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Japanese Volitional Verb

In this lesson we will learn how to express purpose, intension, desire, wish and idea in Japanese language. Our main aim is to learn the volitional form of verbs in this lesson. In this lesson we will learn approximately 5 new sentence patterns. Various examples are provided in this lesson for each grammar pattern to make your understanding clear and quick. In addition the method of changing verbs and adjectives into their respective volitional form has also been explained in simple language. Letís start studying the sentence patterns one by one.
  • Watashiwa nihon e ikou to omotte imase. (I think I will go to Japan.) In the above sentence we have made use of "ikou" which is the volitional form of the verb "iku" which means to go. The Japanese volitional verb always ends with "u" ending irrespective of the group it belongs to. This is the reason why the japanese volitional verb form is also called as the "u" form of a verb. In the same way the consonant which comes before "u" is always of the sound "o" like in "ikou", "tabeyou", "shiyou" etc. It should always be remembered that all the volitional form of verbs should always have a prolonged pronunciation. You can also make use of "kangaeru" (to think) instead of "omou". In the above sentence we have made use of "omotte imasu" which helps us to show that along with the speaker we can also express what the others feel or wish. On the other hand if we use only "omoimasu" then we can express only what the speaker feels or wishes. Make sure that you always remember the difference between the use of "omotte imasu" and "omoimasu". Following is the method with the help of which you can change verbs of all the three groups into their volitional forms. Letís start from group 1, next group 2 and finally group 3.

    Group 1: while changing verb from group 1 or godandoushi into volitional form just replace "u", "ku", "su", "tsu", "nu", "hu", "mu", "ru", "gu", "bu" and "pu" which come at the end of a verb by "o", "ko", "so", "to", "no", "ho", "mo", "ro", "go" and "po" respectively. Once you have a verb with an "o" ending sound consonant just add "u" after that. Following are few examples of verbs from group 1:-

Japanese Volitional verb - 'godandoushi'

Group 2: Incase of group 2 or ichidandoushi, remove the end consonant "ru" and add "yo-u" to the verb. Changing verbs of this group into volitional form is very easy. Following are some examples of the verbs which belong to this group.

Japanese Volitional verb

Group 3: As we all know that this group has only 2 verbs and they do not follow any rule hence, you have to learn the volitional form of these verbs as they have been given. Below are the two verbs:

Japanese Volitional 'fukusoku' verb

Some more examples of this grammar pattern are:

Japanese verb

I think that I will buy a good camera next month

japanese volitional verb

I think that I will watch a movie with my friends today evening.

  • In the second sentence pattern we will make use of "to omoimasu" instead of "to omotte imasu". As told in the previous pattern when we use "to omoimasu" the speaker can only express his own thoughts and ideas. Another important thing to remember is that the verbs, adjectives or nouns which come immediately before "to omoimasu" always have to be in their plain forms. Following are the examples of each using the plain form:


    Japanese volitional verb

    u form of verb

    volitional form verb


    japanese volitional godandoushi verb

    An example of this sentence pattern in a conversation is as follows:

    Japanese version:

    Japanese ichidandoushi verb

    A: You know! Miss Yoko did not come for last weekís trip. Was she probably ill?

    B: No, I think that she was not ill. Probably, she may have been busy.

  • In the previous 2 sentence patterns we had learnt how to express oneís thought or idea. In this sentence pattern we will learn the way in which a person can express his/ her intension of doing a particular activity. Here a person intends to do something and therefore put his/ her efforts in achieving it. Hence, this intension of a person is expressed by using the phrase "tsumori desu" (tsu-mo-ri de-su). The verb which is used before "tsumori desu" has to be either in root verb or dictionary form or in nai form. This is a rule which has to be remembered always. Following are two examples of this form:

    Example: 1

    Japanese version:

    japanese volitional verb

    English version:

    A: What do you intend to do in the future?

    B: After completing my education in Electrical Engineering, I intend to work in a company.

    Example: 2

    Japanese Version:

    Japanese ichidandoushi verb form

    English version:

    A: Are you going to Kyoto this Sunday for a trip?

    B: No, I am not intending to go.

    4) The fourth sentence pattern will teach us the "tai" form of a verb. In English this form will mean "want to do". In other words, by using this form a person can express his/ her wish to do something. But always remember that when you are talking about the wish of a third person who is not present at the time of your conversation then, there is another form which you have to use. "tai" form of a verb is very easy to make. You just need to add tai at the end of the masu base form of a verb This rule is applicable to all the three groups of verbs. Tai form can be used in different sentence structures like "tai desu", "tai to omou" and "tai to omotte imasu", all three are correct. Another important rule to remember is that if in a sentence we have made use of transitive verbs then in that case the particle used to indicate the verb will always be "ga" and not "wo/ o". Following is an example of the use of "tai" form of verb:

    Japanese version:

    Japanese volitional verb

    English version:

    A - What do you want to do after learning Japanese language?

    B - Mr. Smith wants to marry Ms. Yukiko.

  • As told in the previous sentence pattern that while we are talking to someone about a third personís wish when he/ she is not present with us at that time we have to make use of a different grammar pattern. The form "tagatte iru" (ta-gat-te i-ru) is used for this purpose. "tagatte" is the te form of "tagaru". To convert a verb into this form you just need to remove "I" from "tai" form and add "garu" after "ta". E.g. kau > kaimasu > kaitai > kaitagaru. The use of both the particles "wo/ o" and "ga" for indicating the verb is correct but you need to consider which is more appropriate according to the context of the sentence. Following are few examples of this sentence pattern:

    Japanese verbs volitional

    Mr. John wants to go to Hokkaido in the winter holiday.

    volitional Japanese verb

    Mr. Smith wants to marry Ms. Yukiko.

    With this sentence pattern we have come to the end of this lesson. All the above sentence patterns are included in the volitional form of verbs. Learn the above grammar patterns slowly and one by one so that you donít confuse yourself.

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