Japanese verb conjugation

This is a list of Japanese verb conjugations. Almost all of these are regular, but there are a few Japanese irregular verbs, and the conjugations of the few irregular verbs are also listed. Japanese verb conjugation is the same for all subjects, first person ("I", "we"), second person ("you") and third person ("he/she/it" and "they"), singular and plural. The present plain form (the dictionary form) of all verbs ends in u. In modern Japanese, there are no verbs that end in fu, pu, or yu, no verbs ending in zu other than certain する forms (such as 禁ず kin-zu), and 死ぬ (しぬ, shinu; to die) is the only one ending in nu in the dictionary form.

This article describes a set of conjugation rules widely used in order to teach Japanese as a foreign language. However, Japanese linguists have been proposing various grammatical theories for over a hundred years and there is still no consensus about the conjugations. Japanese people learn the more traditional "school grammar" in their schools, which explains the same grammatical phenomena in a different way with different terminology (see the corresponding Japanese article).

A revision sheet visually summarizing the conjugations and uses described below

Summary of verb conjugations

Verb conjugates are often grouped into consonant-stems (五段動詞, godandōshi) (type I) and vowel-stems (一段動詞, ichidandōshi, いる, iru and える eru forms) (type II). The plain form of a type I verb has an u sound (u, tsu, ru, ku, gu, nu, bu, mu, su), the ~ます -masu form has an i sound (i, chi, ri, ki, gi, ni, bi, mi, shi), and the negative form has an a sound (wa, ta, ra, ka, ga, na, ba, ma, sa). The potential form has an e sound (e, te, re, ke, ge, ne, be, me, se) and the volitional form has an おう ō sound (ō, tō, rō, kō, gō, nō, bō, mō, sō).

dictionary form
polite form[i]
negative form[ii]
"te" form
"ta" form
~う -u[iii] ~います -imasu ~わない -wanai ~って -tte ~った -tta
~つ -tsu ~ちます -chimasu ~たない -tanai
~る -ru ~ります -rimasu ~らない -ranai
~く -ku[iv] ~きます -kimasu ~かない -kanai ~いて -ite ~いた -ita
~ぐ -gu ~ぎます -gimasu ~がない -ganai ~いで -ide ~いだ -ida
~ぬ -nu ~にます -nimasu ~なない -nanai ~んで -nde ~んだ -nda
~ぶ -bu ~びます -bimasu ~ばない -banai
~む -mu ~みます -mimasu ~まない -manai
~す -su ~します -shimasu ~さない -sanai ~して -shite ~した -shita
(~い)る -iru[v] ~ます -masu ~ない -nai ~て -te ~た -ta
(~え)る -eru[v]
~する -suru ~します -shimasu ~しない -shinai ~して -shite ~した -shita
~くる -kuru ~きます -kimasu ~こない -konai ~きて -kite ~きた -kita
  1. ^ Since the polite ~ます -masu form ends with ~す -su, the polite past form mostly follows the ~す -su rules. So for example the polite form of 話す hanasu is 話します hanashimasu, and the polite past form is 話しました hanashimashita, but the polite negative form is 話しません hanashimasen. See other examples of the polite form here.
  2. ^ Since the negative ~ない -nai form ends with ~い -i, any further inflection of the negative form will behave as an i-adjective. For example, 話さない hanasanai "not talking" becomes 話さなかった(です) hanasanakatta(desu) "didn't talk".
  3. ^ Two exceptions are 問う tou "to question" which conjugates to 問うて toute and the even less common 請う kou "to request" which conjugates to 請うて koute.
  4. ^ The only exception is 行く iku which conjugates to いって itte.
  5. ^ a b Not all verbs ending with いる iru or える eru are vowel stems, some are consonant stems instead like 走る hashiru "run" and 帰る kaeru "return". A full list of the exceptions can be found here.
dictionary form
potential form
conditional form
volitional form
~う -u ~える -eru ~えば -eba ~おう
~つ -tsu ~てる -teru ~てば -teba ~とう -tō
~る -ru ~れる -reru[iv] ~れば -reba ~ろう -rō
~く -ku ~ける -keru ~けば -keba ~こう -kō
~ぐ -gu ~げる -geru ~げば -geba ~ごう -gō
~ぬ -nu ~ねる -neru ~ねば -neba ~のう -nō
~ぶ -bu ~べる -beru ~べば -beba ~ぼう -bō
~む -mu ~める -meru ~めば -meba ~もう -mō
~す -su ~せる -seru ~せば -seba ~そう -sō
(~い)る -iru ~られる -rareru[v] ~れば -reba ~よう -yō
(~え)る -eru
する suru できる dekiru すれば sureba しよう shiyō
くる kuru こられる korareru[v] くれば kureba こよう koyō
  1. ^ All of the potential forms end in える eru or いる iru so they follow the vowel-stem (一段動詞, ichidandōshi) rules. 話せる hanaseru becomes 話せます hanasemasu.
  2. ^ Conditional form is like saying "if ..." or "when ...".
  3. ^ Also called the conjectural/tentative/presumptive form, it is the plain form of ~ましょう -mashō. ~ましょう -mashō is used as an inclusive command ("let's ..."), but becomes an inclusive query ("shall we ...?") when ka is added (食べましょうか tabe mashō ka "Shall we eat?"). -ō to omoimasu indicates the speaker's conjecture ("I think (I will)") and -ō to omotte imasu indicates the speaker's current intentions ("I'm thinking (I will)"). -ō to suru/-ō to shite iru/-ō to shite imasu indicates intention ("(be) about to").[1]
  4. ^ The exception is 分かる wakaru "to understand" which already expresses ability innately without a conjugation.
  5. ^ a b Note that colloquially the ら ra is dropped meaning these two become ~れる -reru and これる koreru.
dictionary word
polite form
negative form
participle form
perfective form
あら arau "wash" あらいます araimasu あらわない arawanai あらって aratte あらった aratta
matsu "wait" ちます machimasu たない matanai って matte った matta
toru "take" ります torimasu らない toranai って totte った totta
kaku "write" きます kakimasu かない kakanai いて kaite いた kaita
いそ isogu "hurry" いそぎます isogimasu いそがない isoganai いそいで isoide いそいだ isoida
shinu[i] "die" にます shinimasu なない shinanai んで shinde んだ shinda
yobu "call out" びます yobimasu ばない yobanai んで yonde んだ yonda
nomu "drink" みます nomimasu まない nomanai んで nonde んだ nonda
はな hanasu "speak" はなします hanashimasu はなさない hanasanai はなして hanashite はなした hanashita
miru "see" ます mimasu ない minai mite mita
たべ taberu "eat" たべます tabemasu たべない tabenai たべ tabete たべ tabeta
する suru[i] "do" します shimasu しない shinai して shite した shita
勉強 benkyou "study" 勉強します benkyoushimasu 勉強しない benkyoushinai 勉強して benkyoushite 勉強した benkyoushita
くる kuru[i] "come" きます kimasu こない konai きて kite きた kita
  1. ^ a b c The only example of this form. See Japanese irregular verbs for more.
dictionary form
passive verb
causative verb
prohibitive form
imperative form
~う -u ~われる -wareru ~わせる -waseru ~うな -u na ~え -e
~つ -tsu ~たれる -tareru ~たせる -taseru ~つな -tsu na ~て -te
~る -ru ~られる -rareru ~らせる -raseru ~るな -ru na ~れ -re
~く -ku ~かれる -kareru ~かせる -kaseru ~くな -ku na ~け -ke
~ぐ -gu ~がれる -gareru ~がせる -gaseru ~ぐな -gu na ~げ -ge
~ぬ -nu ~なれる -nareru ~なせる -naseru ~ぬな -nu na ~ね -ne
~ぶ -bu ~ばれる -bareru ~ばせる -baseru ~ぶな -bu na ~べ -be
~む -mu ~まれる -mareru ~ませる -maseru ~むな -mu na ~め -me
~す -su ~される -sareru ~させる -saseru ~すな -su na ~せ -se
(~い)る -iru ~られる -rareru (~い)るな -iru na ~ろ -ro
(~え)る -eru (~え)るな -eru na
する suru される sareru させる saseru するな suru na しろ shiro
くる kuru こられる korareru こさせる kosaseru くるな kuru na こい koi
  1. ^ a b All of these verbs end in える eru so conjugation from here follows the vowel-stem (一段動詞, ichidandōshi) rules. る ru can simply be replaced with ます masu to make it polite.
  2. ^ With all verbs, the prohibitive form is simply obtained by adding -な to the dictionary form. It is used to command someone not to do something. An example is 入るな hairu na "Do not enter."
  3. ^ The imperative form can be used as a command, e.g. 黙れ damare "shut up!", やめ yame "stop!" or 止まれ tomare "Stop (sign)". Non-volitional verbs (e.g. ある aru, わかる wakaru, できる dekiru) have no imperative form and くれる kureru "to give" is an exception that conjugates to くれ kure (the plain form of ~てください -te kudasai "Please (do)...").
    A politer way of telling someone to do something is to use (masu stem)~なさい -nasai instead (e.g. 飲みなさい nominasai "Drink up.", しなさい shinasai "Do (what was said)."), or more informally, (masu stem)~な -na. Imperative form: たくさん食べな takusan tabena "Eat a lot." Prohibitive form: たくさん食べるな takusan taberu na "Don't pig out!"