4. 2 Basic verb forms - ~dictionary、~ます

There are many ways to conjugate verbs, but here we will focus on two present tense forms: "dictionary form" (also known as "plain form") and " ~masu form" (also known as "polite form")


Switching between these two verb forms does not change the meaning of the verb but the dictionary form is more casual.

  • The dictionary form gets its name because it is what is found in the dictionary.
  • The dictionary form verbs ends in -u and many end in -ru.
  • The masu form verbs are so called because they always end in -masu in the present tense.
Dictionary Form -Masu Form Meaning
  • たべる
  • tabe ru
  • たべます
  • tabe masu
Both mean "to eat"
  • のむ
  • nom u
  • のみます
  • nomi masu
to drink
  • はしる
  • hashi ru