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Lesson 1 The Plain Form Please remember that all Japanese verbs end in u, but to be more precise, it's

the last syllable of the plain form that ends in u. Let's take the verb aruku, which means "to walk," for example: it ends in ku, not u. Keeping this in mind will make further study much easier. There are 3 types of verbs in Japanese: yodan, ichidan, and irregular.1 First we will look at only some simple yodan verbs, which can end in u, ku, gu, su, tsu, nu, bu, mu, or ru:

kau (to buy) aruku (to walk) isogu (to hurry) kasu (to lend) matsu (to wait) shinu (to die) asobu (to play) yomu (to read) kaeru (to return)

Now let's try some in sentences:


Mama wa mise de banana o kau. (Mom buys/will buy bananas at the store.) Jim wa manga o yomu. (Jim will read a comic book.) Ojii-san wa sugu kaeru. (Grandpa will return soon.)

Ichidan verbs all end in either eru or iru. Some frequently used ones are:

taberu (to eat) kimeru (to decide) miru (to look, watch) kariru (to borrow)

Here are a couple of example sentences:


Watashi wa ringo o taberu. (I'll eat an apple.) Naomi wa terebi o miru. (Naomi will watch TV.)

This is very simple Japanese, and also very juvenile or "familiar." Only kids or people speaking with family or friends would use this plain form. Before actually trying out the language you need to learn the Base 2 forms and the polite endings that go with them. We will start learning about those in Lesson 2. Word Check Verbs: kau: to buy aruku: to walk isogu: to hurry kasu: to lend matsu: to wait shinu: to die asobu: to play yomu: to read kaeru: to return taberu: to eat kimeru: to decide miru: to look, watch kariru: to borrow

Others: mise: a store manga: comic book ojii-san: grandfather sugu: soon watashi: I ringo: apple terebi: TV 2 Notes 1. Yodan verbs are also called godan or "type 1" verbs, depending on the source. Interestingly, the Japanese learn their own language in a completely different way, and do not use the terms yodan or ichidan when teaching or learning verbs. Asking your native-speaking Japanese friends about these will not help: they have never heard of them, unless it was from another foreigner. The yodan/godan/ichidan method of verb instruction only remains today as one method to teach Japanese verb forms to non-native speakers. 2. Terebi is wasei eigo, or "Japanized English," and comes from television. Lesson 2 Yodan Verbs with Base 2 + masu The first ending you'll want to master is the polite form masu. Since masu requires the Base 2 form, yodan verbs are changed so they end in i their "Base 2" form before the masu ending is added. Notice how the following yodan verbs, which were introduced in Lesson 1, change in order to add masu, the present polite ending. Especially notice how verbs ending in su and tsu change : Plain Verb kau (to buy) aruku (to walk) isogu (to hurry) kasu (to lend) matsu (to wait) shinu (to die) asobu (to play) yomu (to read) kaeru (to return) Base 2 Form Polite Verb Form Kai kaimasu aruki arukimasu isogi isogimasu kashi kashimasu machi machimasu shini shinimasu asobi asobimasu yomi yomimasu kaeri kaerimasu

Now we are ready to speak polite, "adult" Japanese. Let's convert the plain yodan verb example sentences used in Lesson 1 to polite sentences by converting them to Base 2 and adding masu:

Mama wa mise de banana o kaimasu. (Mom buys/will buy bananas at the store.) Jim wa manga o yomimasu. (Jim will read a comic book.) Ojii-san wa sugu kaerimasu. (Grandpa will return soon.)

Lesson 3 Ichidan Verbs with Base 2 + masu Ichidan verbs are a snap, because you change them to Base 2 by just dropping the ru at the end. Look carefully at these ichidan verbs and how they conjugate, and notice how they differ from the yodan group covered in Lesson 2:

Plain Verb taberu (to eat) oboeru (to remember) kimeru (to decide) deru (to leave, come out) kariru (to borrow) miru (to look, watch) Here are some examples:

Base 2 Form Polite Verb Form tabe tabemasu oboe oboemasu kime kimemasu de demasu kari karimasu mi mimasu

Watashi wa ashita kimemasu. (I'll decide tomorrow.) Jerry wa sugu heya kara demasu. (Jerry will come out of the room soon.) Ayako wa mainichi terebi o mimasu. (Ayako watches the TV every day.)

Now, you are probably thinking: How can I tell ichidan verbs from yodan? True, there are also yodan verbs that end in eru or iru, but with practice and experience they will gradually be mastered. A mistake made from not knowing whether a verb is yodan or ichidan is a very minor one, and should not be worried about at this stage. Word Check ashita: tomorrow sugu: soon heya: a room kara: from mainichi: every day terebi: TV Lesson 4 Base 2 + masen Now that you are a little familiar with Base 2, let's try masen, which is the negative form of masu. Look at these yodan examples:

Watashi wa kasa o kaimasen. (I'm not going to buy an umbrella.) Kare wa machimasen. (He won't wait.) Kimiko wa Osaka ni ikimasen. (Kimiko isn't going to Osaka.)

And here are some ichidan:


Watashi wa ima tabemasen. (I'm not going to eat now.) Kanojo wa kasa o karimasen. (She isn't going to borrow an umbrella.)

Easy enough, right? Word Check kasa: umbrella kau: to buy kare: he, him matsu: to wait iku: to go ima: now taberu: to eat kanojo: she, her kariru: to borrow

Lesson 5 Base 2 + mashita Mashita is used to change verbs to their past polite form. Let's make some examples:

John wa Sendai ni ikimashita. (John went to Sendai.) Kodomotachi wa kouen de asobimashita. (The children played at the park.) Yoshi wa ringo o tabemashita. (Yoshi ate an apple.) Shizu wa manga o kaimashita. (Shizu bought a comic book.) Bob wa sono eiga o mimashita. (Bob saw that movie.)

There are yodan and ichidan verbs in the examples above. Can you tell them apart? Word Check iku: to go kodomotachi: children kouen: a park asobu: to play ringo: apple taberu: to eat manga: a comic book kau: to buy sono: that eiga: movie miru: to see Lesson 6 Base 2 + masen deshita In Lesson 4 we learned that masen is used to show polite negative. To make that past tense we just add deshita. To illustrate this we will take a few of the examples shown in Lesson 5 and change them from positive past to negative past:

John wa Sendai ni ikimasen deshita. (John didn't go to Sendai.) Kodomotachi wa kouen de asobimasen deshita. (The children didn't play at the park.) Yoshi wa ringo o tabemasen deshita. (Yoshi didn't eat an apple.)

Please note that deshita is the past tense form of desu, which will be covered next. Lesson 7 desu, iru and aru This would be a good place to leave the "action verb" endings and explain the "to be" verbs desu, iru and aru. Desu is added to the end of statements to make them polite, including ones that end in plain verb forms or their conjugations. Do not add it to verbs that are already in a polite form, like something from the masu group. After nouns and adjectives, desu acts like English "be verbs" (am, are, is, etc.) and states that something (a noun) is something (a noun or adjective):

Kare wa Tanaka-san desu. (He is Mr. Tanaka.) Carol wa nijuu go sai desu. (Carol is 25 years old.) Bob wa byouki desu. (Bob's sick.) Ashita wa ame desu. (Tomorrow it will rain. [The weather forecast for tomorrow is rain.])

Sono gakkou wa furui desu. (That school is old.)

The plain form of desu is da, which is used by kids and adults in familiar settings:

Mite! Hikouki da! (Look! An airplaine!) Iya da. (No. [I don't want to...])

I should point out here that the above sentences do not need desu or da to be complete or grammatically correct. In fact, you will often hear them with neither. Desu or da are added to "finalize" the statement in some cases, with desu being the one to choose when the setting calls for polite speech. Iru and aru mean "to be (in a certain place)" or "to exist." Generally speaking, iru is used for people and animals, and aru for everything else:

Tom wa iru? (Is Tom here / there?) Hai, Tom wa iru yo. (Yes, Tom's here.) Kabe ni kumo ga iru. (There's a spider on the wall.) Jisho wa tsukue no ue ni aru. (The dictionary is on the desk.) Kouen ni ookina ki ga aru. (There's a big tree in the park.)

You can make these polite by converting them to their Base 2 form and adding masu. Iru is an ichidan verb, and aru is a yodan, so be sure to convert them accordingly:

Tom wa imasu ka? (Is Tom there?) Kouen ni ookina ki ga arimasu. (There's a big tree in the park.)

The plain negative forms of these are inai and nai :


Sumimasen, ima Tom wa inai. (Sorry, Tom's not here now.) Jisho ga nai. (I don't have a dictionary.)

And the polite negative forms would use masen, which was introduced in Lesson 4:

Sumimasen ga, ima Tom wa imasen. (Sorry, but Tom's not here now.) Jisho ga arimasen. (I don't have a dictionary.)

The plain past of these are itta and atta, which should only be used in very familiar settings:

Kinou Tom wa itta. (Yesterday Tom was here.) Koko ni ookina ki ga atta. (There was a big tree here.)

The polite past forms are imashita and arimashita :


Kinou Tom wa imashita. (Yesterday Tom was here.) Koko ni ookina ki ga arimashita. (There was a big tree here.)

For plain past negative use inakatta and nakatta :


Kinou Tom wa inakatta. (Yesterday Tom was not here.) Koko ni ki ga nakatta. (There was not a tree here.)

And for polite past negative use masen deshita :


Kinou Tom wa imasen deshita. (Yesterday Tom was not here.) Koko ni ki ga arimasen deshita. (There was not a tree here.)

Now let's get back to desu. Its plain negative form is dewa nai or ja nai :

Kanojo wa juuhassai dewa nai. (She's not 18.)

And the polite negative is dewa arimasen :

Iie, kare wa haisha dewa arimasen. (No, he's not a dentist.)

The plain past, polite past, plain past negative, and polite past negative forms are datta, deshita, dewa nakatta, and dewa arimasen deshita, respectively. There is another form of desu that I've been asked about: de aru. This is one that is rarely used these days. You really don't need to concern yourself with it at all unless you decide to study Japanese literature. The only time you will hear it is on historical dramas or documentary programs. If you are really interested in the technical background, here it is: Among the several roles of de, one is "as," as in being in a certain position, state or condition. Connected with aru it means "to exist as...." So, if you were to say John wa gakusei de aru, you're technically saying "John presently exists as a student" (John is a student). Again, it is rarely used these days in daily communication. Use desu instead.1 Have I mentioned how "grammatically loose" Japanese is? Well, it is, and you will run into lots of strange constructions which cannot be explained in English simply because they do not exist in English. With desu, there is one way it is often used which will throw the student who is still trying to "think out in English" everything heard in Japanese. This is when it is used after the object. A good example would be: A: O-tousan wa? (Where's Dad?) B: Shigoto desu. (He's at work.) B could even answer o-tousan wa shigoto desu, which, to the mind of the student of Japanese, could mean "Dad is a job," but it doesn't. This is the "wild card" nature of desu. I realize that making sense out of this will take some time, but Japanese allows much more "vagueness" than English does. In the example given above, desu is simply added behind the minimum required answer as a polite formality, and has no other value as a grammatical component. The seasoned listener will recognize this and not expect desu to mean anything more. Word Check ame: rain gakkou: school furui: old hikouki: airplane iya: disagreeable; unpleasant; No! 2 kabe: wall kumo: spider tsukue: desk ue: the top (of something) ookina: big ki: tree ima: now jisho: dictionary haisha: dentist Notes 1. Most native speakers do not voice the u on the end of masu or desu. If you want to sound like most natives, pronounce them "moss" and "dess." You will, however, occasionally hear a few speakers voice the final su, making them sound something like mah-su and deh-su, with just a very short su. You can imitate the version you like. 2. Iya da! is used as a simple reply to reject something, and is especially used by children.

Lesson 8 Base 2 + tai A very useful Base 2 ending is tai, which is used to show that you want to do something:

Watashi wa kasa o kaitai. (I want to buy an umbrella.) Kodomotachi wa asobitai. (The children want to play.) Bob wa tempura o tabetai. (Bob wants to eat tempura.) Miki wa sono eiga o mitai. (Miki wants to see that movie.)

The above examples are plain forms. To make them polite, add desu: Watashi wa kasa o kaitai desu, etc. Again, tai shows that you want to do something, and is not used when you want something. Accordingly, tai is only used with verbs, and is never used alone with an object. For example, you wouldn't say watashi wa inu o tai for "I want a dog." You would use the adjective hoshii and say, "Watakushi wa inu ga hoshii." Now, what if you don't want to do something? In that case, we use takunai. Again, add desu to make it polite. Let's make the examples above negative. We'll make the first two plain:

Watakushi wa kasa o kaitakunai. (I don't want to buy an umbrella.) Kodomotachi wa asobitakunai. (The children don't want to play.)

And the next two polite:


Bob wa tempura o tabetakunai desu. (Bob doesn't want to eat tempura.) Miki wa sono eiga o mitakunai desu. (Miki doesn't want to see that movie.)

Another handy derivative is takereba, which is the conditional form of tai. Use it for "if (you) want to":

Terebi o mitakereba, yuushoku o hayaku tabenasai. (If you want to watch TV, hurry and eat your dinner.) Shichiji no densha ni noritakereba, ashita hayaku okimashou. (If you want to make the 7:00 train, let's get up early tomorrow.)

Word Check kasa: umbrella kodomotachi: children 1 eiga: movie yuushoku: dinner hayaku: early; fast, quickly shichiji: 7:00 (shichi [seven] + ji ["o'clock"]) densha: train noru: to ride ashita: tomorrow okiru: to get up Notes 1. Kodomo means "child." Although tachi can be added to make the plural "children," please remember that tachi works with only a few select nouns, mainly those describing people or animals. There are no plural forms for other objects, which makes Japanese uncomplicated in that respect. Lesson 9 Base 2 + mashou

Sometimes it is written masho with a line above the o, but either way this one is easy to remember. It simply means "let's (do something)." For example:

Ikimashou. (Let's go.) Tabemashou. (Let's eat.) Yasumimashou. (Let's take a break.)

As in English, this is also used to mean "I'll do (something) for you / Let me do (something) for you," as in:

Watashi ga hakobimashou. (I'll carry this / these [for you].) 1 (to a pet) Esa o agemashou. (Let's get you some food.) Anata no jitensha o naoshimashou. (I'll fix your bicycle. / I'll help you fix your bicycle.)

Word Check iku: to go yasumu: to rest; to take a break; to take or have a day off hakobu: to carry esa: pet food ageru: to give anata: you 2 jitensha: bicycle naosu: to repair

Notes 1. In Japanese, the object (as well as the subect) can be omitted when it is known or obvious. In this example, even hakobimashou alone would be both natural and grammatically sufficient. 2. Please see About You and Name Suffixes. Lesson 10 Base 2 + nasai Here is a real simple one, but you will want to be careful how you use it. For simple commands, add nasai to verbs in the Base 2 form:

Tabenasai! (Eat!) Minasai! (Look!) Yominasai! (Read it!) Iinasai! (Tell me!) Suwarinasai! (Sit down!) Koko ni kinasai! (Come here!)

Word Check taberu: to eat miru: to look yomu: to read iu: to say suwaru: to sit kuru: to come Lesson 11 Irregular Verbs kuru and suru

Did something seem amiss with the last example in Lesson 10? I hope so, because it means you noticed that while kuru looks like a yodan verb, it conjugated like an ichidan. It is now time to introduce the irregular verbs kuru and suru. We have already practiced using yodan and ichidan verbs. Besides these are the irregulars, but the good news is that there are only two: kuru, which means "to come"; and suru, which means "to do." These two have their own set of rules when it comes to conjugating, but since both are used frequently they can be mastered quickly and naturally. The Base 2 form of kuru is just ki. Let's use it to review some of the endings already learned:

Bob wa kimasu. (Bob will come.) Sue wa kimasen. (Sue won't come/won't be coming.) John wa kimashita. (John came.) Ken wa kimasen deshita. (Ken didn't come.) Yumi wa kitai desu. (Yumi wants to come.)

Suru is not only a handy "stand alone" verb, but is also used to make countless nouns into verbs: benkyou suru (study), shimpai suru (worry), chuumon suru (place an order), yakusoku suru (promise). The Base 2 form of suru is shi. Look at these examples:

Watashi wa shimasu. (I'll do it.) Kare wa shimasen. (He won't do it.) Bill wa ashita benkyou shitai desu. (Bill wants to study tomorrow.) Anata wa yakusoku shimashita. (You promised.) Hiromi wa shimpai shimasen deshita. (Hiromi didn't worry.)

This should be enough about kuru and suru for the time being. Now that they have been introduced you will see them pop up from time to time in future lessons. Just remember that they are irregular and do not follow the same rules as the other verbs. Lesson 12 Forming Questions with ka Making questions in Japanese is easy. Unlike English, where you have that silliness of subjects and verbs trading places, in Japanese all you do is stick ka on the end of a word, phrase, or sentence to turn it into a question. For example, do you remember "Ojii-san wa sugu kaerimasu" from Lesson 2? (Grandpa will return soon.) Well, just slap ka on the end and you've turned it into a question: "Ojii-san wa sugu kaerimasu ka." (Will Grandpa return soon?) Simple, right? Let's make questions out of some of our other previous examples:

Yoshi wa ringo o tabemashita ka. (Did Yoshi eat an apple?) Miki wa sono eiga o mitai desu ka. (Does Miki want to see that movie?) Yasumimashou ka. (Shall we take a break?)

By the way, true Japanese doesn't use a question mark. You will see lots of question marks used, usually in advertisements or trendy one-liners, but real Japanese literature does not use it. In a sense, ka is the question mark. Lesson 13 Base 2 + ni iku / ni kuru Now that we are familiar with the verbs iku (go) and kuru (come), let's learn two useful Base 2 endings that use them. Simply convert your reason for coming or going into Base 2, then add the relevant one:

Watashi wa kasa o kai ni iku. (I'm going to go buy an umbrella.)

Miki wa watashi no atarashii PC o mi ni kuru. (Miki is coming over to see my new PC.)

Because these are left in their plain form, as explained in Lesson 1, we'll add endings to clean them up or change the tense:

Watashi wa kasa o kai ni ikimasu. (I'm going to go buy an umbrella.) Miki wa watashi no atarashii PC o mi ni kimashita. (Miki came over to see my new PC.)

And here are some more good ones:


Chuuka ryouri o tabe ni ikimashou. (Let's go out and eat Chinese food.) Watashi wa kouen ni asobi ni ikitai. (I want to go play in the park.) Rob wa jitensha o kari ni kimasen deshita. (Rob didn't come to borrow the bicycle.) Asobi ni kite ne. (Come over for a visit, okay?) 1

Word Check kasa: umbrella atarashii: new miru: to see, look, watch chuuka ryouri: Chinese food kouen: park asobu: to play jitensha: bicycle kariru: to borrow Notes 1. Asobi ni kuru is a set phrase used to invite someone "to come for a pleasure visit." You may hear it often, but don't take it literally. Most of the time it is just a polite nothing, made obvious by having no date or time attached to it. Lesson 14 Base 2 + nikui / yasui These two are very handy. Use them to show that something is hard or easy to do. Use nikui for "hard to do":

Kono budou wa tabenikui. (These grapes are hard to eat.) Kono kanji wa yominikui. (These kanji are hard to read.) Sono tatemono wa minikui. (That building is hard to see.) 1

And use yasui for "easy to do": 2


Kono PC wa tsukaiyasui. (This PC is easy to use.) Kanojo no namae wa oboeyasui. (Her name is easy to remember.) Kono kanji wa kakiyasui. (This kanji is easy to write.)

Word Check kono: this, these budou: grapes taberu: to eat kanji: Chinese characters 3 yomu: to read sono: that, those tatemono: a building

miru: to see, look, watch tsukau: to use kanojo: she, her 4 namae: name oboeru: to remember kaku: to write Notes 1. Besides the converted verb minikui, which means "hard to see," there is also an adjective minikui meaning "ugly." Accordingly, the sentence sono tatemono wa minikui could also mean "that building is ugly." Be especially careful to make the intended meaning clear when using it to refer to people or their property. 2. Yasui also exists as an adjective meaning "inexpensive." 3. For more about kanji, see the Kanji section of A Bit of the Language. 4. Kanojo no is the possessive pronoun "her." Lesson 15 Base 2 + sugiru

Sugiru is a verb which means "to pass by; to go too far." It teams up nicely with other verbs in the Base 2 form to mean to "overdo" something. As with any other verb, changing it to its Base 2 form with masu, sugimasu, makes it polite. Here are some examples:

Kare wa itsumo nomisugiru. (He always drinks too much.) Kimiko wa tabesugimashita. (Kimiko ate too much.) Kodomotachi wa terebi o misugiru. (The kids watch too much TV.)

Sugiru is sometimes shortened in familiar conversation to sugi. For example, you could say kodomotachi wa terebi o misugi. Word Check itsumo: always nomu: to drink Lesson 16 Base 2 + nagara When you need to say that someone is doing something while doing something else, nagara comes in handy. Add it to verbs in Base 2 to mean "while (doing something)...." Note how the action connected with nagara comes before it:

Bob wa hatarakinagara ongaku o kiku. (Bob listens to music while he works.) Kimiko wa benkyou shinagara terebi o mimasen. (Kimiko doesn't watch TV while studying.) Hanashinagara sanpo shimashou. (Let's take a walk while we talk.)

This should do it for the Base 2 combinations. We will move on to Base 1 in the next lesson. Word Check hataraku: to work ongaku: music kiku: to listen, hear 1

benkyou suru: to study hanasu: to talk, speak sanpo suru: to take a walk 2 Notes 1. There is also a kiku which means "to ask" that is used often. 2. Use aruku for "to walk," as a means of getting somewhere. When walking is the object, use sanpo suru (to go for a walk). Lesson 17 Base 1 + nai The Plain Negative Form We will now look at Base 1, which is mainly used for creating negative verb endings. Ichidan are easy to convert into Base 1 because you just knock off the ru. In other words, Bases 1 and 2 are the same. Verbs in the yodan group are changed so that they end in a: iku changes to ika, matsu to mata, yomu to yoma, and etc. If the verb ends in u with another vowel before it, like kau, just change the u to wa; so kau becomes kawa. The irregular kuru changes to ko, and suru to shi, just like its Base 2 form. The following tables should help clarify the way the three types of verbs are converted into Base 1 from their plain Base 3 forms, with Base 2 thrown in for review and comparison. Please note the changes carefully. Yodan verbs: Base 3 (root form) Base 2 Base 1 kau (to buy) kai kawa aruku (to walk) aruki aruka isogu (to hurry) isogi isoga kasu (to lend) kashi kasa matsu (to wait) machi mata shinu (to die) shini shina asobu (to play) asobi asoba yomu (to read) yomi yoma kaeru (to return) kaeri kaera Ichidan verbs: Base 3 (root form) taberu (to eat) oboeru (to remember) kimeru (to decide) deru (to leave) kariru (to borrow) miru (to look) Irregular verbs: Base 3 (root form) Base 2 Base 1 kuru (to come) ki ko suru (to do) shi shi Base 2 Base 1 tabe tabe oboe oboe kime kime de de kari kari mi mi

Now what we want to do is use Base 1 + nai to change some verbs into their plain negative form: kau (to buy) becomes kawanai (will not buy); kariru (to borrow) becomes karinai (will not borrow); kuru (to come), konai (will not come); and suru (to do), shinai (will not do). Look at these example sentences:

John wa kasa o kawanai. (John isn't going to buy an umbrella.) Jim wa manga o yomanai. (Jim doesn't read comic books.) Ojii-san wa sugu kaeranai. (Grandpa isn't going to return soon.) Watashi wa terebi o minai. (I'm not going to watch TV.) Sachiko wa konai. (Sachiko won't be coming.)

Notice how this ending can be used to mean "not going to do (something) for the time being" as well as "don't do at all" as a matter of personal policy. For example, Jim wa manga o yomanai could mean that Jim never reads comic books, or that he just isn't going to read a comic book now or in the near future. As in English, Japanese used in actual conversation would be modified as needed in order to make meanings clear. Please remember that the ending nai by itself is plain, and should only be used in informal settings. Depending on the situation, you may want to upgrade it to a polite form, like Base 2 + masen, which we already covered in Lesson 4, or by simply adding desu on the end after nai :

John wa kasa o kaimasen. / John wa kasa o kawanai desu. Jim wa manga o yomimasen. / Jim wa manga o yomanai desu.

Can you get a good feel for the changeover between Base 2 + masen and Base 1 + nai here? Word Check kasa: umbrella kau: to buy manga: a comic book, comics; cartoons yomu: to read ojii-san: grandfather sugu: soon kaeru: to return kuru: to come Lesson 18 Base 1 + nai deshou Here's an easy one. Adding deshou after nai means that somebody is probably not going to do something, or that something is not likely to happen:

John wa kasa o kawanai deshou. (John probably isn't going to buy an umbrella.) Jim wa manga o yomanai deshou. (Jim probably doesn't read comic books.) Yuki wa furanai deshou. (It probably won't snow.)

Actually, deshou is a handy add-on that also works with plain positive (Base 3) verbs, as in:

Ojii-san wa sugu kaeru deshou. (Grandpa will probably return soon.) Sachiko wa kuru deshou. (Sachiko will probably come.) Bill wa ika o taberu deshou. (Bill will probably eat the squid.)

Word Check kau: to buy yuki: snow

furu: to fall from the sky 1 ika: squid Notes 1. Furu means "to fall down from the sky," like rain, snow, or hail. For falling objects, use ochiru. Lesson 19 Base 1 + nakatta The past tense of nai is a bit odd, but I think that this is a good place to introduce it: nakatta. (Nai with its i dropped and katta added. Remembering that na is the negative element and katta is for past tense will be a big help later on.) This is how you make plain past tense. Let's make a few examples:

Watashi wa terebi o minakatta. (I didn't watch TV.) Sachiko wa konakatta. (Sachiko didn't come.) Ojii-san wa shinbun o yomitakunakatta. (Grandpa didn't want to read the newspaper.)

Word Check shinbun: newspaper yomu: to read Lesson 20 Base 1 + nakereba Base 1 + nakereba is used to make negative conditional sentences what will happen if something doesn't happen. Look at these examples:

Ojii-san ga sugu kaeranakereba watashi wa makudonarudo ni ikimasu. (If Grandpa doesn't return soon I'm going to McDonald's.) Miki ga heya o tsukawanakereba Junko wa tsukaitai desu. (If Miki isn't going to use the room Junko wants to use it.) Naoko wa kasa o karinakereba (kanojo wa) koukai suru deshou. 1 (If Naoko doesn't borrow an umbrella she'll probably regret it.)

As mentioned in the last lesson, please remember that the na in nakereba comes from nai and is the negative element. The kereba is the conditional ("if") element which was introduced back in Lesson 8 with tai (takereba). Word Check heya: room tsukau: to use kariru: to borrow koukai suru: to regret Notes 1. A very convenient thing about Japanese is the fact that you can omit subjects that are understood or obvious you don't have to retain them for the sake of good grammar, as in English. In this example there is no question that kanojo wa (she) is Naoko, so it is omitted.

Lesson 21 Base 1 + nakereba narimasen This verb ending is not only a long one, it's a bit of a tongue twister. It is used quite a lot because it means "must do." Let's take iku (to go), change it to Base 1 ika, and add nakereba narimasen to make this simple example sentence: Watashi wa ikanakereba narimasen. (I have to go.) Looking at it literally, the nakereba means "if one does not...," as you will remember from Lesson 20, and narimasen means "will not become"; so in the example above you are saying "If I don't go it won't do." Here are some more examples:

Jim wa ima kaeranakereba narimasen. (Jim has to return now.) Laura wa kasa o kawanakereba narimasen. (Laura has to buy an umbrella.) Kodomotachi wa tabenakereba narimasen. (The children must eat.)

You have probably noticed that the polite negative ending masen is stuck on the end here. Yes, this is a verb within a verb ending: naru (to become) is the root word here, which is in its Base 2 form with masen added on (narimasen). If we were to use the plain negative form of naru (naranai) instead, the ending becomes nakereba naranai, which changes the whole sentence to its plain form. This can be handy when adding other endings, like deshou from Lesson 18. Let's use this ending with the three examples above and see how the meanings are "softened":

Jim wa ima kaeranakereba naranai deshou. (Jim probably has to return now.) Laura wa kasa o kawanakereba naranai deshou. (Laura probably needs to buy an umbrella.) Kodomotachi wa tabenakereba naranai deshou. (The children probably need to eat.)

As you grow accustomed to Japanese verb usage and ending patterns, you will see how the entire meaning or "feeling" of a sentence can be adjusted or "fine tuned" at will by combining the right ending components as you finish the sentence up. Good luck with nakereba narimasen. I already mentioned that it's a tongue twister. More than memorizing its meaning, mastering a clean, clear pronunciation of it is usually the most difficult part. Word Check ima: now kasa: umbrella Lesson 22 Base 1 + seru / saseru These are used when you want to let/have/make someone do something. In English we fortunately have three different words which allow us to easily adjust the meaning to the one we want to convey. Accordingly, "I'll let him go to the store," "I'll have him go to the store," and "I'll make him go to the store" all have different nuances. In Japanese, however, seru, for yodan verbs, and saseru, for the others, are used for all of these. By the overall context and by using other "helper" words the different meanings, or feelings, as in "let him" vs. "make him," can be conveyed. The important thing to remember is that yodan verbs use seru, like this:

Obaa-san wa kodomotachi ni soto de asobaseru. (Grandma lets the children play outside.) Okaa-chan wa Kimiko ni kasa o kawaseru. (Mom will have Kimiko buy an umbrella.) Sensei wa gakusei ni mainichi shimbun o yomaseru. (The teacher makes the students read the newspaper every day.)

And ichidan verbs and the irregular kuru use saseru:

Roku ji ni kodomotachi ni yuushoku o tabesaseru. (I'll have the kids eat dinner at 6:00.) John ni raishuu made ni kimesaseru. (I'll have John decide by next week.) Kare ni ashita kosaseru. (I'll have him come tomorrow.)

With suru verbs, suru is simply replaced with saseru:


Otou-san wa Bob ni benkyou saseru. (Dad will make Bob study.) Kanojo ni saseru. (I'll have her do it.)

As you can see, in these constructions the person being let or made to do something becomes the indirect object, which is signified by adding ni after it. One tricky thing is that there are some verbs which already have a "set form" to convey this meaning, and do not follow the above rules. A good example is miseru, which means "to show" or "to let see," as in:

Kare wa karera ni mainichi terebi o miseru. (He lets them watch TV every day.)

So, although miru is an ichidan verb, you won't hear or see "misaseru." As you get used to more and more natural Japanese expressions, you will know which verbs are conjugated as outlined above and which have their own set forms which are used instead. Now for the easy part: Since seru and saseru end in eru, they can be conjugated further like any other ichidan verb, making it easy to apply what has been learned in the previous lessons in order to make them negative, past tense, polite, and etc. For example:

Ritsuko wa Kumi ni pen o kawasemashita. (Ritsuko had Kumi buy a pen.) Ojii-san wa kodomotachi ni ame o tabesasemasen. (Grandpa won't let the children eat candy.) Watashi wa Kenji ni eigo o benkyou sasetai desu. (I want to have Kenji study English.) John ni mise ni ikasemashou. (Let's have John go to the store.) Kodomotachi ni terebi o misemashou ka. (Shall we let the kids watch TV?)

These examples all use Base 2 final endings. Please review any you may have forgotten. Word Check sensei: teacher gakusei: student(s) mainichi: every day shinbun: newspaper yuushoku: dinner taberu: to eat raishuu: next week made ni: by (a time or date, to set a deadline: by 5:00, by tomorrow, etc.) kimeru: to decide kare: he, him ashita: tomorrow kuru: to come benkyou suru: to study kanojo: she, her karera: they, them ame: candy, sweets 1 eigo: the English language mise: a store, a shop iku: to go Notes 1. Yes, "rain" is also ame, but it uses a different kanji. The word ame for sweets is usually written in hiragana.

Lesson 23 Base 1 + zu ni Use zu ni with Base 1 to say that someone did something without doing something else which was expected. Yes, that's a tad confusing, but these examples should make it clear:

Kare wa yuushoku o tabezu ni nemashita. (He went to bed without eating dinner.) Kyou Shizuka wa kyoukasho o motazu ni gakkou ni kimashita. (Today Shizuka came to school without her textbook.) Bob wa maemotte denwa sezu ni John no ie ni ikimashita. (Bob went to John's house without calling first.)

Please note that in some cases the ni after the zu may be omitted, especially when no particular emphasis needs to be applied. Word Check neru: to sleep kyoukasho: textbook motsu: to hold; to have gakkou: school maemotte: beforehand; in advance denwa suru: to telephone (someone) ie: house; home Lesson 24 Base 3 + deshou Even though deshou was already introduced in Lesson 18, I thought it would be a nice and easy way to begin the Base 3 verb endings. But before we begin, please remember that Base 3 is actually the root or "dictionary" form of the verb; the plain, unsophisticated form used by kids or in very familiar situations, as explained in Lesson 1. (To my mind it would make more sense to call this form Base 1, but I suppose we must allow each language its quirks.) Remember these examples?

Jim wa manga o yomu. Ojii-san wa sugu kaeru. Watashi wa ringo o taberu. Naomi wa terebi o miru. Mama wa mise de banana o kau.

Not only should you be able to translate these, you should know which are ichidan and which are yodan. Please review Lesson 1 if necessary. Let's get back to deshou. This is an easy add-on which means "perhaps" or "probably." For example, add it to kau (to buy) in Mama wa mise de banana o kau and you have Mama wa mise de banana o kau deshou (Mom will probably buy some bananas at the store). Let's do a few more:

Raishuu watashi wa Okayama ni iku deshou. (I'll probably go to Okayama next week.) Kenji wa atarashii kuruma o kau deshou. (Kenji will probably buy a new car.) Ashita wa ame (ga furu) deshou. 1 (It will probably rain tomorrow.)

Base 3 + deshou is very handy when you are not sure of something. Use it when you don't want to take full responsibility for an outcome. That is why you will hear it used at the end of practically every sentence of a weather forecast in Japan.

Another use for this form is questioning or confirming something already assumed, as we would use tag questions in English. Please note that ka is not added at the end; a rising intonation is used instead:

Osaka ni iku deshou? (You're going to Osaka, aren't you?) Sue wa kuru deshou? (Sue's coming, isn't she?) Tomoka wa eigo no shukudai o suru deshou? (Tomoka will do her English homework, right?)

Word Check raishuu: next week atarashii: new kuruma: car ashita: tomorrow ame: rain furu: to fall (rain, snow, etc.) shukudai: homework Notes 1. The verb furu used in this example means "to fall," but only if it's rain or snow that's doing the falling. (A falling object uses the verb ochiru). As in English, the fact that the rain will fall is understood, making the verb unnecessary, so it is often omitted. Lesson 25 Base 3 + hazu When something is "supposed to be," "ought to be," or "planned to be," we use the Base 3 form of the verb with hazu (plain) or hazu desu (polite) added on:

Raishuu watashi wa Osaka ni iku hazu desu. (I'm supposed to go to Osaka next week.) John wa sugu kuru hazu. (John should be coming soon.)

Hazu can also be added to some conjugated forms:

Bob mo ikitai hazu. (Bob will probably also want to go.)

Word Check sugu: soon kuru: to come iku: to go Lesson 26 Base 3 + hou ga ii This one is used for "should do," "had better do," "would rather do." Actually, the hou means "way" or "method," and ii means "good" or "better," so when you use hou ga ii you are literally saying "...way is good/better." Examples:

Kanojo ni denwa suru hou ga ii. (I/we should call her.) Watashitachi wa sukoshi yasumu hou ga ii. (We had better rest a little.) Anata wa motto nihongo o benkyou suru hou ga ii. (You should study Japanese more.)

Hou ga ii is especially fitting when expressing a preferred choice or method:

Kyou densha de iku hou ga ii. (It would be better to go by train today.) Raishuu suru hou ga ii. (It would be better to do it next week.) Ato de taberu hou ga ii. (It would be better to eat later.)

When showing personal preference, you can skip the verb and use hou ga ii right after a noun with no:

Yakiniku no hou ga ii. (I'd rather have a barbeque.) Inu no hou ga ii. (I'd rather get a dog.) Hawaii no hou ga ii. (I'd rather go to Hawaii.)

As with most verb endings, and according to the grammar books, desu can be added to hou ga ii to make it more polite, but, frankly, I have yet to actually hear hou ga ii desu in daily conversation. When you hear it, the sentence will usually end with hou ga ii, which makes it easier to catch than many other endings. If there is any confusion between hou ga ii and hazu, which was covered in the last lesson, just remember that hou ga ii is generally active: should do, prefer; while hazu is more passive: should be, should happen. Word Check kanojo: she, her denwa suru: to call (someone) on a telephone sukoshi: a little yasumu: to rest motto: more nihongo: the Japanese language benkyou suru: to study kyou: today densha: train suru: to do ato de: later taberu: to eat yakiniku: Japanese-style grilled meat and vegetables inu: dog Lesson 27 Base 3 + ka dou ka Ka dou ka is the Japanese equivalent of the English "whether or not." It's straightforward enough and easy to use:

Kare wa dekiru ka dou ka kikimashou. (I'll ask him whether or not he can do it.) Watashitachi wa iku ka dou ka mada wakarimasen. (I don't know if we are going yet.) Hideki wa ashita yasumu ka dou ka wakarimasu ka. (Do you know if Hideki has tomorrow off?)

As you can see in the examples above, ka dou ka does not end a sentence, but connects two phrases which contain verbs. It's like using "whether or not" in English, only the component order is opposite in Japanese. Word Check dekiru: can; to be able to kiku: to ask mada: not yet (used with negative forms) wakaru: to know; to understand ashita: tomorrow yasumu: to rest; to take a break; to take time off from work

Lesson 28 Base 3 + kamo shiremasen This one is used frequently, so you'll want to master it right away. Kamo shiremasen means "maybe, perhaps." Let's look at these examples:

Watashi wa raishuu Osaka ni iku kamo shiremasen. (Maybe I'll go to Osaka next week.) Jack mo kuru kamo shiremasen. (Jack may also come.) Ashita yuki ga furu kamo shiremasen. (It might snow tomorrow.)

As you have probably noticed, this conjugation ends with the polite negative ending masen, meaning that, yes, you can change it to the plain form nai if you don't need to be polite:

Ashita ame ga furu kamo shirenai. (It might rain tomorrow.) Konban watashitachi wa soto de taberu kamo shirenai. (We may eat out tonight.)

Because nai follows shiru (to know) after it has been changed to its Base 1 form for plain negative shiranai, and because masen follows shiru after it has been changed to its Base 2 form for polite negative shirimasen, it is common for foreigners to slip when using kamo shirenai or kamo shiremasen and say "kamo shiranai" or "kamo shirimasen." These are incorrect, so please be careful when pronouncing. It will take some practice. Actually (and since you'll need to know this sooner or later), the shire in this conjugation does come from shiru. It is its "conditional" Base 4 form, where it is converted to shireru (can know). As such, it is handled the same as an ichidan verb (please review Lesson 1 if necessary), and is conjugated accordingly. Simply put, shirenai and shiremasen are the Base 1 and 2 forms of shireru with the plain negative nai or the polite negative masen added on. Therefore, when you say kamo shirenai or kamo shiremasen you are saying "cannot be known." Since this verb ending is rather long, people sometimes shorten it to just kamo, as in:

Ashita Bob kara meeru ga kuru kamo. (Perhaps we'll get an e-mail from Bob tomorrow.) 1 Sanji goro watashi wa dekakeru kamo. (I might go out around three o'clock.)

I suggest, however, that you do not abbreviate it in this way until you are familiar enough with the language to make it sound natural, and familiar enough with the culture to know when it is appropriate. Word Check yuki: snow ame: rain konban: this evening; tonight soto: outside kara: from sanji: three o'clock goro: about, around (used with times and dates) dekakeru: to go out Notes 1. The technically accurate term for e-mail in Japanese is denshi meeru, but it's usually just called meeru. Lesson 29 Base 3 + kara Kara is often used as the equivalent to our "because" or "since." It comes at the end of the phrase it modifies, the reason or cause of the action which follows:

Ame ga furu kara kasa o motte ikimashou. (Since it is going to rain, let's take umbrellas.) Beth wa itsumo okureru kara denwa suru. (Beth is always late, so I'll call her.)

In spoken Japanese, you'll often hear the action stated first, with its reason, signified by kara at the end, given after. In this case, grammatically speaking, they each become separate sentences. Let's do this to the above examples:

Kasa o motte ikimashou. Ame ga furu kara. (Let's take umbrellas since it's going to rain.) Watashi wa Beth ni denwa suru. Itsumo okureru kara. (I'll call Beth because she's always late.

Kara is very handy and can be used with many other verb forms and endings. Let's look at a few examples:

Gyuunyuu ga nai kara mise ni ikimasu. (We don't have any milk, so I'm going to the store.) Jisho o kaitai kara honya ni ikimasu. (I'm going to the bookstore because I want to buy a dictionary.) Suzuki-san no ie ni ikitakunai! Kare wa itsumo iya na mono o tabesaseru kara. (I don't want to go to Mr. Suzuki's place because he always makes me eat nasty stuff.) Ongaku o kikimasu. Terebi o mitakunai kara. (I'm going to listen to music because I don't want to watch TV.) Kenji wa kanada no gakkou ni ikimashita kara eigo ga jouzu desu. (Kenji's English is good because he went to a Canadian school.)

You may remember a different kara from Lesson 28 which means "from someone/somewhere." Just like English, Japanese has many words that are written and pronounced the same as others while having a different meaning, helping to make the study of languages the wonderfully complicated pain that it is! But, it's no big problem. Again, just like English, context and experience with sentence structure will eventually make it all very easy. Kara after names and places will usually mean "from"; kara after verbs and adjectives, as in this lesson, means "because." Word Check furu: to fall (rain, snow, etc.) motte iku: to take (something with you) itsumo: always okureru: to be late denwa suru: to call someone on the telephone gyuunyuu: milk mise: store jisho: dictionary honya: bookstore ie: house, home iya na: bad, nasty, disgusting mono: thing; stuff ongaku: music kiku: to listen kanada: Canada gakkou: school eigo: the English language jouzu: be good at (something); skilled Lesson 30 Base 3 + keredomo Keredomo is used for "although" or "but," so, as you can imagine, it is used a lot. Like "but" in English, it comes between the contrasting phrases. Let's try some examples:

Kare wa nihongo o hanasu keredomo, heta desu. (He speaks Japanese, but he's not good at it.) Keiko wa piano o yoku renshuu suru keredomo, jouzu ni narimasen. (Keiko practices the piano a lot, but she doesn't get any better.)

Jack wa kenkou ni ki o tsukeru keredomo, yoku byouki shimasu. (Although Jack is careful about his health, he gets sick a lot.)

Keredomo is easy to master because you'll hear it used often, as well as its shorter forms, keredo and kedo. Word Check nihongo: the Japanese language hanasu: to speak heta: be poor at (something); unskilled (direct opposite of jouzu introduced in the last lesson) yoku: (adverb used before a verb) often, a lot, frequently; well renshuu suru: to practice ...ni naru: to become (something) kenkou: health ki o tsukeru: to take care 1 byouki suru: to get sick, be sick Notes 1. Ki means "energy, spirit, attention," and tsukeru means "to attach." When combined, ki o tsukeru is an often used phrase meaning "take care" when saying good-bye to someone or warning them, or Attention! when calling a group to order. Lesson 31 Base 3 + koto ga dekimasu Koto ga dekimasu is a long one, and is added to the plain (Base 3) form of a verb to simply show ability to do that verb. But first, in order to make this lesson as uncomplicated as possible, let's take a look at each part. First is koto. No, this is not the well-known instrument of Japanese classical music. This is the mundane koto that gets lots of daily wear and tear changing Japanese verbs into nouns. Well, it really doesn't change the verb, but is added after the verb so that it can be used like a noun. In English, we add ing to make a noun out of a verb, like reading in the sentence I like reading. (Remember studying "gerunds" in school?) Anyway, in Japanese we do the same thing by adding koto after a plain verb form. Like our ing, koto has no practical use by itself. If you have to have a translation, "the thing of" is probably the closest you can get. Better than all this talk would be an example. Watch carefully: yomu (to read) + koto (the thing of) = yomu koto (the thing of reading; reading as a noun [gerund]), as in:

Watashi wa yomu koto ga suki. (I like reading.)

The literal translation of the above example would be "I like the thing of reading; I like reading as a thing to do." Next, the verb dekiru means "can" or "be able to (do something)." In this lesson it is shown in its polite form dekimasu, but dekiru is also fine when you don't need to be polite. (If you need to review ichidan verbs with masu go back to Lesson 3.) Finally, the particle ga is what you use to join koto and dekimasu. Just think of koto ga dekimasu as a set phrase. Here are some examples:

Watashi wa nihongo o yomu koto ga dekimasu. (I can read Japanese.) Keiko wa piano o hiku koto ga dekimasu. (Keiko can play the piano.) Ashita Jack wa Tokushima ni iku koto ga dekimasu. (Jack can go to Tokushima tomorrow.)

Now, for kicks no, actually for review let's try some other endings with dekiru, and see what happens:

Watashi wa furansugo o yomu koto ga dekimasen. (I can't read French.) Bob wa Junko ni denwa suru koto ga dekimashita. (Bob was able to call Junko.) Richard wa ika o taberu koto ga dekimasen deshita. (Richard couldn't eat the squid.)

And let's throw in one with a plain ending:

(one boy to another) Boku wa jitensha ni noru koto ga dekiru! (I can ride a bicycle!)

Yes, it's a long ending for just "can," but there are a few shortcuts and alternatives. With "suru verbs," like denwa suru used in one of the above examples, you can drop the suru and just add dekiru. For example, "Bob wa Junko ni denwa suru koto ga dekimashita" can be shortened to "Bob wa Junko ni denwa dekimashita." Denwa is a noun, and adding the suru makes it a verb, so instead of adding koto to turn it back into a noun again, you can just omit suru. Here are a couple more:

Furansugo o nihongo ni honyaku dekimasu. (I can translate French into Japanese.) Kinou, John wa benkyou dekimasen deshita. (John wasn't able to study yesterday.)

Either way, long or short, both versions are used, but the shorter version is more common in daily conversation. Again, dekiru or one of its forms can directly follow a noun only if it is one that uses suru to change it to a verb. In that case the suru is omitted. After other verbs you add koto ga before dekiru. There is a short alternative for other verbs, but that will have to wait until we get into the Base 4 endings. One last thing: I described the meaning of koto as "the thing of," but please don't think that koto can mean any "thing." It generally means intangible "things" like ideas, essences, meanings, expressions, actions, etc. It means "thing" as used in the sentence saving money is a good thing. It is generally not used for physical things or objects. It does not mean "thing" in money is a good thing to have. There is another word in Japanese which is used for physical things, and that is mono, which was introduced in Lesson 29. Word Check koto: the "thing" or idea of something done suki: to like something dekiru: can; to be able to do something nihongo: the Japanese language hiku: to play (a stringed instrument) ashita: tomorrow furansugo: the French language denwa: a telephone denwa suru: to call someone on a telephone ika: squid taberu: to eat boku: I (masculine familiar) jitensha: bicycle noru: to ride honyaku suru: to translate kinou: yesterday benkyou suru: to study Lesson 32 Base 3 + koto ni shimasu The ending koto ni shimasu has essentially the same meaning as the verb kimeru, which was introduced way back in Lesson 1. It shows that you have made a decision, and it shows that the decision was yours.

As I am sure you know by now, koto ni shimasu is the polite form; koto ni suru is the plain. Here are some polite present and past tense examples:

Watashi wa tabun ashita kaimono ni iku koto ni shimasu. (I'll probably decide to go shopping tomorrow.) Jones sensei wa ashita no suugaku no jugyou no junbi o suru koto ni shimashita. (Mr. Jones decided to prepare for tomorrow's math class.) Watashi wa mainichi nihongo o benkyou suru koto ni shimashita. (I've decided to study Japanese every day.)

Word Check kimeru: to decide kaimono ni iku: to go shopping sensei: teacher (used as a title/name suffix to replace san, etc.) suugaku: mathematics jugyou: a class or lesson in a particular subject junbi suru: to prepare mainichi: every day benkyou suru: to study Lesson 33 Base 3 + made This one is very easy. Made means "until," and is added after the plain form of a verb:

Yukiko ga kuru made taberu koto wa dekimasen. (We can't eat until Yukiko comes.) Bob ga denwa suru made matanakereba narimasen. (We have to wait until Bob calls.) Shukudai ga owaru made terebi o misemasen. (I won't let you watch TV until your homework is finished.)

As in English, made may be used with nouns which refer to times, periods, or seasons:

Yuushoku made machinasai. (Wait until dinner.) Natsu yasumi made, ato ni shuu kan desu. (It's two weeks until summer vacation.) Haru made matsu hou ga ii deshou. (It'll probably be best to wait until spring.)

Word Check matsu: to wait shukudai: homework owaru: to end, be finished miseru: to show; to let (someone) see, watch (something) yuushoku: dinner natsu yasumi: summer vacation ato: after, in (as in "It'll be spring in 2 months.") ni: two shuu kan: a week; a week-long period haru: spring Lesson 34 Base 3 + na This, you could say, is the counterpart to Lesson 10, where we created short positive commands using Base 2 + nasai, like:

Tabenasai! (Eat!) Suwarinasai! (Sit down!) Koko ni kinasai! (Come here!)

In this lesson we will make short negative commands "don't do's" by adding na to plain (Base 3) verbs. First, let's make the above examples negative:

Taberu na! (Don't eat!) Suwaru na! (Don't sit down!) Koko ni kuru na! (Don't come here! / Stay away from here! / Stay away from me!)

Now let's do a few more:


Terebi o miru na! (Don't watch TV!) Sawaru na! (Don't touch!) Enki suru na! (Don't put it off!)

And here are two which are very useful to teachers in Japan:

Shaberu na! (Don't talk!) Neru na! (Don't sleep!)

This is a command form with no politeness whatsoever connected to it. It usually conveys displeasure or even anger. It is generally used as a "last resort" after more polite requests are tried and ignored. However, as with English, it can be "softened" or used jokingly with the right intonation and facial expression. This is one that will probably not be used very often, but if you do, be careful how, and to whom, you use it. Word Check taberu: to eat miru: to look, watch suwaru: to sit sawaru: to touch 1 enki suru: to postpone, put off kuru: to come shaberu: to talk neru: to sleep Notes 1. Be careful with suwaru and sawaru! They are very similar and can be easily mistaken. We have all heard (here in Japan) of the gaijin who got on the train and asked the girl if he could sit next to her. He thought he had said, "Mind if I sit down?" when he actually asked, "Mind if I touch?" Lesson 35 Base 3 + nara This is one of several ways to make conditional sentences sentences with "if." We have already covered negative conditionals in Lesson 20. Now let's use nara to make some positive ones:

Isogu nara, tsugi no densha ni noru koto ga dekiru yo. (If we hurry we'll be able to make the next train.) Dekakeru nara, kasa o motte ikinasai. (If you go out, take an umbrella.) Ame ga furu nara, shiai o enki shinakereba naranai. (If it rains we'll have to put off the game.) Tabako o suu nara, soto de suinasai. (If you're going to smoke, do it outside.) Kodomotachi wa ima sunakku o taberu nara, yuushoku o tabenai deshou. (If the kids eat a snack now, they probably won't eat dinner.)

Sooner or later you will run into naraba, which is just a slight variation. They are used the same way and mean the same thing, but nara is more common. Word Check isogu: to hurry tsugi: next densha: train noru: to ride dekakeru: to go out kasa: umbrella motte iku: to take (te form of motsu [to hold] + iku [to go]) shiai: (a sports) game, match enki suru: to postpone, put off tabako o suu: to smoke (tabako: cigarette, with suu: to suck, inhale) soto: outside ima: now sunakku: snack (This is wasei eigo, Japanese English.) yuushoku: dinner Notes 1. The Japanese tabako naturally comes from "tobacco," but in Japanese it means "cigarette." This is also wasei eigo. Lesson 36 Base 3 + (any noun) In English we have what are officially called relative pronouns: words that connect a noun to an action. For a quick review, they are like which in "This is the dictionary which I'll buy for my brother's birthday present," where in "Kobe is where she will take the exam," and who in "There's the man who I saw in the station yesterday." In Japanese, there are no "relative pronouns." (This is why teaching about these pesky words and the grammar related to them is so difficult in Japan. And, to make matters worse, the way English grammar books used in the schools here are written gives the impression that mastering all aspects and usages of relative pronouns is the most important thing one needs to learn about English. But, that's another story...) All you do is simply add the noun in question to the plain form of the verb in question. Let's look at these simple phrases:

watashi ga noru densha (the train I'll take) kare ga iku tokoro (the place he'll go) kanojo no deru jikan (the time she'll leave) watashitachi ga au kyaku (the customer we'll meet)

Now, as I sit here and look at these four phrases, which are examples involving a thing, a place, a time, and a person, respectively, I can see several things which need to be explained things I'd like to explain, but can't without going off on a tangent which would require a completely new and lengthy page. For example, a new learner may well ask: why ga after the subjects above, instead of the usual wa? Why no after kanojo instead of ga? Well, to offer very general, but hopefully sufficient for the present, explanations, we'll go off on just a tiny tangent here: Wa indicates the main subject or topic of the whole sentence, and is handled by the final verb. For example, the entire phrase watashi ga noru densha above could be the subject in Watashi ga noru densha wa hachi ji ni demasu. (My train leaves at eight o'clock.) In this sentence, densha (train) is the main subject, and deru (to leave) tells us what it will do; watashi ga noru just gives us more information about the train watashi ga noru densha simply pinning it down as the "train I will take" or "my train."

Ga indicates a subject within a phrase, a "sub-subject," you might say, or a noun which needs emphasis. Continuing with the above example, ga tells us who will take the train. No is often used in place of ga, especially in informal spoken Japanese, which is why I decided to leave it as it is in the example above. Ga or no could be used here, so I feel that the learner may as well get used to both, since he or she will surely be hearing both. Please remember that no also has another job as the indicator for possessives, like our ['s], as in Sore wa Kimiko no kasa desu. (That is Kimiko's umbrella.) 1 Now, to get back to the lesson, let's translate one of the examples used at the beginning of the lesson:

Kore wa watashi no otouto no tanjoubi purezento ni kau jisho desu. (This is the dictionary I'll buy for my little brother's birthday present.)

Since this is natural Japanese, the watashi (I) telling who will buy the dictionary is obviously understood as the speaker, and therefore omitted. The watashi in the sentence is actually a part of the possessive pronoun watashi no (my). If you can keep these things straight now it will really be a big help later. Now let's do another example:

Kobe wa kanojo ga shiken o ukeru tokoro desu. (Kobe is where she'll take the exam.)

In this one, the English "where," as a relative pronoun, automatically designates a place, but since Japanese has no equivalent, a substitute noun must be used. Kobe is a place, so tokoro is used after the verb. As you may have noticed, a truer English translation would be, "Kobe is the place where she'll take the exam," but "the place" is redundant and unnecessary in English, and so it would most likely be omitted. Tokoro and where are roughly equivalent here in only a grammatical sense; they do not mean the same thing. As you can see, both English and Japanese have their own set of rules concerning what and when something unnecessary can be omitted. The problem is that the rules are totally different for each language. As a general, semi-accurate rule, English and Japanese are on opposite ends from each other on the "language spectrum"; what applies to one doesn't necessarily apply to the other, and vice versa; and when trying to make sense of one, you must forget all the rules of the other. Finally, here is one last example:

Haru wa atarashii inochi o motarasu kisetsu desu. (Spring is the season that brings new life.)

This one is pretty straightforward, and should not be too difficult. I hope this lesson was clear enough. These "relative pronoun substitution" sentences can be difficult, and are in the realm of mid- to high-intermediate Japanese. Please come back regularly to review as necessary. Practice makes perfect! Word Check tokoro: a place deru: to leave, depart jikan: time au: to meet kyaku: customer, guest otouto: younger brother tanjoubi: birthday purezento: a present 2 shiken: examination ukeru: to receive; to take a test haru: (the season of) spring atarashii: new inochi: life

motarasu: to bring about, produce; to cause to happen kisetsu: season Notes 1. For more see Japanese Particles 2. Purezento is yet another example of wasei eigo: words borrowed from English. Lesson 37 Base 3 + no desu There are two ways to look at this ending: one is simply another way to create polite sentences, and the other is a way to make emphatic ones. We have already learned how to use Base 2 + masu to make polite sentences back in Lessons 2 and 3. Here are the examples used in Lesson 2:

Mama wa mise de banana o kaimasu. (Mom buys/will buy bananas at the store.) Jim wa manga o yomimasu. (Jim will read a comic book.) Ojii-san wa sugu kaerimasu. (Grandpa will return soon.)

Remember these? I hope so. If not, please review them. Now we will end these same sentences by using Base 3 with no desu:

Mama wa mise de banana o kau no desu. (Mom buys/will buy bananas at the store.) Jim wa manga o yomu no desu. (Jim will read a comic book.) Ojii-san wa sugu kaeru no desu. (Grandpa will return soon.)

The meanings are the same as Base 2 + masu as long as they're said in a regular, bland tone. However, if you want to emphasize something, especially something you're sure of (or think you're sure of), you put stress on the verb before no desu, as in:

Ashita watashi wa Kyoto ni IKU no desu! (I AM going to Kyoto tomorrow!) Anta wa kono sashimi o TABERU no desu! (You WILL eat this raw fish!) Bokutachi no chiimu wa KATSU no desu! (Our team WILL win!)

A variant of this is to leave out the no and instead attach an "n" sound onto the stressed verb, like this:

Watashi wa IKUN desu! (I AM going!) Ashita wa ame ga FURUN desu. (I tell you, it IS going to rain tomorrow.)

As in any other language, the level of emphasis can vary greatly depending on the situation, need, or habits of the speaker, and may be fine-tuned by using certain voice inflections and facial expressions, as well as supporting body language like hand waving, fist pounding, stomping around, writhing, and etc. Word Check anta: very familiar form of "you" 1 sashimi: specially prepared raw fish bokutachi: masculine familiar form meaning "we" or "us" (boku + tachi) chiimu: team (wasei eigo) katsu: to win Notes

1. Care must be taken with anta because it is used when talking down to someone and will be considered rude in most non-familiar situations. Lesson 38 Base 3 + no ni No ni is added to plain verb forms to mean "in order to" (do whatever). There is nothing really tricky about it, except that instead of being found at the end of a sentence, it's usually found somewhere near the middle, where it helps to establish certain conditions concerning the verb in question. As usual, a look at some examples would probably be the best way to see how it works:

Kono tegami o okuru no ni ikura desu ka? (How much will it cost to send this letter?) Tokyo yuki no densha ni noru no ni asu hayaku okinakereba narimasen. (We'll have to get up early tomorrow in order to make the train for Tokyo.) Hitsuyou na kanji o subete oboeru no ni daibun jikan ga kakaru. (It takes quite a long time to learn all of the necessary kanji.)

Please keep in mind that there is also a noni, meaning "in spite of," which we will cover later on. These are easy to keep straight when used in context. Word Check kono: this tegami: letter okuru: to send ikura: how much? -yuki: bound for (This is added after the destination: Osaka-yuki, Takamatsu-yuki, etc.) densha: train noru: to ride; to board (a mode of transportation) asu: tomorrow hayaku: early (quickly) okiru: to get up hitsuyou (na): necessary, essential kanji: Chinese characters; specifically, the characters which were adopted from the Chinese then modified to be used in modern Japanese subete: all oboeru: to learn, remember daibun (or daibu): quite, rather, considerably jikan: time kakaru: to take (time); to cost (money) 1

Notes 1. Kakaru actually has many meanings and uses. Please consult a dictionary for more. Lesson 39 Base 3 + no wa

Do you remember koto, which was introduced back in Lesson 31? The no in no wa plays the same role, and is the easiest way to make a noun out of a verb: yomu (to read) + no (wa) (the thing of) = yomu no wa ([the thing of] reading [is]). Wa is the subject indicator. Look at these examples:

Yomu no wa tanoshii desu. (Reading is enjoyable.) Nihongo o hanasu no wa kantan desu. (Speaking Japanese is easy.) Hayaku okiru no wa tokidoki muzukashii desu. (Getting up early is sometimes difficult.)

Kasei ni sumu no wa mada fukanou desu. (Living on Mars is not yet possible.) Hawaii ni iku no wa saikou desu! (Going to Hawaii is great!)

Please remember that there are other no's, mainly the one used for possessives, like our ['s], as in:

Jim no jisho wa ao de, boku no wa aka desu. (Jim's dictionary is blue; mine is red.)

and the one used with aru or nai to show the existence or non-existence of something, as in:

Hontou ni mondai no nai tabi deshita. (It really was a problem-free trip.)

Word Check tanoshii: fun, enjoyable hanasu: to speak, talk kantan: easy tokidoki: sometimes muzukashii: hard, difficult kasei: Mars sumu: to live mada: not yet; still not fukanou: not possible, impossible saikou: great; the greatest; the best jisho: dictionary ao: the color blue aka: red hontou (ni): real(ly) mondai: problem, question nai: to not be; to not exist tabi: trip

Lesson 40 Base 3 + node

Back in Lesson 29 we met kara, which is used to show reasons or causes. In this lesson we will take a look at node, which is used for pretty much the same thing in pretty much the same way:

Kyaku ga kuru node watashi wa ima deru koto ga dekimasen. (A guest is coming so I can't go out now.) Ashita hayaku okiru node hayaku neru. (I have to get up early tomorrow so I'm going to bed early.) Eiko wa eigo o hanasu koto ga dekiru node ii shigoto o mitsukeru deshou. (Since Eiko can speak English, she'll probably find a good job.)

So, what's the difference between node and kara? Good question. Generally speaking, node simply states a fact while kara emphasizes the reason. From native speakers I have heard that node sounds "softer" and more polite, and is therefore preferred when people are involved. For example, in the first example sentence above a person (the guest) is concerned, and using node tells the listener(s) that there is respect and no displeasure regarding the visit. If kara was used instead, it could imply that the speaker would like to go out but can't because of an expected guest. When talking about simple reasons for doing things, kara is usually used, as in:

Jisho ga nai kara kaimasu. (I'm going to buy a dictionary because I don't have one.) Ashita ame ga furu kara ikimasen. (It's going to rain tomorrow so I'm not going.)

However, please remember that there's nothing grammatically wrong with using node here instead. It just depends on what you want to emphasize and the "feeling" you want to convey. Word Check kyaku: guest; customer ima: now deru: go out; come out ashita: tomorrow neru: to go to bed; to sleep eigo: the English language hanasu: to speak ii: good shigoto: job mitsukeru: to find ame: rain

Lesson 41 Base 3 + noni

As promised in Lesson 38, here is a short lesson about noni, which is used to mean "in spite of":

"Yamenasai" to iu noni, kanojo wa kikimasen. (Despite my telling her to stop, she won't listen.) Hayaku okita noni okureta. (I was late even though I got up early.)

Noni is also put at the end of sentences to express aggravation at an unexpected or undesirable outcome:

Annani doryoku shita noni! (After all my efforts!) Asoko ni "iku na" to itta noni! (And after I told him not to go there!)

Noni is used a lot. Keep an ear out for it and you'll catch it. Word Check yameru: to stop something; to quit a habit iu: to say, tell (Itta used in the last example above is its Base 7 form, or "ta form," which is used for the plain past.) kiku: to listen; to follow rules or orders; to heed advice okiru: to get up (Okita used in the example is its "ta form," for the plain past.) okureru: to be late (The example sentence for this also uses the "ta form.") annani: that much; so much doryoku suru: to work hard at something; to make efforts (Shita is the "ta form" of suru.) asoko: there; over there (usually for emphasizing distance)

Lesson 42 Base 3 + sou desu

Use sou desu after Base 3 for things you've heard, understand to be, rumors, etc. For example:

Hiru kara ame ga furu sou desu. (I hear it's going to rain in the afternoon.) Kayo wa raishuu kara resutoran de baito o hajimeru sou desu. (I heard that Kayo's going to start working part-time at a restaurant next week.)

Takada-san wa yameru sou desu. (I heard that Mr. Takada's quitting.)

Please remember that sou desu by itself has nothing to do with hearsay. It means "that's right" and often follows hai, as in "Hai, sou desu." (Yes, that's right.) Word Check hiru kara: from noon; in the (early) afternoon resutoran: restaurant (wasei eigo) baito: a part-time job (This is wasei doitsugo, or Japanese German. The actual word is arubaito, but is usually shortened to baito.) 1 hajimeru: to begin yameru: to quit a job

Notes 1. An interesting "culture" exists in the use of work-related words in Japan. While most English speakers who are asked what they did the day before will answer "I worked" if they worked, the Japanese will rarely use the equivalent Japanese verb hataraita. They use a noun geared to their type of job. A full-time employee will use shigoto, meaning "my regular job as a bona fide company employee"; a student will say baito, meaning "my part-time job I'm doing while going to school"; and a housewife will use paato (Japanized part from part-time), which means "the job I do as a part-timer along with being a housewife." Lesson 43 Base 3 + tame ni

When you hear tame, it usually means "for the purpose of; in order to," and is often followed by the optional ni. Take a look at these:

Hiroko wa mensetsu o ukeru tame ni Osaka ni ikimasu. (Hiroko's going to Osaka for an interview.) Nyuujouken o kau tame ni daibun machimashita. (I had to wait quite a while to buy tickets.) Nihongo o benkyou suru tame ni atarashii jisho o kaimashita. (I bought a new dictionary to study Japanese.)

Tame is a very handy word, and can also be used in various expressions with nouns. Here are some popular ones:

Kimi no tame ni shimashita yo! (I did it for you! [very familiar]) Kore wa kimi no tame ni. (This is for you. [plain, very familiar]) Kore wa okaa-san no tame desu. 1 (This is for you, Mom.) Hai, Hawaii ni iku tame no koukuuken desu. 2 (Okay, here are your air tickets to Hawaii.) Kore wa nan no tame no kaigi? (What is the purpose of this meeting?) Nan no tame no dougu? (What's this tool for? [very plain])

Tame is used a lot. Good luck with it! Word Check mensetsu: an interview ukeru: to get, receive; have (an interview); take (an exam) nyuujouken: an addmission ticket daibun: quite (a lot; a while) koukuuken: an air ticket nan/nani: what kaigi: a meeting dougu: a tool

Notes 1. Ni is always omitted when the polite ending desu is used after tame. 2. Use no when putting a noun/object after tame. That indicates the thing which has the purpose of something intended. In this example, it points to the tickets which will be used to go to Hawaii. Lesson 44 Base 3 + to

There are four basic uses for to. (Remember, that's pronounced "toh.") It can mean and, with, when, or if. After a plain (Base 3) verb it is roughly the same as when or if, or even both:

Massugu iku to Ritsurin Kouen ga miemasu. (If you go straight you'll see Ritsurin Park.) Natsu ni naru to kodomotachi wa umi ni ikitakunarimasu. (When summer comes the kids want to go to the beach.) Watashi wa soba o taberu to byouki ni naru. (I get sick whenever I eat buckwheat noodles.)

For the curious, here are sample sentences with to as and and with:

Kimiko to Bob wa tanjou paateii ni kimashita. (Kimiko and Bob came to the birthday party.) Kimiko wa Bob to kimashita. (Kimiko came with Bob.)

Word Check massugu: straight mieru: to be able to see (something) natsu: summer naru: to become (something); to turn into (something) kodomotachi: children umi: the sea; the beach 1 ikitakunaru: to begin to feel like going (somewhere) 2 tanjou paateii: birthday party 3

Notes 1. Literally, umi is "the sea." There is a Japanese word for beach (sunahama), but it is not generally used. When referring to "the beach" in Japanese, use umi. 2. Ikitakunaru belongs to the branch of Base 2 + tai/taku (to want) endings which were covered in Lesson 8. Although not specifically covered, takunaru puts tai and naru together, meaning "become to want; begin to want." Iki (Base 2 of iku, to go) + taku (tai, to want to do, with the ku connector) + naru (to become) = ikitakunaru, or "to become to want to go." It's as simple as that. 3. Paateii is wasei eigo, Japanese English, for "party." Lesson 45 Base 3 + to omoimasu

For better or worse, Japan is a country where being reserved is a good thing. It's okay to have an opinion, but speaking as if you're dead sure about something is looked down on, especially in the workplace. When promoting your own ideas or opinions, using to omoimasu after plain verbs is one of the most socially

acceptable, and expected, things you can do. It means simply "I think," and shows that you admit that what you are talking about isn't a fact (even though it might be). Now that it has been explained, I think it can be applied very easily:

Bob wa goji ni kaeru to omoimasu. (I think Bob will come back at five o'clock.) Eiko wa eigo o hanasu koto ga dekiru to omoimasu. (I think Eiko can speak English.) Koji wa okureru to omoimasu. (I think Koji will be late.) Sasaki-san wa mou sugu kochira ni denwa suru to omou. (I think Ms. Sasaki will call us soon.) Ashita wa ame ga furu to omou. (I think it'll rain tomorrow.)

As you can see from the last examples, omou can be used for plain speech, omoimasu being simply its Base 2 form with polite masu added. Accordingly, the other Base 2 endings also apply:

Eiko wa eigo o hanasu koto ga dekiru to omoimasen. (I don't think Eiko can speak English.) Koji wa okureru to omoimasen deshita. (I didn't think that Koji would be late.) Kyou ame ga furu to omoimashita. (I thought it would rain today [and it did.])

In a way, this ending is a lot like deshou, which was covered in Lesson 18. The major difference is that deshou is usually used to show that you don't really know, don't really care, or don't really have any control over something, while to omoimasu shows that you do know (to a certain degree), care, or have some control. In the workplace you would always want to use to omoimasu concerning things you are responsible for because deshou would sound irresponsible. To omoimasu can be used after some conjugated verbs, like:

Kyou wa, densha de iku hou ga ii to omou. (I think it would be better to go by train today.) Kodomotachi wa umi ni ikitai to omou. (I think the kids want to go to the beach.)

Again, in Japan being reserved is a respected characteristic. People will use to omoimasu even when they know. Word Check omou: to think goji: five o'clock (go [five] + ji [hour]) kaeru: to return (intransitive verb); to go back; to return home eigo: the English language hanasu: to speak okureru: to be late mou sugu: soon kochira: here; towards me, us

Lesson 46 Base 3 + tsumori

Base 3 plus tsumori is used to express an intention:


Watashi wa sanji made ni kaeru tsumori. (I plan to be back by three o'clock.) Steve wa Canada ni iku tsumori da to omou. (I think Steve plans to go to Canada.) Keiko wa Kyoto Daigaku ni hairu tsumori desu. (Keiko intends to go to Kyoto University.)

In case you're wondering, yes, technically speaking, tsumori is the Base 2 form of its plain form tsumoru, but you will never hear tsumoru (to intend) used. You will, however, hear the other verb tsumoru, which means "to accumulate, build up," used a lot, especially in the winter when people talk about snow piling up:

yuki ga tsumoru. While sounding alike, their meanings are completely different, so please be careful not to confuse them. Word Check sanji: three o'clock (san [three] + ji [hour]) made ni: by, when used to set a deadline, as in "to do (something) by (a certain time, day, etc.) daigaku: university 1 hairu: to go inside (a room, etc.); to enter or enroll in (a school); to join (a club, church, etc.)

Notes 1. Unlike in the U. S. and other countries where the word college is used loosely, in Japan it is never used when referring to a traditional four-year university. College (karejji in romanized Japanese) is only used for junior colleges and vocational schools. Always use daigaku for university. Lesson 47 Base 3 + you desu

You desu after Base 3 verbs works like "seems to" in English:

Mari wa ashita kuru you desu. (It seems that Mary will be coming tomorrow.) Sachiko wa Canada ni iku you desu. (It looks like Sachiko is going to Canada.) Ken wa piano o hiku koto ga dekiru you desu. (It looks like Ken can play the piano.)

You desu and sou desu (Lesson 42) are similar and sometimes easy to confuse. Simply put, sou desu means you heard, directly or indirectly, that something is or will be, while you desu means you sensed something is or will be, as in:

Ame ga furu sou desu. (It's going to rain [because the weatherman or someone said so].) Ame ga furu you desu. (It's going to rain [because it suddenly got dark outside and you can smell it coming].)

Actually, you desu is not really used that much in informal conversation. In its place you will hear mitai a lot, which is a kind of "catch all" for you desu / sou desu statements. Ame ga furu mitai would be heard often instead of either of the above examples, meaning "it's going to rain" (either because someone said so or because there are signs that it's going to). I might as well mention here that mitai can also be put after nouns to mean "looks like." If you watch TV or listen to young people talking you will often hear baka mitai, "you look like an idiot." Although not introduced in the Base 2 group, there is a Base 2 + sou ending which is also very similar to Base 3 + you desu. This is usually used when something looks like it is just about to happen:

Ame ga furisou. (It looks like it's going to rain.) Ano hako ga ochisou. (That box looks like it's about to fall.)

This one is especially easy to confuse with Base 3 + sou desu, so please take care. Word Check hiku: to play (the piano or other stringed instrument) dekiru: to be able to (do something) mitai: (something) looks like... baka: idiot, fool

hako: box ochiru: to fall (objects, not precipitation)

Lesson 48 Base 4 + ba

After a long hike through many Base 3 verb forms, I think it's about time to start on Base 4. Remember that Bases 1 through 5 basically follow the Japanese vowels in their alphabetical order : 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. AH, a as in father EE, e as in see OO, u as in mule EH, e as in red OH, o as in mode

and that the verb changes to end with the vowel sound of the "base" it's in before anything is added to it. (There are some exceptions among the ichidan and irregular verbs, however.) Think of Base 3 as the "root," or "dictionary form," since that's the form you'll see when looking words up. Base 3 is the plain form of the verb; it's where you start. You change it into the other "bases" and add the endings or other add-ons as necessary. Now, let's borrow the tables from Lesson 17 and add a Base 4 column. Notice how the verbs change from their plain (Base 3) form. Also notice that this time the "bases" are in numerical order, and that the last letter, or vowel sound, of each verb corresponds in order with the vowels outlined above, except those pesky troublemakers in Bases 1 and 2 of the ichidans and Base 1 of the irregulars. Yodan verbs: Base 1 Base 2 Base 3 (plain form) Base 4 kawa kai kau kae aruka aruki aruku aruke isoga isogi isogu isoge kasa kashi kasu kase mata machi matsu mate shina shini shinu shine asoba asobi asobu asobe yoma yomi yomu yome kaera kaeri kaeru kaere Ichidan verbs: Base 1 Base 2 Base 3 (plain form) Base 4 tabe tabe taberu tabere oboe oboe oboeru oboere kime kime kimeru kimere de de deru dere kari kari kariru karire mi mi miru mire Irregular verbs: Base 1 Base 2 Base 3 (plain form) Base 4 ko ki kuru kure

shi

shi

suru

sure

Now that we know how to make Base 4, let's do a simple and useful conjugation. Do you remember Base 3 + nara, covered in Lesson 35? Well, Base 4 + ba gives you similar results while being shorter and simpler. Here are example sentences from Lesson 35, converted to Base 4 + ba:

Isogeba, tsugi no densha ni noru koto ga dekiru yo. (If we hurry we'll be able to make the next train.) Ame ga fureba, shiai o enki shinakereba naranai. (If it rains we'll have to put off the game.) Kodomotachi wa ima sunakku o tabereba, yuushoku o tabenai deshou. (If the kids eat a snack now, they probably won't eat dinner.)

Very handy. Another use for this is to suggest doing something. Here, it's the equivalent of "Why don't you...?":

Kyoto ni ikeba? (Why don't you go to Kyoto?) Shichiji han ni dereba? (Why don't you leave at 7:30?) A: Obaa-chan ni denwa shitai. (I want to call Grandma.) B: Sureba? (Why don't you [go ahead and call her]?)

This form of suggestion does not include the speaker, however. If you wanted to say "Why don't we go to Kyoto?" you would use mashou or something similar: Kyoto ni ikimashou ka? Lesson 49 Base 4 + ba ii

In this lesson we are going to cover three Base 4 endings: ba ii and its handy cousins ba ii noni and ba yokatta. As we learned in the last lesson, Base 4 + ba gives you a conditional "if" meaning. Ii is Japanese for "good," and adding it to the Base 4 ba is a very easy way to convey the meaning "it would be good if..." as shown in these examples:

Soto de asobeba ii. (It would be good if you played outside.) Ima benkyou sureba ii. (Now would be a good time to study.) Watashitachi wa karui shokuji o tabereba ii to omou. (I think it would be good if we ate a light meal.)

Adding noni (covered briefly in Lesson 41) adds "in spite of the fact that" to ba ii, and is usually used to show that you're bugged by someone or something not doing what you ask or wish, as in these example conversations:

Mom: Tenki ga ii kara, soto de asobeba ii. (The weather's nice, so it would be good to play outside.) Kids: Terebi mitai. (We want to watch TV.) Mom, in a slightly discouraged or angry voice: Soto de asobeba ii noni. (Even though it would be nice to play outside. [I still wish you would play outside.]) Naoko: Nanji ni kuru? (What time are you coming?) John: Goji goro. (Around five.) Naoko, slightly disappointed: Motto hayaku kureba ii noni. (It'd be nice if you could come earlier.)

As you can see, ba ii is for making suggestions or giving advice. It's like Base 3 + hou ga ii covered in Lesson 26, but not quite as strong. Adding noni shows your feelings regarding someone else's decision, especially when there's little chance of the decision being changed. Adding yokatta to Base 4 + ba shows regret for a decision made after it's too late to change it:

Hachiji ni kureba yokatta. (We should have come at 8:00.)

Kouen ni ikeba yokatta. (I wish we had gone to the park.) Suteeki o chuumon sureba yokatta. (I wish I had ordered the steak.)

For those who may be wondering about the adjectives ii and yoi: yes, they both mean "good"; no, they are not completely interchangeable. Yoi can be used with ba instead of ii: Ima benkyou sureba yoi is fine and sometimes used. However, yoi is not used with noni. It's one of those things that feels okay in a grammatical sense but just isn't done. While most adjectives in Japanese have a past tense, quirky ii does not. When showing regret for mistakes, the past tense of yoi, yokatta, is used after ba there is no such Japanese as ikatta. Please bear in mind that the above explanation applies to familiar settings, and would not go over well when talking to superiors at work or anywhere where special respect is due. In those situations different constructions would be used. By this stage of Japanese study, I trust that you are familiar with the wonderful convenience of being able to delete the subject when it is known. I have done this with most of the examples on this page. In the actual situation the subject(s) would be implied and known to all concerned, and therefore unnecessary in the sentence. This is very handy when you get used to it. Word Check soto: outside ima: now benkyou suru: to study karui: (adjective) light shokuji: food, a meal tenki: the weather (This is sometimes used with the honorific o-: o-tenki.) terebi: TV nanji: what time (nan [what] + ji [hour]) goro: around (used with times and periods) motto: more hayaku: early (adverbial form of hayai) suteeki: beef steak (wasei eigo) chuumon suru: to place an order

Lesson 50 Base 4 by itself: the Plain Imperative

If you want to give orders without a hint of kindness, just use Base 4. Actually, this is a form you really don't want to use. If you do, you'll probably be thought of as someone who has only limited and unconventional language ability. Or, if you look and act like you know what you're saying, you will definitely become unpopular quickly, and maybe even get into a fight. You'll hear this form mostly when watching Japanese TV or movies, or maybe when hearing a group of guys talking. You could call it "ruffian talk." It's simple: no subject or object needed, just the Base 4 form of the verb yelled out:

Damare! (Shut up!) Ike! (Go!) Yare! (Do it!)

One situation where this can be used without offense is when you are cheering for someone at a sports event. There you will hear many yelling hashire! (Run!) or gambare! (Hang in there! / Go for it!) Finally, please remember that this one only applies to yodan verbs. You wouldn't say sure for "do it" or mire for "look."

Word Check damaru: to be quiet yaru: to do (plain) hashiru: to run gambaru: to try hard; to not give up

Lesson 51 Base 4 + ru

We are now going to learn one of the handiest verb forms in the book: Base 4 + ru. I remember when I first learned this one it was like opening a new door. Simply put, Base 4 + ru is like a super shortcut to Base 3 + koto ga dekiru, which was covered back in Lesson 31. It shows the ability to do something. For example, instead of the long Watashi wa iku koto ga dekiru ("I can go," using Base 3 + koto ga dekiru), you can use Base 4 + ru and say the same thing with a much shorter expression: Watashi wa ikeru. Now, let's take three examples from Lesson 31 and shorten them using Base 4 + ru:

Watashi wa nihongo o yomeru. (I can read Japanese.) Keiko wa piano o hikeru. (Keiko can play the piano.) Ashita Jack wa Tokushima ni ikeru. (Jack can go to Tokushima tomorrow.)

Now, you know that these sentences would be more polite with the masu ending. No problem. We can easily add masu to these and make them polite. Here we learn an important point so important that I'm going to underline it: Verbs in the Base 4 + ru form can be treated the same as Base 3 (plain) ichidan verbs. Take a good look: Base 4 + ru makes verbs end in eru, just like most ichidans. As such, they can be treated like plain ichidans. Let's look at some possibilities using endings already learned:

Keiko wa piano o hikemasu. (Keiko can play the piano. [polite]) Keiko wa baiorin o hikemasen. (Keiko can't play the violin.) Jack wa Tokushima ni ikemashita. (Jack was able to go to Tokushima.) Kare wa Osaka ni ikemasen deshita. (He wasn't able to go to Osaka.) Kare wa raigetsu ikeru kamo shiremasen. (He might be able to go next month.)

Have you got it? Great! You should be able to see how this form will make life in Japanese easier. It's very, very useful. And most of the other Base 3 endings or combinations which work with ichidans can be applied in the same way. Please keep in mind that while grammar books state that this is only to be used with yodan verbs, there are many exceptions among the ichidans. For example, you will hear taberemasen for "I can't eat it," but you won't hear miremasen for "I can't see it." (There is a "set verb" for "able to see": mieru, which was used in Lesson 44.) These you'll just have to pick up as you go along. Please see Notes on Japanese Verbs for more. Word Check hiku: to play a stringed instrument baiorin: violin (Yes, this is wasei eigo.) raigetsu: next month

Lesson 52 Base 4 + nai

In the last lesson we saw how verbs in the Base 4 with ru "can do" plain form can be treated the same as Base 3 ichidan verbs ending in eru. We looked at some examples which use polite endings just as if they were ichidan verbs in the Base 2 form. In this lesson we will use Base 4 + nai, the "cannot do" plain form. If it helps, you can pretend that we are converting ichidan verbs to Base 1 and adding nai for the plain negative ending, which was covered in Lesson 17. (As you remember, Bases 1 and 2 are the same for ichidans.) Please keep in mind that these are yodan verbs in Base 4 + nai. I only mention this because they act just like ichidans in many ways, which makes the logic behind converting them easier to most people. It made sense to me, and I hope it will make sense to you. Let's take the same examples from the last lesson and change them to plain negative:

Watashi wa nihongo o yomenai. (I can't read Japanese.) Keiko wa piano o hikenai. (Keiko can't play the piano.) Ashita Jack wa Tokushima ni ikenai. (Jack can't go to Tokushima tomorrow.)

See how that works? As mentioned in the last lesson, this form is only meant for yodans, but there are exceptions like taberenai (I can't eat it) and nerenai (I can't sleep). As you may have guessed, there are other nai-related endings that will work here. Here are two we've already covered:

Jack wa korenai deshou. (Jack probably won't be able to come.) Jitensha ni norenakereba arukimashou. (If you can't ride a bicycle let's walk.)

Word Check neru: to sleep koreru: to be able to come (This is a specialized verb.) noru: to ride aruku: to walk

Lesson 53 Base 4 + reba

To be frank, at first I thought I wouldn't do this one because it's really not used that often. But then I decided to do it because there just might be parts of Japan where it's used more than in my neck of the woods. Base 4 +reba is used to express "if someone can":

Watashi wa nihongo o yomereba ii. (It would be nice if I could read Japanese.) Shichiji ni ikereba Mark ni aeru. (If you can go at seven o'clock you'll be able to meet Mark.) Hachi jikan nerereba genki ni naru deshou. (If I can sleep eight hours I'll probably feel better.)

This form is mainly for yodans, but there are exceptions like the last example above. The negative companion to this is Base 4 + nakereba (if someone can't), an example of which was included in the last lesson. So, you may wonder, what do people use around here to express this? I usually hear Base 4 + tara, as in: Iketara iku yo. (I'll go if I can.) I have yet to find grammatical verification for this, but everyone uses it, so I do too. Word Check

shichiji: seven o'clock au: to meet; to see (someone) jikan: hour(s); time neru: to sleep genki: healthy; energetic; (physically) well ...ni naru: to get or become (something [adjective or noun]) 1

Notes 1. ...ni naru means to become or change itself. You would never use it to "get" an object, like a present, but to "get well" (genki ni naru), to "get good at (something [like the piano])" (jouzu ni naru), etc. Lesson 54 Base 5

I'm afraid there isn't much you can do with Base 5. Looking over my list of Base 5 possibilities, I saw four that I feel are somewhat useful. I think we'll cover them all in this lesson. First, let's get out the tables from Lesson 48 and add Base 5: Yodan verbs: Base 1 Base 2 Base 3 Base 4 Base 5 kawa kai kau kae kaou aruka aruki aruku aruke arukou isoga isogi isogu isoge isogou kasa kashi kasu kase kasou mata machi matsu mate matou shina shini shinu shine shinou asoba asobi asobu asobe asobou yoma yomi yomu yome yomou kaera kaeri kaeru kaere kaerou Ichidan verbs: Base 1 Base 2 Base 3 Base 4 Base 5 tabe tabe taberu tabere tabeyou oboe oboe oboeru oboere oboeyou kime kime kimeru kimere kimeyou de de deru dere deyou kari kari kariru karire kariyou mi mi miru mire miyou Irregular verbs: Base 1 Base 2 Base 3 Base 4 Base 5 ko ki kuru kure koyou shi shi suru sure shiyou As you can see, Base 5 obediently follows the "vowel order rule" (Don't quote me, I just made that up...) by changing to end in an "oh" sound, the fifth vowel in the Japanese "alphabetical order": ah, ee, oo, eh, oh. (see Lesson 48) Also, in Base 5 the "oh" is elongated, so stretch it out a bit when you use it.

Base 5 Alone The first handy thing you can do needs no attachments. It'll give you the plain form for "let's do (something)." The polite form is Base 2 + mashou, which we already mastered back in Lesson 9. Use Base 5 when you don't need to be polite:

Ikou. (Let's go.) Tabeyou. (Let's eat.) Yasumou. (Let's take a break.)

Base 5 + ka Adding question-forming ka (Lesson 12) quickly changes these to suggestions:


Ikou ka. (Shall we go?) Tabeyou ka. (Shall we eat?) Yasumou ka. (Do you want to take a break?)

Please note that question-forming no cannot be used here. Base 5 + ka na / ka naa This gives you the equivalent of "I wonder if I should...." Ka na usually means the mind is pretty much made up; the drawn out ka naa means someone is still not sure:

Kaimono ni ikou ka na. (I think I'll go shopping.) Kaimono ni ikou ka naa. (I wonder if I should go shopping.) Terebi o miyou ka na. (Maybe I'll watch TV.) Bob ni denwa shiyou ka naa. (I wonder if I should call Bob.) Kyou wa tenki ga ii kara, arukou ka na. (I think I'll walk today since the weather's nice.)

Base 5 + to suru This one is to express "try to do (something)." Suru is shown plain, but can be converted as necessary:

John wa koyou to suru to omou. (I think John will try to come.) Naoto wa hikouki o miyou to shimashita ga, miemasen deshita. (Naoto tried to see the airplane, but he couldn't.)

These are the more useful Base 5 forms. You probably won't hear any others unless you watch samurai dramas or talk with people who don't get out very often. I'm sure you'll be able to get them memorized quickly. Word Check denwa suru: to call (on the telephone) tenki: the weather hikouki: airplane mieru: to be able to see (something)

Lesson 55 Te Form + kudasai

Since kudasai is one of the most useful Te Form endings, one that is indispensable for polite and proper speech, I have decided to begin the Te Form with it. But first we need to get a better look at this Te Form and see what it does to verbs. As you have most likely guessed, the Te Form changes verbs so they end in te, but there are also some that are "softened" to de instead. Ichidan verbs are a snap because you just change the final ru to te, but the yodans can be tricky and may take some time to memorize. Let's take a look at the following tables and see how verbs change into the Te Form: Yodan verbs: Base 3 (plain form) Te Form kau katte aruku aruite isogu isoide kasu kashite matsu matte shinu shinde asobu asonde yomu yonde kaeru kaette Ichidan verbs: Base 3 (plain form) Te Form taberu tabete oboeru oboete kimeru kimete deru dete kariru karite miru mite Irregular verbs: Base 3 (plain form) Te Form kuru kite suru shite Those yodans look pretty scary, right? I still remember the headache I got trying to sort them out. Let's take a closer look: Yodan verbs that end in a vowel + u, like au (to meet), kau (to buy), nuu (to sew): replace the final u with tte atte, katte, nutte. Yodan verbs that end in ku, like aruku (to walk), kiku (to listen; to ask), hataraku (to work): replace the final ku with ite aruite, kiite, hataraite. Please note this one important exception: iku. It's important because it's used a lot. The Te Form of iku (to go) is itte, not iite. We'll cover pronunciation a little later. Yodan verbs that end in gu, like isogu (to hurry), tsunagu (to connect), nugu (to take off [clothing or accessories]): replace the final gu with ide isoide, tsunaide, nuide. Yodan verbs that end in a vowel + su (not tsu), like kasu (to lend), kesu (to turn off; to put out [a fire]), tasu (to add): replace the final su with shite kashite, keshite, tashite. Yodan verbs that end in tsu, like matsu (to wait), motsu (to hold), katsu (to win): replace the final tsu with tte matte, motte, katte.

The only yodan verb that ends in nu, shinu (to die): replace the final u with de shinde. Yodan verbs that end in bu, like asobu (to play), yobu (to call out), tobu (to fly): replace the final bu with nde asonde, yonde, tonde. Yodan verbs that end in mu, like yomu (to read), momu (to massage), tsutsumu (to wrap): replace the final mu with nde yonde, monde, tsutsunde. Yodan verbs that end in ru, like kaeru (to return), hairu (to enter), toru (to take): replace the final ru with tte kaette, haitte, totte. Please remember that while most verbs that end in eru or iru are ichidans, there are some yodan exceptions like the two used here. As already mentioned and shown, the ichidans are easy. And there are only the two irregulars to memorize. Now we'll add kudasai for a polite request:

Douzo, tabete kudasai. (Go ahead, please eat.) Chotto matte kudasai. (Please wait a bit.) Rokuji ni kite kudasai. (Please come at six o'clock.)

Kudasai not only adds a "please"-like effect, it also puts the person you're talking to above yourself. When you start learning kanji, you'll soon run into the very simple one from which kudasai was hatched. It means "under," "to go down," "to lower (something)," etc. So when you say chotto matte kudasai, technically you're saying something like: "Please bring yourself down to wait a bit for lowly, humble me." There are several handy variations of kudasai. Kudasai itself is actually a mild command form used to ask or even tell someone to do something, depending on the tone of voice used. It combines the elements of its plain form kudasaru and the order-giving nasai, which was introduced back in Lesson 10. Adding masu or masen further softens it and gives the listener room to reply. These examples should clearly illustrate the possibilities:

Rokuji ni kite kudasai. (Please come at six o'clock.) Rokuji ni kite kudasaru? (Will you please come at six o'clock? [plain]) Rokuji ni kite kudasaimasu ka. (Will you please come at six o'clock? [polite]) Rokuji ni kite kudasaimasen ka. (Won't you please come at six o'clock?)

I must add here that verbs in the Te Form can also be used without kudasai or anything else for plain, mild commands in familiar settings:

Rokuji ni kite. (Come at six o'clock.) Matte. (Wait.) Douzo, tabete. (Go ahead and eat.)

In English we thankfully don't have to give any attention to double vowels or consonants, but in Japanese we do. The basic rule is simple: give each sound equal time. For practice let's use kuru (to come), kiku (to listen), and kiru (to cut). Put these three verbs into the Te Form and they become kite, kiite, and kitte:

Koko ni kite. (Come here.) Kore o kiite. (Listen to this.) Kore o kitte. (Cut this.)

The pronunciation goes like this: kite (KEE-TEH), while making each syllable as short as possible (some Japanese make them so short they're barely discernible); kiite (KEE-EE-TEH), just like counting 1-2-3, giving each equal time while making them short; and kitte (KEET-TEH), while holding the tongue silently for a half second in the "T position" between syllables. For negative requests with kudasai, add de to verbs in their plain negative form (Base 1 + nai), then add kudasai:

Terebi o minaide kudasai. (Please don't watch the TV.) Ikanaide kudasai. (Please don't go.)

As with positive requests, kudasai can also be omitted here to make simple mild commands:

Terebi o minaide. (Don't watch the TV.) Ikanaide. (Don't go.)

Please note that the Te Form is also sometimes called Base 6. I believe that I have heard it referred to as the Te Form more often, so that's what I've decided to call it throughout these lessons. Word Check douzo: go ahead (used as a polite gesture) chotto: a little; a moment rokuji: six o'clock (roku [six] + ji [hour]) Lesson 56 Te Form + ageru

In the last lesson we learned how kudasai means "to give down to (me)." Ageru also means "to give," but it means "to raise; to give up to (someone)," putting the receiver on a higher level than the giver. Let's set aside the Te Form for a minute and confirm the kudasai / ageru relationship with these simple examples:

Sono pen o kudasai. (Please give me that pen.) Kono pen o agemasu. (I'll give you this pen.)

As you can see, kudasai and ageru (made polite here with the Base 2 + masu ending) both work with a noun (a pen) as "to give," but kudasai is used with "me" and brings the giving direction down, showing a "humbler" position, while ageru is used with "you" to take the giving direction up, to show respect. Now, it works the same way with verbs in Te Form, showing that someone is going to do something for someone else. If you ask someone to do something for you, you use the Te Form + kudasai, as covered in the last lesson, but when you want to state that you'll do something for someone, you use the Te Form + ageru:

Matte ageru. (I'll wait for you.) Ato de denwa shite ageru. (I'll call you later.) Tabetakunakereba, tabete ageru. (If you don't want to eat it, I'll eat it for you.)

In Japanese, verbs and their conjugations are truly 80% of the language, as these examples show. The ability to omit understood subjects and objects not only helps to make this possible, it's also a great convenience. Remember to use agemasu in situations where politeness is needed. Finally, as a general rule, use agete the Te Form of ageru with nothing attached when asking someone to do something for someone else:

Bob ni pen o kashite agete. (Lend Bob your pen.) Shizuka no kutsu no himo o musunde agete. (Tie Shizuka's shoelaces.)

There are many more verbs and combinations that express "giving" or doing things for others in Japanese, which are chosen depending on the situation, the position of the giver or receiver, and, in cases where there's a third person, whether or not he or she is in hearing range. However, kudasai and ageru are the most basic and useful of them all, and will work nicely in most cases. 1 Word Check

sono: that kono: this ato de: later kasu: to lend kutsu: shoe(s) himo: rope, string, laces musubu: to tie; to connect

Notes 1. I have received inquiries about the Te Form with yaru as an alternative for ageru. Don't use it. It can be heard in Japanese manga (comics and cartoons) and samurai movies, but not in daily conversation except maybe among guys "talking tough." It is disrespectful at best. You will not make any friends or impress anyone (except negatively) if you were to use it in Japan. It's for "talking down" to, and showing contempt for others. Just as the English used in R-rated American movies cannot be thought of as a model for everyday speech in daily conversation in mixed company in America or elsewhere, the Japanese used in manga or anime is no model for everyday Japanese. Lesson 57 Te Form + goran / goran nasai

Goran literally means "to honorably take a look." You use it to ask someone to try something, usually in short, mild command-like sentences. You never use it on yourself. Adding nasai gives it a stronger command element, which is used to prove a point. As a general rule, use goran by itself to ask someone to try something or look at something when you're not certain about the outcome, and goran nasai when you need to make it stronger or when proving you're right about something (or think you are):

Bob ni kiite goran. (Ask Bob and see what he says.) Tabete goran. (Taste it and see if you like it.) Mite goran. (Take a look.) Sanae ni denwa shite goran. (Try calling Sanae.) Kare wa sanjuu hachi to kaite aru. Yonde goran nasai. (It says he's 38. Read it for yourself.) Tana no ue ni shio ga aru yo. Mite goran nasai. (There is some salt on the shelf. See for yourself.) Kouen no kouyou wa ima kirei yo. Itte goran nasai. (The autumn leaves in the park are beautiful now. Go and see for yourself.)

That's how we use goran nasai. Word Check kiku: to ask denwa suru: to call (on the phone) sanjuu hachi: thirty-eight kaite aru: is written (Te Form of kaku [to write] + aru [to be; to exist]) yomu: to read tana: shelf ue ni: on/above (the top of) something shio: salt yo: (This is added to the end of sentences for emphasis.) kouen: a park kouyou: autumn leaves; fall colors ima: now kirei: beautiful, pretty

Lesson 58 Te Form + iru

A verb's te form with iru is used to show present progressive tense. This is probably the most used verb form of them all, and provides an important grammatical base from which many other relevant forms can be made. Iru by itself is an ichidan verb meaning "to be; to exist," and when connected to another verb using the Te Form means "to be doing (something)." So, in a way, it works like English, but thankfully unlike English doesn't change according to the subject. Look at these examples:

Watashi wa koko ni iru. (I am here.) Watashi wa aruite iru. (I am walking.) Karera wa zasshi o yonde iru. (They are reading a magazine.) Watashitachi wa Takamatsu ni sunde iru. (We live in Takamatsu. [We are living in Takamatsu.]) Shizuko wa tabete iru. (Shizuko is eating.) Kanojo wa sushi o tabete iru. (She is eating sushi.) Bill wa nihongo o benkyou shite iru. (Bill is studying Japanese.)

These examples should help you get a good idea as to how this form works. Note how Japanese is more "grammatically true" than English in some cases, like when using the verb sumu (to live [somewhere]), as in the fourth example above. Even though living in a place is present and progressive, we can get away with using just "live" in English. Because of this, it is natural for foreigners to slip and directly translate that to sumu in Japanese, when they really should use sunde iru. Another easy slip for foreigners is the simple phrase "I know." When someone tries in English to dazzle us with some bit of information we've already heard, we say "I know," but in Japanese we say shitte iru (literally, "I'm knowing [it]."), and not shiru. When you stop making this mistake you'll know that you're starting to think in Japanese. Since iru is a plain ichidan verb, it can be conjugated as such and some of the other endings applied. Especially important are masu, mashita, masen, and masen deshita, which were covered in the Base 2 endings. As you already know, these are polite endings and should be used in all but familiar settings. Let's review these through some Te Form examples:

Watashi wa shimbun o yonde imasu. (I'm reading the newspaper.) Kinou nete imashita. (Yesterday I slept all day. [Yesterday I was sleeping all day.]) Kare wa furansugo o benkyou shite imasen. (He's not studying French.) Kyou terebi o mite imasen deshita. (I didn't watch TV today. [I wasn't watching TV today.])

It should be mentioned here that the Japanese use the past progressive tense much more than we use it in English. For example, in English we would normally ask a person, "What did you do last night?" and not "What were you doing last night?" In Japanese it's the opposite. It's common to use the past progressive tense: Sakuban nani o shite imashita ka. (What were you doing last night?) Accordingly, the answer will be in the same tense: Terebi o mite imashita. (I was watching TV.) Another thing that needs to be mentioned about the Te Form + iru is that it is often "slurred" together. For example, yonde iru (reading) will sound like yonderu. In fact, it is even written this way with the i in iru omitted in comics and novels where the writer wants to show characters using everyday conversational Japanese. Finally, this form also plays a vital role in sentences where a relative pronoun would be used in English:

Tennis o shite iru ko wa Bob no imouto desu. (The kid [who is] playing tennis is Bob's [younger] sister.) Sunahama de asonde iru inu wa boku no desu. (The dog [that's] playing on the beach is mine.)

I know you're wondering, so I'll tell you: "to play; to do" (shite iru) should sound like SHTEH-EERU or SHTERU; "to know" (shitte iru) should sound like SHEET-TEH-EERU or SHEET-TERU. Listening carefully becomes the best teacher here. We'll take a look at some useful negative forms of this in the next lesson. Word Check aruku: to walk karera: they, them zasshi: magazine sumu: to live (somewhere) nihongo: the Japanese language shiru: to know neru: to sleep sakuban: last night nani: what suru: to play a sport or game; to do (something) ko: kid, child 1 imouto: little (younger) sister 2 sunahama: beach asobu: to play (without any particular purpose or object, as a small child or animal does) inu: dog boku: I (familiar form used by males)

Notes 1. Strangely, there is no single, simple word in Japanese for "girl" or "boy." The correct way to say "girl" is onna no ko and "boy" is otoko no ko (literally, "woman-child" / "man-child"). These can be shortened to ko in many situations, but, like "kid" in English, there may be times when this will not be appreciated if used in front of the parents. 2. In Japanese, different words are used for older siblings than younger ones: ani for older brother, ane for older sister, otouto for younger brother, and imouto for younger sister. Lesson 59 Te Form + inai

As mentioned in the last lesson, iru is an ichidan verb meaning "to be; to exist." As such, it can be changed into a negative and take the various negative Base 1 endings just like other verbs. While there are some negative endings that cannot be used when it's combined with the Te Form, which makes them present or past progressive, there are many that can. First let's do some plain negative examples, which are based on those used in the last lesson:

Sam wa koko ni inai. (Sam's not here.) Karera wa zasshi o yonde inai. (They aren't reading a magazine.) Watashitachi wa Okayama ni sunde inai. (We don't live in Okayama.) Bill wa nihongo o benkyou shite inai. (Bill isn't studying Japanese.) Tabete inai ko wa Shizuko desu. (The child who isn't eating is Shizuko.)

Remember to use masen for polite speech:


Sam wa koko ni imasen. (Sam's not here.) Karera wa zasshi o yonde imasen. (They aren't reading a magazine.) Watashitachi wa Okayama ni sunde imasen. (We don't live in Okayama.)

We can easily apply nai deshou and nakereba, which were covered in the Base 1 endings:

Kodomotachi wa benkyou shite inai deshou. (The kids probably aren't studying.) Benkyou shite inakereba, nani o shite iru deshou ka. (If they're not studying, what are they doing?)

Now please look at the following examples, carefully noting and confirming the differences between plain and polite, present and past, infinitive and progressive:

Watashi wa ringo o tabenakatta. (I didn't eat an apple. [plain]) Watashi wa ringo o tabemasen deshita. (I didn't eat an apple. [polite]) Watashi wa tabete inai. (I'm not eating [now]. [plain]) Watashi wa tabete imasen. (I'm not eating [now]. [polite]) Sono toki tabete inakatta. (I wasn't eating then. [plain]) Sono toki tabete imasen deshita. (I wasn't eating then. [polite]) Bob wa benkyou shite inakereba yakyuu o yaru koto ga dekiru deshou. (If Bob wasn't studying we could play baseball.) Bob wa benkyou shite inakattara yakyuu o yaru koto ga dekita deshou. (If Bob hadn't been studying we could have played baseball.)

Please remember that Japanese lets you leave out the subject when it's understood (or thought to be), which can be convenient at times, though vague and troublesome at others. The last two above are good examples of this. In either, "we could" could be "he could," depending on the actual situation. To make the meaning perfectly clear, we would have to add watashitachi wa or kare wa before yakyuu. Dekita, which appears in the last example, is the Ta Form of dekiru (can; to be able). We'll get into the Ta Form after covering the Te Form endings. Another handy use for the Te Form + inai is to express "not yet," as in:

Watashi wa mada tabete inai. (I haven't eaten yet.) Seiko wa mada kaimono ni itte inai. (Seiko hasn't gone shopping yet.) Yumi ni mada denwa shite inai no? 1 (Haven't you called Yumi yet?)

You'll notice mada used in these examples, which is normally used in negative constructions to convey "not yet." Word Check toki: time (usually a specific time) yakyuu: baseball mada: yet (used with negatives for "not yet") kaimono: shopping denwa suru: to telephone (someone)

Notes 1. No at the end of sentences plays the same role as ka. It's for asking questions, and goes especially well with plain ones. Lesson 60 Te Form + ita

Since ita is the Ta Form of iru, I first thought I'd wait until we got into the Ta Form before introducing it. However, since it is not only a Te Form ending, but also an often used element of conversational Japanese, I decided to go ahead and cover it here. Put simply, ita is the plain past form of iru, and expresses the past progressive tense when added to verbs in the Te Form:

John wa terebi o mite ita. (John was watching TV.) Karera wa zasshi o yonde ita. (They were reading a magazine.) Bill wa benkyou shite ita. (Bill was studying.)

There were two points mentioned in Lesson 58 that we'll review here. They are important because they are used constantly in daily conversation. The first is that in Japanese the past progressive tense is used much more than it is in English. In fact, there are cases where it would sound odd if translated directly into English in the same tense and used that way. To illustrate this I have made up a short yet very natural conversation. I include the usual English translation, but also add what the direct translation from Japanese would be, which is underlined: A: Kinou wa nani o shite ita? (What did you do yesterday? [What were you doing yesterday?]) B: Kaimono o shite ita. Soshite terebi o mite ita. (I went shopping. And I watched TV. [I was doing shopping. And I was watching TV.]) A: Hontou? Boku wa kuruma o aratte ita. (Really? I washed my car. [Really? I was washing my car.]) Yes, that is how Japanese speak of past everyday events with friends and family: the past progressive Te Form + ita is often used. Also, this would be two males speaking. Males usually use boku in familiar settings, as well as ore and washi for "I." Females usually use watashi or sometimes atashi. The second point is that in actual conversation the verb and ita are often jammed together. The above example conversation looks all proper when written, but no real friends or family members at least those who are at a familiar enough level to use plain endings in the first place are going to speak so grammatically correct. Just for the fun of it, here is the same conversation as it would actually sound: A: Kinou nani shiteta? (Whadja do yesterday?) B: Kaimono shiteta. Soshite terebi miteta. (I went shopping. And watched TV.) A: Hontou? Boku kuruma aratteta. (Really? I washed my car.) Now that's real Japanese. As I'm sure you know by now, in settings where polite speech is called for, upgrade ita to imashita. Word Check soshite: also; besides; and hontou: really kuruma: car arau: to wash

Lesson 61 Te Form + itadaku / morau

Please forget that itadaku is shown in its plain form in the title of this lesson. Because itadaku is a very polite word, meaning something like "I humbly partake," it will almost always be used with one of the masu endings. The Te Form + itadaku ending can be used like Te Form + kudasai to ask favors, as covered in Lesson 55, and it can also be used to show appreciation for favors received. Itadakimasu! by itself is the standard salutation used in Japan before eating a meal, and can be used when receiving or taking something from someone. When asking for something in the workplace or other "non-familiar" settings, itadaku is often converted to Base 4 and masu ka added. (Please review Lesson 51 if necessary.) This creates a very nice "may I humbly partake of your doing (something) for me" request. Here are some examples. The literal "humbly partake" nonsense will be replaced with a more natural English translation:

Johnson-san ni denwa shite itadakemasu ka. (Would you please call Mr. Johnson?)

O-namae o oshiete itadakemasu ka. (May I please have your name?) Niji ni kite itadakemasu ka. (Would you please come at two o'clock?)

And here are a few more variations that are often used:

Ashita watashi ni denwa shite itadakemasen ka. (Won't you please call me tomorrow?) Kono shorui o kinyuu shite itadakemasen deshou ka. (Could I possibly get you to fill out these forms?) Murai-san ni senshuu ginkou ni itte itadakimashita. Oboete imasen ka. (I had you [Murai-san] go to the bank for me last week. Don't you remember?)

(Concerning name use and suffixes, please see About You and Name Suffixes.) As in English, the rule of thumb is to make the request more polite as its level of difficulty or ridiculousness increases. I have always considered itadaku to be a "true Japanese" word, one that conveys certain traditional cultural points. While "I humbly partake" serves as a general translation and starting point, it's not easy to define the full "essence" of itadaku in English. It can, however, be gradually understood by osmosis as one gets accustomed to the culture of Japan, particularly giving and receiving and the levels occupied by giver and receiver. While kudasai and itadakimasu and their various forms are often interchangeable, the important difference has to do with subject emphasis. With kudasai, you automatically becomes the understood subject and you're asking "please give down to me." With itadakimasu, I automatically becomes the understood subject and you're saying "I humbly receive from you." When there's no need to be very polite, use morau instead of itadaku. Make no mistake: morau is not impolite, it's just plain. As usual, adding a masu ending makes it polite, but not quite as polite not as "respectful" as itadakimasu. Also, morau is the one to use when talking about a third party. However, itadakimasu is always used with food, even when the giver is not present. Morau is okay when referring to other things. I realize that all of this sounds complicated, and it can be at times. Actually being present in a situation where this stuff is being used helps a lot, but since we can't do that here, we'll look at some more examples: Mom: Kimiko: Kimiko ni mise ni itte moraitai. (I want you [Kimiko] to go to the store for me.) Ima shukudai o shite iru. Ken ni itte moratte. (I'm doing homework now. Get Ken to go.)

As you can see, this is a family situation, so all the plain forms are perfectly normal. No particular reservations are needed here. Let's look at a slightly different conversation: Mom: Kimiko: Mom: Kimiko: Kimiko ni mise ni itte moraitai. (I want you [Kimiko] to go to the store for me.) Ima shukudai o shite iru. Ojii-chan ni itte moraimashou ka. (I'm doing homework now. Shall I get Grandpa to go?) (not wanting to bother Grandpa) Ken ni itte moraou ka naa. (I wonder if I should get Ken to go.) (thinking that Grandpa needs to get out more) Ken wa ima inai. Ojiichan ni itte moraimasu. (Ken's not here now. I'll get Grandpa to go.)

This is the same family, but note how verbs connected with Grandpa are made polite with masu. Traditionally, if Grandpa deserves respect and is in earshot, this would be the best way to go.

Mom: Everyone:

Gohan yo! Tabemashou! (Dinner's ready! Let's eat!) Itadakimasu! (Let's eat! [Literally, I/we humbly receive this.])

Itadakimasu is always used with food, even if all you're taking is a potato chip. Suzuki-san: Tanaka-san: Ginkou ni ikimashou ka. (Shall I go to the bank?) Murai-san ni itte moraimashita. (I had Ms. Murai go.)

This is at the office, and these two are being courteous. They probably don't see each other every day, or they may be in an area where customers or clients are and want to make a good impression with their polite speech. If they belonged to a close-knit group that worked together every day by themselves they would probably use plain forms. Suzuki-san: Customer: O-namae o oshiete itadakemasu ka. (May I please have your name?) Hai. (Sure.)

Customers are always treated like royalty and get the most polite forms. Here's another good example situation: Kimiko and her grandfather are at a shopping center where they are handing out free pens. The salesclerks would say agemasu as they give the pens out (and up) to their customers. As the customers take the pens they might say arigatou (thank you) or itadakimasu (I humbly receive). If Grandpa wants to ask Kimiko if she got one, he'd probably use moratta ka (Did you get one?) or maybe moraimashita ka, which would be more polite. Kimiko, being in the same situation as her grandfather as a receiver, would naturally use the same verb and say hai, moratta or moraimashita (Yes, I got one). Now, if a different salesclerk offers another pen to Kimiko and she wanted to say that she already got one, she would say itadakimashita (I already received one), which would be the most polite and adult thing to say since the salesclerk represents the giver (the store) here. To say moratta could sound rude or juvenile. It would be impossible to cover all the subtle language possibilities and nuances here regarding giving and receiving in Japan. The words and wording will change according to your position as giver or receiver, your age and relationship with the other(s), and other variables. However, this should cover the main questions and suffice as a guide. Keep in mind that, just like anywhere else, each home, office, company, and region will have its own "atmosphere" and certain unwritten rules pertaining to language use. Word Check o-namae: name (The honorific o- prefix is used with strangers, customers, etc.) oshieru: to teach, tell shorui: forms, documents, paperwork kinyuu suru: to fill out (forms) senshuu: last week ginkou: bank oboeru: remember mise: store shukudai: homework ima: now

Lesson 62 Te Form + kara

This one's a snap. Simple and useful, the Te Form + kara means "after (doing something)...," as in:

Tabete kara kaimono ni iku. (After I eat I'm going shopping.) John wa shukudai o shite kara kuru. (John's coming over after he does his homework.) Naomi ga kaette kara tabemashou. (Let's eat after Naomi comes back.)

Please keep in mind that this one only works after verbs in the Te Form. You can't use it directly after nouns such as summer to mean "after summer." There are other ways to do that. With nouns that require the active participation of the subject, such as those two common ones work and school, you just make them the subject/object with ga, then add the Te Form of owaru, which means "to finish":

Gakkou ga owatte kara yakyuu o yarou. (Let's play baseball after school.) Shigoto ga owatte kara eiga o mi ni ikimashou. (Let's go see a movie after work.)

Please remember that there's another kara that means "because" which is used with Base 3 (Lesson 29) and the Ta Form (Lesson 73). Word Check kaeru: to return; to come home owaru: to end; to be finished gakkou: school yakyuu: baseball yaru: to do (plain form of suru); to play games or sports shigoto: work (noun); a job eiga: movie mi ni iku: to go (and) see (This is the Base 2 form of miru [to see] with the directional indicator ni and iku [to go]. See Lesson 13.)

Lesson 63 Te Form + kureru

In Lesson 55 we did kudasai, the polite "please" used for favors requested. Kureru is used in generally the same way, and it's used constantly in familiar daily conversation when rank or "greatness" doesn't need to be worried about. Let's plug kureru into some example sentences:

Rokuji ni kite kureru? (Will you please come at six?) Jitensha o kashite kureru? (Would you please loan me your bicycle?)

You'll hear plain kureru after the Te Form a lot. This is the simplest way to ask a favor, but I wouldn't use it on my boss or the emperor when he's in town. It's good for family members and close friends. Some people add the question-forming no on the end. This is also often used as a way to confirm something which appears to be obvious but wasn't expected. For example, if someone appears to be getting ready to pay for your lunch (and you don't mind), you might say Ah, ogotte kureru no?, which literally means "Oh, are you going to (kindly) pay for mine?" When using kureru without no for a sincere request, it's customary to say kureru with a rising "pretty please" kind of intonation. A masu ending always makes verbs sound nicer, and works great when talking to colleagues or about others:

Denwa bangou o oshiete kuremasu ka. (Will you please tell me your phone number?) Ritsuko wa heya o souji shite kuremashita. (Ritsuko kindly cleaned the room.)

Use plain negative nai for an urgent, repeated request, especially one that's already been turned down:

Kyuukei sasete kurenai ka. (Won't you please let me take a break?) Watashitachi to issho ni kite kurenai no. (Won't you please come with us?)

(Kurenai no is softer than kurenai ka.) And finally, there is the "kure command":

Kite kure. (Please come here.) Matte kure. (Please wait.)

I recommend avoiding this one until you get a feel for its various nuances according to intonation used. Again, this is the "command" form of kureru, and it could be offensive in some cases. (You might say that it takes all the "please" out of kureru.) There may not be a big difference between kudasaimashita and kuremashita, but there is a huge difference between kudasai and kure. In fact, a verb in Te Form with nothing after it can sound nicer than with kure, depending on intonation. After watching enough Japanese TV or movies, you'll see what I mean. Word Check kasu: to lend ogoru: to treat (someone) to a meal denwa bangou: telephone number oshieru: to tell; to teach heya: a room souji suru: to clean kyuukei suru: to take a break issho ni: together; with

Lesson 64 Te Form + kuru / iku

As you already know, kuru and iku mean "to come" and "to go," but when used after the Te Form they take on a whole new dimension which may have nothing to do with physical movement. Just as kuru and iku mean to come to or leave a given place, after the Te Form they can also mean to come up to or start from a given time. Notice how kuru comes up to a point and iku takes off or continues from one:

Ron wa sukoshi zutsu nihongo ga wakatte kimashita. (Little by little Ron came to understand Japanese.) Doitsu no rekishi o benkyou shite kimashita. (I have been studying German history.) PC wa yasuku natte iku deshou. (PCs will most likely get less and less expensive.) Sono tame, PC no shiyousha ga fuete iku to omou. (Because of that, I think that the number of PC users will increase.)

As can be seen, the Te Form + kuru points to results or events leading up to the present or another point in time, while iku takes off from the present or another point in time, expresses future plans, dreams, assumptions, etc. One very good example of this form being used to express a physical going and coming is itte kuru, the Te Form of "to go" followed by "to come." Usually upgraded with masu, Itte kimasu! is the traditional expression one uses when going out, and means exactly what it's supposed to: "I'm going out and coming back." (If you say just ikimasu, the literal equivalent of "I'm going," it's considered unlucky because it will be interpreted as "going away and not coming back," so avoid saying that unless you really mean it.) Accordingly, people will sometimes use this to ask others where they went: Doko e itte kita? (Where did you go [and come back from]?) Other simple examples of this are:

Tabete kita. (I ate before coming over.) Shirabete kuru. (I'll go check it [then come back].)

Please be careful not to confuse these with Base 2 + ni kuru / ni iku, which were covered in Lesson 13. Please review if necessary. Word Check sukoshi zutsu: little by little nihongo: the Japanese language wakaru: to understand doitsu: Germany rekishi: history benkyou suru: to study yasuku naru: to become less expensive (yasui [adj.]: cheap, inexpensive; combined with naru: to become; to grow) sono tame: due to that shiyousha: user (shiyou suru: to use, combined with sha: person) fueru: to increase omou: to think (used after to to mean "[I] think that...." See Lesson 45.) shiraberu: to check (something); to examine; to look up (as in a dictionary or telephone book)

Lesson 65 Te Form + miru

As you know, miru means "to see," which makes this one easy to remember. In English we sometimes say "I'll see if I can...," meaning that we'll give something a try. Well, you can do the same thing in Japanese by putting the verb you want to try in the Te Form and adding miru, which can also be converted to suit the needs of the occasion:

Kono kanji o yonde miru. (I'll try to read these kanji.) Kono atarashii PC o tsukatte miyou. (Let's give this new PC a try.) Sushi o tabete minai no? (Won't you try some sushi?) John ni hanashite mimasu. (I'll try to talk to John.) Kare ni denwa shite mimashita ga, rusu deshita. (I tried calling him, but he wasn't in.)

Word Check kanji: Chinese characters adapted for use in writing Japanese yomu: to read atarashii: new tsukau: to use taberu: to eat hanasu: to talk; to speak to (someone) denwa suru: to telephone (someone) rusu: to be out 1 Notes 1. Rusu looks like a verb, but it's not. In Japanese grammar, it acts like a "quasi adjective," but technically it's not one of those either. It's one of those words that sit on the pile of irregulars, with its own set phrases. For example, you can use it as a verb if you add ni suru after it, as in Bob wa ima rusu ni shite imasu. Or you can use it like an adjective by adding something from the desu group after it: Bob wa ima rusu desu. Either way, the meaning is the same: "Bob's not in now."

Lesson 66 Te Form + mo ii

This one is used to ask or give permission. We have already looked at ii in other verb forms and combinations (Lessons 26 and 49), so you should be a little familiar with it. It's an adjective which means "good," "fine," "okay," etc. The mo after a verb in its Te Form means something like "if (someone) were to...." Accordingly, adding the ii makes it "if (someone) were to (do something) it would be okay," "it's okay if (someone does something)," etc. Let's do a few examples:

Boku no PC o tsukatte mo ii yo. (You can use my PC.) Gohan o tabete kara terebi o mite mo ii. (You can watch TV after you've eaten your dinner.) Jisho o karite mo ii? (Can I borrow your dictionary?)

There are a couple of things the grammar books won't tell you. The ones I have checked give you the impression that desu is used after ii to make it polite. Yes, that is the way it works grammatically, as with all adjectives, but I have never heard desu by itself used after ii for a polite, positive response. There is usually something else added on, like yo: ii desu yo (Sure you can...); or ka: ii desu ka (May I...?). In the workplace, ii is often upgraded to the more formal yoroshii, a word you'll hear a lot if you watch the samurai dramas:

Raishuu no getsuyoubi o yasunde mo yoroshii desu ka. (May I take off next Monday?) Kyou, hayaku kaette mo yoroshii. (You may go home early today.)

You may sound like you're talking down to people if you use this to give permission, so I'd advise avoiding it unless you're a big boss or want to pretend you're one. As with most Japanese, however, the right intonation with desu yo after it can soften it for more informal use. Another handy thing to know is that it's perfectly okay to omit the mo in familiar conversation:

Watashi no jisho o tsukatte ii yo. (Sure, you can use my dictionary.) Hai, terebi mite ii yo. (Yeah, you can watch TV.)

(Yes, you can also get away with omitting particles, like the object indicator o, in familiar situations as in the last example above. As I've already mentioned, Japanese is much more forgiving and "grammatically unfussy" than English, a fact that makes it easy to work with at times.) Now, I just mentioned that I've never heard desu used by itself after ii for a polite, positive reply. It is used a lot, however, for conveying a different and negative meaning. If you hear people arguing, you may hear an ii desu! yelled out by one of the arguers, with the ii strongly emphasized, said much louder than the desu. Sometimes you may hear a long mou before the ii: mou ii desu. (It sounds like mou-EEEEE-dess!) Either way, it's equivalent to our "Enough already! Just forget it!" Word Check boku: I (used only by males in familiar settings) tsukau: to use yo: You bet I mean that... (...or something like that. It's added to the end of sentences for overall emphasis.) gohan: food 1 kariru: to borrow raishuu: next week getsuyoubi: Monday yasumu: to rest; to take a break; to have time off from work (of a short or long duration) hayaku: quickly kaeru: to go home; to return

Notes

1. Gohan actually means "cooked rice," but is often used to loosely mean "food," especially "a meal" in general. When the time of day can be guessed, gohan will usually be used instead of the words for "breakfast," "lunch," or "dinner": Bokutachi wa shichiji ni kaette, gohan o tabeta. (We got back at seven, then had a meal [=dinner]). Lesson 67 Te Form + oku

By itself, oku means "to put," but after a verb in the Te Form it means "will certainly do (that verb)," or "will go ahead and do (that verb)." There isn't a whole lot of difference between shite oku and plain old suru to express "will do," but shite oku, or any verb in the Te Form with oku, expresses the fact that someone will definitely do that something right away or in the very near future. It has a "will go ahead and do" kind of feeling to it. This Te Form with oku is also normally used for things which can be done in a relatively short amount of time. It can even be used in the past tense to state that you went ahead and did something. It isn't used in the negative; we don't use it to say that we won't or didn't do something. As usual, remember to convert oku to Base 2 with a masu ending to make it polite. All right. With all that explaining out of the way, it's time to make some sentences:

Ron ni denwa shite oku. (I'll call Ron.) Mado o akete oku. (I'll open the window.) Kasa o katte okimasu. (I'm going to buy an umbrella.) Kanojo ni ki o tsukeru you ni itte okimasu. (I'll tell her to be careful.) Shukudai o shite okimashita. (I [went ahead and] did my homework.)

Again, when not following a verb in the Te Form, oku means "to put," as in: Hon wa tsukue no ue ni oite kudasai (Please put the books on the desk), so please be careful not to confuse them. I should mention here that verbs in the Te Form with oku can sometimes be very difficult to catch. That's because very few native speakers speak as neatly as the examples written above. The te + oku is usually compressed into something that sounds like "toku." For example, most native speakers would say the last example above so that it sounds like: Shukudai shtokimashita. That's what you would actually hear. Word Check oku: to put mado: window akeru: to open ki o tsukeru: to be careful; to take care 1 iu: to say; to tell shukudai: homework hon: book(s) tsukue: desk ue: the top (of something) you ni: in order to; in order that; for (a certain purpose or result); so (something will take effect or happen)

Notes 1. Ki is a noun with many meanings, like "heart," "mind," and "energy." In this idiom it means "attention." Tsukeru means "to attach" or "apply," so the overall meaning becomes clear: to pay attention; to be careful. It's used often. Lesson 68 Te Form + shimau

Shimau alone means "to finish" or "put away (something)," and it retains the same general meaning when combined with a verb in the Te Form, pointing towards the completion of a task. Since shimau is a standard verb, you can also conjugate it in a dozen different ways. A few examples are:

Shukudai o shite shimaimashou. (Let's finish up our homework.) Choushoku o tabete shimaimashita. (I've finished eating breakfast.) Heya o souji shite shimau hou ga ii yo. (You should finish cleaning up your room.)

One other role that this Te Form + shimau plays is to express the doing of something which was hard to decide to do, doing something unexpected, or the happening of something unexpected:

Kuruma o katte shimaimashita. (I bought a car.) Bob wa ude no hone o orete shimaimashita. (Bob broke his arm.) 1 Kanojo wa Osaka ni itte shimaimashita. (She [up and] went to Osaka.)

And that's not all. Shimau is also used for expressing concern about the possibility of something negative happening and/or the dismay at finding out that something negative happened:

Watashi no fuku ga yogorete shimau! (My clothes'll get dirty!) Ah! Fuku ga yogorete shimaimashita. (Oh, no! My clothes got dirty.) Densha ni noriokurete shimau yo! (We'll miss the train!) Ah! Kippu o nakushite shimaimashita! (Oh, no! I lost my ticket!)

Finally, I guess I'll mention that in everyday, familiar settings a "slang" form of shimau is often used. At first I decided to leave this point out because I felt that it would just complicate things, but then one of my readers mentioned it, which made me think it over again. And, since it is used a lot, I've decided to go ahead with it. It's "chau," and, borrowing two examples from above, it sounds like this:

Densha ni noriokurechau yo! (We'll miss the train!) Ah! Kippu o nakuschaimashita! (Oh, no! I lost my ticket!)

Yes, this slang form takes the hite out of shite and really compresses things: shite + chau = schau. The others are: -te + chau = -tchau and -nde + chau = -njau. Again, I realize that this complicates things, which is why I advise not even thinking about it until you've been learning Japanese for a while and feel comfortable with the old standard shimau and its uses. You will hear these contracted forms quite often in daily conversation, however, so having this basic knowledge of them may be useful. Also, I should mention that the last example above is a bit unnatural grammatically fine (in a slangy kind of way), just unnatural because you've got the slang with a polite masu ending. The way to make this natural would be to put it in the plain past Ta Form: nakuschatta! We'll be getting into the Ta Form soon. Word Check shimau: to put away; to finish choushoku: breakfast heya: a room souji suru: to clean kuruma: car ude: arm hone: bone 1 oreru: to break 1 fuku: clothes yogoreru: to get dirty densha: train noriokureru: to miss (a mode of scheduled transportation. This is a compound from the verbs noru [to ride] and okureru [to be late].) kippu: ticket (usually a small ticket for a train, bus, or ferry) nakusu: to lose (something)

Notes 1. Here we must give English the nod for being smart. If you break a bone in Japanese, you have to include the word hone (bone) in the expression. You can't just say "I broke my arm"; you have to say "I broke my arm's bone." Lesson 69 Te Form + wa ikaga / dou desu ka

These are a couple of simple ways to suggest things, to ask, "How about (doing something)?":

Ima chuushoku o tabete wa ikaga desu ka. (How about having lunch now?) Ashita Ritsurin Kouen ni itte wa ikaga desu ka. (What do you think about going to Ritsurin Park tomorrow?) Atarashii terebi o katte wa dou desu ka. (What do you say we buy a new TV?)

These are, of course, polite. You can omit the desu ka for plain, familiar talk. If you do, do not add the plain, question-forming no these don't use it. Instead, at the very end make the intonation fall a little then return. You can say dou ka, but not ikaga ka. (Well, you can say it, but I doubt that you'll ever hear it.) Actually, dou ka is not really used that often after -te wa, but usually alone, meaning "What do you think?" or "How is it going?" However, if you're going to use it in this way, put in the desu: Ikaga desu ka or Dou desu ka sound so much better. Word Check ima: now chuushoku: lunch taberu: to eat ashita: tomorrow iku: to go atarashii: new terebi: TV (wasei eigo created from "television") kau: to buy

Lesson 70 Te Form + wa ikemasen

Polite ikemasen or plain ikenai are used alone to mean "Don't do that!", "You mustn't do that!", "Naughty!", etc. Just go to a shopping center where mothers and kids are together and you're bound to hear either of these, especially ikenai. When placed after the Te Form with wa, ikemasen or ikenai point to what's forbidden:

Shashin o totte wa ikemasen. (You can't take pictures.) Okurete wa ikemasen yo. (Don't be late.) Boku no PC o sawatte wa ikenai! (Don't touch my PC!)

Since statements like these are mainly used in familiar situations, plain ikenai will be heard more often than ikemasen. Also, the -te wa element is often "crushed" into a colloquial form that sounds like "-tcha": Boku no PC o sawatcha ikenai! Also, to make it even more colorful, ikenai will often be put into a dialectal form, like ikan (Takamatsu), iken (Okayama), akan (Osaka), etc. So, if you move to a new area or make a new friend from one, chances are good that you'll have the opportunity to learn a new way to say this.

Ikenai! by itself is also handy for expressing your aggravation at realizing that something has been forgotten:

Ikenai! Joushaken o wasurete shimaimashita! (Oh, no! I forgot my ticket!) Ikenai! Kimiko wa kasa o motte iku no o wasuremashita! (Oh, no! Kimiko forgot to take her umbrella!)

Getting back to -te wa ikenai / ikemasen, there are other ways to say the same thing that you may hear. A very popular substitute for -te wa ikenai in familiar settings is -te wa dame (-tcha dame), and a more formal one is -te wa naranai / narimasen. In fact, "Thou shalt not..." in the Japanese version of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament is translated "...(verb) -te wa naranai." Word Check shashin: a photograph toru: to take 1 okureru: to be late boku no: my (male familiar) sawaru: to touch joushaken: a train ticket wasureru: to forget kasa: umbrella motte iku: to take (something away with you or for someone else to do so); to carry away (This is a combination of motsu [to hold] and iku [to go].)

Notes 1. The verb toru has many different usages, many of which parallel its English counterpart: to take something from a place or person; to take a picture with a camera; to take (steal) something from someone. However, the kanji used for each meaning are different, so keep that in mind when you start studying kanji. (Because of this it is often just written in hiragana these days.) Another important point is that there are also many actions that use take in English that do not use toru in Japanese, like "take a bath," for example. So please don't assume that toru can be used universally for take. (In Japanese you get into the bath: ofuro ni hairu.) Be careful not to elongate the o in toru when pronouncing it, which is easy to do, because tooru is a totally different verb, meaning "to pass (by/over something)." Lesson 71 Te Form for Continuing Statements

Let's wrap up the Te Form with one of its basic and very convenient uses: talking about multiple or further actions. First, some simple ones. Let's combine three actions into one statement:

Shizu ni denwa shite, heya o katazukete, kaimono ni ikanakereba naranai. (I've got to call Shizu, straighten up the room, and go shopping.) Kesa watashi wa shichiji ni okite, gohan o tabete, hachiji ni ie o demashita. (This morning I got up at seven o'clock, ate breakfast, and left home at eight.)

As you can see, when a certain conjugation applies to all verbs in a construction, only the final verb is conjugated to give the intended meaning; the ones preceding it in the Te Form will automatically assume the same conjugation. To end a particular conjugation (intended meaning) and continue with a different one, just put that conjugation in the Te Form and continue:

Kinou watashi wa inu ni soto de asobasete, esa o ataete, jibun no yuushoku o tsukurimashita. (Yesterday I let the dog play outside, fed him, and then made my own dinner.)

Please keep in mind that not all conjugations have or use the Te Form. When you're not sure, just start a new sentence. You don't want to get into the habit of making run-on sentences, which can happen in Japanese as easily as it can in English. Incidentally, Base 2 can also be used to end a phrase and continue, as outlined here. Word Check heya: a room katazukeru: to clean up; to straighten up; to put in order kaimono: shopping kesa: this morning okiru: to get up gohan: a meal ie: home; a house deru: to leave; to go/come out kinou: yesterday inu: dog soto: outside esa: pet food; bait ataeru: to give jibun: self yuushoku: dinner tsukuru: to make

Lesson 72 Ta Form: The Plain Past

We finally arrive at the Ta Form, whose major purpose is to make things plain, past, and simple. Let's first make sure we can convert all the verb types into the Ta Form. It will be easy if you have mastered converting into the Te Form, because the Ta Form is the same except that the final e is instead an a. Just for a quick check, let's drag out the tables used to introduce the Te Form and convert them to show the Ta Form: Yodan verbs: Base 3 (plain form) Ta Form kau aruku isogu kasu matsu shinu asobu yomu kaeru katta aruita isoida kashita matta shinda asonda yonda kaetta

Ichidan verbs: Base 3 (plain form) Ta Form taberu oboeru kimeru deru kariru miru Irregular verbs: Base 3 (plain form) Ta Form kuru suru kita shita tabeta oboeta kimeta deta karita mita

As with the Te Form, there are a few weird ones among the yodans that will take some getting used to. Also, iku (to go) remains an oddball: it becomes itta. Once again, the Ta Form's major role is to make things plain and to put them in the past tense. This is what you use when you don't need the politeness of Base 2 with mashita. Let's do some real basic everyday phrases ones so familiar that the particles are left out:

Watashi shita. (I did it.) Kami kitta. (I got a haircut.) O-hiru tabeta. (I ate lunch.) Terebi mita. (I watched TV.) Hon yonda. (I read a book.) Boku no kingyo shinda. (My goldfish died.)

Let me say here that even though certain particles have been omitted in the above examples, there are limits. There are cases where particles would never be cut, even by the fastest-talking Japanese. Please be sure to learn the particles and get comfortable using them, and only omit them when everyone else does. In the long run, you will impress far more Japanese friends and associates by speaking proper Japanese than by using shortcuts and slang. The Ta Form is also used as a noun modifier. For example, hon yonda means "I (or someone else) read a book." If we switch these around to yonda hon, yonda modifies hon like an adjective, hon becomes the subject, and the meaning becomes "the book I (or someone) read." Very handy, right? Let's make some more of these:

Watashi ga karita kasa wa Kimiko no. (The umbrella I borrowed is Kimiko's.) Shinda kingyo wa, roku nen kan katta. (The goldfish that died I had six years.) Joy ga yaita keeki wa oishikatta. (The cake Joy made was delicious.) Boku ga katta PC wa, juu hachi man en deshita. (The PC I bought was one hundred eighty thousand yen.) Bob ga benkyou shita koto wa totemo yakudatta. (The things Bob studied were very helpful.)

Just as the Te Form is sometimes called Base 6, the Ta Form is sometimes called Base 7. But since I hear it called the Ta Form more often, that's what I'll be calling it throughout these lessons.

Word Check kami: the hair on one's head 1 kiru: to cut 2 o-hiru: lunch (This is "midday" with the honorific o prefix, and is less formal than chuushoku.) 3 kingyo: goldfish nen: year(s) yaku: to cook; to bake; to burn 4 keeki: cake (wasei eigo) oishikatta: was delicious (This is the adjective oishii [delicious] combined with its past tense forming conjugation -katta.) juu hachi: eighteen (juu [ten] + hachi [eight]) man: (a unit of) ten thousand en: Japanese yen 5 benkyou suru: to study koto: thing(s), usually intangible ones totemo: very yakudatsu: to be helpful or useful

Notes 1. Kami no ke is the literally correct and complete way to refer to the hair on your head. Ke alone is hair any hair, anywhere, even on a caterpillar. (Caterpillar in Japanese is kemushi, literally "hairbug.") To refer to your hairstyle or the hair on your head as a whole, use kami. 2. Kami kitta is always a puzzler to students of Japanese. Although it literally means "I cut my hair," it actually means the passive "I got a haircut; I had someone cut my hair." There are a few of these which are commonly used, where it is acceptable to say you did something that you actually had someone else do. You could call it an understood and accepted inaccuracy. Another one you will often hear is ie o tatete iru for "I'm having a house built." Incidentally, there is another kiru which means "to wear." 3. Interestingly, the words asa, hiru, and yoru (morning, noon, night) are also used to mean the meals associated with those times, especially in casual speech. The strange thing is that only hiru gets the "honorific o" prefix: asa: breakfast; o-hiru: lunch; yoru: dinner. 4. Yaku is a multi-purpose verb, and has to do with fire, whether it's cooking or burning something. Even "sunburn" uses it: hiyake. If something has been baked in an oven, yaku is the verb usually used with that object. 5. Although Japanese currency is known to everyone in the west as "yen," in Japanese there is no "y" sound at the beginning. It is just en. Lesson 73 Ta Form + Combinations Shared With Base 3

Now that we've seen how the Ta Form works, the rest really isn't too difficult. There are a few "ta form only" combinations, but there are many more that we have already become familiar with back in the Base 3 section. I trust you remember that Base 3 is the plain, root form of Japanese verbs. (If necessary, please see Lesson 1 for a quick review.) You could think of the Ta Form as a very close relative, the major difference being that while it expresses the plain past, Base 3 is used for the plain present or future. Due to this, these two share many add-ons and endings. Since we have already covered these, I feel that separate lessons

just to show them in the past tense are unnecessary. Instead, I've decided to cover some of them here along with corresponding Base 3 plain future constructions, which will serve as a nice review. Again, these are not all of the verb add-ons and endings shared by Base 3 and the Ta Form. They are some of the more useful ones which have already been introduced in the Base 3 lessons. Each one will have an example of a Base 3 form for the plain future tense, and the same form converted to the Ta Form for plain past. Carefully note the similarities and differences. For a more detailed review, please click the lesson links. deshou (Lesson 24):

Yumiko wa Kyoto ni iku deshou. (Yumiko will probably go to Kyoto.) Yumiko wa Kyoto ni itta deshou. (Yumiko probably went to Kyoto.)

hazu (Lesson 25):


Kare wa rokuji ni kuru hazu. (He's supposed to come at six.) Kare wa rokuji ni kita hazu. (He was supposed to come at six.)

We already know that desu can be added to various structures to make them polite, and one of the examples in Lesson 25 included it. And, because deshita is the past form of desu, it is easy to make the mistake of adding it to past tense sentences although it is unnecessary. Where the action verb is changed to the Ta Form to make the structure past tense, as in the last example above, use desu to make it polite, not deshita. One past tense element is enough. hou ga ii (Lesson 26):

Kyou densha de iku hou ga ii. (It would be better to go by train today.) Kyou densha de itta hou ga ii. (It would be better to go by train today.)

That's right, whether you use present or past with hou ga ii, the meaning the tense of the meaning is the same. Please take careful note of this. The bottom example above might be mistaken for expressing regret: "It would have been better if..." Please don't make this mistake. To express regret, use Base 4 + ba yokatta: Kyou densha de ikeba yokatta. (I should have taken the train today.) Please also note that the past (Ta Form) with hou ga ii is used more often in daily conversation than the present (Base 3). ka dou ka (Lesson 27):

Kare wa dekiru ka dou ka kikimashou. (I'll ask him whether or not he can do it.) Kare wa dekita ka dou ka kikimashou. (I'll ask him whether or not he was able to do it.)

kamo shirenai / shiremasen (Lesson 28):


Konban, Jun wa The Lord of the Rings o miru kamo shirenai. (Jun might see The Lord of the Rings tonight.) Kinou no ban, Jun wa The Lord of the Rings o mita kamo shirenai. (Maybe Jun saw The Lord of the Rings last night.)

kara (Lesson 29):


Beth wa itsumo okureru kara sensei ga okoru. (The teacher gets angry because Beth is always late.) Beth wa okureta kara sensei ga okotta. (The teacher was angry because Beth was late.)

noni (Lesson 41):

Hayaku okiru noni mainichi okureru. (Even though I get up early, I'm late every day.) Hayaku okita noni okureta. (Even though I got up early, I was late.)

sou desu (Lesson 42):


Takada-san wa yameru sou desu. (I heard that Mr. Takada's quitting.) Takada-san wa yameta sou desu. (I heard that Mr. Takada quit.)

Please remember that this sense of sou is not used without desu. to omoimasu (Lesson 45):

Bob wa goji ni kaeru to omoimasu. (I think Bob will come back at five o'clock.) Bob wa goji ni kaetta to omoimasu. (I think Bob came back at five o'clock.)

mitai (you desu) (Lesson 47):


Ame ga furu mitai. (It looks like it's going to rain.) Ame ga futta mitai. (It looks like it rained.)

Word Check kyou: today dekiru: can; to be able to (do something) konban: this evening (kon [now, the present] + ban [evening]) itsumo: always sensei: teacher okureru: to be late okoru: to get angry hayaku: (adverb) quickly; early okiru: to get up mainichi: every day (mai [every] + nichi [day]; mai is used with units of time, not with people or objects.) yameru: to quit a job; to quit or end a task furu: to fall as precipitation (rain, snow, etc.)

Lesson 74 Ta Form + bakari

To express "someone (did something) just now," put bakari after a verb in its ta form:

Okaa-chan wa kaetta bakari. (Mom just got back.) Watashi wa tabeta bakari. (I just ate.) John wa deta bakari. (John just left.) Kono heya o souji shita bakari. (I just cleaned this room.) Sono kasa o katta bakari. (I just bought that umbrella.)

In fact, now that I think of it, it's more common in Japanese to use katta bakari to say that something is new than to use atarashii, the adjective for "new." In other words, if you wanted to say "that's a new umbrella," sono kasa o katta bakari would be the natural way to say it, while the direct translation sore wa atarashii kasa desu sounds awkward, like something memorized from a grammar book. There is another flavor of bakari that I'll introduce here, since this seems to be the best place to do so. It's a colloquial expression that means "all (someone) ever does is...," usually as a complaint. This is used after the Te Form, like this:

Tabete bakari. (All you ever do is eat.) Ano ko wa terebi geemu o yatte bakari. (All that kid does is play computer games.) Shizuka wa eigo o benkyou shite bakari. (All Shizuka ever does is study English.)

As you can see, the meaning of -ta bakari is quite different than -te bakari. Once you get these sorted and memorized, you'll find them very useful. Word Check okaa-chan: Mom, mother (familiar) deru: to leave; to go/come out heya: a room souji suru: to clean ano: that (thing over there); that (subject we're talking about) ko: child, kid (familiar) terebi geemu: computer game(s) (wasei eigo for "TV games") yaru: to play (games or sports); to do (familiar, not as polite as suru) eigo: the English language

Lesson 75 Ta Form + koto ga aru

To talk about things you or others have experienced, use koto ga aru after a ta form verb. First, let's look at a couple of sample conversations where the plain, most common form is used: A: Nihonshoku o tabeta koto ga aru? (Have you ever eaten Japanese food?) B: Hai, sushi to sukiyaki o tabeta koto ga aru. (Yes, I've eaten sushi and sukiyaki.) A: Tako wa tabeta koto ga aru? (Have you ever eaten octopus?) B: Iie, tabeta koto ga nai ga, tabete mitai. (No, I haven't, but I'd like to try it.) And here is one using polite arimasu: A: Okinawa ni itta koto ga arimasu ka. (Have you ever been to Okinawa?) B: Hai, arimasu. Nikai ikimashita. (Yes, I have. I've been twice.) There are two things about this conversation that I would especially like to point out. The first is that when you ask "have you been to (a place)" in Japanese, you use the past tense of the verb iku (to go) and literally ask "have you gone to...," which, to me, makes more sense than our English use of the past participle been. The second is that in using this form, you're admitting having experienced something at least once. If you want to mention how many times you've done that something, you do not use this form, but regular past tense. As in B's reply above, in Japanese you don't say "I've been twice," but "I went twice." Another point to remember about this conjugation is that the ga is often omitted: A: Kono hon yonda koto aru? (Have you read this book?) B: Iie, mada yonde inai. (No, not yet. [No, I haven't read it yet.]) (The mada + Te Form + inai conjugation for "not yet" was mentioned at the end of Lesson 59.) Word Check nihonshoku: Japanese food (This is a simple compound: nihon [Japan] + shoku [food]) tako: octopus

-te mitai: want to try (Base 2 + tai form of the Te Form + miru. See Lessons 8 and 65.) nikai: twice (This is a compound of ni [two] + kai [times]) mada: (not) yet

Lesson 76 Ta Form + ra

Simply said, the Ta Form + ra does the same thing as Base 3 + nara (Lesson 35) or Base 4 + ba (Lesson 48): it provides the "if" element for conditionals, but is used more frequently in familiar settings than the other two. Let's make some examples showing each of these three conditional structures. First, let's review Base 3 + nara:

Dekakeru nara, kouto ga hitsuyou ni naru deshou. (If you're going out, you'll probably need a coat.) Denwa suru nara, kare wa kuru deshou. (If you telephone him, he'll probably come.) Ima kodomotachi wa sunakku o taberu nara, o-hiru o tabenai deshou. (If the kids eat a snack now, they probably won't eat lunch.)

Next, we'll convert these to Base 4 + ba:


Dekakereba, kouto ga hitsuyou ni naru deshou. (If you're going out, you'll probably need a coat.) Denwa sureba, kare wa kuru deshou. (If you telephone him, he'll probably come.) Ima kodomotachi wa sunakku o tabereba, o-hiru o tabenai deshou. (If the kids eat a snack now, they probably won't eat lunch.)

And here's what they look like using the Ta Form + ra:

Dekaketara, kouto ga hitsuyou ni naru deshou. (If you're going out, you'll probably need a coat.) Denwa shitara, kare wa kuru deshou. (If you telephone him, he'll probably come.) Ima kodomotachi wa sunakku o tabetara, o-hiru o tabenai deshou. (If the kids eat a snack now, they probably won't eat lunch.)

Again, this one seems to be preferred in everyday, familiar conversation. I think you'll notice it being used a lot, making it easy to master. I must add here that not all three conditional forms used in the examples above can be used in all conditional senses. There are always exceptions. Because there are so many possible nuances and contexts, it would be impossible to cover them all in this lesson. There are cases where just one of these will be natural and correct in a given situation. However, the -tara form does appear to be the most preferred in daily conversation. Incidentally, -tara dame is used a lot for "Don't (do something)" instead of -te wa ikenai (Lesson 70). For example, Ima tabetara dame would be used for "Don't eat now." Word Check dekakeru: to go out hitsuyou ni naru: to be/become necessary sunakku: a snack (wasei eigo) o-hiru: lunch

Lesson 77 Ta Form + rashii

Just as mitai is often used colloquially as the informal substitute for you desu (Lesson 47), rashii is often used as the informal substitute for sou desu (Lesson 42), meaning "It seems that...," "I hear that...," etc. Rashii was not introduced in the Base 3 group, but it does essentially the same thing as Base 3 + sou desu:

Takada-san wa yameru sou desu. (I heard that Mr. Takada's quitting.) Tanaka-san wa yameru rashii. (I heard that Mr. Takada's quitting.)

Desu is usually used after sou, making it more formal than rashii. Yes, you can make it plain by using da instead of desu, but most native speakers will just use rashii if they want to be informal. According to the books, desu can added after rashii to make it polite, but I personally have never heard it. Now that all the explaining is out of the way, let's get back to the Ta Form and make some plain past examples:

Sachiko wa Canada ni itta rashii. (I hear that Sachiko went to Canada.) Bob wa daibun futotta rashii. (I hear that Bob has gained a lot of weight.) Ken wa atarashii PC o katta rashii. (I hear that Ken bought a new PC.)

That's all there is to it. Word Check daibun: considerably; to a great degree futoru: to gain weight atarashii: new

Lesson 78 Ta Form + ri

Add ri to verbs in the Ta Form to mention various actions where accuracy or detail isn't necessary. Structures which use two or more verbs are most common. Be sure to add a form of suru after the last one:

Kinou no ban watashi wa terebi o mitari, ongaku o kiitari, shukudai o shitari shite imashita. (Last night I watched TV, listened to some music, and did some homework.)

This form is used to give the listener a general idea of actions done without particularly emphasizing the order of things done, and also implies that other things were done that don't need to be mentioned. If you want, you can use just one action verb for a quick answer:

Watashi wa terebi o mitari shite ita. (I watched TV and stuff.) Watashi wa manga o yondari shite, yuushoku o tabeta. (I read comics and stuff, then ate dinner.)

Now, just because the Ta Form is mainly used to convey the past tense, please don't think that this conjugation can only refer to the past. It can also be used for present or future happenings. Above I mentioned to be sure to add a form of suru, right? This is where you control the tense:

Jim wa furui mono o kattari uttari suru. (Jim buys and sells old things.) Ashita watashi wa benkyou shitari, souji shitari, terebi o mitari suru deshou. (Tomorrow I'll probably do some studying, some cleaning, and watch TV.)

If you need to add more detail or emphasize the order of actions, use the Te Form for multiple statements as covered in Lesson 71):

Kinou no ban watashi wa yuushoku o tabete kara terebi o mite, ni jikan gurai ongaku o kiite, ichi ji made shukudai o shimashita. (Last night after dinner I watched TV, listened to music for about two hours, then did homework until one o'clock.)

How about a complex combination to wrap this up? I think you're ready:

Kyou Sachiko wa heya o souji shitari kaimono ni ittari shite, chuushoku o tabete, hiru kara yuujin no ie ni ittari piano o renshuu shitari shite, sore kara yuushoku o tsukutte kureta. (Today Sachiko cleaned her room and did some shopping, ate lunch, then in the afternoon went to a friend's house, practiced the piano and things, then she made dinner.)

I realize that this is a run-on sentence, but it just so happens that they happily survive in great numbers in the Japanese language. Word Check ongaku: music shukudai: homework manga: a comic book furui: old mono: thing(s) (usually physical, tangible things) kau: to buy uru: to sell -te kara: after (doing something) (Lesson 62) gurai: about, approximately yuujin: friend ie: house renshuu suru: to practice tsukuru: to make

Lesson 79 Ta Form + to shitara

For suppositional statements, use the Ta Form with to shitara:


Ashita Bob ga kita to shitara, watashi wa hontou ni komaru. (If Bob were to come tomorrow, I'd really be at a loss.) Gogo kara ame ga futta to shitara, dou shimashou ka. (Supposing it rains this afternoon; what shall we do?) Ima oyogi ni itta to shitara, tabun koukai suru deshou. (If you were to go swimming now, you'd probably regret it.)

To sureba and to suru to are also suppositional and are often used in place of to shitara. Word Check hontou ni: really; without doubt komaru: to be confused, perplexed gogo: afternoon ame: rain furu: to fall naturally from the sky (rain, snow, etc.) ima: now oyogu: to swim

tabun: probably koukai suru: to regret

Lesson 80 Ta Form + to shite mo

This combination is closely related to the Ta Form + to shitara covered in the last lesson, but it adds a light warning or something extra to consider to the supposed idea. In English it would probably go something like "even IF (something were to happen), you must remember that (something else)...." Let's look at some examples to help make it clear:

Ashita Bob ga kita to shite mo, watashi wa asatte made au koto ga dekimasen. (Even if Bob were to come tomorrow, I wouldn't be able to see him until the day after tomorrow.) Anata wa supeingo o benkyou shita to shite mo, shigoto de tsukaenai deshou. (Even if you studied Spanish, you probably wouldn't be able to use it in your work.) Kenkou shokuhin o takusan tabeta to shite mo, undou shinakereba imi ga nai deshou. (Even if you were to eat lots of health food, it would be meaningless if you didn't exercise.)

As you can see, this combination is created by adding mo to suru in the Te Form. In fact, mo can be added to any verb in the Te Form for that "although" meaning:

Setsumeisho o yonde mo, kono sofuto ga wakarinikui. (Even if you read the manual, this software is hard to understand.) Kare wa ikura tabete mo, ippai ni naranai. (No matter how much he eats, he never gets full.)

Word Check asatte: the day after tomorrow 1 made: until au: to meet; to see (someone for an appointment) supeingo: the Spanish language (supein [Spain] + go [language]) shigoto: a job; one's work tsukau: to use kenkou: health shokuhin: food items; groceries takusan: many, much; a lot undou suru: to (get) exercise imi: a meaning setsumeisho: an instruction book; a manual (setsumei [explanation] + sho [handbook, document]) sofuto: software (wasei eigo) wakaru: to understand -nikui: difficult to (do something) 2 ikura: how much/many ippai: full -ni naru: to become (something [noun] or some condition [adjective])

Notes 1. Yes, the Japanese have one convenient word for "the day after tomorrow," just as they have one for "the day before yesterday," ototoi. 2. See Lesson 14.

Lesson 81 Ta Form + toki

There are several ways to translate time into Japanese, but toki is used when talking about the time that certain events occurred. After the Ta Form, it is equivalent to "when" in "When you came over last week...." Here are some examples:

Watashi wa sore o yonda toki, totemo odorokimashita. (When I read that, I was very surprised.) Sore o kiita toki waratta. (I laughed when I heard that.) John wa koketa toki zubon ga yabureta. (John's pants tore when he fell.)

Word Check totemo: very odoroku: to be surprised warau: to laugh kokeru: to stumble and fall; to trip and fall zubon: pants yabureru: to tear (intransitive); to be torn

Lesson 82 Ta Form + tokoro

This is a simple add-on that states that you (or someone else) have done something just now. One similar to this, the Ta Form + bakari, was already covered in Lesson 74. The major difference between these two is that bakari has a kind of "relatively speaking" sense to it, while tokoro really means just now. For example, sono kasa o katta bakari (I just bought that umbrella) could be used even if the umbrella was bought a week ago because, relatively speaking, it's still brand-new. However, if tokoro were used in this sentence instead of bakari, it would mean that the person had just bought the umbrella a moment ago; or, in the least recent sense, that the person had just arrived home from buying it. Here are some examples where tokoro is used frequently. Ima (now) is often placed before the verb to emphasize the freshness of the event:

Watashi wa ima kaetta tokoro. (I just got back now.) Kodomotachi wa ima tabeta tokoro. (The kids just finished eating.) Kono heya o souji shita tokoro desu. (I just cleaned this room.)

As usual, add desu to make a statement polite. There is another handy use for tokoro, and that is with plain (Base 3) verbs with datta (plain) or deshita (polite) added on. It's used to convey "was just about to....":

Ima Sachiko ni denwa suru tokoro datta. (I was just about to call Sachiko.) Watashi no saifu o wasureru tokoro datta. (I almost forgot my wallet.)

Word Check kasa: umbrella kau: to buy ima: now kaeru: to return; to go/come back kodomotachi: children (kodomo [child] + tachi [plural maker for people-related nouns]) heya: a room

souji suru: to clean saifu: wallet wasureru: to forget

Notes on Japanese Verbs

In any language there are always certain little things that are nice to know which are not mentioned in grammar books or dictionaries, things which can only be figured out by living among native speakers and carefully listening to them for years. Japanese is no exception. You could go "by the book" and choose structures and verb forms which will convert your English into Japanese in order to make yourself understood well enough, even though the words you choose are not what native Japanese speakers would use. What makes it worse is the fact that very, very rarely will they correct you, even when you make it clear that you'd appreciate it. The purpose of this page is to introduce certain patterns and exceptions among the verbs which will hopefully help to streamline the memorization process and shorten the road leading to correct usage. This is not a complete list. This only represents the tip of the iceberg, but it should help you get a better idea of what the whole iceberg is like. So that there is no misunderstanding, the verbs listed in bold type are in their plain (Base 3) form. They are not conjugations. They are "specialized verbs" with "set suffixes" added to the root kanji. Accordingly, they are already divided into transitive/intransitive, active/passive forms.

-aru / -eru In these pairs, one is a yodan verb ending in -aru, which is intransitive (has no direct object); and the other is an ichidan ending in -eru, which is transitive (acting on a direct object): agaru: to rise; to go/come up ageru: to raise up; to give

Agatte kudasai. (Please come in.) Hai, ageru. (Here, I'll give you this.)

These two, agaru and ageru, have close ties with Japanese culture. Because Japanese houses have a genkan (the space just inside the door which "shares dirt" with the outside) where you take off your shoes before stepping up into the house, agaru is used for "come inside." When exchanging gifts, you always receive downwardly and give upwardly (see Lessons 55 and 56). atsumaru: to get/come together atsumeru: to bring together; to collect

Shichiji han ni atsumarimashou. (Let's all meet at seven thirty.) Wendy wa furui kitte o atsumete iru. (Wendy collects old stamps.)

kimaru: to be decided kimeru: to decide


Sore wa ashita no kaigi de kimaru deshou. (That will probably be decided at tomorrow's meeting.) Hayaku kimete kudasai. (Please make up your mind quickly.)

mitsukaru: to be found mitsukeru: to find

Boku no jisho ga mitsukatta! (I found my dictionary!) Nikibi mitsuketa. (I found a pimple.)

These two can cause a lot of stumbling. Strangely, when you find something that was lost, in Japanese you use mitsukaru, as if it just found itself. Use mitsukeru for things that you find unintentionally. Also, even though it seems natural to use mitsuketai for "I'd like to find...," it's not. Use sagashite iru (sagasu: to look for). tasukaru: to be of help; to be rescued tasukeru: to rescue; to help

Arigatou. Hontou ni tasukarimashita. (Thank you. You were really a great help.) Dareka tasukete! (Someone help me!)

Deciding where tasukeru is suitable can sometimes be tricky. It's usually used in life-or-death matters and when helping people in real trouble or who are really busy. For routine helping, like helping in the kitchen, use tetsudau.

-eru / -u There are other pairs like the ones above where the intransitive ends in something else: todokeru: to send; to deliver (something to someone) todoku: to be delivered; to arrive (a package, etc., not a person)

Jim no tokoro ni kore o todokete kureru? (Would you take this over to Jim's place?) Boku no imouto kara tegami ga todoita! (I got a letter from my sister!)

tsuzukeru: to continue (doing something) tsuzuku: to continue (seemingly on its own)


Sagashi tsuzukete kudasai. (Please continue looking for it.) Kono bangumi wa itsu made tsuzuku no? (How long is this program going to run?)

Note: Here's a handy verb form for you to add to your list of extra goodies: Base 2 + tsuzukeru; to continue doing (whatever the Base 2 verb is).

-su / -u And there are pairs where the one ending in su is transitive and the other one is intransitive: dasu: to send out; to force out deru: to come/go out

Inu o dashinasai. (Let the dog out.) Ojii-chan wa soto e deta. (Grandpa went outside.)

herasu: to decrease; to lessen (something) heru: to decrease (on its own)


Shuppi o herashite kudasai. (Please cut down on your spending.) Kouen no hato ga daibun herimashita. (The number of pigeons in the park has greatly decreased.)

Please note that heru is one good example of a yodan verb that ends in eru.

kaesu: to return (something to someone) kaeru: to return (home or where you belong)

Raishuu kaeshite mo ii? (Is it okay if I return it next week?) Juuji made ni kaette ne. (Be back by ten o'clock, okay?)

kowasu: to break kowareru: to be broken


Dare ga boku no jitensha o kowashita? (Who broke my bicycle?) Kopiiki ga kowareta. (The copier is broken.)

nokosu: to leave (something) behind nokoru: to stay behind


Zenbu tabete. Nokosanaide kudasai. (Eat all this. Please don't leave anything.) Kaigi ga owattara, chotto nokotte kudasaimasu ka. (Would you please stay a little after the meeting?)

Don't use nokosu for something you accidentally left behind, use okiwasureru (oku: to put; to place + wasureru: to forget):

Ah! Honya ni kasa o okiwasurete shimatta! (Oh, no! I left my umbrella at the bookstore!)

orosu: to lower; to put down oriru: to go/come down; to get off or get out of a vehicle

Koko ni oroshite. (Put it down here.) Takamatsu eki de orite kudasai. (Please get off at Takamatsu Station.)

ugokasu: to move something or cause something to be moved ugoku: to move (on its own)

Sono kikai o ugokashite wa ikenai. (Don't move that machine.) Kemushi ga ugoita. (The caterpillar moved.)

yogosu: to make dirty yogoreru: to get dirty


Atarashii kutsu o yogosanaide ne. (Don't get your new shoes dirty, okay?) Boku no boushi ga yogoreta. (My hat got dirty.)

Of course there are others, but these should give you a good start. For most standard verbs, where there is no special intransitive or passive form, conversion can be done by:

yodan verbs: Base 1 + reru ichidan verbs: Base 1 + rareru suru verbs: change suru to sareru

and then conjugate accordingly, as in:


Sono megane o kaketara, warawareru deshou. (If you wear those glasses, you'll probably be laughed at.) Kono keeki wa taberarenai deshou. (This cake probably won't be eaten.) Shuuri sareta PC wa dochira desu ka. (Which PC is the one that was repaired?)

One area where Japanese is much more complicated than English is in the "wear verbs." The verb used depends on where and how something is worn. Here they are:

kiru: to wear around one's body, like a shirt, jacket, dress, kimono, etc. haku: to wear on or around one's lower body or feet, like pants, a skirt, socks, shoes, etc. kaburu: to wear (literally "cover") on one's head, like a hat or cap kakeru: to wear (literally "hang") on one's face, like glasses shimeru: to wear (literally "tie around") around one's waist or neck, like a belt, necktie, obi, etc. hameru: to wear on a finger, like a ring tsukeru: to wear (literally "attach") on one's clothes, like a name tag or pin

Besides these, suru is often used instead of the bottom four, and especially when talking about accessories.

This completes Japanese Verbs. Thank you for making it a part of your Japanese studies. My best wishes and gambatte kudasai! Japanese Verbs Supplement Please note: This page is intended for intermediate to advanced students of Japanese who are already comfortable with the material presented in my Japanese Verbs. 2007 - 2008 Tim R. Matheson

Contents Base 2 - Continuing Statements Base 2 - Compound Verbs as Verbs Base 2 - Compound Verbs as Nouns Base 2 - Very Polite Form with the o Prefix Very Polite Form with the go Prefix Base 1 - Very Polite Form with reru / rareru Base 2 - Unspecified Things Using mono Cancelling Actions with yameru The Many Faces of you ni / na Expressing Characteristics with suru Bases 3 & 4 - Expressing Results for Continued Actions with Base 4 + ba and Base 3 + hodo Te Form - Expressing No Results for Continued Actions Base 2 - Wanting to Do Things with tai

Base 2 - Continuing Statements Base 2 can be used to end phrases or clauses within a sentence as long as something follows. Base 2 is not used to end a sentence:

Shizu ni denwa shi, heya o katazuke, kaimono ni iku. (I'm going to call Shizu, straighten up the room, and go shopping.)

The Te Form can also be used to do this:

Shizu ni denwa shite, heya o katazukete, kaimono ni iku. (I'm going to call Shizu, straighten up the room, and go shopping.)

Please see Lesson 71 of my Japanese Verbs for more. Top

Base 2 - Compound Verbs as Verbs Verbs in Base 2 can be followed by other verbs in order to create compound verbs. Some of these are relatively easy to grasp and can be used quite freely, like Base 2 + hajimeru (to begin) or owaru (to finish):

Kumi wa juu ka getsu ni natta toki arukihajimeta. (Kumi began walking when she turned 10 months old.) Tabeowattara hachiji datta. (When I finished eating it was 8:00.)

Base 2 + sugiru (overdo):


Nomisuginaide ne. (Don't drink too much, okay?) Kristi wa itsumo shaberisugi. (Kristi always talks too much.)

(Sugiru is often cut to sugi. This is an exception and cannot be done indiscriminately with other verbs.) Base 2 + naosu (repair; redo):

Kore yomenai kara, kakinaoshite kureru? (I can't read this, so would you write it again?) Yarinaoshi. (Do it over.)

(Yarinaoshi is a "set" mild command, often used by teachers to students or bosses to subordinates.) Base 2 + naosu means to do something over again because the first time was sloppy or unsatisfactory, and should not be used to ask for a repeat of something done well. In that case, use something like Mou ichido (verb in the te form) kudasai. Base 2 + tsuzukeru (continue):

Yomitsuzukete kudasai. (Please continue reading.) Kazu wa juuji made hatarakitsuzuketa. (Kazu continued working until 10:00.)

And there are those that are more specialized. I cannot make an exhaustive study of them here, but will list many of those that I see or hear often as examples. Many of these can be combined with many other verbs, while others are limited or very specialized in their use. miwakeru : to distinguish by sight (miru + wakeru) kikiwakeru : to distinguish by sound (kiku + wakeru) miwatasu : to look over a wide area (miru + watasu) arukimawaru : to walk around (aruku + mawaru) mimawaru : to walk around and inspect (miru + mawaru) kikiwasureru : to forget to ask (kiku + wasureru)

uketoru : to receive (ukeru + toru) toritsukeru : to install (an appliance, etc.) (toru + tsukeru) hanashiau : to speak together (hanasu + au) mochikaeru : to take out (fast food, etc.) (motsu + kaeru) toiawaseru : to inquire (tou + awaseru) uchiawaseru : to arrange for (this usually implies making verbal arrangements for something beforehand) (utsu + awaseru) makimodosu : to rewind (a tape, etc.) (maku + modosu) haraimodosu : to refund (harau + modosu) sashikaeru : to replace (A with B) (sasu + kaeru) atehamaru : to be applicable to (ateru + hamaru) mochiageru : to raise up (motsu + ageru) mochiyoru : to bring (together with others, as with a potluck dinner) (motsu + yoru) hakobidasu : to carry out (to carry something out of a building, etc.) (hakobu + dasu) All of the above compounds are Base 2 verbs combined with Base 3 verbs for consistency. However, many of these will often be used as a noun with a Base 2 ending, such as uchiawase (a planning meeting) or haraimodoshi (a refund). (See the next section.) Please don't confuse these with the ones which use the particle ni in between, like tabe ni iku (go out and eat) and asobi ni kuru (come for fun). (See Lesson 13 of my Japanese Verbs.) Finally, although it will be tempting to create your own combinations combinations which seem perfectly understandable to you they probably will not be understood by native speakers unless they have a linguistically free mind. It is always best to check your dictionary to see if it exists beforehand. Top

Base 2 - Compound Verbs as Nouns Many verb combinations exist that are used mainly as nouns (Base 2 + Base 2), such as: yomikaki : reading and writing (yomu + kaku) kaiage : a purchase (kau + ageru) uriage : a sale (uru + ageru) deiri : entering and exiting (deru + hairu) ikiki : coming and going (iku + kuru) uketsuke : reception (as in a hotel or other business) (ukeru + tsukeru)

moushide : an offer (mousu + deru) moushikomi : application/applying (mousu + komu) Komu alone means "jammed" or "crowded," but is combined with many other verbs to add other nuances, such as "entering into" something, involvement, attachment, or resolve. For example, regular suwaru means "to sit," but suwarikomu means "to sit with a resolute attitude of immovability," such as a sick person, a spoiled child, or someone demonstrating would do. Top

Base 2 - Very Polite Form with the o Prefix There are two o+Base 2 verb forms I'd like to introduce. Both of them start by adding an "honorific o" prefix to the Base 2 form of the verb, which makes it act like a noun. (Incidentally, I use a hyphen to attach this o in my lessons for clarity, but in written Japanese there is no hyphen.) The first is only used when the subject is I (stated or implied) and you are speaking to another person who is the indirect object, the recipient of the action. For example, let's use the verb okuru, which means "to send." All of the following sentences mean the same thing "I'll send you the paperwork." but each conveys a different level of politeness or "honor," which expresses your opinion of the other person or the relationship you have with him or her. Note the differences:

Shorui Shorui Shorui Shorui

o okuru. (Base 3, plain) o okurimasu. (Base 2 + masu, polite) o o-okuri shimasu. (Base 2 with o prefix + shimasu, honorific and polite) o o-okuri itashimasu. (Base 2 with o prefix + itashimasu, honorific and more polite)

As you can see, the third and fourth examples use this Base 2 form with the o prefix and shimasu (polite form of suru) or itashimasu (polite form of itasu) to show respect to the other person. There are not really a lot of verbs that can be used this way. Just remember that it must be one used in an "I will do (something) for you" construction, like:

o-tsukuri shimasu / itashimasu ("I'll make it [for you]," from tsukuru, to make) o-mise shimasu / itashimasu ("I'll show you," from miseru, to show) o-shirase shimasu / itashimasu ("I'll let you know," from shiraseru, to notify)

With suru verbs, you just add the o and change the suru or replace it with itashimasu, as in:

o-denwa shimasu / itashimasu ("I will telephone you.") o-henji shimasu / itashimasu ("I will reply [to you].")

The second form is for the opposite flow of action you request the other person to do something for you. Here, you simply add kudasai directly after the verb/noun:

Shorui o o-okuri kudasai. (Please send me the paperwork.) O-tsukuri kudasai. (Please make one [for me].) O-mise kudasai. (Please show me.) O-denwa kudasai. (Please call me.)

If you are already familiar with the Te Form + kudasai ending, you will probably be tempted to create something like o-okutte kudasai or o-okuri shite kudasai. Both are incorrect, so be careful. Both forms introduced here illustrate the mixed blessing of the Japanese language not needing a subject in many cases. Since the o-Base 2 verb + suru form would only be used in (and automatically imply) an "I do for you" action, "I" and "you" are understood and are therefore omitted. Likewise, since the o-Base 2 verb +

kudasai form would only be used in (and automatically imply) a "you do for me" action, "you" and "me" are not needed. While this can be handy for the speaker, it is sometimes hard for the listener. Top

Very Polite Form with the go Prefix I add this form here because it is similar to the second form covered in the above section. It really has nothing to do with "bases." In fact, we could call this "baseless." There is an "honorific go" prefix that certain verbs use instead of o. This is only for asking favors and shows special respect to the one you're asking. The pattern is simple: go+noun or suru verb without suru + kudasai. Here are some:

go-renraku kudasai ("Please contact me.") go-kakunin kudasai ("Please confirm.") go-chuui kudasai ("Please be careful.") go-shusseki kudasai ("Please attend.") go-ran kudasai ("Please look.")

go-ran is a specialized form which does not exist with suru as a plain verb. It is used instead of miru to talk up to someone. And there are the ones which use the o prefix never go some of which were introduced in the last section. These can include yodan and ichidan verbs (in the Base 2 form) as well as the suru verbs (without suru), like:

o-uketori kudasai ("Please receive this.") o-henji kudasai ("Please reply.") o-tsutae kudasai ("Please tell him / her / them.") o-machi kudasai ("Please wait.") o-yomi kudasai ("Please read it.")

The most difficult part about this form is probably learning which suru verbs use o and which use go. There is no rule concerning this; you just have to memorize them as they come. To make things even more fun, when you get deep enough into your kanji studies you will find that the same one is used for both o and go the reading changes according to the verb it's attached to. However, these days this prefix is rarely seen in its kanji form; it's usually written in hiragana. Top

Base 1 - Very Polite Form with reru / rareru Above we covered polite forms for giving or asking favors. This section introduces verb conjugations which show respect for the actions of another person even though that action may have nothing to do with yourself. To become familiar with the general levels of politeness, look at these three examples:

Nanji ni shuppatsu suru? Nanji ni shuppatsu shimasu ka? Nanji ni shuppatsu saremasu ka?

All of these mean "What time will you leave?" using the "suru verb" shuppatsu suru, which means "to leave; depart." The plain suru ending is, of course, plain, being suitable for talking with family or friends. The shimasu ka ending is polite, and should be used when speaking to superiors and people you don't see that

often. Saremasu ka, which is actually Base 2 of sareru with polite masu attached, is even more polite, and is used to show special respect when you desire to do so. As for the conversion rules, you only need to remember four things: Yodan verbs use Base 1 + reru; ichidans use Base 1 + rareru; the suru of suru verbs changes to sareru (like the example above); and kuru changes to korareru. After conversion, you will notice that they have all become plain ichidans, and will therefore require further conjugation as such, according to need. There are no special rules for these "created" ichidans they are converted like any other ichidan verb. Here are some yodan examples:

Ashita Kyoto ni ikaremasu ka. (Are you going to Kyoto tomorrow?) Sakamoto-san wa kaeraremashita. (Mr. Sakamoto has left for the day.) Nani o nomaremasu ka. (What will you have to drink?)

Some ichidan:

O-sushi taberaremasu ka. (Will you have some sushi?) Sono eiga miraremashita ka. (Did you see that movie?)

Some more suru examples:


Kimiko ni denwa sareta hou ga ii to omoimasu. (I think it would be a good idea for you to call Kimiko.) Nan nen kan furansugo o benkyou saremashita ka. (How many years did you study French?)

And one kuru:

Raishuu no doyoubi ni koraremasu ka. (Will you come next Saturday?)

You can use this form in many, many cases, but, as in everything else, there are exceptions. For example, when asking a person if they will be in a certain place, do not use irareru; use orareru: Shibaraku koko ni oraremasu ka. "Will you be here for a while?" You will pick up these exceptions as you go along. Be sure to keep an ear out for them. The conjugation rules here are identical to the ones used in forming passives, as briefly mentioned near the bottom of my Notes on Japanese Verbs. Just remember that the very polite form outlined here acts on the subject always a person while the passive form acts on an object. Same conjugation rules, different use. Top

Base 2 - Unspecified Things Using mono There are several nouns used for unspecified things which are made by putting the relevant verb in Base 2 and adding mono, which means "thing." Probably the best known example of this is kimono, which literally means "wearing thing" (kiru + mono). Other examples are nomimono : something to drink (from nomu), as in:

Nomimono wa ikaga desu ka. (How about something to drink?)

And norimono : something to ride in; a vehicle (from noru), as in:

Are wa tanoshii norimono da. (That's a fun ride.)

Here are a few more:

tabemono : something to eat; food (from taberu) ikimono : a living thing; creature (from ikiru) kaimono : shopping (not something bought; from kau) iremono : a container (not whatever is put inside; from ireru) tsumemono : stuffing; filling (including filling for a decayed tooth; from tsumeru)

Unfortunately, you can't just slap mono onto any verb in Base 2. Like the ones above, they have already been decided upon and set aside, so please check your dictionary before using. Top

Cancelling Actions with yameru Using Base 3 or the Ta Form with hou ga ii to convey things which should be done has been covered in Lessons 26 and 73 of my Japanese Verbs. When you want to advise someone, even yourself, to not do something, to not go ahead with a plan, use the verb yameru (to stop) in Base 3 (plain) or in the Ta Form:

Ojii-san wa ima tsuri o yameru hou ga ii to itte iru. (Grandpa is saying that it would be better not to go fishing now.) Yameta hou ga ii yo! (It would be best not to do it.)

In my own experience, yameta hou ga ii is preferred in conversation. Depending on the tone of voice, it could mean a friendly "It would be best not to do it" or a more command-like "Don't do it!" Because yameta is past tense, this often causes confusion. What I do is think of it as meaning "after all is said and done, you will look back and see that it was good (ii) to have cancelled (yameta) it." By the way, if you go ahead with something and regret it later, wishing you had not done it, express that feeling by putting ii (yoi) into past tense: ...o yameta hou ga yokatta. (It would have been best to cancel...) Here are some other handy expressions with yameru and yokatta:

...o yamete yokatta (I'm glad I cancelled... / It was a good thing that we cancelled...) ...o yamenai hou ga yokatta (It would have been best not to cancel...) ...o yamenaide yokatta / ...o yamenakute yokatta (I'm glad we didn't cancel...)

Please see the hou ga ii section of Lesson 73 of my Japanese Verbs for more information. Top

The Many Faces of you ni / na Between verbs, you ni conveys "in order to," "so that," etc., as in:

Piano o jouzi ni hikeru you ni mainichi renshuu shite iru. (In order to be able to play the piano well, I practice every day.) Furansugo o jouzi ni hanaseru you ni naritai. (I want to be able to speak French well. [you ni naritai = want to become so that...])

One very handy aspect of you ni is that it can be used to start an idea which is completed (mentally) by the other party. Compare these examples, with their literal translations:

Ashita rokuji ni okireru you ni, mezamashidokei o setto shite ne. (So that you can get up at six tomorrow, set the alarm clock, okay?) Ashita rokuji ni okireru you ni, shite ne. (Do whatever so that you can get up at six tomorrow, okay?) Ashita rokuji ni okireru you ni, ne. (So that you can get up at six tomorrow, okay?) Ashita rokuji ni okireru you ni... (So that you can get up at six tomorrow...)

These Japanese sentences are all perfectly viable. Although unfinished, what the ending will be is easily guessed. This is similar to the much-used unfinished English expression "You shouldn't have!" A student of English will wonder "shouldn't have what?"; but seasoned English speakers know it means "shouldn't have gone through so much trouble for me." This "add your own ending" is seen a lot in birthday cards and year-end nenga greeting cards, where it means "Best wishes for...," "I hope you have...," etc. Here it can act on a whole sentence:

Tanoshii o-tanjoubi de arimasu you ni... ([May] you have a fun birthday.) Go-kazoku ni totte, rainen wa taihen yoi o-toshi de gozaimasu you... ([I hope] next year is a very good one for your family.)

Please notice that I purposely left the ni off the last example. This is also seen a lot, especially in the written language. Another function of you ni is to convey "seems to," "appears to be":

Kenzo wa yopparatte iru you ni aruite iru. (Kenzo is walking like he's drunk.) Beth wa wakaranai you ni mieru. (Beth looks as if she doesn't understand.)

(You never omit the ni in this use.) If a noun is described, use na instead of ni :

Beth wa wakaranai you na kao o shite iru. (Beth's face looks as if she doesn't understand. [...kao o shite iru = to do (make) a face]) Nenryou wa takusan tsukau you na kuruma desu ne. (It seems to be a car that uses lots of fuel.)

There's still more. You can use you ni after nouns to describe verbs. Add a no after the noun:

Kanojo wa uma no you ni taberu. (She eats like a horse.) Kare wa usagi no you ni hashiru. (He runs like a rabbit.)

And you can use you na after nouns to describe nouns:


Inu no you na neko. (That cat's like a dog.) Kanojo wa moderu no you na kao o shite iru. (She has a face like a model's.)

This should sufficiently cover the popular uses of you ni/na between verbs, nouns, or their combinations, as well as at the end of well-wishing words. It is involved in so many functions that I fear I may have forgotten one or two. If I find that I have, I'll add them later on. Top

Expressing Characteristics with suru Although a bit hard to grasp at first, there is a form of suru which is used to show characteristics, mainly outward features which are visible or can be easily sensed. This use of suru was already hinted at in examples used in the section above, so I will bring those two examples down here:

Beth wa wakaranai you na kao o shite iru. (Beth's face looks as if she doesn't understand.) Kanojo wa moderu no you na kao o shite iru. (She has a face like a model's.)

In the first example, Beth is confronted with something hard to understand, and so makes a face on purpose or not which shows that. To be true to suru, you could think of it as meaning "does a face," but the natural English would be "makes a face" if intentional, or "has a face" if not. In either case ...o shite iru

is used. In the second example, her face's looking like a model's does not rely on any forced facial expression, yet the same ...o shite iru form is used. Here are a couple more based on ...o suru :

Sonna iya na kao o shinakutemo ii yo! (You don't have to make such a disagreeable face!) Ano koinu wa kawaii kao o shite iru. (That puppy has a cute face.)

For other "sensed" natural or passive things, especially sounds, smells, tastes and feelings, use ...ga suru :

Ame ga furu you na nioi ga suru. (It smells like it's going to rain.) Obaa-san ga kaetta you na oto ga suru. (It sounds like Grandma is back.) Kare wa yurusanai you na ki ga suru. (I have the feeling that he won't allow it.) Top

Bases 3 & 4 - Expressing Results for Continued Actions with Base 4 + ba and Base 3 + hodo This one is easier than the title makes it look. To convey "the more you (do something)..." put the verb in Base 4 with ba followed by the plain form (Base 3) of the same verb with hodo, then add your result:

Noboreba noboru hodo samukunaru. (The higher you climb the colder it gets.) Amai mono o tabereba taberu hodo futokunaru yo. (The more you eat sweet things the fatter you'll get!)

With suru verbs only suru needs to be repeated:

Benkyou sureba suru hodo kashikokunaru. (The more you study the smarter you'll get.) Top

Te Form - Expressing No Results for Continued Actions Let's now do the opposite of the above section and convey no change after the effort. One way to do this is with ikura + Te Form of the verb + mo :

Ikura yatte mo dekinai. (No matter how many times I try, I can't do it.) Kore o ikura tabete mo futoranai. (You won't gain weight no matter how much of this you eat.) Ano bangumi o ikura mite mo kashikokunaranai yo. (No matter how often you watch that program, you won't get any smarter.) Kanojo wa ikura piano o renshuu shite mo issho. (No matter how much she practices the piano, there's no improvement.)

Issho means "together; with," but is often used as it is in the above example to mean "the same," "no change," or "no progress." Top

Base 2 - Wanting to Do Things with tai Base 2 + tai was covered briefly but not sufficiently in Lesson 8 of my Japanese Verbs. Please remember that tai is only for wanting to do actions, and not wanting things. The following examples show a wide range of constructions possible using tai along with other conjugations. Please note how tai changes depending on these conjugations. Here I use iku (to go) in all the examples, but any verb could be used as long as it is in its Base 2 form.

Mise ni ikitai. (I want to go to the store.) Boku wa ikitakunai. (I don't want to go.) Issho ni ikitakatta. (I wanted to go with you.) Hontou wa, ikitakunakatta. (Actually, I didn't want to go.) Ikitakereba, issho ni ikimashou. (If you want to go, let's go together.) Ikitakunakereba, ikanakute mo ii yo. (If you don't want to go, you don't have to.) Kare no hanashi o kiitara, ikitakunatta. (After hearing what he said, I now want to go.) Tenki wa warui kara, ikitakunakunatta. (The weather's bad, so now I don't want to go.) Ikitakunattara, denwa shite kudasai, ne. (If you decide that you want to go, please call me, okay?) Raishuu ikitakunaru kamo shirenai. (Maybe I'll want to go next week.)

The naru element is sometimes difficult to grasp in English, but means "to become" something from either nothing or something else. Accordingly, ikitakunaru means literally "to become to want to go" and is used where there was or might be a previous state of not wanting to go or indecision about going. Natta is the past tense of naru. English Phrasal Verbs to Japanese Dictionary Phrasal verbs can sometimes be challenging and hard to find in English-Japanese dictionaries, if they are listed at all. Here you should be able to find most of the common ones used every day. Each phrasal verb will be followed by vi (intransitive verb, not taking a direct object) or vt (transitive verb, taking a direct object), a short definition for clarification if needed, the Japanese equivalent, and an example sentence in Japanese along with its English translation. Please keep in mind that this is not meant to be comprehensive. In many cases there are other Japanese words which can be used instead. However, the ones listed here are those which I feel are the most preferred. Please cross-reference using other dictionaries in order to get a good feel for the total scope of each word or phrase. Also, please remember that not all English verb forms will translate into a Japanese verb form. Sometimes the commonly used Japanese equivalent will be an auxiliary or something else entirely. Example sentences will use a wide variety of verb conjugations. Please use my Japanese Verbs as a guide for these. While I have taken care to choose examples which translate over in a straightforward manner, there are some that are not a perfectly literal match. They will be, however, close enough to convey the meaning shown while being commonly used in both languages. Even though Japanese tends to prefer passive structures much more than English, I have kept some active simply to keep the structure true to the English in order to be more easily understood. If further clarification is necessary, or if there are others which you would like to see included here, please feel free to contact me. 2008 Tim R. Matheson

Contents | be l blow | call | catch | cheer | come | cut | drop | fill | get | go | hang | keep | look | make | put | show | take | tell | turn | wear | work | write |

be about to 1 vt (to be on the verge of doing) ...tokoro: Ima kara yuushoku o taberu tokoro. (I'm just about to eat dinner.) be up to 1 vt (to be doing) shite iru: Kimiko wa nani o shite iru ka na? (I wonder what Kimiko is up to.) 2 vt (to be planning to do, often something devious) takuramu: Ano futari wa kitto nanika takurande iru. (Those two are surely up to something.) 3 vt (to feel like doing) ...ki ga aru: Kouen made aruku ki ga aru? (Are you up to a walk to the park?)

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blow away 1 vt fukitobasu: Kaze wa kare no boushi o fukitobashita. (The wind blew his hat away.) 2 vt (to surprise) odorokasu: Sore o itte mina odorokashita. (I said that and blew everyone away.) blow out 1 vt (to extinguish) fukikesu: rousoku o fukikeshite ne. (Blow out the candles, okay?) 2 vi (for a tire to blow out) panku suru: Jitensha no tire ga panku shita yo. (The bicycle tire blew out.) Panku is borrowed from the English "puncture." blow over 1 vt fukitaosu: Kaze wa sanbon no denchuu o fukitaoshita. (The wind blew over three telephone poles.) 2 vi (to die away) toorisugiru: Kono arashi ga toorisugiru made matsu shika nai. (All we can do is wait for this storm to blow over.) blow up 1 vi (to explode) bakuhatsu suru: Kyonen, kouba no tanku ga bakuhatsu shimashita. (A tank at the factory blew up last year.) Top

call off 1 vt (to cancel) chuushi suru: Asu ame ga futtara, yama e no haikingu o chuushi suru. (If it rains tomorrow Im going to call off the hike in the mountains.) call on 1 vt (to visit) houmon suru: Kurashiki ni itta toki yuujin o houmon shita. (I called on a friend when I went to Kurashiki.) call out 1 vt yobidasu: O-namae o yobidashitara, kountaa ni kite kudasai. (When I call out your name please come to the counter.) call up 1 vt denwa suru: Karen ni denwa shita no? (Did you call up Karen?) Top

catch it 1 vi (to be scolded) shikarareru: Yameta hou ga ii. Shikarareru yo. (You better not do it. Youll catch it.) catch on 1 vi (to understand) rikai suru: Sono uchi rikai suru. (Youll catch on in time.) catch up 1 vi oitsuku: Saki ni itte. Oitsuku kara. (Go ahead. Ill catch up.) As in the last example above, there are words used in Japanese simply for colloquial smoothing, which would usually not be used in the English counterpart. The literal translation of oitsuku kara would be because Ill catch up, but that would sound unnatural in English. Oitsuku alone would sound equally as odd in Japanese; kara would naturally be added. Kara, ga, ne, and yo are just some of the Japanese words that are often added for feeling but do not have a simple counterpart in English. Top

cheer up 1 vi (to show renewed spirit or energy) genki o dasu: Genki o dashite ne. (Cheer up, okay?) 2 vt (to cause someone to show renewed spirit or energy) genki zukeru: Kanojo wa shibaraku no aida kare ni hanashite genji zukete kureta. (She was nice enough to talk to him for a while and cheer him up.) cheer on 1 vt ouen suru: Ouen shimasu yo. (Ill be cheering you on.) Top

come across 1 vi (to give an impression) inshou o ataeru: Kare wa totemo majime na hito da to iu inshou o ataeru. (He comes across as being a very sober person.) 2 vt (to find) mitsukeru: Souko no naka ni totemo furui hon o mitsuketa. (I came across a very old book in the storage shed.) When something is found which was intentionally searched for, the intransitive verb mitsukaru is usually used: Mitsukatta! (I found it!) come after 1 vt (to follow) no ato ni kuru: Daitai tsuyoi kaze ga ame no ato ni kuru. (Usually strong winds come after the rain.) 2 vt (to come to get) tori ni kuru: Kanojo wa mou sugu kasa o tori ni kuru deshou. (She will surely come after her umbrella soon.) come again 1 vi mata kuru: Mata kite kudasai. (Please come again.) come along 1 vi (to accompany) tsuite kuru: Yokereba tsuite kite. (Come along with me if you like.) 2 vi (to progress) susumu: Yoku susunde imasu ne. (Its coming along quite nicely, isnt it?) come and go 1 vi ittari kitari suru: Benchi ni suwatte, hito ga ittari kitari suru koto o miru no ga suki. (I like sitting on a bench and watching the people come and go.) come apart 1 vi barabara ni naru: Denwaki ga katte ni barabara ni natta. (The telephone came apart on its own.) come around 1 vi mawatte kuru: Maitoshi kono jiki ni tsubame ga mawatte kuru. (Every year about this time the swallows come around.) come back 1 vi (to return) kaette kuru: Nanji goro kaette kuru deshou? (About what time will you come back?) 2 vt (to be remembered) omoidasareru: Chotto matte. Chotto shitara omoidasareru deshou. (Just a minute. Itll probably come back to me in a bit.) come from 1 vt kara kuru: Doko kara kimashita ka. (Where did you come from?) come in 1 vi / vt hairu: Douzo, haitte kudasai. (Please come in.) come in handy 1 vi yaku ni tatsu: Denshi jisho o kattara yaku ni tatsu ni chigainai. (If you buy an electronic dictionary it will surely come in handy.) come close to 1 vt (to approach) ni chikazuku: Ippiki no saru ga boku ni chikazuita. (One of the monkeys came close to me.) 2 vt (to just miss an occurrence) tokoro: Hikouki ni noriokureru tokoro datta. (I came close to missing my plane.) come off 1 vi hazureru: Jitensha no cheen ga hazureta. (My bicycle chain came off.) come on 1 vi (used to hurry someone up) isogu: Isoginasai! (Come on! Hurry!) 2 vi (for lights or electrical appliances to start working) tsuku: Denki ga mou sugu tsuku deshou. (The lights will probably come on in a minute.)

come out 1 vi dete kuru: Sakuban nezumi ga kurozetto kara dete kita. (Last night a mouse came out of the closet.) come over 1 vi kuru: Watashi wa shichiji han goro kuru. (Ill come over around 7:30.) come to 1 vt (to result in) ni naru: Kesshite konna koto ni naru to omowanakatta. (I never thought it would come to this.) 2 vt (to total in money) ni naru: Go hyaku juugo en ni narimasu. (That comes to 515 yen.) come up 1 vi (to rise) agaru: Douzo, agatte kudasai. (Please come up. [Please come in.]) 2 vi (to happen) okoru: Ano mondai ga okoru made, raku na ichi nichi ni narisou datta. (Until that problem came up, it looked like it was going to be an easy day.) Since the inside of Japanese houses are traditionally much higher than the outside, you are literally asked to rise up when asked to come in. come up against 1 vt butsukaru: Ritsuko wa Hawaii de hatarakihajimeta toki, iroiro na mondai ni butsukatta. (Ritsuko came up against various problems when she began working in Hawaii.) come up with 1 vt (to suggest) teian suru: Kono mondai o kaiketsu suru tame, ii houhou o teian suru koto ga dekinai ka. (Cant you come up with a good way to solve this problem?) Top

cut corners 1 vi (to make tasks easier; to not do a task completely) te o nuku: Kare wa itsumo te o nuite iru. (He is always cutting corners.) cut down 1 vt (to cut down a tree) kiritaosu: Kare wa niwa ni atta furui matsu no ki o kiritaoshita. (He cut down that old pine tree that was in his yard.) 2 vt (to decrease) herasu: Shuppi o herasanai to ikenai. (We've got to cut down our spending.) cut off 1 vt (to interrupt) chuudan saseru: Chuudan shinaide kudasai. (Please dont cut me off.) 2 vt (to discontinue service) tomeru: Karera wa gasu dai o harawanakatta node, tomerareta. (They didnt pay their gas bill, so it was cut off.) 3 vt (to hang up and end a telephone call) denwa o kiru: Watashi no kyuuka ni tsuite hanasou to omotta kedo, kanojo wa denwa o kitta. (I was going to tell her about my vacation, but she cut me off.) cut out 1 vi (for a machine to stop) kyuu ni tomaru: Enjin ga kyuu ni tomatta. (The engine just cut out.) 2 vt (to make a way through) kirihiraku: Karera wa kawa made no michi o kirihiraita. (They cut out a path to the river.) cut out for 1 vt (to be good at) muite iru: Boku wa sou iu seikatsu ni muite inai. (Im not cut out for that kind of life.) Top

drop by / drop in 1 vt tachiyoru: Mise ni iku tochuu, Sachiko no ie ni tachiyorimashou ne. (Let's drop by Sachiko's place on the way to the store, okay?) drop off 1 vt orosu: Yuubinkyoku no mae ni oroshite kudasai. (Please drop me off in front of the post office.)

drop out 1 vi (to quit school) taigaku suru: Kare wa juugo sai de taigaku shita. (He dropped out of school when he was 15.) Top

fill in 1 vt (to write information) kinyuu suru: Kono moushikomisho o kinyuu shite kudasai. (Please fill in this application.) 2 vt (to inform) oshieru: Kinou no kaigi no naiyou ni tsuite oshiete ageru. (Ill fill you in on what we talked about in yesterdays meeting.) 3 vi (to substitute for) no kawari ni suru: Kyou wa, Ishii-san no kawari ni shimasu. (Today I will fill in for Ms. Ishii.) fill out 1 vt (to write information) kinyuu suru (see fill in) 2 vi (to gain weight or fullness) yutaka ni naru: Kyonen made wa inu no ke ga sukunakatta ga, daibun yutaka ni natta. (Up until last year our dogs coat was scanty, but it has filled out pretty well.) fill up 1 vt (to fill a container) ippai ni suru: Kappu o ue made ippai ni shite choudai. (Please fill my cup up all the way.) 2 vt (to fill a hole) umeru: Inu ga hotta ana o umete kureru? (Would you please fill up the hole that the dog dug?) Top

get across 1 vt (to cross a road, river, etc.) wataru: Kare wa booto de mizuumi o watatta. (He used a boat to get across the lake.) 2 vt (to make something understood) rikai saseru: Yatto boku no gakusei ni ano suugaku no mondai no kaiketsuhou o rikai saseta. (I finally got the solution to that math problem across to my students.) get after 1 vt (to nag) shitsukoku iu: Obaa-chan wa itsumo shukudai o suru you ni shitsukoku itte iru. (Grandma's always getting after me to do my homework.) 2 vt (to scold) shikaru: Bill wa gakkou ni okurete kita node, sensei ni shikarareta. (The teacher got after Bill for coming to school late.) get ahead 1 vi (to make progress) susumu: Nihongo no benkyou wa, sukoshi zutsu susunde imasu. (As far as my Japanese studies are concerned, I'm getting ahead little by little.) get along 1 vi (to exist together well) nakayoku yatte iku: Karera wa nakayoku yatte itte iru. (They are getting along well together.) This is usually expressed with the adjective form naka ga ii: Karera wa naka ga ii. get around 1 vi (to spread) hiromaru: Sono uwasa ga hayaku hiromatta. (That rumor got around quickly.) get away 1 vi nigeru: Kanojo wa ano iya na shigoto kara nigeru koto ga dekita. (She was able to get away from that wretched job.) get back 1 vi (to return) modoru: Goji made ni modorimasu. (I'll get back by 5:00.) 2 vt (to take back) torimodosu: Kenji no ie ni itte, watashi no jisho o torimodosu. (I'm going to Kenji's to get back my dictionary.) 3 vi (to step back) ushiro e sagaru: Keikan wa 'ushiro e sagarinasai!' to sakenda. (The police officer shouted 'Get back!') 4 vi (to reply later) (ato de) henji suru: Asu no gozenchuu henji shimasu. (I'll get back to you sometime tomorrow morning.) get behind 1 vi (to be slower than planned) okureru: Zannen nagara, boku wa yotei yori okurete kita. (Unfortunately, I have gotten behind schedule.) 2 vt (to move back behind something) ...no ushiro ni sagaru: Kiiroi sen no ushiro ni sagatte kudasai. (Please get behind the yellow line.) 3 vt (to support a person or idea) shiji suru: Suzuki san no an o shiji shimashou. (Let's get behind Suzuki's proposal.)

get by 1 vi (to make do) nantoka kurashite iku: Kibishikatta kedo, Tokyo ni sunde ita toki nantoka kurashite iku koto ga dekita. (It was tough, but we were able to get by when we lived in Tokyo.) get down 1 vi (to move from an elevated location to a lower or normal one) oriru: Ojii-chan wa hitori de kaidan o oriru koto ga dekinakunatta. (Grandpa can't get down the steps by himself anymore.) 2 vt (to swallow) nomikomu: Ano shokuji wa mazukatta! Nomikomenakatta yo! (That food was awful! I couldn't get it down!) get home 1 vi (to return home) ie ni kaeru: Kinou no yoru no juuichiji han goro ie ni kaetta. (I got home last night at around 11:30.) get in 1 vi / vt (to enter into) hairu: Kagi o wasureta node hairenakatta. (I forgot the key so I couldn't get in.) get it 1 vi (to understand) rikai suru: Nankai mo setsumei shita ga, kanojo wa rikai dekinai. (I explained it again and again, but she cannot get it.) get off 1 vt (to get out of a train, bus, etc.; to get off of a bicycle, table, or object higher than the floor or ground) oriru: Takamatsu eki de orite kudasai. (Get off at Takamatsu Station.) get on 1 vt (to get into a train, bus, etc.; to get onto an object higher than the floor or ground.) noru: Hayaku! Densha ni norinasai! (Hurry up! Get on the train!) get out 1 vi / vt (to leave a room or other enclosed area) deru: Dete mo ii? (Can I go out?) 2 vi (to esape) nigeru: Inu ga nigeta. Issho ni sagashimashou. (The dog got out. Let's look for him together.) 3 vi (to go out for entertainment) asobi ni dekakeru: Konogoro amari asobi ni dekakenai. (We don't get out very often these days.) get over 1 vt (to climb over a physical obstacle; to get through a difficult period) norikoeru: Taihen na jiki deshita ga, yatto norikoemashita. (It was a difficult time, but I've finally gotten over it.) get through 1 vi / vt (to pass through a physical area) toorinukeru: Ano mori o toorinukeru no ni, itsuka kan kakatta. (It took five days to get through that forest.) 2 vi (to make contact with someone) tsuujiru: Nankai mo denwa shite mita ga, sanji goro yatto tsuujita. (I called many times, and finally got through around 3:00.) 3 vt (to make someone understand) wakatte morau: Hai, densha wa hachiji han ni deru koto ga, kare ni wakatte moratta. (Yes, I got through to him that the train leaves at 8:30.) 4 vt (to finish) oeru: Raishuu no mokuyoubi made ni kono shigoto o oeru yotei da. (I plan to get through this job by Wednesday of next week.) get together 1 vi (to assemble) atsumaru: Doyoubi no ban atsumarou yo. (Hey, let's get together Saturday night.) 2 vt atsumeru: Oya no kekkon kinenbi ni kazoku zenin o atsumeru yotei da. (I plan to get together the whole family on my parents' wedding anniversary.) get up 1 vi (to get out of bed; to rise from a sitting position) okiru: Hayaku okinasai! (C'mon, get up!) 2 vt (to get someone else up) okosu: Ima kara ojii-san o okosu kara, tetsudatte ne. (I'm going to get Grandpa up now, so give me a hand, okay?) Top

go after 1 vt (to chase) ou: Inu ga dete itta. Hayaku, otte choudai. (The dog got out. Hurry and go after him.)

go against 1 vt (to oppose) hankou suru: Boku wa nani o shiyou to shite mo, kare ga hankou suru. (He goes against whatever I try to do.) go along 1 vi (to accompany) tsuite iku: Tsuite itte mo ii no? (Can I go along?) 2 vt (to agree) doui suru: Yoi keikaku ka dou ka mada wakaranai ga, ichiou doui shimasu. (I dont know yet whether or not its a good plan, but Ill go along for the time being.) go away 1 vi (to leave) saru: Ano norainu wa dokoka satte itta mitai. (It looks like that stray dog went away somewhere.) 2 vi (to vanish) nakunaru: Itami ga yatto nakunatta. (The pain finally went away.) When referring to people, nakunaru means to die, so be careful when using it. go back 1 vi / vt modoru: Itsu o-kuni ni modorimasu ka. (When will you go back to your home country?) When talking to someone about their own country as well as many other things the honorific o prefix is often used.) go down 1 vi (to descend) oriru: Chikashitsu ni orimashou. (Lets go down to the basement.) 2 vi (to break down) kowareru: Konpyuuta wa kinou no gogo kowareta. (The computer went down yesterday afternoon.) go off 1 vi (to leave) tachisaru: Kare wa sayonara mo iwazu ni tachisatta. (He went off without saying goodbye.) 2 vi (for food to spoil [British]) kusaru: Zannennagara, niku ga kusatta. (Unfortunately, the meat has gone off.) 3 vi (for an alarm to ring) naru: Boku no mezamashidokei ga rokuji han ni natta. (My alarm clock went off at 6:30.) 4 vi (for electric lights to be extinguished) kieru: Denki ga mata kietara komaru. (Ill be at a loss if the lights go off again.) go on 1 vi (to continue) tsuzuku: Kono ame wa itsu made tsuzuku kana. (I wonder how long it will go on raining.) 2 vt (to continue) tsuzukeru: Kyuukei suru you ni itta ga, kanojo wa shigoto o tsuzuketa. (I told her to take a break, but she went on working.) 3 vi (to talk about) shaberitateru: Kanojo ni au tabi ni kodomo ni tsuite shaberitateru. (Whenever I meet her she goes on about her kids.) 4 vt (to take a trip) tabi ni deru: Kotoshi no natsu kanada made tabi ni deru yotei. (This summer Im planning to go on a trip to Canada.) go out 1 vi dekakeru: Konban dekakemasu. (Im going out this evening.) 2 vi (for a light or fire to be extinguished) kieru (see go off) go over 1 vt (to climb/pass over) koeru: Inu wa hei o koete nigeta. (The dog went over the fence and got away.) 2 vt (to inspect) tenken suru: Kuruma o kau mae ni tetteiteki ni tenken suru yo. (You can bet that I thoroughly go over cars before buying them.) go through 1 vt (to experience) keiken suru: Nido to sore o keiken shitakunai. (I dont ever want to go through that again.) go too far 1 vi yarisugiru: Erika wa paatei o hiraku to, itsumo yarisugiru. (Whenever Erika throws a party, she always goes too far.) go up 1 vi agaru: Ni kai e agatte kudasai. (Please go up to the second floor.) go without 1 vt nashi de yatte iku: CD o wasureta node, konkai wa ongaku nashi de yatte iku shika nai. (I forgot my CDs, so well have to go without music this time.) Top

hang about / hang around 1 vi / vt burabura suru: Kinou shoutengai de burabura shite jikan o tsubushita. (Yesterday I hung around the mall and killed time.) In case you didnt catch it, jikan o tsubusu is a handy idiom for to waste / kill time. hang back 1 vi (to hesitate) tamerau: Sore o teian shitakatta ga, doushite mo tameratte shimatta. (I wanted to suggest that, but for some reason hung back.) hang in there / hang on 1 vi (to keep trying) ganbaru: Ato mou sukoshi. Ganbatte! (Only a little more. Hang in there!) hang on 1 vi (to wait) matsu: Cindy ni sukoshi matsu you ni itte kureru? (Would you please tell Cindy to hang on just a bit?) 2 vt (to depend on) shidai: Umi ni iku ka douka wa, otenki shidai. (Whether we go to the beach or not hangs on the weather.) 3 vt (to listen carefully) chuui shite kiku: Gakusei wa Tanaka sensei no hanashi o chuui shite kiita. (The students hung on every word that Mr. Tanaka said.) 4 vt (to grasp) nigiru: Tesuri o shikkari nigitte yo! (Hang on to the handrail tightly!) 5 vt (to keep something) tebanasanai: Ano furui jitensha o suteyou to omotta ga, ima tebanasanai. (I thought of getting rid of that old bicycle, but now I want to hang on to it.) Tebanasanai is the negative form of the compound tebanasu, from te (hand) and hanasu (to release). hang up 1 vt (to put up for display, etc.) kakeru: sono e o terebi no ue ni kakemashou. (Lets hang up that picture above the TV.) 2 vi / vt (to end a telephone conversation) denwa o kiru: Jaa, denwa o kiru. Mata ashita. (Well, Im going to hang up. See you tomorrow.) Top

keep after 1 vt shitsukoku iu: Kare wa heya o souji suru you ni, shitsukoku iwanakereba naranai. (I have to keep after him to clean his room.) keep ahead 1 vi sakinjiru: Ken wa itsumo doukyuusei yori sakinjiyou to shite iru. (Ken is always trying to keep ahead of his classmates.) keep at 1 vt (to continue) tsuzukeru: Kanojo ni totte piano o narau no wa taihen deshita ga, kanojo ga tsuzukete imashita. (Learning the piano was hard for her, but she kept at it.) keep away 1 vi / vt chikayoranai: Ano kodomo ni inu ni chikayoranai you ni iinasai. (Tell those kids to keep away from the dog.) keep down 1 vt (to allay a problem) osaeru: Kono kusuri wa kayumi o osaeru. (This medicine will keep down the itching.) keep from 1 vt (to avoid) shinaide iru: Gomen. Warawanaide irarenai. (Sorry. I cant keep from laughing.) keep going 1 vi ganbaru: Taihen na shigoto da to wakatte imasu ga, owaru made ganbarinasai. (I know its a tough job, but keep going until its finished.) keep off 1 vt (to quit or control the use of) hikaeru: Osake o hikaeta hou ga ii yo. (You had better keep off the booze.) keep on 1 vt tsuzukeru: Yameru you ni iimashita ga, kare wa tabetsuzuketa. (I told him to stop, but he kept on eating.)

keep out 1 vi hairanai: Heya ni hairanaide kudasai. (Please keep out of the room.) 2 vt irenai: Shako ni karera o irenai you ni. (Keep them out of the garage.) keep together 1 vi / vt issho ni iru: Kengakuchuu, issho ni ite kudasai. (Please keep together during the tour.) keep to oneself 1 vi kousai shinai: Kanojo wa hotondo kousai shinai. (She pretty much keeps to herself.) keep up 1 vi / vt (to continue) tsuzukeru: Nihongo no benkyou o tsuzukete yo. (Keep up your Japanese studies.) 2 vi (to maintain pace with) tsuite iku: Tokidoki tsuite ikenai you ni kanjiru. (Sometimes I feel that I just cant keep up.) Top

look after 1 vt (to take care of) sewa o suru: Itsumo kodomo no sewa o shite, arigatou gozaimasu. (You're always looking after the kids. Thank you.) Sewa o suru is very flexible, and can be used for just about anything from a simple task to the full-time chore of caring for children or the elderly. The set phrase O-sewa ni narimasu! (You help me!) is often used as a greeting, even to the point of becoming meaningless. Another expression, mendou o miru, which has the same meaning, is not quite as flexible, being usually reserved for real acts of caring: children, animals, etc. look all over 1 vi achikochi sagasu: Are o achikochi sagashite ita yo. (I tell you, I looked all over for that.) look as if 1 vt you ni mieru: Komatte iru you ni mieru. (You look as if you're confused.) look back 1 vi furikaette miru: John wa arukinagara nankai mo furikaette mita. (John looked back again and again as he walked.) look for 1 vt sagasu: Tebukuro o sagashita kedo, mitsukaranakatta. (I looked for the gloves, but couldn't find them.) look forward to 1 vt tanoshimi ni suru: Kondo no Hawaii no tabi o tanoshimi ni shite iru. (I'm looking forward to my upcoming trip to Hawaii.) look into 1 vt (to look inside) naka o miru: Neko wa heya no naka o mite iru. (The cat is looking into the room.) 2 vt (to examine or verify) shiraberu: Ato de shirabete ageru. (I'll look into it for you later.) look like 1 vt ...no you ni mieru: Kanojo wa watashi no itoko no you ni mieru. (She looks like my cousin.) look out 1 vi chuui suru: Chuui shinasai! (Look out!) look through 1 vt (to search or check) me o toosu: Honyaku ga dekiagarimashita node, jikan ga areba me o tooshite kudasai. (I've finished the translation, so please look through it when you have time.) look up 1 vt (to search for something in reference books or on the internet, etc.) shiraberu: Ano kotoba o jisho de shirabemashou. (Let's look up that word in our dictionaries.) 2 vt (search for and visit a person) sagashite tazuneru: London ni iru aida, Jones-san o sagashite tazuneta. (While in London, I looked up Mr. Jones.) look up to 1 vt (to respect) sonkei suru: Boku no nihongo no sensei o hontou ni sonkei shite imasu. (I really look up to my Japanese language teacher.)

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make do 1 vi ma ni au you ni suru: Tanonda kazu dewa nai ga, ma ni au you ni shimasu. (There arent as many as I asked for, but Ill make do.) make do without (see go without) make it 1 vi (to get by) dounika yatte iku: Saisho wa kibishikatta kedo, dounika yatte itta. (At first it was tough, but I made it.) 2 vi (to be on time) ma ni au: Okureru ka to shinpai shita ga, ma ni atta. (I was afraid that I would be late, but I made it.) make out 1 vt (to see; to discern) mieru: Bouenkyou de mitara, getsumen no kureetaa ga mieru. (If you look through a telescope, you can make out the moons craters.) 2 vt (to understand) rikai suru: Sensei no itte iru koto o rikai suru koto ga dekinai. (I cant make out what the teacher is saying.) make up 1 vt (to compensate) tsugunau: Kabin o watta koto o tsugunau tame ni, kare wa atarashii kabin to ooki na hanataba o katte kureta. (To make up for breaking the vase, he bought a new one and a big bouquet of flowers.) 2 vt (to lie) uso o tsuku: Jody wa shigoto ni tsuite uso o tsuita. (Jody made up what she said about her job.) 3 vt (to create) sakusei suru: Rainen no jugyou no tame ni atarashii kyouzai o sakusei shinakereba naranai. (Ive got to make up new teaching materials for next years classes.) 4 vi (to be reconciled) nakanaori suru: Ano futari wa senshuu oogenka shita ga, sono ato sugu nakanaori shita. (Those two had a big fight last week, but made up soon afterwards.) Top

put aside 1 vt (to stop doing for the time being) waki ni oku: Jisho o waki ni oite, kyoukasho o dashinasai. (Put aside your dictionary and take out your textbook.) put away 1 vt (to clear things away) katazukeru: Kono shokki o katazukemashou. (Lets put away these dishes.) 2 vt (to save money) chokin suru: Dekiru dake chokin shinasai. (Put away as much money as you can.) put back 1 vt (to return) modosu: Ima sugu modoshinasai. (Put that back right now!) put down 1 vt (to set down) orosu: Sore o koko ni oroshite kudasai. (Please put that down here.) put in 1 vt (to place inside) ireru: Hako ni hon o irete kudasai. (Please put the books in the box.) 2 vt (to spend time or money on) tsukau: Anata wa kore ni takusan no jikan o tsukatta deshou. (Ill bet you put a lot of time into this.) put off 1 vt (to reschedule for a later date) enki suru: Ryokou wa aki made enki shimashita. (We put off the trip until fall.) 2 vt (to make wait) mataseru: Matasenaide kudasai. (Please dont put me off.) put on 1 vt (to wear) kiru: Chotto samui. Jaketto o kita hou ga ii. (Its a little cold. You had better put on a jacket.) 2 vt (to gain weight) futoru: Futoru no wa itsudemo kantan da. (Putting on weight is always easy.) 3 vt (to deceive) damasu: Uso yarou. Damashite wa ikenai yo. (Come on. Dont put me on.) 4 vt (to play music) kakeru: Kono atarashii jazu CD o kakete ne. (Put on this new jazz CD, okay?) 5 vt (to put over heat to cook) (hi ni) kakeru: Kono jagaimo o hi ni kakemashou. (Lets put these potatoes on.) To put on clothing requires various different verbs in Japanese: boushi o kaburu (to put on a hat); nekkutai o shimeru (to put on a tie); kutsushita o haku (to put on socks); megane o kakeru (to put on glasses); yubiwa o hameru (to put on a ring).

put out 1 vt (to place outside) dasu: Inu o dashite choudai. (Please put the dog out.) 2 vt (to extinguish) kesu: Hi o keshite, hai ni suna o kakenasai. (Put the fire out, then cover the ashes with sand.) 3 vt (to annoy) meiwaku o kakeru: Go-meiwaku o kakete, gomen nasai. (Im sorry for putting you out.) 4 vt (to make efforts) doryoku suru: Karera wa hontou ni doryoku shita koto o shitte iru yo. (I know they put out their best efforts.) 5 vt (to produce) seisan suru: Ano kouba wa mainichi yaku gohyaku nijuu dai no jidousha o seisan shite iru. (That factory puts out around 520 cars per day.) Meiwaku o kakeru is a very polite set phrase and is usually used with the honorific go prefix added to meiwaku. put through 1 vt (to cause to endure) keiken saseru: Kyonen kare wa kanojo ni iroiro keiken saseta. (He really put her through a lot last year.) put together 1 vt (to assemble) kumitateru: Bill wa gareeji no naka de jitensha o kumitatete imasu. (Bills in the garage putting together his bicycle.) put up 1 vt (to fix in a relatively high location; to attach to a wall or ceiling) kakeru: Ano tokei o kabe ni kakete kudasai. (Please put that clock up on the wall.) 2 vt (to build a structure) tateru: Atarashii shoppingu sentaa wa ni san ka getsu dake de taterareta. (The new shopping center was put up in just a few months.) 3 vi (to stay at) tomaru: Satogaeri shitara oya no ie de tomaru. (When I go back to my home town, Ill put up at my parents house.) 4 vt (to provide a place to stay) tomeru: Asobi ni koretara tomete ageru yo. (If you can visit, Ill put you up.) There are various Japanese verbs used to convey to set / put up: Kurisumasu tsurii o kazaru (to put up a Christmas tree); tento o haru (to put up a tent); kasa o sasu (to put up an umbrella), etc. put up with 1 vt (to endure) gaman suru: Ureshii! Ano furui reizouko o mou gaman shinakutemo ii kara. (Im so happy because I wont have to put up with that old refrigerator anymore!) Top

show off 1 vi / vt misebirakasu: Kenta wa itsumo misebirakashite iru ne. (Kenta is always showing off, isnt he?) show around 1 vi / vt annai suru: Takamatsu ni kitara annai shite ageru yo. (When you come to Takamatsu Ill show you around.) show up 1 vt (to embarrass) hazukashii omoi o saseru: Kare wa itsumo douryou ni hazukashii omoi o saseyou to shite iru. (He is always trying to show up his colleagues.) Top

take after 1 vt (resemble) niru: Kare wa kare no ojii-san ni nitte iru. (He takes after his grandfather.) take apart 1 vt bunkai suru: Kore o bunkai shite katazukete kudasai. (Please take it apart and put it away.) take away 1 vt torisaru: Kare wa senshuu no shuumatsu, sore zenbu torisatta. (He took it all away last weekend.) take back 1 vt torimodosu: Kanojo wa zasshi o torimodoshita. (She took the magazine back.) 2 vt (to apologize for something said) torikesu: Gomen! Yutta koto o torikesu. Honki de nai yo! (I'm sorry! I take back what I said. I really didn't mean it!)

take down 1 vt (to lower something) orosu: Kanojo wa nichibotsu mae ni kokki o oroshita. (She took down the flag before sunset.) 2 vt (to write down) kakitomeru: Shizu wa sensei no yutta koto no subete o kakitometa. (Shizu took down everything the teacher said.) take it easy 1 vi kiraku ni suru: Kiraku ni shite kudasai. (Please take it easy.) take it out on 1 vt yatsuatari suru: Kare wa itsumo jibun no shippai o boku ni yatsuatari suru. (He always takes out his failures on me.) take off 1 vt (to remove clothing or accessories) nugu: Boushi o nuide kudasai. (Please take off your hat.) 2 vi (to leave) deru: Rokuji han goro demashou, ne. (Lets take off around 6:30, okay?) 3 vi (for an aircraft to leave the ground) ririku suru: Hikouki wa hachiji juugo fun ni ririku shita. (The plane took off at 8:15.) take on 1 vt (to accept as an assignment) hikiukeru: Ima watashi wa atarashii shigoto o hikiukerenai. (I cannot take on any new projects now.) take out 1 vt dasu: Gomi o dashite kureru? (Would you please take out the trash?) take over 1 vi / vt (to carry on a responsibility in place of someone else) hikitsugu: Iketani wa boku no kawari ni kono shigoto o hikitsuide kureru. (Iketani will take over this job for me.) Top

tell apart 1 vt shikibetsu suru: Kono nidai no pasukon wa onaji moderu da to omou. Shikibetsu suru koto ga dekimasu ka. (I think that both of these computers are the same model. Can you tell them apart?) tell off 1 vt (to scold) shikaru: Kare wa amarinimo shitsurei datta node, kanojo ga shikatta. (She told him off for being so rude.) tell on 1 vt tsugeguchi suru: Kanojo wa boku no koto o itsumo tsugeguchi shite iru. (She is always telling on me.) Top

turn around 1 vi mawaru: Skeeto o shite iru onna no ko wa kurukuru mawatte iru. (The girl skating is turning around and around.) 2 vt mawasu: Sono tsukue o mawashite kudasai. (Please turn that desk around.) turn down 1 vt (to decrease the volume of sound) oto o chiisaku suru: Terebi no oto o chiisaku shite ne. (Turn down the TV, okay?) 2 vt (to decrease the flow of water, etc.; to decrease the amount of heat or air conditioning) yowaku suru: Mizu no de o yowaku shite kureru? (Would you turn down the water?) 3 vt (to reject a person or thing) kotowaru: Boku no teian o kotowaranaide kudasai. (Please don't turn down my suggestion.) turn in 1 vt (to hand in) teishutsu suru: Shorui o kinyuu shi, suiyoubi made ni teishutsu shinasai. (Fill out the documents and turn them in by Wednesday.) turn inside out 1 vt uragaesu: Mite. Kono boushi o uragaesu koto ga dekiru yo. (Look. You can turn this hat inside out.)

turn loose 1 vt (to release) hanasu: Kouen de inu o hanashite wa ikenai. (Don't turn your dog loose in the park.) turn off 1 vt kesu: Heya no denki o keshita? (Did you turn off the lights in the room?) turn on 1 vt tsukeru: Terebi o tsukenaide kudasai. (Please don't turn on the TV.) turn out 1 vi (to result in becoming) ...to naru: Kanojo wa rippa na sensei to naru deshou. (I'm sure she'll turn out to be a fine teacher.) 2 vt (to produce) seisan suru: Yaku hyaku nen kan jidousha o seisan shite kita. (Theyve been turning out cars for almost 100 years.) turn over 1 vt hikkurikaesu: Hotto keeki o hikkurikaeshite kureru? (Would you turn over the pancakes?) 2 vi hikkurikaeru: Katte ni hikkurikaetta. (It turned over on its own.) 3 vi (to turn over in one's sleep) negaeri o utsu: Toshi o toru to, dandan negaeri o utanakunaru. (As we grow older, we turn over in our sleep less.) turn up 1 vt (to increase the volume of sound) oto o ookiku suru: Ongaku no oto o ookiku shite kureru? (Would you please turn up the music?) 2 vt (to increase the flow of water, etc.; to increase the amount of heat or air conditioning) tsuyoku suru: Danbou o tsuyoku shinaide kudasai. (Please don't turn up the heater.) 3 vi (for something to be found) dete kuru: Shinpai shinaide. Dete kuru deshou. (Dont worry. Itll turn up.) Top

wear off 1 vi shidai ni nakunaru: Chotto nemuke ga sasu kamo shiremasen ga, shidai ni nakunaru. (You may feel drowsy, but it will wear off.) Nakunaru alone means "to cease to exist." Shidai ni or equivalent is necessary to convey the fact that it will be gradual. wear out / wear down 1 vt (to wear something out) tsukai furusu: Kyonen katta jitensha o mou tsukai furushita. (Ive already worn out the bicycle I bought last year.) 2 vt (to wear someone out) tsukaresaseru: Kim o haikingu ni tsurete itte, tsukaresasemashita. (I took Kim hiking and wore her out.) Tsukai furusu is mainly for things besides clothing: tools, appliances, etc. For clothing, since there are several different verbs for "to wear on the body," the correct one will have to be used with furusu: ki furusu (to wear out a shirt, jacket, suit, etc.); haki furusu (to wear out pants, shoes, etc.), etc. wear well 1 vi mochi ga ii: Kono kutsu wa mochi ga ii. (These shoes wear well.) Top

work loose 1 vi yurumu: Kono neji ga itsumo yurumu. (This screw is always working loose.) 2 vt yurumeru work off 1 vt (to gradually decrease) torinozoku: Kono zeiniku o dandan torinozokanakucha. (Ive got to work off this flab.) 2 vt (to work in order to pay back a loan) hataraite kaesu: Juugatsu no getsumatsu made ni hataraite, kono shakin o kaesu tsumori da. (I plan to work off this loan by the end of October.) There really isn't a simple word to convey the gradual "working off" of something in Japanese. Torinozoku actually means "to remove" and can be used concerning something to be removed instantly. To convey the fact that it will take time, something for "gradually" will be needed, like dandan, sukoshi zutsu, shidai ni, etc. -nakucha is an informal contraction for nakereba naranai.

work on 1 vt (to focus on solving a specific problem) torikumu: Ohiru o tabetara ano mondai o torikumu yotei. (I plan to work on that problem after lunch.) work out 1 vi (to exercise) undou suru: Mainichi undou suru no ga daiji. (Its important to work out every day.) 2 vt (to solve a problem) kaiketsu suru: Sono mondai o yatto kaiketsu shita. (We finally worked out that problem.) work over 1 vt (to give someone a hard time) hidoi me ni awaseru: Kanojo wa hontou ni kare ni hidoi me ni awaseta, ne. (She really worked him over, didnt she?) work toward 1 vt ni mukete doryoku suru: Tom wa Nihongo Nouryoku Shiken Ni Kyuu ni mukete doryoku shite imasu. (Tom is working toward passing Level 2 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.) Top

write back 1 vi henji o kaku: Bob oji-san ni henji o kaku. (Ill write back to Uncle Bob.) write down 1 vt kakitomeru: Kono jusho o kakitomenasai. (Write down this address.) write in 1 vt (to write on a line or designated space) kakikomu: Douzo, koko ni onamae o kakikonde kudasai. (Please write in your name here.) write out 1 vt (to write in detail) kuwashiku kaku: Onamae, jusho, denwa bangou o kuwashiku kaite kudasai. (Please write out your name, address, and telephone number.)