
shinda, shinde
んだ・しんで
asobu
遊ぶ
asob- asoba-
あそ
asobi
あそ
asobu
あそ
asobu
あそ
asobe-
あそ
asobe
あそ
aso
あそぼう
asonda, asonde
あそんだ・あそんで
yasumu
休む
yasum- yasuma-
やす
yasumi
やす
yasumu
やす
yasumu
やす
yasume-
やす
yasume
やす
yasu
やすもう
yasunda, yasunde
やすんだ・やすんで
kaeru
帰る
kaer- kaera-
かえ
kaeri
かえ
kaeru
かえ
kaeru
かえ
kaere-
かえ
kaere
かえ
kae
かえろう
kaetta, kaette
かえった・かえって
iu
言う
iw- iwa-
ii
iu
iu
ie-
ie
iō
おう
itta, itte
った・いって
2
Special conjugation (empty slots are regular)
iku
行く
ik- itta, itte
った・いって
For the verb 行く iku “to go”
kudasaru
下さる
kudasar- kudasari, kudasai(-masu)
くださ, くださ(ます)
kudasai
くださ
For the honorific verbs いらっしゃる irassharu, 仰る ossharu, 下さる kudasaru, なさる nasaru, ござる gozaru
tou
問う
tow- touta, toute
とうた・とうて
For the two verbs 問う tou “to ask” and 請う kou “to ask, to beg”
Notes
  1. For volitional forms such as kakou, some versions of the katsuyōkei system list the kako- part as an alternative 未然形 mizenkei, and some list it as a seventh katsuyōkei form. The -ou ending is spelt in historical kana orthography (歴史的仮名遣い) as -au (e.g. yasumou as やすまう), reflecting its historical derivation.
  2. Historically, the -w ending for all such verbs was originally a -p, hence the historical kana spelling (歴史的仮名遣い) for, say, いう is いふ, with the six katsuyōkei forms いは, いひ, いふ, いふ, いへ, いへ.

Upper monograde (上一段 kami ichidan)Edit

Upper monograde (上一段 kami ichidan) is the class of regular vowel stem verbs whose stems end in -i. The dictionary form is formed by attaching -ru to the stem, making an (i-dan, i-row) kana plus (ru). Traditionally, the final syllable (Ci) of the stem is considered part of the inflecting suffix, so for example 借りる (kariru, to borrow, stem kari-) is segmented as (ka-riru), with the inflecting part being -riru. (If there is only one syllable in the stem, the whole word becomes the inflecting part.) As the final syllable in the stem does not change or affect the conjugational patterns, we will leave it out in the paradigm below.

Dictionary form Base 未然形
mizenkei
連用形
ren'yōkei
終止形
shūshikei
連体形
rentaikei
仮定形
kateikei
命令形
meireikei1
miru
見る
mi- mi-
mi
miru
miru
mire-
miro, miyo
, み
Notes
  1. -ro is the spoken imperative and -yo is the written imperative.

Lower monograde (下一段 shimo ichidan)Edit

Lower monograde (下一段 shimo ichidan) is the class of regular vowel stem verbs whose stems end in -e. The dictionary form is formed by attaching -ru to the stem, making an (e-dan, e-row) kana plus (ru). Traditionally, the final syllable (Ce) of the stem is considered part of the inflecting suffix, so for example 食べる (taberu, to eat, stem tabe-) is segmented as (ta-beru), with the inflecting part being -beru. (If there is only one syllable in the stem, the whole word becomes the inflecting part.) As the final syllable in the stem does not change or affect the conjugational patterns, we will leave it out in the paradigm below.

Dictionary form Base 未然形
mizenkei
連用形
ren'yōkei
終止形
shūshikei
連体形
rentaikei
仮定形
kateikei
命令形
meireikei1
deru
出る
de- de-
de
deru
deru
dere-
dero, deyo
, で
Notes
  1. -ro is the spoken imperative and -yo is the written imperative. The verb くれる kureru “to give” has an irregular imperative form くれ kure.

k-irregular (カ行変格 ka-gyō henkaku)Edit

This class holds the irregular verb 来る (kuru, to come).

Dictionary form 未然形
mizenkei
連用形
ren'yōkei
終止形
shūshikei
連体形
rentaikei
仮定形
kateikei
命令形
meireikei
kuru
来る
ko-
ki
kuru
くる
kuru
くる
kure-
くれ
koi
こい

s-irregular (サ行変格 sa-gyō henkaku)Edit

This class holds the irregular verb する (suru, to do). Note the suppletive potential form できる (dekiru, to be able). When used as a light verb, it is usually used to turn an non-inflecting word into a verb such as 勉強する (benkyō suru, to study), びっくりする (bikkuri suru, to be surprised), in which case the conjugation is the same. However, a number of words which involve suru (mostly single kanji + suru) conjugate differently: those with suru after a /Q/, such as 達する (tassuru), have different causative and passive forms; those with suru voiced after a moraic nasal, such as 論ずる (ronzuru), have a hybrid conjugation between s- irregular -zuru and kami ichidan -jiru; and some with suru after i or ku, such as 愛する (aisuru), have a hybrid conjugation between s- irregular -suru and godan -su.[1]

Verb and context 未然形 mizenkei1 連用形 ren'yōkei 終止形 shūshikei 連体形 rentaikei 仮定形 kateikei 命令形 meireikei2
passive
~(ら)れる
causative
~(さ)せる
negative
~ない
volitional
~(よ)う
する suru, noun + する suru sareru
れる
saseru
せる
shinai
ない
shi
よう
shi
suru
する
suru
する
sure
すれ
seyo, shiro
せよ, しろ
single kanji ending in /Q/ + する suru
e.g. 達する tassuru
serareru, shirareru
られる, られる
shisaseru
させる
shinai
ない
shi
よう
shi
suru
する
suru
する
sure
すれ
seyo, shiro
せよ, しろ
single kanji ending in /n/ or /ŋ/ + ずる zuru
e.g. 論ずる ronzuru
jirareru, zerareru
られる, られる
jisaseru
させる
jinai
ない
ji
よう
ji
zuru, jiru
ずる, じる
zuru, jiru
ずる, じる
zure, jire
ずれ, じれ
zeyo, jiro
ぜよ, じろ
single kanji ending in i or ku + する suru
e.g. 愛する aisuru
sareru
れる
saseru
せる
sanai, shinai
ない, ない
shi,
よう,
shi
suru, su
する,
suru, su
する,
sure, se
すれ,
seyo, shiro, se
せよ, しろ,
Notes
  1. When used with older auxiliaries such as the negative ぬ -nu, the older mizenkei, se- (ze- for zuru) is used.
  2. -ro is the spoken imperative and -yo is the written imperative.

Inflected formsEdit

In traditional Japanese grammar, verbs have the six basic forms called 活用形 katsuyōkei listed below, from which most of their inflected forms can be derived.

活用形 katsuyōkei Stem? Inflected form?
未然形 (mizenkei, irrealis) Yes No
連用形 (ren'yōkei, continuative or stem form) Yes Yes
終止形 (shūshikei, conclusive) No Yes
連体形 (rentaikei, adnominal) No Yes
仮定形 (kateikei, hypothetical) Yes No
命令形 (meireikei, imperative) No Yes

Notes: 未然形 mizenkei “irrealis” is named after its use with -ba in Classical Japanese: kakaba “if one writes”, in contrast with the realis kakeba “as, when, because one writes”. It is a stem used to form the negative, passive, causative, and the volitional. 連用形 ren'yōkei is named in reference to its use followed by 用言 yōgen “inflecting words”. It is the infinitive as an inflected form, and also a stem used to form some inflected forms as well as compound verbs. 終止形 shūshikei is the conclusive, and is also the “plain” or “dictionary form” in which verbs are generally cited. 連体形 rentaikei is named in reference to its use followed by 体言 taigen “non-inflecting words”. It is the adnominal, also used to conclude a clause modifying a noun. In modern Japanese the shūshikei always has the same shape as the rentaikei, but in Classical Japanese it does not for some classes. 仮定形 kateikei “hypothetical” is a stem only used with -ba to form the provisional conditional. 命令形 meireikei is the imperative.


There are a large number of suffixes that can follow verbs to express grammatical categories in Japanese, and this section deals with suffixes that are not verbs themselves. Note that a verb can be conjugated several times by chaining auxiliaries, e.g. 食べる (taberu, to eat) to the causative 食べさせる (tabesaseru, to make (someone) eat) then to the polite form 食べさせます (tabesasemasu) and finally to the negative 食べさせません (tabesasemasen, does not make (someone) eat). As such, the actual number of inflected forms of a verb can be very large. The most common, one-level inflected forms of verbs are listed below:

Paradigm of godan verbs with -k, -g, and -s stems
Example word 書く kak- 泳ぐ oyog- 話す hanas-
Mizenkei stem kaka- およ oyoga- はな hanasa-
 Negative  かかない kakanai  およがない oyoganai  はなさない hanasanai
 Passive  かかれる kakareru  およがれる oyogareru  はなされる hanasareru
 Causative  かかせる kakaseru  およがせる oyogaseru  はなさせる hanasaseru
Ren'yōkei kaki およ oyogi はな hanashi
 Polite  かきます kakimasu  およぎます oyogimasu  はなします hanashimasu
 Desiderative  かきたい kakitai  およぎたい oyogitai  はなしたい hanashitai
 Evidential  かきそう kaki  およぎそう oyogi  はなしそう hanashi
Onbin stem kai- およ oyoi- (< ĩ-) (= ren'yōkei)
 Past  かい kaita  およい oyoida  はなし hanashita
 -tara conditional  かいたら kaitara  およいだら oyoidara  はなしたら hanashitara
 Representative  かいたり kaitari  およいだり oyoidari  はなしたり hanashitari
 Conjunctive or -te form  かい kaite  およい oyoide  はなし hanashite
Nonpast (= shūshikei = rentaikei) kaku およ oyogu はな hanasu
-ba conditional (from kateikei stem) けば kakeba およげば oyogeba はなせば hanaseba
Potential kakeru およ oyogeru はな hanaseru
Imperative (= meireikei) kake およ oyoge はな hanase
Volitional (from alt. mizenkei stem) こう ka およごう oyo はなそう hana
Note
  • 行く (iku, to go, stem ik-) has the irregular onbin stem iQ-, hence the past is いった (itta), the conjunctive is いって (itte), etc. Otherwise, it is a regular godan verb with -k stem.
Paradigm of godan verbs with -t, -n, and -b stems
Example word 立つ tat- 死ぬ shin- 呼ぶ yob-
Mizenkei stem tata- shina- yoba-
 Negative  たたない tatanai  しなない shinanai  よばない yobanai
 Passive  たたれる tatareru  しなれる shinareru  よばれる yobareru
 Causative  たたせる tataseru  しなせる shinaseru  よばせる yobaseru
Ren'yōkei tachi shini yobi
 Polite  たちます tachimasu  しにます shinimasu  よびます yobimasu
 Desiderative  たちたい tachitai  しにたい shinitai  よびたい yobitai
 Evidential  たちそう tachi  しにそう shini  よびそう yobi
Onbin stem taQ- shiN- yoN-
 Past  たっ tatta  しん shinda  よん yonda
 -tara conditional  たったら tattara  しんだら shindara  よんだら yondara
 Representative  たったり tattari  しんだり shindari  よんだり yondari
 Conjunctive or -te form  たっ tatte  しん shinde  よん yonde
Nonpast (= shūshikei = rentaikei) tatsu shinu yobu
-ba conditional (from kateikei stem) てば tateba ねば shineba べば yobeba
Potential tateru shineru yoberu
Imperative (= meireikei) tate shine yobe
Volitional (from alt. mizenkei stem) とう ta のう shi ぼう yo
Paradigm of godan verbs with -m, -r, and -w stems
Example word 読む yom- 帰る kaer- 買う kaw-
Mizenkei stem yoma- かえ kaera- kawa-
 Negative  よまない yomanai  かえらない kaeranai  かない kawanai
 Passive  よまれる yomareru  かえられる kaerareru  かれる kawareru
 Causative  よませる yomaseru  かえらせる kaeraseru  かせる kawaseru
Ren'yōkei yomi かえ kaeri kai
 Polite  よみます yomimasu  かえります kaerimasu  かます kaimasu
 Desiderative  よみたい yomitai  かえりたい kaeritai  かたい kaitai
 Evidential  よみそう yomi  かえりそう kaeri  かそう kai
Onbin stem yoN- かえ kaeQ- kaQ-
 Past  よん yonda  かえっ kaetta  かっ katta
 -tara conditional  よんだら yondara  かえったら kaettara  かったら kattara
 Representative  よんだり yondari  かえったり kaettari  かったり kattari
 Conjunctive or -te form  よん yonde  かえっ kaette  かっ katte
Nonpast (= shūshikei = rentaikei) yomu かえ kaeru kau
-ba conditional (from kateikei stem) めば yomeba かえれば kaereba kaeba
Potential yomeru かえ kaereru kaeru
Imperative (= meireikei) yome かえ kaere kae
Volitional (from alt. mizenkei stem) もう yo かえろう kae おう kaō
Notes
  1. The honorific verbs いらっしゃる (irassharu), 仰る (ossharu), 下さる (kudasaru), なさる (nasaru), ござる (gozaru) have irregular imperative forms and ren'yōkei stems used with the auxiliary verb ます (-masu), formed by changing the -r to -i (rather than the regular ren'yōkei -ri or imperative -re). Otherwise, they are regular godan verbs with -r stems.
  2. The verb ある (aru, to be, to exist) has the suppletive negative form ない (nai, non-existent, not), which is an adjective. Otherwise, it is a regular godan verb with -r stem.
  3. The verbs 問う (tou) and 請う (kou) have irregular onbin stems formed by changing the -w to a lengthening mora, hence the past is とうた (tōta), こうた (kōta), the conjunctive is とうて (tōte), こうて (kōte), etc. Otherwise, they are regular godan verb with -w stems.
Paradigm of kami ichidan and shimo ichidan verbs
Example word 見る mi- 出る de-
Basic stem (= mizenkei = ren'yōkei) mi de
 Negative  みない minai  でない denai
 Passive  みられる mirareru  でられる derareru
 Causative  みさせる misaseru  でさせる desaseru
 Polite  みます mimasu  でます demasu
 Desiderative  みたい mitai  でたい detai
 Evidential  みそう mi  でそう de
 Past  み mita  で deta
 -tara conditional  みたら mitara  でたら detara
 Representative  みたり mitari  でたり detari
 Conjunctive or -te form  み mite  で dete
Nonpast (= shūshikei = rentaikei) miru deru
-ba conditional (from kateikei stem) れば mireba れば dereba
Potential られる mirareru
れる mireru (nonstandard)
られる derareru
れる dereru (nonstandard)
Imperative (= meireikei) miro (spoken)
miyo (written)
dero (spoken)
deyo (written)
Volitional (from mizenkei stem) よう mi よう de
Note
The verb くれる (kureru, to give (me or someone of lower rank)) has the irregular imperative form くれ (kure). Otherwise, it is a regular shimo ichidan verb.
Paradigm of the k- irregular verb 来る (kuru, to come)
Word 来る kuru
Mizenkei stem ko-
 Negative  こない konai
 Passive  こられる korareru
 Causative  こさせる kosaseru
Ren'yōkei ki
 Polite  きます kimasu
 Desiderative  きたい kitai
 Evidential  きそう ki
 Past  き kita
 -tara conditional  きたら kitara
 Representative  きたり kitari
 Conjunctive or -te form  き kite
Nonpast (= shūshikei = rentaikei) くる kuru
-ba conditional (from kateikei stem) くれば kureba
Potential られる korareru
れる koreru (nonstandard)
Imperative (= meireikei) こい koi (spoken)
こよ koyo (written)
Volitional (from mizenkei stem) こよう koyō
Paradigm of the s- irregular verb する (suru, to do)[1] (empty slots are regular)
Word する suru (regular) 達する tassuru 論ずる ronzuru 愛する aisuru
Mizenkei stem sa-
se- (archaic)
shi-
se-
shi-
ji-
ze-
あい aisa-
あい aishi-
 Negative  しない shinai  じない jinai  さない sanai
 しない shinai
 Passive  される sareru  せられる serareru
 しられる shirareru
 じられる jirareru
 ぜられる zerareru
 Causative  させる saseru  しさせる shisaseru  じさせる jisaseru
Ren'yōkei shi ji
 Polite  します shimasu  じます jimasu
 Desiderative  したい shitai  じたい jitai
 Evidential  しそう shi  じそう ji
 Past  し shita  じ jita
 -tara conditional  したら shitara  じたら jitara
 Representative  したり shitari  じたり jitari
 Conjunctive or -te form  し shite  じ jite
Nonpast (= shūshikei = rentaikei) する suru ずる zuru
じる jiru
する suru
su
-ba conditional (from kateikei stem) すれば sureba ずれば zureba
じれば jireba
すれば sureba
せば seba
Potential できる dekiru = passive seru
Imperative (= meireikei) しろ shiro (spoken)
せよ seyo (written)
じろ jiro (spoken)
ぜよ zeyo (written)
しろ shiro (spoken)
せよ seyo (written)
se
Volitional (from mizenkei stem) しよう shiyō じよう jiyō しよう shiyō
そう

When there are several auxiliaries following a verb, they generally occur in this order:

  • Causative -seru ~ -saseru
  • Passive/spontaneous/honorific(/potential) -reru ~ -rareru (~ -eru)
  • Desiderative -tai (if this suffix is present, further inflection becomes i-adjective like)
  • Polite -masu
  • Negative -nai, -nu ~ -n
  • Evidential -sō (if this suffix is present, further inflection becomes na-adjective like; not used with -masu)
  • Suffixes expressing obligatory categories

The causative and passive auxiliaries have shimo ichidan conjugation. The desiderative auxiliary -tai have adjectival inflection. The evidential -sō behaves like a nominal. The other two non-final auxiliaries, polite -masu and negative -nai, have the following paradigms:

Paradigm of the polite auxiliary ます (masu) ~ まする (masuru, rare)
Auxiliary ます masu
Mizenkei stem ませ mase-
ましょ masho-
 Negative  ませ masen
  Negative past   ませんでした masen deshita
Ren'yōkei まし mashi (only used as a stem)
 Past  まし mashita
 -tara conditional  ましたら mashitara (super-polite)
 Conjunctive or -te form  まし mashite (super-polite)
Nonpast (= shūshikei = rentaikei) ます masu (adnominal use is super-polite)
まする masuru (rare)
-ba conditional (from kateikei stem) ますれば masureba (super-polite)
ませば maseba (rare)
Imperative (= meireikei) ませ mase (only used with some honorific verbs)
まし mashi (ditto, rare)
Volitional (from alt. mizenkei stem) しょう mashō
Paradigm of the negative auxiliaries ない (nai) and (nu) ~ (n)
Auxiliary ない nai nu ~ n
Mizenkei stem なかろ nakaro-
Ren'yōkei なく naku (adverbial)
なかっ nakaQ- (stem)
zu (adverbial)
 Past  なかっ nakatta
 -tara conditional  なかったら nakattara
 Representative  なかったり nakattari
 Conjunctive or -te form  なく nakute
 ない naide
Evidential そう na
なさそう nasa
Nonpast (= shūshikei = rentaikei) ない nai nu
n
-ba conditional (from kateikei stem) なければ nakereba ねば neba
Volitional (from mizenkei stem) かろう nakarō
Note
  • Compared with ない (nai), (nu) is more old-fashioned while (n) n can be colloquial, old-fashioned or dialectal (except that it is mandatory after ます (masu)).
  • The conjunctive form なくて (nakute) and ないで (naide) have different uses: when linking verbs, the former simply joins two clauses while the latter means "without", equivalent to ずに (zu ni). The former is used with the conditional particle (wa) and the concessive particle (mo), while the latter is used with auxiliay verbs like もらい (morai), ください (kudasai), ほしい (hoshii), e.g. 言わなくていい (iwanakute mo ii, it's ok if you don't say it), 言わないでください (iwanaide kudasai, please don't say it).
  • As with i-adjectives, the volitional なかろう (nakarō) is now largely replaced by ない (nai) + だろう (darō).

Basic inflected formsEdit

Here are the first set of inflected forms commonly taught in textbooks.

Plain forms
Form Conjugation kaku 書く (base kak-) miru 見る (base mi-)
Nonpast shūshikei / rentaikei kaku
かく
miru
みる
Past ren'yōkei + -ta
(with sound changes for five-grade verbs)
kaita
かいた
mita
みた
Negative nonpast mizenkei + -nai kakanai
かかない
minai
みない
Negative past mizenkei + -nakatta kakanakatta
かかなかった
minakatta
みなかった
Polite forms
Form Conjugation kaku 書く (base kak-) miru 見る (base mi-)
Nonpast ren'yōkei + -masu kakimasu
かきます
mimasu
みます
Past ren'yōkei + -mashita kakimashita
かきました
mimashita
みました
Negative nonpast ren'yōkei + -masen kakimasen
かきません
mimasen
みません
Negative past ren'yōkei + -masen deshita kakimasen deshita
かきませんでした
mimasen deshita
みませんでした

Note: The verb aru ある “to be, to exist” does not have the negative formed in this way. The plain negative is the adjective nai ない “nonexistent, not be”, and the polite negative is nai desu ないです or arimasen ありません.

All these forms can occur in the predicate position of a sentence (i.e. at the end, where the plain form is considered to be in the shūshikei form).

アリス (まい) (にち)コーヒー ()/ ()みますArisu wa mainichi kōhī o nomu / nomimasu.Alice drinks coffee every day.
アリス (でん) () (ばん) (ごう) ()らない/ ()りませんArisu no denwabangō o shiranai / shirimasen.I don't know Alice's telephone number.
 () (のう) (とも) (だち) (いえ) ()/ ()ましたKinō, tomodachi ga ie ni kita / kimashita.Friends came to my house yesterday.
 (せん) (しゅう) (はたら)かなかった/ (はたら)きませんでしたか。Senshū hatarakanakatta / hatarakimasen deshita ka.You didn't work in the last week?

The plain forms can also be used to modify a noun, or in the predicate position of a clause modifying a noun, when occurring before it (here the plain form is to be considered in the rentaikei form in traditional grammar):

 (わたし)明日 (あした) () () (こう) ()watashi ga ashita noru hikōkithe plane that I'll take tomorrow (lit. the-tomorrow-taken-by-me plane.)
 () (ども)いない (ふう) ()kodomo no inai fūfua couple who have no child (lit. the children-lacking couple.)
トムが () (のう) ()ったパソコンtomu ga kinō katta pasokonthe computer that Tom bought yesterday (lit. the yesterday-bought-by-Tom computer.)
トップ10 (10) (はい)らなかった (こと) ()toppu 10 ni hairanakatta kotobawords that didn't enter the top 10 (lit. the non-entered-to-top-10 words.)

InfinitiveEdit

The infinitive (= ren'yōkei), apart from deriving nouns or used in the construction of compound verbs, can be used for the non-final predicates when linking several predicates together in a sentence.

 (きみ) (うた) (ぼく) (おど)kimi ga utai, boku wa odoruyou sing; I dance

This is called 連用中止 ren'yō chūshi and it is mainly used in written language. The non-final predicates do not conjugate for tense or politeness. Iru いる “to be” in these positions are usually replaced by its humble form oru おる and put in ren'yōkei as ori おり.

Another use of the infinitive is in the grammar pattern verb/clause + ni + motion verb.

 (あそ) ()たぜ。Asobi ni kita ze.I came to play
 () () () (もつ) () ()きます。Gogo, nimotsu o tori ni ikimasu.I will go to fetch my luggage this afternoon.

Certain kinds of compound verbs are produced by attaching a word to the continuative form of a verb; for example: やすい (-yasui, easy to do), (-kata, way of doing something), 返す (-kaesu, to do something over again). Other constructions include たい (-tai, to want to do something), ながら (-nagara, while doing something), なさい (-nasai, please do something) (used only between friends or to someone of a lower rank), そう (-sō da, to seem likely to do something).

Conjunctive form with てEdit

The conjunctive or te form is spinoff of the continuative form by attaching the particle to it. For godan (five-grade) verbs, the same kinds of sound changes with ~た applies. The particle can be used to link several predicates together, as illustrated below:

アリスは (まい)晩家 (ばんいえ) (かえ)って、テレビを ()ますArisu wa maiban ie e kaette, terebi o mimasu.Alice returns home and watches TV every night.
 () (のう) () (しょ) (かん) ()って (べん) (きょう)しましたKinō toshokan e itte, benkyō shimashita.I went to library and studied yesterday.

When used at the end of a sentence it makes a light command:

 (たす)けてTasukete!Help!
ゆっくりしていってね!Yukkuri shite itte ne!Take it easy!

More often, this form is part of certain kinds of expressions: ~てから (after doing something), ~て(いい) (it's OK to do something), ~てだめ/いけない/ならない (it's not ok to do something), ~て下さい (please do something), ~ている (to be doing something), ~てある (to be in the state of ...), ~てばかり (to be always doing something), ~てあげる (to do something to others), ~てくれる (to do something for me), ~てもらう (to receive the favor of doing something), ~ておく (to do something in preparation), ~てしまう (to do something completely or accidentally), ~てみる (to try doing something), etc. When followed by motion verbs like いく and くる as a set expression, the basic meaning is to do something towards a direction (e.g. 帰る is "return", 帰っていく is "go back", while 帰ってくる is "come back"), and the notion of the direction can be abstract (towards the future, up to the present, come to the state, etc.)

Imperative formEdit

The imperative form (命令形) is often irregular in honorific speech; in other cases it can be rude in everyday conversation except when quoted or used in -clauses. It is conjugated:

  • godan verbs: change the -u to -e. For example, 読む becomes 読め.
  • ichidan verbs: change the -ru to -ro. For example, 見る becomes 見ろ.
  • irregular verbs: kuru becomes koi, suru becomes shiro.

Volitional formEdit

The volitional form carries the meaning of "let's do something". It has the same meaning when used alone and means "try to do" when followed by する. It also means "I want to do something", but a less direct way to say this is to follow it by 思う. The conjugation is:

  • godan verbs: change the -u to . For example, 読む becomes 読もう.
  • ichidan verbs: change the -ru to -yō. For example, 見る becomes 見よう.
  • irregular verbs: kuru becomes koyō, suru becomes shiyō.

Hypothetical conditional formEdit

One way to say "if" is to attach to the 仮定形 of a verb, which is formed by changing the final vowel u (whether in -u, -ru, kuru, suru) to an e. "AばB" implies that A is a condition for B to happen.

Potential formEdit

  • godan verbs: change the -u to -eru. For example, 読む becomes 読める.
  • ichidan verbs: change the -ru to -rareru. For example, 見る becomes 見られる.
  • irregular verbs: kuru becomes korareru, suru becomes dekiru.

Sometimes the ra can be left out (a practice called ら抜き言葉). The result can be further conjugated like an ichidan verb; for example, 信じられない (unbelievable).

Causative formEdit

  • godan verbs: change the -u to -a (but -wa if it has no consonant) and attach seru. For example, 読む becomes 読ませる.
  • ichidan verbs: change the -ru to -saseru. For example, 見る becomes 見させる.
  • irregular verbs: kuru becomes kosaseru, suru becomes saseru.

The result can be further conjugated like an ichidan verb. Sometimes the せる is abbreviated as a single す and conjugates as godan verbs. The object is usually introduced with , but when there is another object with (such as "A made B sing a song"), is used instead.

Passive formEdit

  • godan verbs: change the -u to -a (but -wa if it has no consonant) and attach reru. For example, 読む becomes 読まれる.
  • ichidan verbs: change the -ru to -rareru. For example, 見る becomes 見られる.
  • irregular verbs: kuru becomes korareru, suru becomes sareru.

The result can be further conjugated like an ichidan verb. Aside from the passive voice (where the performer of the verb is introduced with or によって), the form is also used to show politeness in which case the sentence structure does not change. In casual speech, the せる can be abbreviated as a single す and conjugates as godan verbs. The passive form is sometimes used for a victimhood state, for example, 逃げられた is not "was run away by the rabbit", but "rabbit ran away, resulting in loss".

Irregular conjugation related to polite speechEdit

  • The imperative form of くれる is くれ.
  • The imperative form of some godan verbs have the ru replaced with i:
Verb Imperative form
くださる ください
なさる なさい
いらっしゃる いらっしゃい
おっしゃる おっしゃい
はがきを5枚 (ごまい)ください
Hagaki o gomai kudasai.
Please give me five postcards.

The i-ending imperative forms may be followed by mase:

いらっしゃいませ
Irasshaimase!
Welcome!

TransitivityEdit

Japanese verbs often come in transitive and intransitive pairs, called 他動詞 (tadōshi) and 自動詞 (jidōshi) in Japanese respectively. Intransitive verbs usually take only a subject marked with (ga) or (wa), while transitive verbs can also take an object marked with (o).

 (せん) (せい) (じゅ) (ぎょう) (はじ)める。sensei ga jugyō o hajimeru.The teacher starts the class.
 (じゅ) (ぎょう) (はじ)まる。jugyō ga hajimaru.The class starts.

A motion verb can also be used with (o) even though it is intransitive in Japanese.

 (はし) (わた)hashi o wataruto cross the bridge

When the transitive verb used with たい (tai) to express desire, or in the potential form, the object is usually marked with (ga), but (o) is also OK.

 (みず) ()みたい。mizu ga nomitai.I want to drink water.

Passive forms (ら)れる (-(ra)reru) usually become intransitive and causative forms (さ)せる (-(sa)seru) usually become transitive. てある (-tearu) forms usually become intransitive.

 (まど) ()けてある。mado ga akete aru.The window is opened.

Stem formsEdit

These are the basic forms of verbs as taught in Japan. Verbs have six associated stem forms; three of these each appear in two different ways that are not given separate names, but are used in disjoint contexts. The izenkei (已然形, classical perfective form) is also called the kateikei (仮定形, hypothetical form in modern Japanese). The shūshikei (終止形, terminal form) and rentaikei (連体形, attributive form) are identical for verbs in modern Japanese.

Prototype 起きる 食べる 書く 行く 剥ぐ 射す 待つ 死ぬ 呼ぶ 飲む 掘る 買う 問う くる する
okiru taberu kaku iku hagu sasu matsu shinu yobu nomu horu kau tou kuru suru
Class 上一 下一 カ五 カ五 ガ五 サ五 タ五 ナ五 バ五 マ五 ラ五 ワ五 ワ五 変格 変格
kami-1 shimo-1 ka-5 ka-5 ga-5 sa-5 ta-5 na-5 ba-5 ma-5 ra-5 wa-5 wa-5 ka-hen. sa-hen.
Stem 起き 食べ irreg. irreg.
oki- tabe- kak- ik- hag- sas- mat- shin- yob- nom- hor- ka(*p)- to(*p)- irreg. irreg.
Mizenkei (未然形) 起き 食べ 書か 行か 剥が 射さ 待た 死な 呼ば 飲ま 掘ら 買わ 問わ irreg.
Imperfective (general) oki- tabe- kaka- ika- haga- sasa- mata- shina- yoba- noma- hora- kawa- towa- ko- irreg.
Mizenkei (未然形) 起き 食べ 書こ 行こ 剥ご 射そ 待と 死の 呼ぼ 飲も 掘ろ 買お 問お
Imperfective (volitional) oki- tabe- kako- iko- hago- saso- mato- shino- yobo- nomo- horo- kao- too- ko- shi-
Ren'yōkei (連用形) 起き 食べ 書き 行き 剥ぎ 射し 待ち 死に 呼び 飲み 掘り 買い 問い
Continuative (-i) oki tabe kaki iki hagi sashi machi shini yobi nomi hori kai toi ki shi
Ren'yōkei (連用形) 起き 食べ 書い 行っ 剥い 射し 待っ 死ん 呼ん 飲ん 掘っ 買っ 問う
Continuative (other) oki- tabe- kai- i_- hai- sashi- ma_- shin- yon- non- ho_- ka_- tou- ki- shi-
Shūshikei (終止形) 起きる 食べる 書く 行く 剥ぐ 射す 待つ 死ぬ 呼ぶ 飲む 掘る 買う 問う くる する
Terminal okiru taberu kaku iku hagu sasu matsu shinu yobu nomu horu kau tou kuru suru
Rentaikei (連体形) 起きる 食べる 書く 行く 剥ぐ 射す 待つ 死ぬ 呼ぶ 飲む 掘る 買う 問う くる する
Attributive okiru taberu kaku iku hagu sasu matsu shinu yobu nomu horu kau tou kuru suru
Izenkei (已然形) 起きれ 食べれ 書け 行け 剥げ 射せ 待て 死ね 呼べ 飲め 掘れ 買え 問え くれ すれ
Classical Perfective okire- tabere- kake- ike- hage- sase- mate- shine- yobe- nome- hore- kae- toe- kure- sure-
Meireikei (命令形) 起きよ 食べよ 書け 行け 剥げ 射せ 待て 死ね 呼べ 飲め 掘れ 買え 問え こい せよ
Imperative (written) okiyo tabeyo kake ike hage sase mate shine yobe nome hore kae toe koi seyo
Meireikei (命令形) 起きろ 食べろ 書け 行け 剥げ 射せ 待て 死ね 呼べ 飲め 掘れ 買え 問え こい しろ
Imperative (spoken) okiro tabero kake ike hage sase mate shine yobe nome hore kae toe koi shiro

The ren'yōkei (連用形, -i form), shūshikei (終止形, terminal form), rentaikei (連体形, attributive form), and meireikei (命令形, imperative form) can appear on their own. The other inflections require suffixes.

Complex formsEdit

Form Classes Stem Suffix Result is Examples
Passive 受動態 1, kuru imperfective (general) られる shimo-1 verb 食べられる
5 imperfective (general) れる shimo-1 verb 書かれる
suru irreg. irreg. shimo-1 verb される
Causative 使役態 1, kuru imperfective (general) させる or さす shimo-1 verb 食べさせる
5 imperfective (general) せる or shimo-1 verb 書かせる
suru irreg. irreg. shimo-1 verb させる or さす
Potential 可能法 1 imperfective (general) られる shimo-1 verb 食べられる
5, kuru, 1 (colloq.) classical imperfective shimo-1 verb 書ける, 起きれる
suru defective defective 出来る (せる in compounds)

Other formsEdit

Form Classes Stem Suffix Result is Examples
Volitional 1, kuru, suru imperfective (volitional) よう indeclinable 食べよう, こよう, しよう
5 imperfective (volitional) indeclinable 書こう, 話そう
Negative all imperfective (general) ない i-adjective 食べない, 書かない, こない, しない
Negative (archaic) all imperfective (general) indeclinable 食べぬ, 書かぬ
Negative Continuative (-zu) 1, 5, kuru imperfective (general) indeclinable 食べず, 書かず, こず
suru irreg. irreg. indeclinable せず
Negative Conjunctive (-naide) all imperfective (general) ないで indeclinable 起きないで, 書かないで, こないで, しないで
Past tense 1, kuru, suru, (ka,sa,ta,ra,wa)-5 continuative (other) indeclinable 食べた, きた, した, 書いた, 行った, 話した, 待った, 作った, 払った, 問った
(ga,na,ba,ma)-5 continuative (other) indeclinable 泳いだ, 死んだ, 読んだ, 飲んだ
Conjunctive (-te) 1, kuru, suru, (ka,sa,ta,ra,wa)-5 continuative (other) indeclinable 食べて, きて, して, 書いて, 行って, 話して, 待って, 作って, 払って, 問って
(ga,na,ba,ma)-5 continuative (other) indeclinable 泳いで, 死んで, 読んで, 飲んで
Hypothetical (-ba) all classical imperfective (hypothetical) indeclinable 起きれば, 書けば, くれば, すれば
Conditional (-tara) 1, kuru, suru, (ka,sa,ta,ra,wa)-5 continuative (other) たら indeclinable 食べたら, きたら, したら, 書いたら
(ga,na,ba,ma)-5 continuative (other) だら indeclinable 泳いだら, 死んだら, 読んだら, 飲んだら
Currently incomplete

Suffixes to the continuative (-i) formEdit

There are several suffixes that attach to the continuative (-i) form. These are some of the most common:

Form Suffix Result is Examples
Formal (-masu) ます irregular verb 行きます
Desire (-tai) たい i-adjective 食べたい

Classical JapaneseEdit

The following table shows the conjugations of classical verbs as well as the modern equivalents in historical kana orthography. Note the “school grammar” terminology and notion of verb forms. A conjugation table for auxiliary verbs appears at Appendix:Japanese auxiliary verbs (todo).

動詞活用表[2]
文語 (classical) 口語 (modern)
種類
conjugation
class

consonant
of suffix
語例
example
word
未然
irrealis
連用
cont.
終止
terminal
連體
attrib.
已然
realis
命令
imperat.
種類
conjugation
class

consonant
of suffix
語例
example
word
未然
irrealis
連用
cont.
終止
terminal
連體
attrib.
假定
hypot.
命令
imperat.
四段
yodan
four-grade
-k- 行(ゆ)く yu.ku ka ki ku ku ke ke 四段
yodan
four-grade
-k- 行(ゆ)く yu.ku ka ki ku ku ke ke
-g- 漕(こ)ぐ ko.gu ga gi gu gu ge ge -g- 漕(こ)ぐ ko.gu ga gi gu gu ge ge
-s- 增(ま)す ma.su sa si su su se se -s- 增(ま)す ma.su sa si su su se se
-t- 打(う)つ u.tu ta ti tu tu te te -t- 打(う)つ u.tu ta ti tu tu te te
-h- 思(おも)ふ omo.hu ha hi hu hu he he -h- 思(おも)ふ omo.hu ha hi hu hu he he
-b- 飛(と)ぶ to.bu ba bi bu bu be be -b- 飛(と)ぶ to.bu ba bi bu bu be be
-m- 讀(よ)む yo.mu ma mi mu mu me me -m- 讀(よ)む yo.mu ma mi mu mu me me
-r- 取(と)る to.ru ra ri ru ru re re -r- 取(と)る to.ru ra ri ru ru re re
ラ變
ra-hen
r- irregular
-r- 有(あ)り a.ri ra ri ri ru re re -r- 有(あ)る a.ru ra ri ru ru re re
ナ變
na-hen
n- irregular
-n- 死(し)ぬ si.nu na ni nu nuru nure ne -n- 死(し)ぬ si.nu na ni nu nu ne ne
下一段
shimo-ichidan
lower-monograde
-k- 蹴(け)る keru ke ke keru keru kere keyo -r- 蹴(け)る ke.ru ra ri ru ru re re
下二段
shimo-nidan
lower-bigrade
(a) 得(う) u e e u uru ure eyo 下一段
shimo-ichidan
lower-monograde
(a) 得(え)る eru e e eru eru ere eyo
-k- 受(う)く u.ku ke ke ku kuru kure keyo -k- 受(う)ける u.keru ke ke keru keru kere keyo
-g- 上(あ)ぐ a.gu ge ge gu guru gure geyo -g- 上(あ)げる a.geru ge ge geru geru gere geyo
-s- 寄(よ)す yo.su se se su suru sure seyo -s- 寄(よ)せる yo.seru se se seru seru sure seyo
-z- 交(ま)ず ma.zu ze ze zu zuru zure zeyo -z- 交(ま)ぜる ma.zeru ze ze zeru zeru zere zeyo
-t- 捨(す)つ su.tu te te tu turu ture teyo -t- 捨(す)てる su.teru te te teru teru tere teyo
-d- 出(い)づ i.du de de du duru dure deyo -d- 出(で)る deru de de deru deru dere deyo
-n- 尋(たづ)ぬ tadu.nu ne ne nu nuru nure neyo -n- 尋(たづ)ねる tadu.neru ne ne neru neru nere neyo
-h- 考(かんが)ふ kanga.hu he he hu huru hure heyo -h- 考(かんが)へる kanga.heru he he heru heru here heyo
-b- 調(しら)ぶ sira.bu be be bu buru bure beyo -b- 調(しら)べる sira.beru be be beru beru bere beyo
-m- 止(と)む to.mu me me mu muru mure meyo -m- 止(と)める to.meru me me meru meru mere meyo
-y- 越(こ)ゆ ko.yu e e yu yuru yure eyo -y- 越(こ)える ko.eru e e eru eru ere eyo
-r- 晴(は)る ha.ru re re ru ruru rure reyo -r- 晴(は)れる ha.reru re re reru reru rere reyo
-w- 植(う)う u.u we we u uru ure weyo -w- 植(う)ゑる u.weru we we weru weru were weyo
上一段
kami-ichidan
upper-monograde
-k- 著(き)る kiru ki ki kiru kiru kire kiyo 上一段
kami-ichidan
upper-monograde
-k- 著(き)る kiru ki ki kiru kiru kire kiyo
-n- 似(に)る niru ni ni niru niru nire niyo -n- 似(に)る niru ni ni niru niru nire niyo
-h- 干(ひ)る hiru hi hi hiru hiru hire hiyo -h- 干(ひ)る hiru hi hi hiru hiru hire hiyo
-m- 見(み)る miru mi mi miru miru mire miyo -m- 見(み)る miru mi mi miru miru mire miyo
-y- 老(お)いる o.iru i i iru iru ire iyo -y- 老(お)いる o.iru i i iru iru ire iyo
-w- 居(ゐ)る wiru wi wi wiru wiru wire wiyo -w- 居(ゐ)る wiru wi wi wiru wiru wire wiyo
上二段
kami-nidan
upper-bigrade
-k- 起(お)く o.ku ki ki ku kuru kure kiyo -k- 起(お)きる o.kiru ki ki kiru kiru kire kiyo
-g- 過(す)ぐ su.gu gi gi gu guru gure giyo -g- 過(す)ぎる su.giru gi gi giru giru gire giyo
-t- 落(お)つ o.tu ti ti tu turu ture tiyo -t- 落(お)ちる o.tiru ti ti tiru tiru tire tiyo
-d- 恥(は)づ ha.du di di du duru dure diyo -d- 恥(は)ぢる ha.diru di di ziru ziru zire diyo
-h- 強(し)ふ si.hu hi hi hu huru hure hiyo -h- 強(し)ひる si.hiru hi hi hiru hiru hire hiyo
-b- 亡(ほろ)ぶ horo.bu bi bi bu buru bure biyo -b- 亡(ほろ)びる horo.biru bi bi biru biru bire biyo
-m- 恨(うら)む ura.mu mi mi mu muru mure miyo -m- 恨(うら)みる ura.miru mi mi miru miru mire miyo
-y- 悔(く)ゆ ku.yu i i yu yuru yure iyo -y- 悔(く)いる ku.iru i i iru iru ire iyo
-r- 懲(こ)る ko.ru ri ri ru ruru rure riyo -r- 懲(こ)りる ko.riru ri ri riru riru rire riyo
カ變
ka-hen
k- irregular
-k- 來(く) ku ko ki ku kuru kure koyo カ變
ka-hen
k- irregular
-k- 來(く)る kuru ko ki kuru kuru kure koi
サ變
sa-hen
s- irregular
-s- 爲(す) su se si su suru sure seyo サ變
sa-hen
s- irregular
-s- 爲(す)る suru se
si
si suru suru sure seyo
siro
講(かう)ず kau.zu ze zi zu zuru zure zeyo 講(かう)ずる kau.zuru ze
zi
zi zuru zuru zure zeyo
ziro
The rōmaji are Nihon-shiki transliterations of the kana and do not necessarily reflect the actual sounds.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1998, 広辞苑 (Kōjien), Fifth Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Iwanami Shoten, →ISBN
  2. ^ Adapted from the Daijiten (大辭典, page 131, volume 26) published in 1936 by Heibonsha (平凡社), which was believed to be out of copyright.