This is hanako. and today we are going to start learning some action verbs!
In the first couple lessons, we talked about the copula, です (desu), so we know how to say what people and things are
. But people and things have purposes and functions. They do
things, they move about, they grow, they break, they think, they feel, and somethings they even spontaneously combust!! To talk about all of these things, we need to learn some verbs of action!
Japanese verbs are generally thought of as past tense (actions that took place in the past) and non-past tense (actions that take place in the present, future, etc). We'll be talking about the non-past tense today. Let's begin with a look at "Ichidan" or one-step verbs.
★ Verbs that end with -eru
, and most
verbs that end with -iru
are ichidan verbs.
We actually talked about an ichidan verb at the end of Lesson #004
. Do you remember it? Right, it was 食べる (taberu), and it means to eat!! Let's take a look at some ichidan verbs:
COMMON ICHIDAN VERBS
All of these verbs are written in their dictionary forms. That means when you look up a new verb in your Japanese-English dictionary, this is how you will see it written. The dictionary form is also the informal form of the verb, but we'll get into that a bit later. I think it's best if we start with the polite form and work our way down.
★ The polite non-past form of an ichidan verb is the stem plus the ending -ます (-masu).
Hold on. The "stem"? Like...a flower stem? How does a verb have a stem?? Well, the stem of a verb is the part of the verb that doesn't change at all.
★ To find the stem of an ichidan verb, simply drop the -る (-ru).
Okay, got it? Now let's look at an example. Let's stick with our verb, 食べる (taberu, eat). To get the stem, we drop the -る (-ru), and that leaves us with 食べ- (tabe-), right? Then we add the polite ending -ます (-masu) and we get...
And what does it mean in English?
If you said "it depends on the context", you're right! It does depend on the context to determine the zero pronouns. It could mean "I eat", "you eat", "we eat", "she eats"...so many possibilities!!
Now let's look at the other ichidan verbs in the chart and see what they look like in their polite forms.
POLITE NON-PAST TENSE
見る (miru; see) → 見ます (mimasu; see)
上げる (ageru; give) → 上げます (agemasu; give)
出る (deru; go out) → 出ます (demasu; go out)
開ける (akeru; open) = 開けます (akemasu; open)
着る (kiru; wear) → 着ます (kimasu; wear)
起きる (okiru; wake up) → 起きます (okimasu; wake up)
寝る (neru; sleep) → 寝ます (nemasu; sleep [PL3])
信じる (shinjiru; believe) → 信じます (shinjimasu; believe)
教える (oshieru; teach) → 教えます (oshiemasu; teach)
忘れる (wasureru; forget) → 忘れます (wasuremasu; forget)
始める (hajimeru; begin) → 始めます (hajimemasu; begin)
So, that's not too tough, is it? No, of course not!!
But wait! Doesn't that last verb look eerily similar to one of our survival phrases? はじめまして (hajimemashite) was on the list, meaning nice to meet you, and yes, it does come from the verb 始める (hajimeru; start). But how am I getting "nice to meet you" from the verb "start"?? Well, in Japan when you meet someone for the first time, you acknowledge that you are starting
a new friendship! It is used in the same way and in the same situations that we would say "Nice to meet you" in English.
I think that is plenty for this lesson, don't you?
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!
Until next time!!
XOXO ♥ hanako.