The Japanese page is a collection of Japanese study notes.

This is an edited version on Tad Perry's "Quick & Dirty Guide to Japanese". I have formatted this guide to be a study tool prior to moving to Japan a few years ago, it requires the knowledge to read Hiragana, Katakana and basic kanjis.

Sentence Word Order

In general, the main verb is found at the end of the sentence. Subjects are shown in grey as they are very often omitted. The preposition follows the noun, it is more properly called a postposition(て、に、お、は). They are not independent words but particles by which the case of nouns is determined.

I'm going to give a present to my teacher tomorrow at school.
SubjectTimePlaceIndirectObjectAction Verb



Nouns have no inflection to indicate singularity or plurality, for example, こども means both child and children. When wishing to show the plural of a noun, an indicator such as ーら、ーたち are attached, as in こどもたち, meaning children. Generally, the plural distinction is not made, but is left to be understood from the context.


Adjectives always end in あい, いい, うい or おい, never in えい that would be a noun. Basically, you replace the ending い to inflect.

優しい やさしい It's nice
優しくない やさしくない It's not nice
優しかった やさしかった It was nice
優しかったら やさしかったら If it's nice


The ーる verbs that end in like たべる and いれる. There is always an い or an え before ーる. For these verbs, everything is done by dropping or replacing ーる with something else.

食べI ate it.
食べやすいThis is easy to eat.
食べたらIf I/someone eats.
食べたりI did things like eating
食べればIf I/someone eats.
食べようLet's eat.
食べEat dammit!
食べないでよDon't eat that!
食べられるI can eat
食べられるないI can't eat this!
食べさせるMake someone do
食べさせない で よDon't make me eat this!
食べさせられるBe made to eat

These verbs end in う, く, ぐ, ぶ, む, ぬ, す, つ, or ある・いる・うる・える・おる. Typically you drop ーう and add something else. The problem is that there might be a phonetic change, such as when は becomes ぱ, or た becomes だ.

talk はなす話す 話して話しった 話したら話せ話さない話せる
hear きく聞く 聞いて 聞いた聞いたら聞け聞かない 聞ける
swim およぐ 泳ぐ泳いで泳いだ泳いだら泳げ泳がない泳げる
call よぶ呼ぶ 呼んで 呼んだ呼んだら呼べ 呼ばない 呼べる
drinkのむ飲む 飲んで 飲んだ飲んだら飲め 飲まない 飲める
dieしぬ死ぬ 死んで 死んだ死んだら死ね 死なない 死ねる
make つくる作る 作ってつ作った 作ったら作れ作らない作れる
wait まつ待つ 待って 待った待ったら待て待たない待てる
payはらう 払う払って払った 払ったら払え払わない払える

There are some ーう verbs that end in ーる like ある(to be), おる(to break) and うる(to sell) are ーう verbs as they do not have an い or え sound before ーる.

If you see one that ends in ーいる or ーえる, and ーう changes to add ーます, or the "t" doubles to get a gerund (入る「はいる」 > 入って「はいって」), then you're dealing with an ーう verb.

Most books say that there are only two irregular verbs in all of Japanese: する and 来る「くる」. Those you have to memorize separately, but they kind of make sense when you look at them.

来るwill comeする will do
来てcome hereして do this
来たsomeone cameした someone did
来たらif someone comesしたらif someone does
来たりdo things like comeしたり do things like doing
来ればif someone comesすればif someone does
来ようlet's comeしようlet's do
来いcome here youしろdo this dammit!
来ないwon't come, or doesn't comeしないwon't do, or doesn't do
来らせるcan comeできるcan do
来させるmake someone comeさせるmake someone do
来られるされるbe done
来させられるbe made to come by someoneさせられるbe made to do by someone

A trick to remember する conjugations is that they often match what you would get if you conjugated a lone す. Like はなした, はなせる, はなさせる.


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