Japanese conjugation chart

Learning Japanese can be challenging, especially if you’re coming from an English-speaking background. The languages are quite different in terms of grammar, vocabulary, and even the writing system.
However, adopting a Western approach to learning Japanese can be really helpful, especially when it comes to understanding how verbs are conjugated.

In English, we’re used to seeing verbs change depending on tense (like “walk” becoming “walked” for past tense) or mood (like “walk” becoming “walks” for third person singular). Similarly, in Japanese, verbs change forms based on different factors like tense, politeness level, and potentiality.

By identifying and creating patterns from a Western perspective, you can start to visualize how these conjugations work in Japanese. For example, noticing that many verbs in Japanese end in -u in their dictionary form (like “taberu” for “to eat”) and understanding how they change to express different meanings (like “tabemasu” for polite present tense or “tabenai” for negative present tense) can help you grasp the basics of Japanese conjugation.

By breaking down the language into manageable patterns and logic, you can gradually build your understanding and confidence in Japanese. Starting with simple conjugations is like laying the foundation for a house – once you understand the basics, you can start to build upon them and expand your knowledge of the language. So, while learning Japanese may have its challenges, approaching it with a Western mindset can definitely make the journey more manageable and rewarding.

Get this essential PDF today to make sure your understanding of Japanese conjugation is taking a kick start.

 

 

How to work this Japanese conjugation chart

Conjugation charts serve as invaluable tools for illustrating the patterns of language conjugations. They don’t need to be overly complicated. In any language, including Japanese, you encounter both regular and irregular verbs. A conjugation chart focuses on the regular verbs, showcasing the standard method of verb conjugation and the underlying rationale behind it.
Let’s delve into the 6 fundamental tenses in Japanese: the present, past, future, imperative and conditional. It’s important to note that there are additional tenses crucial for achieving fluency, but for now, let’s explore whether you can familiarize yourself with them simply by examining this table before you.

Use the following structure to conjugate Japanese verbs into the present and future tense:

Basics to Japanese conjugation

There are 2 different types of verbs in Japanese: Godan and Ichidan verbs.

Godan verbs and Ichidan conjugate in the same way, however in a Godan verb there is a vowel change that takes place in the verbs which makes it a little more difficult to conjugate.

But first, lets look into the different between Godan en Ichidan verbs:

Godan verbs

Also known as U or V1 verbs. Consistently these verbs:

– end in U
– and the sound “i” of “e” does not come before る.

Create the stem by removing the last character.

For this example we use the verb 聞く/ Kiku (to hear/listen) as an example. The stem is 聞 or Kik.

Ichidan verbs

Also known as RU or V2 verbs.
Recognize these verbs based on their endings:

– they consistently end in iru or eru.
– Or end in る with a i of e sound before it.

Create the stem by removing the last two latin letters or る.

For this example we use the verb 開ける / Akeru (to open).
The stem is 開け or Ake.

Now lets see how to use this information to get the right conjugation.

Form the Japanese present tense

Conjugate the Japanese present tense in the following way: verb

Simply take the verb and form the stem. Than take the following formula to create the conjugation:

stem + * + ます
stem + imasu

The * above indicates the vowel change and requires to add one of the following: き/い/り/み/び/に/し/ち/さ/っ

In the transliteration you won’t need to change the vowel.

Example:

If we would take the verb 聞く/ Kiku (to hear/listen) as an example.
We now know the stem is 聞 or Kik. Which means that the outcome would be:

聞 + * + ます = 聞きます
Kik + imasu = Kikimasu

Which means “I listen”

stem + ます
stem + masu

Conjugating a Ichidan verb is way more straight forward. Create the stem by removing the last two latin letters or る and follow the pattern above.

Example:

For this example we use the verb 開ける / Akeru (to open).
The stem is 開け or Ake.

I open
開け + ます = 開けます
Ake + masu = Akemasu

The Japanese conjugation chart also visualises the following tenses:
– Past perfect
– Future perfect (same as present tense)
– Conditional tense
– Imperative (comand) tense

A Japanese conjugation chart is an indispensable tool for anyone learning the Japanese language, primarily because it provides a visual representation of the intricate verb conjugation patterns in Japanese.

In essence, a Japanese conjugation chart is an essential aid that simplifies the otherwise daunting task of mastering essential Japanese verb conjugation, providing you with a valuable resource to enhance your language skills.

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Japanese verb charts

Japanese present tense chart - informal
Japanese conjugation chart - form the present tense
Japanese conjugation chart - form the present tense
Japanese conjugation chart - form the present tense