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Dictionary form of Japanese Verbs



The Dictionary form of Japanese verbs is also called as the "root verb" form. Both these forms are the same. In Japanese language is form is called as "jishyokei" which means dictionary form.

The root verb is one of the five parts of the plain form of the Japanese verb. It is also known as the informal form because it is used while talking informally with family and friends. This form of Japanese verb is very important and useful when we look up words in a dictionary. While searching for meaning of verbs in a Japanese dictionary, you will see that they are given in the root verb form or in other words, in dictionary form.

There is a rule while changing the verbs from "masu base form" to "root verb form". The rule is different for all the three groups of verbs. The rule for the verbs of group 1 is that, all the "i" ending sounds will change to "u" ending sounds. In other words wording ending with i, ki, shi, chi, ni, hi, mi, ri, gi, bi and pi will change into u, ku, su, tsu, nu, hu, mu, ru, gu, bu and pu respectively. In case of the verbs of group 2 just add "ru" at the end of masu base of all the verbs. Group 3 does not follow any rules and since there are only two verbs, they are to be learnt as they are given.

Following is the list of root verbs, their meanings according to the group, which they belong to.




Japanese godandoushi Verbs

godandoushi Japanese Verbs

Japanese ichidandoushi Verb

Fukusoku Japanese Verb

For JLPT level N5 there is only one use of the dictionary form of verb that the examinee should be aware of. The use is as follows:-

Whenever a root verb comes before "mae ni" it means before doing this I do that. It shows that before performing this action I will do that. E.g.:

Gohan ow taberu mae ni te wo aratte kudasai. (Before eating food please wash your hands.)

Another important thing to remember is that there are a few verbs which have similar pronunciation but fall under different groups. So do keep these verbs and their respective groups in mind. It is very simple to change verbs into dictionary form or root verbs provided the rule for different groups is understood by the examinee. Do practice the usage of root verbs by forming your own sentences.

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