Japanese Verb Conjugations: Group Two

These verbs are easier to conjugate than their group one counterparts

Students learning to speak and read Japanese have to learn an new alphabet and new ways of pronunciation which can be challenging at first. But they catch a break when it comes to some of the finer points of the language.

Unlike the more complicated verb conjugations of Romance languages, in Japanese, verbs don't have a different form to indicate first- second- and third-person. There are no differences in singular and plural forms, and like English, there is no different gender for verbs. 

Japanese verbs are roughly divided into three groups according to their dictionary form (basic form). There are only two irregular verbs (which are classified as "group three") in Japanese: kuru (to come) and suru (to do). Group one verbs end in "~ u" and are also known as consonant -stem or godan verbs.

Then there's group two. These verbs are much easier to conjugate, as they all have the same basic conjugation patterns. Group two verbs in Japanese end in either "~iru" or "~ eru". This group is also called vowel-stem-verbs or Ichidan-doushi (Ichidan verbs).

Here are some examples of vowel-stem verbs and their conjugations. 

neru (to sleep)

Informal Present
(Dictionary Form)
neru
寝る
Formal Present
(~ masu Form)
nemasu
寝ます
Informal Past
(~ ta Form)
neta
寝た
Formal Past nemashita
寝ました
Informal Negative
(~ nai Form)
nenai
寝ない
Formal Negative nemasen
寝ません
Informal Past Negative nenakatta
寝なかった
Formal Past Negative nemasen deshita
寝ませんでした
~ te Form nete
寝て
Conditional nereba
寝れば
Volitional neyou
寝よう
Passive nerareru
寝られる
Causative nesaseru
寝させる
Potential nerareru
寝られる
Imperative
(Command)
nero
寝ろ

Examples:

Neko wa neru no ga suki da.
猫は寝るのが好きだ。
Cats like sleeping.
Watashi wa Futon de nemasu.
私は布団で寝ます。
I sleep on a futon.
Sakuya Yoku nerarenakatta.
昨夜よく寝れなかった。
I didn't sleep well last night.

oshieru (to teach, to tell)

Informal Present
(Dictionary Form)
oshieru
Formal Present
(~ masu Form)
oshiemasu
Informal Past
(~ ta Form)
oshieta
Formal Past oshiemashita
Informal Negative
(~ nai Form)
oshienai
Formal Negative oshiemasen
Informal Past Negative oshienakatta
Formal Past Negative oshiemasen deshita
~ te Form oshiete
Conditional oshietara
Volitional oshieyou
Passive oshierareru
Causative oshiesaseru
Potential oshierareru
Imperative
(Command)
oshiero

Examples:

Nihon de eigo o oshiete imasu. I teach English in Japan.
Oyogikata o oshiete. Teach me how to swim.
Eki e iku michi o oshiete kudasai. Can you tell me
the way to the station.

miru (to see, to look)

Informal Present
(Dictionary Form)
miru
見る
Formal Present
(~ masu Form)
mimasu
見ます
Informal Past
(~ ta Form)
mita
見た
Formal Past mimashita
見ました
Informal Negative
(~ nai Form)
minai
見ない
Formal Negative mimasen
見ません
Informal Past Negative minakatta
見なかった
Formal Past Negative mimasen deshita
見ませんでした
~ te Form mite
見て
Conditional mireba
見れば
Volitional miyou
見よう
Passive mirareru
見られる
Causative misaseru
見させる
Potential mirareru
見られる
Imperative
(Command)
miro
見ろ

Examples:

Kono eiga o mimashita ka.
この映画を見ましたか。
Did you see this movie?
Terebi o mite mo ii desu ka.
テレビを見てもいいですか。
May I watch TV?
Chizu o mireba wakarimasu yo.
地図を見れば分かりますよ。
If you look at the map,
you will understand.

taberu (to eat)

Informal Present
(Dictionary Form)
taberu
食べる
Formal Present
(~ masu Form)
tabemasu
食べます
Informal Past
(~ ta Form)
tabeta
食べた
Formal Past tabemashita
食べました
Informal Negative
(~ nai Form)
tabenai
食べない
Formal Negative tabemasen
食べません
Informal Past Negative tabenakatta
食べなかった
Formal Past Negative tabemasen deshita
食べませんでした
~ te Form tabete
食べて
Conditional tabereba
食べれば
Volitional tabeyou
食べよう
Passive taberareru
食べられる
Causative tabesaseru
食べさせる
Potential taberareru
食べられる
Imperative
(Command)
tabero
食べろ

Examples:

Kyou asagohan o tabenakatta.
今日朝ご飯を食べなかった。
I didn't have breakfast today.
Kangofu wa byounin ni
ringo o tabesaseta.

看護婦は病人にりんごを食べさせた。
The nurse fed an apple
to the patient.
Sore, taberareru no?
それ、食べられるの?
Can you eat this?