Anime Japanese – Verbs

Besides adjectives verbs (and grammar) are probably the most common words used in anime

A previous post covered adjectives in anime. This one will go over verbs, the types that are used, how it’s different to what you learn in a classroom, and the best way to study them along with grammar.

Japanese Verbs Used in Anime

All of the Japanese verbs are used in anime. But unlike the Japanese you might learn in class these are normally in informal, or quite often said with a certain dialect. The best way to learn these is to learn the basic or dictionary form, and then learn informal grammar from these.

For those that don’t know there are 3 groups of verbs. I’ve gone over them before in a previous post, but will quickly go over them again here (feel free to scroll down to resources for learning these and grammar):

Group 1 or “u verbs” 

Anime Japanese Verbs

These are words that have an “u” sound at the end. When you turn a “masu” form into plain form the “I” changes to the “u” for group 1 verbs. Such as the following.

いきます ikimasu  -> いく iku   = to go

あらいます araimasu -> あらう arau   = to wash

たちます tachimasu -> たつ tatsu   = to stand


Anime Japanese Verbs

Group 2 or “ru verbs” 

This group can be distinguished by the “e” sound in “masu form”. To change it to plain you just remove the “masu” to make it into a stem and add “ru”. These verbs are easier because unlike Group 1 the stem doesn’t change at all.

たべます tabemasu -> たべる taberu   = to eat

しめます shimemasu -> しめる shimeru   = to shut

I mentioned that group 1 verbs can be recognised by the “i” before the “masu”. There are a few group 2 verbs that have this pattern too, you just have to remember them and get used to using them as group 2 and not group 1 verbs:

います imasu – いる iru   = to be

かります karimasu –  かりる kariru   = to lend

おきます okimasu = おきる okiru   = to wake/get up

Group 3 (irregular verbs) 

There are only 2 verbs. They are irregular because they change differently from groups 1 and 2 

します shimasu -> する suru   = to do

きます kimasu -> くる kuru   = to come

These groups are particularly important to learn because each group changes differently depending on what you’re turning the verb into.

Resources for Verbs and Verb Grammar

Once again I recommend Memrise (which recently got a shiny app update).

Memrise for Verbs:

125 Most Useful Japanese Verbs by memoryfox – This course (and the squeal course below) covers the most common verbs that appear in the Japanese language starting with the most frequent ones.

125 More Useful Japanese Verbs by memoryfox

Memrise N5 Vocab by JTalk Online – This covers beginners vocabulary including nouns, adjectives and verbs. If you want to focus on verbs you can skip to just the lessons that cover verbs, which are lessons numbers 6, 16, 28, 42, 52, 63 and 76.

Memrise N4 Vocab by JTalk Online.


Memrise for Grammar

Beginners Japanese Grammar 1 by JTalk Online – this covers formal and informal grammar that are in the JLPT N5 exam (although you don’t need to take the exam to study these), and is for complete beginners so has NO kanji.

Beginners Japanese Grammar 2 by JTalk Online – this covers formal and informal grammar for JLPT N4 level. Because this is a slightly higher level (and due to popular demand) this course uses kanji. This also makes it useful if you want to be able to read manga!

Anime Grammar for Beginners by JTalk Online – BRAND NEW! Grammar points in this course overlap with Beginners Grammar 1 &2 but it only has informal grammar and some pointers on particular oddities that occur in grammar used in anime. This course also only tests on the hiragana and does not have kanji to make it more accessible to beginners (but it does have a roumaji and kanji for all the items in the descriptions).

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