The basic Japanese verb (unconjugated) ends with an ‘u’. It is the equivalent to the basic unconjugated English verb.
Taberu – to eat
Miru – to watch, see
Matsu – to wait
Kau – to buy
Now, what if you want to make the verb negative, or past tense? In that case you must conjugate the verb.
Notice all of the verbs end with an ‘u’. The type of conjugation of the verb depends upon the last ‘consonant-vowel’ pair at the end of the word.
There are three different kinds of ‘sets’ of verbs, and they all follow their own specific conjugation rules.
Yodan verbs end with one of the following: u, ku, tsu, su, gu, mu, nu, bu, ru. Here is a list of each type of Yodan verb, note at the end is the bolded consonant-vowl pair:
These verbs will be conjugated differently depending on the ending consonant-vowel pair. How to do this will be described in the next lesson, but for now, just familiarize yourself.
These verbs end with an ‘iru’ or an ‘eru’. And follow specific conjugation rules.
Watch out, sometimes there is a Yodan ‘ru’ verb which looks like an Ichidan verb but isn’t. You will have to memorize these imposters. Here are a few examples of Yodan verbs which appear to be Ichidan verbs:
Hairu (to enter)
Kaeru (to change)
Fortunately there are only two irregular verbs in Japanese, they are:
Kuru (to come)
Suru (to do)
And as you may have suspected these irregular verbs follow their on special conjugation rules.
The purpose of this lesson was to just expose you to the various types of verbs, the next lesson will show you how to conjugate them.