Verb conjugation basics

  • URLをコピーしました!

Verbs express the action or existence of things. 
All of the Japanese verbs end with a “u” sound.

JapaneseHiraganaHow to readHow to read
examples for verbs

Types of verbs

In Japanese, there are 3 types of verbs below.


The words end with , , , , , , , or .

e.g. あるく(aru-ku), む(yo-mu)


The words end with “iru” or “eru“.

e.g. る(m-iru), べる(tab-eru)


The words end with “くる” or “する“.

e.g. る(kuru), する(suru)

How to identify the verb type

There are exceptions that end in “iru” or “eru” but are classified as Godan-verbs, but I won’t cover them here.

Conjugation forms

There are 8 conjugation forms below.

Dictionary form

This form has affirmative meaning and is often used at the end of the sentence.

Nai form

This form is the verb ends with “nai” which represents the meaning “not“, used for negative sentences.

Masu form

This form is the verb ends with “masu” which gives the sentence a polite meaning. We don’t use it much in conversations with family and friends.

Te form

This form is an important form used when creating various grammatical forms.
I will explain the variations of the Te form on another page.

Ta form

This form expresses past events, past events leading to the present, and their results.

Ba form

This form expresses the precondition. “Aば, B” means “If A, then B”.

Volitional form

This form expresses intention, often translated as “Let’s” or “be trying to”.

Imperative form

This form represents strong instruction.

Easiest Ichidan-verbs example

べる: to eat

Dictionary form食べるtab-eruI eat
Nai form (Negative form)食べないtab-enaiI don’t eat
Masu form食べますtab-emasuI eat (polite)
Te form食べてtab-ete*next table
Ta form (Past form)食べたtab-etaI ate
Ba form (Subjunctive form)食べればtab-erebaif I eat,
Volitional form食べようtab-eyouLet’s eat
Imperative form食べろtab-eroEat (strong)
Ichidan-verbs(eru pattern) conjugations
JapaneseGrammatical roleEnglish
食べてくださいpolite requestPlease eat
食べて、寝るdescribing 2 activitieseat and sleep
食べているaction in progress
result of a change
be eating
have eaten
食べてもいいpermissionyou can eat
食べてあげるdo for you/someoneeat (for you/someone)
食べてくれるdo for meeat (for me)
食べてみるchallengeI’ll try (to eat)
Ichidan-verbs(eru pattern) Te-form variations


*There is no future tense in Japanese



Tips: Other examples of 食べる

EnglishRomajiJapanese (casual saying)
can eattab-ereru食べれる
can not eattab-erenai食べれない
could eattab-ereta食べれた
could not eattab-erenakatta食べれなかった
should eattab-erubeki食べるべき
should not eattab-erubekijanai食べるべきじゃない
should have eatentab-erubekidatta食べるべきだった
shouldn’t have eatentab-erubekijanakatta食べるべきじゃなかった
might eattab-erukamo食べるかも
might not eattab-enaikamo食べないかも
might have eatentab-etakamo食べたかも
might not have eatentab-enakattakamo食べなかったかも
want to eattab-etai食べたい
don’t want to eattab-etakunai食べたくない
wanted to eattab-etakatta食べたかった
didn’t want to eattab-etakunakatta食べたくなかった
Other expressions of 食べる