Japanese Verbs – Godan, Ichidan, Irregular – Oh my!

Up until now, I thought Japanese verbs were pretty easy. Put them at the end of the sentence. Add a “masen” or something to make it negative. But no… they aren’t just that simple!

In NihongoMaster I learned that there are “polite” verbs and dictionary verbs. No problem, I can handle that, it’s Japanese after all. Next, I learn there are three types of dictionary verbs!

  1. Godan
  2. Ichidan
  3. Irregular

Wait, those terms do look familiar! I just never knew what they meant! In my WaniKani, かわる、”to replace”, the description says it is a “Godan Verb”. (See the Part of Speech section below.) My eyes used to glaze over this information before, now it’s starting to make sense. I wondered why some I learned the verb for “to understand” was slightly different than the “understand” I’ve been using in grammar lessons.

I learned the basic rules about Dictionary Form, Stems, the ます polite form, and the meanings for various verb forms. Seemed pretty easy to absorb… I took the lesson drills and aced the 50-question quiz on them.

I’m know I have a ton more to learn about Japanese Verbs, but for now, I’ll just get really familiar with the following rules:

Irregular Verbs

Just memorize all forms.

Ichidan Verbs

These verbs all end in “いる” or “える”. To create the verb stem, subtract the る, then add ~ます.

Godan Verbs

The dictionary form ends in a “u” sound. To determine the polite form, first form the stem by keeping the first consonant sound and changing that last “u” sound to an “i”, then add ます!

Godan verbs

I’ve made it a habit to read my Human Japanese app on my tablet in bed, and I must be pretty well synched up by now, because the lesson I read last night was ALSO about the different verbs!

Everything is starting to come together!


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