The Extended Use of the Verb "Suru"

Japanese businessmen might use the Decide-Function of Suru
Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

The verb "suru (to do)" has many extended uses, which occur quite often. Click here to learn how to conjugate the verb "suru".

(1) To Make

(a) Adverb form of I-adjective + suru
To change the I-adjective to the adverb form, replace the final ~i with ~ku. (e.g. ookii ---> ookiku)

  • Terebi no oto o ookiku shita. テレビの音を大きくした。--- I turned up the volume of the TV.
  • Tsugi no tesuto wa mou sukoshi muzukashiku suru tsumori da. 次のテストはもう少し難しくするつもりだ。--- I am going to make the next exam a little more difficult.

    (b) Adverb form of Na-adjective + suru
    To change the Na-adjective to the adverb form, replace the final ~na with ~ni. (e.g. kireina ---> kireini)

    • Heya o kireini suru. 部屋をきれいにする。--- I'm cleaning the room.
    • Kana wa darenidemo shinsetsu ni suru. 香奈は誰にでも親切にする。 --- Kana is kind to everybody.

    (2) To Decide

    "Suru" should be used when you are choosing from several available alternatives. Click here to learn more expressions when ordering at a restaurant.

    • Koohii ni shimasu. コーヒーにします。--- I'll have coffee.
    • Kono tokei ni shimasu. この時計にします。--- I'll take this watch.
    • Pikunikku wa raishuu ni shimashou. ピクニックは来週にしましょう。--- Let’s agree that the picnic will be next week.

    (3) The Cost, Duration of Time

    When accompanied by phrases indicating price, it means "cost." When used with a verb that indicates duration of time, it means, "lapse".

    • Kono kaban wa gosen en shimashita. このかばんは五千円しました。--- This bag cost 5,000 yen.
    • Sono tokei wa dono gurai shimashita ka. その時計はどのぐらいしましたか。--- About how much did that watch cost?
    • Ato ichinen shitara Nihon ni ikimasu. 後一年したら日本に行きます。 --- I am going to Japan in another year.

    When "suru" is used to mean duration of time, it is only be used in a subordinate clause. In a main clause, the verb "tatsu" is used instead.

    • Gonen tachimashita. 五年たちました。--- Five years passed.

    (4) To Feel, to Smell, or to Hear

    When "suru" is combined with phrases associated with appearance, it means, "to appear".

    • Kono hana wa ii nioi ga suru. この花はいい匂いがする。--- This flower smells good.
    • Nami no oto ga suru. 波の音がする。--- I hear the sound of the waves.
    • Kore wa henna aji ga shimasu. これは変な味がします。--- This tastes funny.
    • Samuke ga shimasu. 寒気がします。--- I feel a chill.

    (5) To Appear

    When "suru" is combined with phrases associated with appearance, it means, "to appear".

    • Kanojo wa samishisouna me o shite ita. 彼女はさみしそうな目をしていた。--- She had sad eyes. (Her eyes looked sad.)
    • Kare wa aoi kao o shite iru. 彼は青い顔をしている。--- His face looks pale.

    (6) Loan Word + Suru

    Loan words are often combined with "suru" to change the word into a verb. Most loan words are taken from English verbs. Here are some examples.

    • doraibu suru ドライブする --- to drive
    • taipu suru タイプする --- to type
    • kisu suru キスする --- to kiss
    • nokku suru ノックする --- to knock
    • pasu suru パスする --- to pass
    • hitto suru ヒットする --- to hit

    (7) Noun (of Chinese Origin) + Suru

    "Suru" is combined with nouns of Chinese origin to change them into a verb.

    • benkyou suru 勉強する --- to study
    • sentaku suru 洗濯する --- to do the washing
    • ryokou suru 旅行する --- to travel
    • shitsumon suru 質問する --- to ask questions
    • denwa suru 電話する --- to telephone
    • yakusoku suru 約束する --- to promise
    • sanpo suru 散歩する --- to take a walk
    • yoyaku suru 予約する --- to reserve
    • shokuji suru 食事する --- to have a meal
    • souji suru 掃除する --- to clean
    • kekkon suru 結婚する --- to get married
    • kaimono suru 買い物する --- to shop
    • setsumei suru 説明する --- to explain
    • junbi suru 準備する --- to prepare

    The particle "o" can be used as an object particle after a noun. (e.g. "benkyou o suru," "denwa o suru") There is no difference in meaning with or without "o."

    (8) Adverb or Onomatopoetic Expressions + Suru

    Adverbs or onomatopoeic expressions can be combined with "suru" to change them into verbs.

    • yukkuri suru ゆっくりする --- to stay long
    • katto suru かっとする --- to flare up
    • zotto suru ぞっとする --- to shiver
    • bonyari suru ぼんやりする --- to be absent minded
    • niko niko suru ニコニコする --- to smile
    • waku waku suru  ワクワクする --- to be excited