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Japanese Verb List: 64 Must-know Verbs for Leveling Up Your Language Skills

Japanese and English might be drastically different, but they have one thing in common: every sentence needs at least one verb.

To become conversational in Japanese, this means you need to know at least the most common Japanese verbs.

In this post, you’ll get a Japanese verb list complete with 64 verbs, including some intermediate-level verbs that indicate change.

Also, learn how Japanese verb conjugation works so you can start using them in the real world as fast as possible.


How Japanese Verb Conjugation Works

  • Verb conjugations don’t depend on the pronoun. Instead, Japanese verb forms are conjugated based on polite form or plain form. This is different from Romance languages like Spanish and French.
  • There are three main types of Japanese verbs. These are verbs that end with う (“godan” verbs), verbs that end in いる or える (“ichidan” verbs), and two irregular verbs: 来る(くる)— to come and 行く(いく)— to go.
  • 一段 verbs. You can negate 一段 verbs by adding ~ない to the verb stem. For example, the verb 食べる(たべる)— “to eat” becomes:

 食べた(たべた)— I ate (plain past form)

食べました(たべました)— I ate (polite past form)

  • Add  ~た to the stem to change the verb to the past tense. For the polite form, ~ない becomes ~ません and becomes 〜ました.
  • The same would work with the past negative. ない becomes なかった in plain form, ません becomes ませんでした in polite form. For example:

食べなかった(たべなかった)— I did not eat (past negative plain form)

食べませんでした(たべませんでした)— I did not eat (past negative polite form)

  • 五段 verbs can end in う、く、 ぐ、す、ぶ、つ、ぬ、む、or る. If you’re not familiar with hiragana, now would be a good time to brush up on it! The pattern will give you a better idea of how to conjugate.

It does take some time to remember how to properly use the negative, past and stem form of 五段 verbs that don’t end in いる or える.

But to start, you can use this song my Japanese language teacher had us memorize to help us remember verb conjugation!

If you like learning Japanese through songs, FluentU would be an excellent resource to try.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

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Godan Verbs (~う Verbs)

To talkHanasu 話す はなす
To writeKaku 書く かく
To listenKiku 聞く きく
To askKiku 聞く きく
To buyKau 買う かう
To sayYuu 言う いう
To singUtau 歌う うたう
To readYomu 読む よむ
To meetAu 会う あう
To reachTodoku 届く とどく
To understandWakaru 分かる わかる
To make somethingTsukuru 作る つくる
To beginHajimaru 始まる はじまる
To sayMaosu 申す もうす
To existAru ある ある
To separateHanasu 離す はなす
To take (someone along)Tsureteiku 連れて行く つれていく
To takeToru 取る とる
To cutKiru 切る きる
To wear (lower body clothing)Haku 履く はく
To giveKudasuru 下さる くださる
To receiveItadaku 頂く いただく
To getMorau もらう もらう
To walkAruku 歩く あるく
To runHashiru 走る はしる
To spreadHirogaru 広がる ひろがる
To expandHiromaru 広まる ひろまる
To get tallerTakamuru 高まる たかまる
To get deeperFukamaru 深まる ふかまる
To quiet downShizumaru 静まる しずまる
To curl upMarumaru 丸まる まるまる
To hardenKatamaru 固まる かたまる
To dilute Usumaru 薄まる うすまる
To weakenYowamaru 弱まる よわまる
To get strongTsuyomaru 強まる つよまる
To get fasterHayamaru 早まる はやまる
To speed upHayamaru 速まる はやまる
To warm upAtatamaru 暖まる あたたまる
To get warmAtatamaru 温まる あたたまる

Ichidan Verbs (~いる and ~える Verbs)

To put on (clothes)Kiru 着る きる
To seeMiru 見る みる
To sleepNeru 寝る ねる
To tellOshieru 教える おしえる
To thinkKangaeru 考える かんがえる
To eatTaberu 食べる たべる
To putKakeru かける かける
To giveKureru くれる くれる
To giveAgeru あげる あげる
To widenHirogeru 広げる ひろげる
To expandHiromeru 広める ひろめる
To raiseTakameru 高める たかめる
To deepenFukameru 深める ふかめる
To get quieterShizumeru 静める しずめる
To roll upMarumeru 丸める まるめる
To hardenKatameru 固める かためる
To diluteUsumeru 薄める うすめる
To get weakerYowameru 弱める よわめる
To strengthenTsuyomeru 強める つよめる
To quickenHayameru 早める はやめる
To speed upHayameru 速める はやめる
To warm up (a person)Atatameru 暖める あたためる
To warmAtatameru 温める あたためる

Irregular Verbs

くる (to come) and する (to do) are the only two regular verbs.

To comeKuru 来る くる
To doSuru する する

Why You Should Know These Verbs

Learning the most essential Japanese verbs is important for many reasons, mainly so you can have more fluent and enjoyable conversations where you can express yourself more easily.

But familiarizing yourself with these verbs can also prove useful in many other ways!

For example, the kanji for all these verbs are included in the 常用漢字表(じょうようかんじひょう)— list of most commonly used kanji.

Knowing how to use these verbs will have you reading at a basic JLPT 4 level!

Plus, let’s not forget that knowing frequently used verbs means you’ll be able to understand more of your favorite Japanese songs, dramas, TV shows and animes.


With these 64 verbs, you’ll be well on your way to forming more native-sounding Japanese sentences.

Verb conjugation might seem difficult at first, but with plenty of practice and a little bit of time, you’ll be conjugating Japanese verbs with significantly more ease.

And One More Thing...

If you love learning Japanese with authentic materials, then I should also tell you more about FluentU.

FluentU naturally and gradually eases you into learning Japanese language and culture. You'll learn real Japanese as it's spoken in real life.

FluentU has a broad range of contemporary videos as you'll see below:


FluentU makes these native Japanese videos approachable through interactive transcripts. Tap on any word to look it up instantly.


All definitions have multiple examples, and they're written for Japanese learners like you. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.


And FluentU has a learn mode which turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples.


The best part? FluentU keeps track of your vocabulary, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You'll have a 100% personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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