Verb Course

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Marshall
JLPT Basic, JLPT Course
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Verb Course

How to classify Japanese Verbs?

Japanese has four verb types:
type-one verb(aka godan verb),
type-two verb(aka ichidan verb),
type-three verb(aka suru-verb),
irregular verb.

You may ask: how do I find out a verb’s type? No worries, I will teach you in this lesson.

Question 1:What is type-one verb?

type-one verb has two features:

①If the verb is something like below, then it is a type-one verb.

PatternExamples
○うう→ to meet,う→to buy
○くく→ to write,く→to go
○ぐぐ→to smell,およぐ→to swim
○すす→to push,ころす→to kill
○つつ→to hit,つ→to wait
○ぬぬ→to die
○ぶぶ→to call,ぶ→to fly
○むむ→to drink,む→to read
PatternNoteExamples
○るthe hiragana next to る is in the a-column(あ、か、さ、…わ)やる→to do
る→to leave
○るthe hiragana next to る is in the o-column(お、こ、そ…).る→to fold
いのる→to pray

Question 2:What is the type-two verb?

If the verb is something like below,Then,this verb is a type-two verb.

PatternNoteExamples
○るthe hiragana next to る is in the i-column(い、き、し…).る→to see
りる→to get off
○るthe hiragana next to る is in the e-column(え、け、せ…).べる→eat
える→get cold

Question 3:What is the type-three verb?

If the verb is something like below,Then this verb is a type-three verb.

PatternExamples
Two or more Kanji + するべんきょうする→to learn
成功せいこうする→be successful
one kanji + するさっする→sympathize
せっする→to touch

Question 4:What is irregular verb

There are two irregular verbs in Japanese,る and する.
Their rules are irregular, but they are easy to remember.


Exceptions:

The table below are 26 type-one verbs that look like type-two verb,Just remember them directly!

JapaneseEnglish
帰(かえ)るto return
切(き)るto cut
減(へ)るto decrease
要(い)るneed
知(し)るto know
走(はし)るto run
入(はい)るto come in
返(かえ)るto return
滑(すべ)るto slip
参(まい)るto come、to go
混(ま)じるto mix
握(にぎ)るto squeeze
煎(い)るto roast
練(ね)るto knead
散(ち)るto scatter
照(て)るto shine
蹴(け)るto kick
焦(あせ)るto be in a hurry
限(かぎ)るto limit
湿(しめ)るto damp
茂(しげ)るto grow thick
遮(さえぎ)るto obstruct
罵(ののし)るto abuse
嘲(あざけ)るto ridicule
漲(みなぎ)るto be full of water
覆(くつがえ)るto overturn

In the next section, you will learn to convert Japanese verbs to different forms. It seems that there are a lot of different forms. But only four forms are really important: the polite, past tense, negative, and Te forms. If you don’t want to learn all forms at once, be sure to master these four first, and feel free to come back and refer to other forms when you met them.
Note: You can find a verb conjugation test in the nav menu [Test].

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69 thoughts on “How to classify Japanese Verbs?

  1. thank you… keep it up!

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    1. Admin bar avatar

      I will!

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  2. Hi, what does 漲るmean? I just saw the reading as “minagi”.

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      It means full of water

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    2. Ok. Can I say that it means “water level rising”?

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    3. Admin bar avatar

      Yes!

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    4. Admin bar avatar

      But donot worry,it is not often used.

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  3. Thank you very much for your lessons

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      You are welcome!

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  4. What’s the difference between the two かえる in the exceptions?

    Thank you for this btw 😁 just started but it helps

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    1. Admin bar avatar

      帰る→return to where you are, often means return home
      返る→return to the original status

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  5. ありがとう ございます 😊

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  6. Ah yes, very simple

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  7. (1)xx-る:and the hiragana before る is in the i-column. For example,見みる→see,降おりる→get off.

    in 見みる,the hiragana before る is み,which is in the i-column,so 見みる is a ru-verb.

    in 去さる,the hiragana before る is さ,which is in the a-column,so 去さる is a u-verb.

    Is 去さる meant to be here in the ru-verbs? Was just reading and spotted it, didn’t know if it was a proofreading erorr. ^^

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    1. Admin bar avatar

      I put 去(さ)る here to let you know the difference between ru-verb and u-verb. So 去(さ)る is a u-verb.
      But it seems that it will lead to misunderstanding, So I changed it to 降りる now!

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    2. Yes of course, apologies 🙂 Bit of a slow moment lol

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  8. Ah, I see! Yeah I’d thought it was in the wrong category by mistake! My bad! Thanks for changing it so there is no further confusion!!

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  9. Thank you sooo much, these lessons are amazing! Can’t thank you enough.

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      You are welcome! You can post your questions in the forum, I will answer all of your questions to support you!

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  10. Thank you!! Since I know Chinese, I always find amusing to see 勉強. Because it means reluctant or forces somebody to do something. Well, study always needs force.

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      Yes, I know this too! It’s very interesting!

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  11. Thanks a lot, these are very helpful and easy to understand! 🙂

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      You are welcome!

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  12. I just found you on Reddit, and decided to try doing a lesson. It helped me a lot, and I’m looking forward to doing more. Thank you so much for doing this for free! 🙂

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      You are welcome!

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  13. Does all these fall under “dictionary form”?

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    1. Admin bar avatar

      Yes, because it’s easy to remember

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    2. ありがとございます。

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  14. This is great man – thanks for this! Though I’m a little confused… you said:
    “見みる→see… in 見みる,the hiragana before る is み,which is in the i-column,so 見みる is a ru-verb.”
    But then in the table of 26 u-verbs that look like ru verbs, we have verbs like 切(き) る, “cut” and 知(し) る, “know”. Aren’t these also in the i-column? It just seemed that you pointed out the reasons the ones above were ru-verbs was because the were in the i-column, but the table ones are also i-column, though they are u-verbs. So maybe I missed something?

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    1. Admin bar avatar

      These 26 verbs are exceptions. They looks like ru-verb, but they are u-verb.
      Other than these verbs, all other verbs follow the rule I mentioned above the table.

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  15. 帰る / 返る: Both are read as かえる and return.
    1st one is ‘to return home’ and second is ‘to return an item,’ is that correct?

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    1. Admin bar avatar

      Yes

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  16. What about 閉まる I’m a bit confused if it’s belong to u-verb or ru-verb 🤔

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    1. Admin bar avatar

      It’s u-verb

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  17. I see u started putting kanji in japanese lessons from here. I wanna ask this. Should I just ignore kanji until jlpt n5 course or how should i go with kanji learning if not? Im really stuck at that question.

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    1. Admin bar avatar

      Before you finish all the basic courses. I think you don’t need to learn kanji. Because I mark the reading of all the kanjis in my website. So you can go on without the need to read kanji. But after you finished all the basic courses, you can learn some kanji in the kanji course at your pace. you don’t need to remember too many kanji at once. As far as I know, writing kanji on paper is a good way to remember kanji.

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    2. thank you <3 just that there are verbs of the same pronunciation but different kanji so Im quite confused

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    3. Admin bar avatar

      It’s okay! There are not many words like this. So you don’t need to worry about it. And when you are confused about some words, you are always welcomed to post your questions in the forum and I will answer your questions.

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  18. Hey Marshall! What are your tips for learning Japanese (or any foreign language for that matter) quickly and increasing fluency?
    Thanks so much!

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    1. Admin bar avatar

      Practice more and ask questions often. If you have any questions, just use the forum to ask me, so that you can make progress.

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  19. What if the hiragana before る is u-column? I just saw one in the test 降る.

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      降る is a u-verb. Because the kana before the る is not e-column and i-column.

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  20. Can you clarify to me what do you mean “something like below”? I’ve been trying to figure it out but I just can’t. ps. Sorry in advance if I sound mad. Thank you for the hard work.

    u-Verbs have the two features below:

    ①If the verb is something like below, then it is a u-verb

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  21. Thanks for your lesson!
    but still I find it kinda confusing to call them -u verbs and -ru verbs.
    Still great effort 👍

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    1. Admin bar avatar

      I have changed the Verb type, hope you like it!

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  22. The table of 26 verbs are the tricky ones right? The others I’ll just follow the same rules over and over again

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  23. Just my opinion; i think it will be better to define the terminologies used like 五段動詞 and 一段動詞 and so on. Other than that i really think this is great and easy to understand. ご苦労様でした!

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      I think it will confuse people if I use 五段動詞 and 一段動詞 because they don’t know what is 五段 and 一段.

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  24. I meant if you can add the definition itself

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      I thought about it before, but found it’s not that necessary and very confusing to Japanese beginners. For example, minna no nihongo also use this classification system (Type 1, 2 and 3)because it’s beginner-friendly.

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  25. I enjoy these articles very much, however I found them much easier to remember the verb classifications as u verbs (type 1) and ru verbs (type 2) before learning the proper terminology. I guess it doesn’t matter much as long as you can differentiate the two

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      Yeah, So I don’t think it’s necessary to change the classification system anymore(I just can’t satisfy everyone😅)

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    2. Me too xD

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  26. Is する different from irregular verbs?

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    1. I mean the する in 勉強する。is it different from する in the irregular verb?

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    2. Admin bar avatar

      Yes, they are different.
      When you use する alone, it means “to do”
      But する in 勉強する is used to change 勉強 to a Verb.It doesn’t have any meaning.

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    3. Admin bar avatar

      する is a Verb itself.
      And XXする is type-three Verb.

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  27. Nice, it’s all clear to me now thank you very much!

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  28. what’s the different in term of use beetween verb type 1,2 and 3 sensei?

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    1. Admin bar avatar

      The way you change them to different forms is different.

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  29. This site is amazing. I hope you turn it into an app someday. The info is top notch

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    1. Admin bar avatar

      It’s expensive to make an app, I’m a student so I don’t have money now, I will do that after I get enough donations! Stay tuned!

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  30. What’s the reason why ○ふ isn’t a type one verb but ○ぶ is? It just seems to break the pattern… Thanks!

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      There were verbs like ○ふ hundreds years ago, But ふ is hard to read, so it became ぶ now just for convenience.

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  31. Any particular reasons that you choose those specific 26 exception verbs? Are they the most commonly used or something? Thanks!

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      part of them are not often used.
      I chose them because they are the only 26 exceptions in Japanese. No more.

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    2. Thanks for the reply! I’m now a bit confused because I found this while searching for more information on godan verbs that look like ichidan verbs ( https://www.sljfaq.org/afaq/which-godan.html ) and it lists a whole lot more! Some of the ones you have are on there, but there’s also lots of others as well…

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      Don’t worry. The verbs on that website (which my website don’t have) are never used nowadays. I have no idea why this website list these verbs up. Besides, that website has mistakes as well. 舐める and ふける are ichi-dan verbs.

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    4. Thanks for the clarification! I’ll study the ones here then 🙂

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