Verb Course

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JLPT Basic, JLPT Course
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Verb Course

How to classify Japanese Verbs?

Japanese has four verb types: u-Verbs, ru-Verbs, suru-Verbs, and the special verbs. 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 the u-Verb?

u-Verbs have the two features below:

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

(1)xx-う, for example, う→ meet,う→buy

(2)xx-く, for example, く→ write,く→go

(3)xx-ぐ, for example, ぐ→smell,およぐ→swim

(4)xx-す, for example, す→push,ころす→kill

(5)xx-つ, for example, つ→hit,つ→wait

(6)xx-ぬ, for example, ぬ→die

(7)xx-ぶ, for example, ぶ→call,ぶ→fly

(8)xx-む, for example, む→drink,む→read

②If the verb is something like below,Then,this verb is a u-verb:

(1)xx-る:and the hiragana before る is in the a-column(あ、か、さ、…わ).

For example,やる→do,る→leave.

in やる,the hiragana before る is や,which is in the a-column,so やる is a u-verb.

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

(2)xx-る:and the hiragana before る is in the o-column(お、こ、そ…).

For example,る→fold,いのる→pray

in る,the hiragana before る is お,which is in the o-column,so る is a u-verb.

in いのる,the hiragana before る is の,which is in the o-column,so いのる is a u-verb.


Question 2:What is the ru-Verb?

If the verb is something like below,Then,this verb is a ru-verb:

(1)xx-る:and the hiragana before る is in the i-column(い、き、し…).

For example,る→see,りる→get off.

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

in りる,the hiragana before る is り,which is in the i-column,so is りる is a ru-verb.

(2)xx-る:and the hiragana before る is in the e-column(え、け、せ…).

For example,べる→eat,える→get cold

in べる,the hiragana before る is べ,which is in the e-column,so べる is a ru-verb.

in える,the hiragana before る is え,which is in the e-column,so える is a ru-verb.

Question 3:What is the suru-Verb?
If the verb is something like below,Then,this verb is a suru-verb:
two or more kanji + する,for example,べんきょうする→learn,成功せいこうする→be successful
and in most cases,kanji is onyomi.
But,there are some exceptions too,which only has one kanji + する,for example,さっする→sympathize,but they are not often used,so don’t worry.


Question 4:What is the Special Verb?

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


The table below are 26 u-verbs that look like ru-verbs,Just remember them directly!


帰(かえ)るto return
切(き)るto cut
減(へ)るto decrease
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 [Tests]→[JLPT Basic Test].

40 thoughts on “How to classify Japanese Verbs?

  1. (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. ^^

    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!

  2. 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! 🙂

  3. 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?

    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.

  4. 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.

    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.

      1. 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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