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
- Godan Verbs (~う Verbs)
- Ichidan Verbs (~いる and ~える Verbs)
- Irregular Verbs
- Why You Should Know These Verbs
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 た 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 lets you learn Japanese through online videos taken from sites like YouTube, so you get the most authentic content on the web that’s made by native speakers for native speakers. And for beginners, there are also more instructional video options.
Each video comes with interactive subtitles, which let you click on words—like new Japanese verbs—you don’t know to get a definition, pronunciation, example sentences and add them to your personalized flashcard decks.
Godan Verbs (~う Verbs)
|To make something||Tsukuru||作る||つくる|
|To take (someone along)||Tsureteiku||連れて行く||つれていく|
|To wear (lower body clothing)||Haku||履く||はく|
|To get taller||Takamuru||高まる||たかまる|
|To get deeper||Fukamaru||深まる||ふかまる|
|To quiet down||Shizumaru||静まる||しずまる|
|To curl up||Marumaru||丸まる||まるまる|
|To get strong||Tsuyomaru||強まる||つよまる|
|To get faster||Hayamaru||早まる||はやまる|
|To speed up||Hayamaru||速まる||はやまる|
|To warm up||Atatamaru||暖まる||あたたまる|
|To get warm||Atatamaru||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 get quieter||Shizumeru||静める||しずめる|
|To roll up||Marumeru||丸める||まるめる|
|To get weaker||Yowameru||弱める||よわめる|
|To speed up||Hayameru||速める||はやめる|
|To warm up (a person)||Atatameru||暖める||あたためる|
くる (to come) and する (to do) are the only two regular verbs.
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.