Lesson 05: Introduction to Verbs



In this lesson, you will be introduced to some Japanese verbs and how they work. You will learn the three types of verbs and how to conjugate them. For now, we will focus only on the present tense verbs. Past tense verbs will be taught in a later lesson.


In this lesson


– る verbs

– う verbs

– Irregular verbs

– Homework and answer key


る verbs


The first type of verb we will learn about in this lesson is the る verb type. These verbs all end in the Japanese character る. Since they are categorized like this, all of these kinds of verbs can be conjugated the same way.


One example of a る verb is たべる. たべる is the dictionary form of the verb and means “to eat.” This means that it has not been conjugated. In order to conjugate this verb into the present affirmative form, you must drop the る and add ます to the end of the verb. So たべる becomes たべます. You can use this in the following sentence structure.


X は Y をたべます.


In this sentence, を is a particle that goes after the noun that is being eaten, since our verb means “to eat.” Look at the example below.


わたしはりんごをたべます。 = I am eating an apple.


You will conjugate all る verbs this same way, but they will not always fit in the same sentence structure. Another る verb that will fit into this form is みる. みる becomes みます (to see/to watch).


う Verbs


These verbs are a little more difficult to conjugate. Once you just remember which verbs are う verbs and which ones are る verbs, you will have a much easier time conjugating. These verbs don’t have to end any certain way, but there is always a “u” sound on the end.


One example of a う verb is のむ. For this verb, you change the む to み and add ます. The verb (meaning “to drink”) becomes のみます.


Another う verb is かく (to write). This will becomeかきます when it is conjugated into the present affirmative tense.


Irregular Verbs


There are only two irregular verbs that you need to remember. For these, there is no pattern on how they will conjugate. The two verbs, in dictionary form, are する and くる. Since they end in る, they look like る verbs. Just keep in mind that not all verbs that end in る are actually る verbs.


In present affirmative, する becomes します (to do/play) and くる becomes きます (to return/come).  Also keep in mind that some additional verbs will end in する. If they do, you must conjugate them as if you are only conjugating する. One example is the verb べんきょうする. This would become べんきょうします and means “to study.”




Section 1: Conjugate the following verbs into present affirmative form. Then guess what the verbs mean in English by using the picture clues.

る Verbs

1. おきる


2. みる


3. たべる


4. ねる


5. あげる

う Verbs

1. はなす


2. のむ


3. きく


4. かく


5. まつ

Section 2: Translate the following sentences into English. Use a Japanese dictionary if you do not recognize a word.

  1. わたしはをみます。
  2. わたしはおきます。
  3. わたしはすしをたべます。
  4. けいたさんはねます。
  5. なにをみますか。
  6. にほんごをはなしますか。
  7. てがみをかきます。
  8. いまおんがくをききます。
  9. あなたはみずをのみますか。
  10. なにをききますか。

Answer Key

  1. おきます To get up.
  2. みます To see or watch.
  3. たべます To eat.
  4. ねます To sleep.
  5. あげます To give.


  1. はなします To speak or talk.
  2. のみます To drink.
  3. ききます To listen or hear.
  4. かきます To write.
  5. まちます To wait.


  1. I am watching TV.
  2. I am getting up.
  3. I am eating sushi.
  4. Keita is sleeping.
  5. What are you watching?
  6. Do you speak Japanese?
  7. I am writing a letter.
  8. I am listening to music now.
  9. Do you drink water?
  10. What are you listening to?

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