Masu form of Japanese verbs

Meet the masu form of Japanese verbs!

If in the previous article we discovered a informal mode of japanese verbs, in today's article we will get to know the formal mode, which in Japanese is called the masu form.

Masu form of Japanese verbs

As we have already mentioned in previous articles, the Japanese language, unlike many languages in the world, has degrees of hierarchy. Thus, there are words that are used in certain circumstances and not in others. This type of behavior is known as levels of formality, and like many words, Japanese verbs are included in this behavior.

Hover over Japanese symbols to see their pronunciation and translation.

Japanese verb conjugation

In order to conjugate Japanese verbs in the masu form, it is necessary to know how to divide the verbs into groups and to know the families of hiragana and katakana well. Depending on each verb group, the rules for conjugating Japanese verbs will be different.

If you don't remember or want to know more about how to divide verbs into groups, I suggest you read the article "Japanese verb groups“.

The formal present tense of Japanese verbs

The formal present tense of Japanese verbs is made by adding the extension ます in each of the verbs in the Japanese language. But this is not done anyway, it usually varies according to the verbal group.

Group of verbs ending in u

The conjugation of Japanese verbs ending in u will be the most complicated part, since the inflection of the verb changes according to its ending.

The strategy is to remember all hiragana families, modifying the entire last syllable of each verb ending with an “u” sound, to the syllable of the same family ending with an “i” sound, adding the extension ます after her.

That way, if a verb ends in , it will be changed to  + ます; if it ends in , will become  + ます; if he ends up in , will become  + ます and so on.

Examples:

待つ will come 待ちます
買う will come 買います
書く will come 書きます
帰る will come 帰ります
飲む will come 飲みます
死ぬ will come 死にます

Group of verbs ending in iru and eru

This is the easiest group to conjugate. Just change the ru ending to our extension ます. Look at the examples below:

食べる will come 食べます
見る will come 見ます
教える will come 教えます
起きる will come 起きます

Irregular verb group

This group has no conjugation rules. It's better to gradually get used to them.

Examples:

する will come します
来る will come 来ます

The formal past of Japanese verbs

As we already know how to get the masu form in the present tense, what we are going to do now is derive the present formal form for the other verb tenses in Japanese. In the case of the formal past, everything is easier, since it has only one rule.

Just take the verbs in the formal present above and change the syllable , found at the end of all verbs, by the extension した. See below the examples separated by groups.

Group of Japanese verbs ending in u

待つ will come 待ちます and then turns 待ちました
買う will come 買います and then turns 買いました
書く will come 書きます and then 書きました
帰る will come 帰ります and then turns 帰りました
飲む will come 飲みます and then turns 飲みました
死ぬ will come 死にます and then turns 死にました

Group of verbs ending in iru and eru

食べる will come 食べます and then turns 食べました
見る will come 見ます and then turns 見ました
教える will come 教えます and then turns 教えました
起きる will come 起きます and then turns 起きました

Irregular verb group

する will come します and then turns しました
来る will come 来ます and then turns 来ました

The formal negative present of Japanese verbs

The present negative of Japanese verbs is also performed through a single rule, obtaining the past negative of verbs conjugated in the formal present. In this case, just take the verbs in the formal present and change the syllable , found at the end of all verbs, by the extension せん. See below the examples separated by groups.

Group of Japanese verbs ending in u

待つ will come 待ちます and then turns 待ちません
買う will come 買います and then turns 買いません
書く will come 書きます and then 書きません
帰る will come 帰ります and then turns 帰りません
飲む will come 飲みます and then turns 飲みません
死ぬ will come 死にます and then turns 死にません

Group of verbs ending in iru and eru

食べる will come 食べます and then turns 食べません
見る will come 見ます and then turns 見ません
教える will come 教えます and then turns 教えません
起きる will come 起きます and then turns 起きません

Irregular verb group

する will come します and then turns しません
来る will come 来ます and then turns 来ません

The formal negative past of Japanese verbs

The formal negative past tense is the last tense of the form ます and follows the same rule as the previous conjugations, always deriving the verbs from the formal present.

This time, let's change the syllable , found at the end of all verbs conjugated in the formal present, by the extension せんでした. Below are the examples separated by groups.

Group of Japanese verbs ending in u

待つ will come 待ちます and then turns 待ちませんでした
買う will come 買います and then turns 買いませんでした
書く will come 書きます and then 書きませんでした
帰る will come 帰ります and then turns 帰りませんでした
飲む will come 飲みます and then turns 飲みませんでした
死ぬ will come 死にます and then turns 死にませんでした

Group of verbs ending in iru and eru

食べる will come 食べます and then turns 食べませんでした
見る will come 見ます and then turns 見ませんでした
教える will come 教えます and then turns 教えませんでした
起きる will come 起きます and then turns 起きませんでした

Irregular verb group

する will come します and then turns しませんでした
来る will come 来ます and then turns 来ませんでした

How to use Japanese verbs in masu form

As with any verb in the Japanese language, they are usually used at the end of the sentence, following a general formula of subject + object (direct or indirect) + verb. Just remember to put the proper particles, because without them, the sentences are completely meaningless. Right?

Examples:

私は新しい車を買いました。
彼はパンを食べます。
明日、彼女は日本へ行きます。
私たちはブラジルから来ませんでした。

Kanji calligraphy exercise

Below are the Japanese ideographic symbols used in this article. Selecting the desired kanji, copy and paste them into Worksheet for Kana and Kanji Practice , a new window will open where you can view the printable file and practice Japanese calligraphy by covering the gray symbols and then trying to write yourself. Just print and practice.

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