Ok, I finally gave up and put together a quick-n-dirty how-to for Japanese verb conjugation.
This is a compilation of information from many places.
Hope it helps....
Go Here for the Quick Adjective-how-to...
The verb generally comes at the end of the sentence in the Japanese language. Because Japanese's sentences often omit the subject, the verb is probably the most important part in understanding the sentence. Unlike more complex verb conjugation of other languages, Japanese verbs do not have a different form to indicate the person (first-, second, and third-person), the number (singular and plural), or gender.
Japanese verbs are roughly divided into three groups according to their dictionary form (basic form).
Group 1: ~ U ending
The basic form of Group 1 verbs end with "~ u". This group is also called Consonant-stem verbs or Godan-doushi (Godan verbs).
Group 2: ~ Iru and ~
Eru ending Verbs
The basic form of Group 2 verbs end with either "~iru" or "~ eru".
This group is also called Ichidan or Vowel-stem verbs.
|~ iru ending||kiru||to wear|
|okiru||to get up|
|oriru||to get off|
|~ eru ending||akeru||to open|
|deru||to go out|
The following verbs belong to Group 1, even
though they end in "~ iru" or "~ eru".
|Group 1 Exceptions|
Group 3: Irregular
There are two irregular verbs, kuru (to come) and suru (to do).
The verb suru is likely the most often used verb. It is means to do, to make,or to cost. It is also combined with many nouns to change them into verbs.
|Noun + Suru|
The dictionary form (basic form) of all Japanese verbs end with "u". This is also the informal, present affirmative form of the verb. Use this with friends and family in informal situations.
The ~ masu Form (Formal Form)
Add the suffix "~
masu" to the dictionary form of a verb to make sentence polite. Use
this form in situations theat require increased levels of politeness or formality,
and is more appropriate for general use.
|~ masu Form|
the final ~u, and add ~ imasu
(kaku --- kakimasu, nomu --- nomimasu)
the final ~ru, and add ~ masu
(miru --- mimasu, taberu --- tabemasu)
|Group 3||kuru --- kimasu, suru --- shimasu|
The verb stem can be found by removing the ~ masu from the ~masu form:
|~ Masu Form||Verb Stem|
Japanese verbs have two main tenses, present and past. The present tense is used for future and habitual actions. The informal form of the present tense is the same as the dictionary form. Use the ~ masu form in formal situations.
The past tense is used to
express actions completed in the past (I saw, I bought etc.) and present perfect
tense (I have read, I have done etc.). The conjugation of Group 1 verbs varies
with the consonant of the last syllable on the dictionary form. Group 2 verbs
all have the same conjugation pattern.
|Formal||Replace ~ u with ~ imashita||
kaku --- kakimashita
nomu --- nomimashita
Verb ending with ~ ku:
replace ~ ku with ~ ita
kaku --- kaita
kiku --- kiita
Verb ending with ~ gu:
replace ~ gu with ~ ida
isogu --- isoida
oyogu --- oyoida
Verb ending with ~ u, ~tsu and ~ ru:
replace them with ~ tta
utau --- utatta
matsu --- matta
kaeru --- kaetta
Verb ending with ~ nu, ~bu
and ~ mu:
replace them with ~ nda
shinu --- shinda
asobu --- asonda
nomu --- nonda
Verb ending with ~ su:
replace ~ su with ~ shita
hanasu --- hanashita
dasu --- dashita
|Formal||Take off ~ru, and add ~ mashita||
miru --- mimashita
|Informal||Take off ~ru, and add ~ ta||
miru --- mita
taberu --- tabeta
|Formal||kuru --- kimashita, suru --- shimashita|
|Informal||kuru --- kita, suru ---shita|
To make a negative sentence,
change the verb ending into the ~nai, negative form.
|Formal||All Verbs (Group 1, 2, 3)|
|Replace ~ masu with ~ masen||
nomimasu --- nomimasen
tabemasu --- tabemasen
kimasu --- kimasen
shimasu --- shimasen
the final ~ u with ~anai
(If verb ending is a vowel + ~ u,
replace with ~ wanai)
kiku --- kikanai
nomu --- nomanai
au --- awanai
|Replace ~ ru with ~ nai||
miru --- minai
taberu --- tabenai
|kuru --- konai, suru ---shinai|
|Formal||Group 1, 2, 3|
~ deshita to
the formal present negative form
nomimasen --- nomimasen deshita
tabemasen --- tabemasen deshita
kimasen --- kimasen deshita
shimasen --- shimasen deshita
Group 1, 2, 3
with ~ nakatta
nomanai --- nomanakatta
tabenai --- tabenakatta
konai --- konakatta
The ~ te form not indicate
tense by itself. It combines with other verb forms to create other tenses. To
make the ~ te form, replace the final ~ ta of
the informal past tense of the verb with ~ te, and ~ da with ~ de.
|Informal Past||The ~ te form|
1. Describe a habitual action/ condition
2. Request (~ te form + kudasai)
|Mite kudasai.||Please look.|
|Kiite kudasai.||Please listen.|
3. Present progressive: ~ te form + iru or imasu (formal)
|Hirugohan o tabete iru.||I am having lunch.|
|Terebi o mite imasu.||I am watching TV.|
4. Listing successive actions
Use to connect two or more verbs, used after all but the last verb in a sequence.
|Hachi-ji ni okite gakkou ni itta.||I got up at eight and went to school.|
|Depaato ni itte kutsu o katta.||I
went to department store
and bought shoes.
5. Ask permission: (~ te form + mo ii desu ka)
|Terebi o mite mo ii desu ka.||May I watch TV?|
|Tabako o sutte mo ii desu ka.||May I smoke?|
Group 1 Example
|English||Formal Form||The ~ te Form|
Group 2 Example
Group 3 Example
The ~te form it does not indicate tense by itself; it can be used to string together sequences of verbs. One of the ~te form structure is "~ te kudasai," to expresse a request.