Japanese Verbal Expressions

Learn more about the verbal expressions in japanese!

In today's article, we are going to know some basic and very common verb expressions in the Japanese language.

In some cases, we will see how to create several expressions following the same pattern for building sentences in Japanese. And in other cases, know a little more about Japanese verbs.

Japanese Verbal Expressions

To get the most out of this article, it is necessary to have a basic knowledge of how to divide verbs into groups and get to know the masu shape and the dictionary form of japanese verbs.

Another basic requirement for this article is basic knowledge of adjectives iadjectives in and know how to use adjectives in japanese. Who in following this little free japanese course, you should already be familiar with all these grammatical concepts.

Verbal expression in Japanese – “to become”

One of the most frequent verbs in the Japanese language is the verb なる. Despite not having a specific translation, なる can take on several meanings with a sense of becomestayturn into and the like.

The big question here is that なる it is not only combined with other verbs, but can also be combined with adjectives and nouns, creating many common and useful expressions in the Japanese language.

The conjugations of the verb naru

As with any verb in the Japanese language, なる It has four tenses in the informal mood (dictionary form) and in the formal mood (masu form). Below is a table with their respective conjugations.

Conjugations of the verb naru - "to become" in Japanese
Informal mood or dictionary form
GiftPastnegative presentnegative past
Formal mode or masu form
GiftPastnegative presentnegative past
なりますなりましたなりませんなりません でした

Creating verb expressions with naru and the adjectives in Japanese

When we need to create expressions with adjectives , just change the  end of the adjective by くなる. Just look at the examples below:

難しい will come難しくなる

新しい will come 新しくなる

On the other hand, if you need to use なる with adjectives , just change the syllable  of adjectives by になる. So:

乱暴な will come 乱暴になる

Creating verb expressions with naru and nouns

To create expressions using なる and Japanese nouns, just follow the sentence pattern noun +  + なる.

先生 – 先生になる

社長 – 社長になる

Creating verb expressions with naru and other verbs

This usually happens with irregular verbs (する), following the same rule as for nouns. But in this case, we change the ending する per になる.

勉強する – 勉強になる

Now, I will leave some examples about the combination of the verb なる shown in the topics above. Notice how simple it is to create sentences like these:



Verbal Expression in Japanese “Go do it”

This is an expression widely used in Japanese and Portuguese as well. With a simple combination of verbs, we can say that we are going to do something or that we are going to do something in Japanese.

To create this type of verbal expression, let's combine the verbs in the masu form, the formal mood of Japanese verbs, with the particle  + 行く.

A common feature of verbs in the masu form is that every verb conjugated in the formal mood gains the extension ます, like 買います, for example. Hence, when we combine a verb in the masu form with  + 行く, this verb loses the extension ます. In the end we will have 買いに行く. This combination can be performed with virtually any verb in the Japanese language.





Verbal Expression in Japanese “Come and do”

instead of using 行く, we can use the same verb combination rule as above with the verb 来る, obtaining a verbal expression in Japanese in the opposite sense of the verb 行く. In this case, we are not going to do, but coming to do something.




Verbal Expression in Japanese “Give and Receive”

I decided to take advantage of this article to write about three verbs in the Japanese language: あげる,もらう and くれる. Although you have to be careful with particles, using these three verbs is simpler than many think.

To start, see the table below with the conjugations of these three verbs in dictionary form (informal mood) and in masu form (formal mood).

Conjugations of the verbs ageru, morau and kureru
Informal mood or dictionary form
GiftPastnegative presentnegative past
Formal mode or masu form
GiftPastnegative presentnegative past
あげますあげましたあげませんあげません でした
もらいますもらいましたもらいませんもらいません でした

The care we need to take when using these three verbs is to know who is the subject of the sentence, that is, who performs the action or who receives the action. This is necessary to know which particle is suitable for each case.

The basic usage of ageru, morau and kureru

If we think about the most common way of using the verbs to give and receive in Japanese, we can assemble two sentence patterns; one for each verb.

Phrase pattern for あげる:

who gives something +  + who receives +  + what will be given + をあげる.

Phrase Pattern もらう:

who receives +  + who gives something +  + what will be given + をもらう.

Phrase pattern for くれる:

who gives something +  + 私に + what will be given + をくれる.

Now, we can assemble sentences in Japanese with a little more security, using verbs with the sense of giving and receiving.

The only observation I make is about the verb くれる. It can be a little trickier to understand, at least initially. But over time, it becomes easier to understand its use.

くれる is used when we win something or when someone very related to us wins something, like our class (class) at school, our company department, our family and so on. Anything we consider ourselves a part of.

Because of this, never use あげる to say “someone gave me something”. In cases like this, always use くれる.





Now yes… the verbal expressions

There is an interesting grammatical structure, which uses the form te of verbs in japanese with the three verbs we know today: あげる,もらう and くれる. This grammatical structure generates a meaning similar to that of “do something for someone in the sense of doing a favor“.

So, just add the verb in the form te to the end of the sentence followed by one of the three verbs we just studied. Following this logic, we can create sentences like the one in the example below.


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 on your own. Just print and practice!