Friday, August 21, 2009

Japanese Verbs: Polite ~ ます (masu) form

My first post on Japanese verbs was about plain/dictionary ~u form that only kids or people speaking with family or friends would use.
Time to grow! The first ending you'll want to master is the polite form masu.

Group 1: ~ U ending verbs:

  • To make ~ます form out of Type 1 verbs (godan), change ~u ending to ~i and add masu: verb~u ---> verb~i+masu (plain form ---> present polite form)
  • when making a polite form for the verb ending in ~つ(tsu) change it to ち(chi) first: matsu (待つ) ---> ma~chi ---> machimasu (待ちます)
  • when making a polite form for the verb ending in ~す(su) change it to し(chi) first: kasu (貸す) ---> ka~shi ---> kashimasu (貸します)
hanasu (話す) ---> hanasimasu - to speak
kaku (書く) ---> kakimasu - to write
kiku (聞く)---> kikimasu - to listen
matsu (待つ)---> machimasu - to wait
kasu(貸す)---> kashimasu - to lend
nomu (飲む)---> nomimasu - to drink

Now we are ready to speak "adult" Japanese:

  • Mama wa mise de banana o kaimasu. (Mom buys/will buy bananas at the store.)
  • Jim wa manga o yomimasu. (Jim read/will read a comic book.)
  • Ojii-san wa sugu kaerimasu. (Grandpa return/will return soon.)
  • 彼は方言で話します かれ は ほうげん で はなします 。(He speaks a dialect.)
Group 2: ~ Iru and ~ Eru ending verbs:
  • Ichidan (~Iru and ~Eru) verbs are a snap, because you change them by just dropping the ~ru at the end and adding ~masu.
~ Iru ending verbs

kiru (着る) kimasu - to wear
miru (見る) mimasu - to see
okiru (起きる) okimasu - to get up
oriru (降りる) orimasu - to get off
shinjiru (信じる) shinjimasu - to believe

~ Eru ending verbs

akeru (開ける) akemasu - to open
ageru (あげる) agemasu - to give
deru (出る) demasu - to go out
neru (寝る) nemasu - to sleep
taberu (食べる) tabemasu - to eat

Here are some examples:

  • Watashi wa ashita kimemasu. (I'll decide tomorrow.)
  • Jerry wa sugu heya kara demasu. (Jerry will come out of the room soon.)
  • Ayako wa mainichi terebi o mimasu. (Ayako watches the TV every day.)
  • 私は毎日たくさん野菜を食べますわたし は まいにち たくさん やさい を たべます (I eat a lot of vegetables every day)
Group 3: Irregular Verbs くる (kuru) and ~する (~suru):
  • To make ~ます form out of kuru, change kuru to kimasu
  • To make ~ます form out of suru, change suru to shimasu
  • To make ~ます form out of ~suru verbs, change ~suru ending to ~shimasu
benkyousuru (勉強する)benkyoshimasu - to study
ryokousuru (旅行する)ryokoushimasu - to travel

Now, you are probably thinking: How can I tell ichidan verbs from godan? True, there are also godan verbs that end in eru or iru, but with practice and experience they will gradually be mastered. A mistake made from not knowing whether a verb is godan or ichidan is a very minor one, and should not be worried about now.

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