Japanese Basic Grammar Guide Part IV – Verbs


Hello! Today we’ll be taking a look at some Japanese Verbs with illustrations provided by one of our students!


Japanese Verbs are typically split into 3 groups, Ru-Verbs, U-Verbs as well as Irregular Verbs. Each of these tend to be conjugated differently so we’ll be discussing about that as well in a while!
Although Japanese verbs assume a variety of conjugations depending on tense and their function within a sentence, the 3 most basic verb forms are the Dictionary Form, Masu-Form and the Te-Form.

8 Basic Verbs

8 Basic Verbs

Dictionary Form

Also known as the plain form, the Dictionary Form frequently appears in casual conversation and is also used in different grammatical expression. Verbs in its Dictionary Form can also fall under 3 different categories: Ru-Verbs, U-Verbs and Irregular Verbs.
Below are a few of the more common verbs in its Dictionary Form which you may eventually come by.


たべる (Taberu) – To Eat

Basic Verb: To Eat

To Eat

みる(Miru) – To See/Look/Watch

Basic Verb: To See/ To Watch

To See/ To Watch

Note: Ru-Verbs typically contains an “I” or “E” sound on the previous alphabet before ending with a Ru.

E.g. Tab(e)ru and M(i)ru



のむ (Nomu) – To Drink

Basic Verb: To Drink

To Drink

よむ (Yomu) – To Read

Basic Verb: To Read

To Read

かく (Kaku) – To Write

Basic Verb: To Write

To Write

つかう (Tsukau) – To Use

Basic Verb: To Use

To Use

はいる (Hairu) – To Enter

Basic Verb: To Enter

To Enter

すわる (Suwaru) – To Sit

Basic Verb: To Sit

To Sit

Note: U-Verbs typically end with a “U” at the end.

E.g. Nom(u), Kak(u), Tsuka(u), Hair(u), Suwar(u)


Irregular Verbs

コピーする(Kopii Suru) – To Copy

Note: Irregular Verbs typically end with “Suru” which also means “To Do”.

ます (Masu) Form

As for the ます (Masu) Form, it is typically used in conversations when you are trying to be polite.


たべる (Taberu) becomes たべます (Tabemasu)

みる(Miru) becomes みます (Mimasu)

Note: General rule is to remove “Ru” and replace it with “Masu”.



のむ (Nomu) becomes のみます (Nomimasu)

かく (Kaku) becomes かきます(Kakimasu)

つかう (Tsukau) becomes つかいます (Tsukaimasu)

はいる (Hairu) becomes はいります (Hairimasu)

すわる (Suwaru) becomes すわります (Suwarimasu)

Note: General rule is to change the last alphabet in its Dictionary Form to a similar one ending with an “I” sound before attaching “Masu”.

E.g. Ka(ku) becomes Ka(ki) + Masu, No(mu) becomes No(mi) + Masu.


Irregular Verbs

コピーする (Kopii Suru) becomes コピーします (Kopii Shimasu)

Note: General rule is to conjugate “Suru” into “Shimasu”.

て (Te) Form

The て (Te) Form, on the other hand, can usually be conveniently used to create a wide variety of grammatical expressions.


たべる (Taberu) becomes たべて (Tabete)

みる(Miru) becomes みて (Mite)

Note: General rule is to remove “Ru” and replace it with “Te”.



のむ (Nomu) becomes のんで (Nonde)

かく (Kaku) becomes かいて (Kaite)

つかう (Tsukau) becomes つかって(Tsukatte)

はいる (Hairu) becomesはいって (Haitte)

すわる (Suwaru) becomes  すわって (Suwatte)

Note: This is where it starts confusing. Depending on what the U-Verb ends with, its て (Te) Form can actually vary. Nevertheless, the general rule is still to replace the last alphabet in its Dictionary Form based on the following:

む/ぶ/ぬ (Mu/Bu/Nu) becomes んで (nde)

く (Ku) becomes いて (ite)

ぐ (Gu) becomes いで (ide)

つ/う/る (Tsu/U/Ru) becomes って (tte)


Irregular Verbs

コピーする(Kopii Suru) becomesコピーして (Kopii Shite)

Note: General rule is to conjugate “Suru” into “Shite”.

ANNNNNND we’re done! We hope that this blog has definitely helped you out! Should you have any questions regarding the courses we offer, connect with us here!
Content adapted from the Nihongo Fun & Easy Book – written by Teachers from Coto Japanese Academy – Get it here:

Our Previous Basic Japanese Grammar Guide
Basic Grammar Guide Part I
Basic Grammar Guide Part II
Basic Grammar Guide Part III

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