Verb Course

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Marshall
JLPT Basic, JLPT Course
Free
  • 16 lessons
  • 0 quizzes
  • 96 week duration

Verb Course

Lesson 9: Potential Form

In this lesson,I will teach you how to convert Japanese verbs to Potential Form.


How to convert Japanese Verbs to Potential Form?

Verb TypeHow to convert?
Type-1 Verbchange the u-hiragana to e-hiragana and add る in the end,for example,う→える
Type-2 Verbchange the る in the end to られる ,for example,べる→べられる
Type-3 Verbchange the する in the end to できる ,for example, べんきょうする→べんきょうできる
Irregular Verbsる→られる   する→できる

Another way to express “be able to…”.

You can just add ことができる in the end.

For example,

うことができる、

べることができる、

べんきょうすることができる

Note:
the difference is as below.
Potential Form: often used between friends.
~ことができる: often used in business or in written Japanese.

Examples:

ExampleReadingPotential Form
会うあう会える
行くいく行ける
嗅ぐかぐ嗅げる
押すおす押せる
打つうつ打てる
死ぬしぬ死ねる
呼ぶよぶ呼べる
飲むのむ飲める
やるやるやれる
食べるたべる食べられる
勉強するべんきょうする勉強できる
するするできる
来るくる来(こ)られる

Other Forms of Potential Form:

Polite Form of Potential Form:
会えます、食べられます、勉強できます

Past Tense Form of Potential Form:
会えた、食べられた、勉強できた

Negative Form of Potential Form:
会えない、食べられない、勉強できない

Te Form of Potential Form:
会えて、食べられて、勉強できて

Polite Negative Form of Potential Form:
会えません、食べられません、勉強できません

Negative Past Tense Form of Potential Form:
会えなかった、食べられなかった、勉強できなかった

Polite Negative Past Tense Form of Potential Form:
会えませんでした、食べられませんでした、勉強できませんでした

Patron-only Contents:

This website won’t exist without Patrons’ support since it’s completely ad-free.
So I made some special contents for Patrons.
It’s a way of saying thank you!

As for other forms of Potential Form, they are just combined the knowledge you have learned before, I think it’s not necessary to provide quizzes for all other forms.
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22 thoughts on “Lesson 9: Potential Form

  1. When do you use potential form? Like, in which context?

    2+

    1. Admin bar avatar

      Like you want to express: I can do…
      Like I can speak Japanese. 私は日本語が話せる。

      6+

  2. Is there any subtle difference between potential form and ~ことができる? For example is one more formal than the other, and are there any situation where one is preferred over another? Thank you 🙂

    0

    1. Admin bar avatar

      potential form: often used between friends.
      ~ことができる:often used in business. or used in written Japanese.

      0

  3. How is the form used and how does it change the context of a sentence? Can you provide me some sample sentences of it being used?

    0

    1. Admin bar avatar

      辛(から)いものが食(た)べられますか。
      Can you eat spicy food?

      0

    2. It’s like asking the ability of a person, whether they can do it or not?

      Can I use in objects also, like “Can the machine perform well?”

      0

  4. How would you conjugate the Potential form to the past tense?

    0

    1. Admin bar avatar

      Just change the る in the end to た.

      0

  5. Hello,

    Are these sentences correct?
    彼女は泳げます。彼は死ねない。

    0

    1. Admin bar avatar

      Yes! It’s correct!

      0

    2. Thanks!

      0

  6. How about when writing, let’s say writing on a diary or essay..should I use ~ことができる? Is there a polite form of that? Or can I use the exact one? Because someone told me I should always use polite form not casual. Thank you :))

    0

    1. Admin bar avatar

      You can use ~ことができます

      0

  7. Potential negative? Do I just change to e-hiragana + ない?like 歩けない?

    1+

    1. Admin bar avatar

      Yes!

      1+

  8. Is there a past form for this or it’s a complete different form?
    if it exists how to you express a negative form/past form/negative past form?

    0

    1. Admin bar avatar

      Added!

      0

  9. is there a polite past affirmative form?

    0

    1. Admin bar avatar

      yes

      1+

  10. How do you use the Te-form of the potential form of verb? Can you give an example? Thank you!

    0

    1. Admin bar avatar

      まだできていない

      2+

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