Verbs

Verb Groups

Japanese verbs conjugate, and sentences with various meanings can be formed by adding various phrases to the conjugated forms of the verbs. Verbs are classified into three groups depending on how they are conjugated.

Group 1 Verbs

In all verbs of this group, the last sound of the ます-form is from the い-column of the syllabary chart, e.g. かます (write), のます (drink).

Group 2 Verbs

In most verbs of this group, the last sound of the ます-form is from the え-column, e.g. たます (eat), みます (show), but in some verbs, it is a sound from the い-column, e.g. ます (see). If a verb only has one character before the ます, it falls into this group as well.

Group 3 Verbs

Verbs of this group include します and “action-denoting noun + します”, as well as きます.


Verb て-form

The verb form that ends with て or で is called the て-form. The method by which the て-form is created from the ます-form depends on the group to which the verb belongs.

Group 1 Verbs

  1. When the last sound of the ます-form is い、ち or り, the last sound is dropped and って is attached. e.g. かいます (buy) becomes かって, まちます (wait) becomes まって, かえります (return home) becomes かえって.
  2. When the last sound of the ます-form is み、び or に, the last sound is dropped and んで is attached. e.g. のみます (drink) becomes のんで,
よびます (call) becomes よんで, しにます (die) becomes しんで.
  3. When the last sound of the ます-form is き or ぎ, the last sound is dropped and いて or いで respectively is attached. e.g. かきます (write) becomes
かいて, いそぎます (hurry) becomes いそいで.
  4. When the last sound of the ます-form is し, て is added to the ます-form. e.g. かします (lend) becomes かして.

Group 2 Verbs

て is added to the ます-form. e.g. たべます (eat) becomes たべて.

Group 3 Verbs

て is added to the ます-form. e.g. きます (come) becomes きて.


Verb て-form ください

This sentence pattern is used to tell, request or invite the listener to do something. However, it is not a very polite way of asking someone to do something, so it is often used together with the expression すみませんが.

examples

  1. すみませんが、この かんじ を おしえって ください。Please teach me this Kanji. (Requesting)
  2. ペン で なまえ を かいて ください。Please write your name in pen. (Telling)
  3. どうぞ たくさん たべて ください。Please eat as much as you want. (Inviting)

Verb て-form います

This sentence pattern indicates that a certain action or motion is in progress.

examples

  1. あきさん は いま すし を たべて います。Aki is eating sushi now.
  2. いま、あめ が ふっています。It is raining now.

Verb て-form も いいですか

This sentence pattern is used for asking permission to do something.

examples

  1. しゃしん を とって もいいですか。May I take a photo?
  2. ここ で たばこ を すって もいいですか。May I smoke here?

Verb て-form は いけません

This sentence pattern is used to express prohibition.

examples

  1. ここ で たばこ を すって は いけません。(You must not smoke here.)