Japanese Learning Today – Ru-verbs, U-verb, Irregulars

Jul 01 | Evan | No Comments |

Learn three kinds of verbs in Japanese 

In the previous Japanese learning blog, we learned what to say when you want something and when you want to do something. Furthermore, we also talked about Japanese verbs, ru-verbs in particular. In Japanese, there are two main verb types called “ru-verbs” and ‘u-verbs.” In this article, we are going to learn about how these two verb types behave in casual and polite forms in positive and negative sentences. Additionally, there are also two irregular verbs, which behave differently so we will spend a little time looking at them too. Let’s learn different kinds of Japanese verbs to be ready for your next adventure on a photo tour of Japan! 


In short, “ru-verbs” are the verbs, which end in “ru.” For example, taberu/たべる(to eat), miru/みる(to see/to look/to watch), neru/ねる(to sleep), and akeru/あける(to open) are all ru-verbs. Let’s pick two of these ru-verbs to see how they conjugate. 

taberu/たべる(to eat)

たべる = to eat

Casual FormPolite Form
Positive たべる = taberuたべます = tabemasu
Negative たべない = tabenaiたべません = tabemasen

みる = to see/look/watch

Casual FormPolite Form
Positive みる = miruみます = mimasu
Negative みない = minaiみません = minasen

As you see above, from the casual form to the polite form, “ru” changes to “masu” in a positive tense. For a negative tense, “ru” is replaced by “nai” and “nai” changes to “masen” in a polite form. 

Let’s form a simple sentence using these ru-verbs.

Base: I eat an onigiri.

おにぎり を たべる。

おにぎり を たべない。

おにぎり を たべます。

おにぎり を たべません。

Base: I watch a movie. 

えいが を みる。

えいが を みない。

えいが を みます。

えいが を みません。


As you expect, “u-verbs” are the verbs, which end in “u.” These u-verbs include hanasu/はなす(to speak), kaku/かく(to write), nomu/のむ(to drink), and matsu/まつ(to wait.) Let’s pick two of these verbs to see how they conjugate. 

はなす = to speak

Casual FormPolite Form
Positive はなす = hanasuはなします = hanashimasu
Negative はなさない = hanasanaiはなしません = hanashimasen

かく = to write 

Casual FormPolite Form
Positive かく = kakuかきます = kakimasu
Negative かかない =kakanaiかきません = kakimasen

Let’s form a simple sentence using these u-verbs.

Base: I speak Japanese. 

にほんご を はなす。

にほんご を はなさない。

にほんご を はなします。

にほんご を はなしません。

Base: I write Japanese. 

にほんご を かく。

にほんご を かかない。

にほんご を かきます。

にほんご を かきません。

2 Irregular verbs

There are two exceptions, which do not fit in either ru-verbs or u-verbs. These are kuru/くる(to come) and suru/する(to do). Take a look at how these irregular verbs behave in casual and polite forms. 

くる = to come 

Casual FormPolite Form
Positive くる= kuruきます=kimasu
Negative こない=konaiきません=kimasen

する= to do 

Casual FormPolite Form
Positive する = suruします = shimasu
Negative しない = shinaiしません =shimasen

Let’s form a simple sentence using these irregular verbs.

Base: I come to play tomorrow. 

あした あそび に くる。

あした あそび に こない。

あした あそび に きます。

あした あそび に きません。

Base: I study Japanese. 

にほんご を べんきょう する。

にほんご を べんきょう しない。

にほんご を べんきょう します。

にほんご を べんきょう しません。

Yes, learning verbs and how to conjugate them is not easy. Though the good thing is that there are only two main verb groups in Japanese so once you get a feel for these “ru-verbs” and ‘u-verbs,” it’s not too bad. In addition, there are only two irregular verbs so as long as you remember how “kuru” and “suru” behave, you are a Japanese master! 

This is just an intro to learn Japanese verbs so we will certainly work more on verb conjugations in the coming Japanese articles. Don’t worry, we still have time till you join the photo tour of Japan!

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