Japanese Verbs Part 2
Dictionary-form and Nai-form -
Free Japanese Lessons: 19

In this lesson, you will get to learn how to change Japanese verbs from dictionary-form to ます-form (masu-form) and ない-form (nai-form). There are some rules that you need to follow in order to change verbs from dictionary-form to other forms.

Rules for Changing dictionary-form to masu-form

The following are the rules for the 3 groups of Japanese verbs.

Group 1 Verbs

Group 1 verbs always end up with words containing u-sound. To change group 1 verbs to masu-form, change the u-sound to i-sound in the last word.

After that append ます (masu) to the changed words and you will get the masu-form of the verb.

For example, this group 1 verb のむ (nomu) ends up with む (mu). If you change the u-sound to i-sound, む (mu) becomes み (mi).

Adding ます (masu) at the end, you will get のみます (nomimasu).

Let's look at one more example, this group 1 verb かわる (kawaru) ends up with る (ru). If you change the u-sound to i-sound, る (ru) becomes り (ri). Adding ます (masu) at the end, you will get かわります (kawarimasu).

Group 2 Verbs

Changing group 2 verbs from dictionary-form to masu-form is much simpler. All group 2 verbs end up with る (ru). To change to masu-form, simply replace る (ru) with ます (masu) and you will get the masu-form of the verb.

For example, this Japanese verb たべる (taberu) is a group 2 verb. To change to masu-form, replace る (ru) with ます (masu) and you will get たべます (tabemasu).

I will use another example to show the change. This group 2 verb ねる (neru) means go to bed. Change る (ru) to ます (masu) and you will get ねます (nemasu).

Group 3 Verbs

Group 3 verbs are irregular verbs. You just need to memorize them. The masu-form of くる (kuru) is きます (kimasu) and the masu-form of する (suru) is します (shimasu).

In summary, the following diagram shows the rules when changing dictionary-form to masu-form for Japanese verbs.

Japanese Verbs: change dict-form to masu-form

Rules for Changing dictionary-form to nai-form

For this section you will learn how to change dictionary-form (Plain Present Affirmation) to nai-form (Plain Present Negative). The following are the rules for the 3 groups of Japanese verbs.

Group 1 Verbs

To change group 1 verbs from dictionary-form to nai-form, change the u-sound to a-sound in the last word. After that append ない (nai) to the changed words and you will get the nai-form of the verb.

For example, this group 1 Japanese verb かく (kaku) ends up with く (ku). If you change the u-sound to a-sound, く (ku) becomes か (ka). Adding ない (nai) at the end, you will get かかない (kakanai).

However there is one exception. For group 1 verbs end up with the word う (u), instead of changing it to あ (a), you need to change it to わ (wa). For example, this group 1 verb かう (kau) ends up with う (u). Therefore you need to change う (u) to わ (wa). Adding ない (nai) at the end, you will get かわない (kawanai).

Group 2 Verbs

Group 2 verbs are much simpler. You just need to change る (ru) to ない (nai) and you will get the nai-form Japanese verbs.

Group 3 Verbs

Group 3 verbs are irregular verbs. You just need to memorize them. The nai-form of くる (kuru) is こない (konai) and the nai-form of する (suru) is しない (shinai).

In summary, the following diagram shows the rules when changing dictionary-form to nai-form for Japanese verbs.

Japanese Verbs: change dict-form to nai-form

Examples of Changing Japanese Verbs to masu-form and nai-form

Let's see some examples of changing Japanese verbs from dictionary-form to masu-form and nai-form.

Group 1 Verbs

dict-form Meaning masu-form nai-form
1. ある Exist (Thing) あります あらない ない (Exception)
2. かかる Hang/Take かかります かからない
3. よむ Read よみます よまない
4. のむ Drink のみます のまない
5. きく Listen/Ask ききます きかない
6. みがく Brush みがきます みがかない
7. あらう Wash あらいます あらわない
8. かう Buy かいます かわない
9. いく Go いきます いかない
10. かえる Go Back かえります かえらない (Exception, not Grp 2)
11. はいる Enter はいります はいらない (Exception, not Grp 2)
12. はしる Run はしります はしらない (Exception, not Grp 2)
13. のる Get On/Ride のります のらない
14. わかる Understand わかります わからない
15. おくる Send おくります おくらない
16. およぐ Swim およぎます およがない
17. あそぶ Play あそびます あそばない
18. かく Write かきます かかない
19. だす Take Out/Submit だします ださない
20. とる Take/Pick Up とります とらない
21. ひく Pull/Play (Piano) ひきます ひかない
22. おろす Lower/Get Down おろします おろさない
23. はなす Speak/Talk はなします はなさない
24. まつ Wait まちます またない
25. はじまる Begin/Start はじまります はじまらない
26. おわる End/Finish おわります おわらない
27. おもう Think/Feel おもいます おもわない
28. もらう Receive/Get もらいます もらわない

Group 2 Verbs

dict-form Meaning masu-form nai-form
1. いる Exist (Human/Animal) います いない
2. たべる Eat たべます たべない
3. みる See みます みない
4. あびる Bathe/Shower あびます あびない
5. でる Appear/Leave でます でない
6. おりる Alight/Get Off おります おりない
7. みえる Be Seen/Seem/Appear みえます みえない
8. きこえる Be Heard/Said to be きこえます きこえない
9. むかえる Welcome/Greet むかえます むかえない
10. ねる Go to Bed ねます ねない
11. おきる Wake Up/Rise/Happen おきます おきない
12. あげる Give/Offer/Raise あげます あげない
13. くれる Be Given/Let One Have くれます くれない

Group 3 Verbs

dict-form Meaning masu-form nai-form
1. くる Come/Arrive きます こない
2. する Do/Execute/Play します しない
3. べんきょうする Study べんきょうします べんきょうしない
4. さんぽする Walk/Stroll さんぽします さんぽしない

Related Pages

Lesson 18: Verbs.

Lesson 20: Verbs on give and receive.

Lesson 21: Verbs te-form.

Lesson 22: Verbs on Progress Action, Habitual Action & Occupation.

Lesson 23: Verbs of Motion & How to Make Request in Japanese.

Lesson 29: Verbs on State Continuation.

Lesson 30: Verbs - Transitive and Intransitive verbs.

Lesson 31: Verbs on State Continuation Transitive/Intransitive.

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