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

Oni's picture

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
  • はしります
  • hashiri masu
to run
  • する
  • su ru
  • します
  • shi masu
to do (this is one of the 2 irregular verbs)

You will notice some other changes between the two forms. I would recommend learning about the three verb groups here, but for our purposes right now, just memorize a few examples and try to find patterns with other verbs. And remember: Mistake making is memory making! (As long as you correct yourself, of course.)

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I think you misread something.

はしる is 五段 (godan) verb.

All 一段 (ichidan) verbs end in る (hence sometimes being called ru-verbs)
五段 verbs can end with any u-column kana (hence sometimes being called u-verbs); that includes る.

Yes, that means a verb that ends in る needs to be looked up in the dictionary or you need to see a conjugated example to be sure if it's 一段 or 五段.

はしる does become 'hashiru' in romanization, yes, but ending in what romanizes to -eru and -iru is not a guarantee, it's a guideline.

(I think the number of exceptions is actually -very- small but among those exceptions are very common words and not really avoidable even in teaching materials. It's not like the verb 'to run' can be put off until the intermediate level... but I'm not really sure as I don't even think about that 'rule' myself. Rules with vague reasons for a vague number of exceptions aren't something I can be bothered with. I just learn which verbs that end in る are 五段 verbs - in practice that means I try to remember at least one conjugated form for every verb that ends in る. 見る becomes 見た so it must be 一段, 走る becomes 走ります or it must be 五段. You can just as easily remember 見ます and 走った if you happen to encounter those more often and still make the same judgement.)


サンキュウ、 that is really helpful chris!!!

Please teach me a lot.


Well, according to the three verb groups, -eru and -iru verbs are a bit different than GODAN verbs, so, what about the example you gave, which is "はしります". The Dictionary form is はしる, so isn't it suppose to be like はします, according to the ichidan verbs? Please help me geniuses out there?!

Please teach me a lot.

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