Sign In

Lessons

Lists

Basic Verb Conjugations - Polite Forms

38 Words Conjugations »

Basic Verb Conjugations - Polite Forms

Posted by flint about 11 months ago

#verbs#conjugation lessons

Learn how to conjugate verbs into the polite present, past and negative forms.

Polite Forms

In the last lesson we learned how to conjugate from the dictionary form to the basic plain forms. In this lesson, we will learn how to conjugate to the basic polite forms.

The main difference between plain and polite forms is the social context that they are used in. As the names suggest, plain forms are used between friends and family while polite forms are used with people you are not so close to. You use polite forms when you are aware of a "distance" between you and the listener, and wish to pay them respect.  Plain forms are used when you want to express your closeness and intimacy to the listener. As you meet people and make friends, you will transition from speaking using polite forms to becoming more casual and speaking in plain forms.

Be aware though that in certain social contexts the usage of plain and polite forms may not be mutual. Where there is an age difference, or a difference in social position (ie, student to teacher, or manager to employee situation), the more senior person may use plain forms when talking to the junior person, but it would be considered rude for the junior person to ignore the social distance between the two of them and switch to using plain forms in response.

While this is probably something that you are not accustomed to in your own social settings outside Japan, as you get more experience with the Japanese culture, it will become more natural for you. The important thing as a learner though is to be able to speak confidently using both plain and polite forms so that you are able to communicate naturally in either context.

Vocabulary

Romaji Hide|Display Default|Add to ▼

Group 1: Ichidan Verbs

For Ichidan verbs, we conjugate to the polite forms by first creating the masu-stem.

  • Masu-stem - Remove the final る (ru) from the dictionary form

Once we have created the masu-stem, we can create all the basic polite conjugations using the following rules. This part of the process is exactly the same across all the different verb groups.

  • Polite Present Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ます (masu)
  • Polite Present Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ません (masen)
  • Polite Past Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ました (mashita)
  • Polite Past Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ませんでした (masendeshita)

You can see examples of how these conjugations are formed below:

iru

masu stem

i

Polite Present Indicative Form

imasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

imasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

imashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

imasendeshita
ichidan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to be (of animate objects); to exist
oshieru

masu stem

oshie

Polite Present Indicative Form

oshiemasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

oshiemasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

oshiemashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

oshiemasendeshita
ichidan verb, transitive verb
  1. to teach
taberu

masu stem

tabe

Polite Present Indicative Form

tabemasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

tabemasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

tabemashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

tabemasendeshita
ichidan verb, transitive verb
  1. to eat
neru

masu stem

ne

Polite Present Indicative Form

nemasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

nemasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

nemashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

nemasendeshita
ichidan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to sleep (lying down)
  2. to go to bed
miru

masu stem

mi

Polite Present Indicative Form

mimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

mimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

mimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

mimasendeshita
ichidan verb, transitive verb
  1. to see; to look

Group 2: Godan Verbs

For Godan verbs ending in う create the masu-stem using the following rule:

  • Masu-stem - Change the final う (u) from the dictionary form to い (i)

Then create all the basic polite conjugations using the exact same rules as you did for Ichidan verbs.

  • Polite Present Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ます (masu)
  • Polite Present Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ません (masen)
  • Polite Past Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ました (mashita)
  • Polite Past Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ませんでした (masendeshita)
au

masu stem

ai

Polite Present Indicative Form

aimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

aimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

aimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

aimasendeshita
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to meet (逢う is often used for close friends, etc. and may be associated with drama or pathos; 遭う may have an undesirable nuance)
arau

masu stem

arai

Polite Present Indicative Form

araimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

araimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

araimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

araimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to wash
iu

masu stem

ii

Polite Present Indicative Form

iimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

iimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

iimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

iimasendeshita
godan verb
  1. to say
utau

masu stem

utai

Polite Present Indicative Form

utaimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

utaimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

utaimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

utaimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb, intransitive verb
  1. to sing
kau

masu stem

kai

Polite Present Indicative Form

kaimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

kaimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

kaimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

kaimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to buy (in western Japan, 買う conjugates euphonically as こうた, こうて, etc.)

For Godan verbs ending in く create the masu-stem using the following rule:

  • Masu-stem - Change the final く (ku) from the dictionary form to き (ki)

Then create all the basic polite conjugations using the normal rules.

  • Polite Present Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ます (masu)
  • Polite Present Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ません (masen)
  • Polite Past Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ました (mashita)
  • Polite Past Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ませんでした (masendeshita)
aruku

masu stem

aruki

Polite Present Indicative Form

arukimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

arukimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

arukimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

arukimasendeshita
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to walk
iku

masu stem

iki

Polite Present Indicative Form

ikimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

ikimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

ikimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

ikimasendeshita
godan verb (iku/yuku), intransitive verb
  1. to go
kaku

masu stem

kaki

Polite Present Indicative Form

kakimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

kakimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

kakimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

kakimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to write
kiku

masu stem

kiki

Polite Present Indicative Form

kikimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

kikimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

kikimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

kikimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to hear
  2. to listen (e.g. to music) (esp. 聴く)

For Godan verbs ending in ぐ create the masu-stem using the following rule:

  • Masu-stem - Change the final ぐ (gu) from the dictionary form to ぎ (gi)

Then create all the basic polite conjugations using the normal rules.

  • Polite Present Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ます (masu)
  • Polite Present Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ません (masen)
  • Polite Past Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ました (mashita)
  • Polite Past Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ませんでした (masendeshita)
oyogu

masu stem

oyogi

Polite Present Indicative Form

oyogimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

oyogimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

oyogimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

oyogimasendeshita
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to swim
nugu

masu stem

nugi

Polite Present Indicative Form

nugimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

nugimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

nugimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

nugimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to undress

For Godan verbs ending in す create the masu-stem using the following rule:

  • Masu-stem - Change the final す (su) from the dictionary form to し (shi)

Then create all the basic polite conjugations using the normal rules.

  • Polite Present Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ます (masu)
  • Polite Present Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ません (masen)
  • Polite Past Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ました (mashita)
  • Polite Past Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ませんでした (masendeshita)
dasu

masu stem

dashi

Polite Present Indicative Form

dashimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

dashimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

dashimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

dashimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to take out
hanasu

masu stem

hanashi

Polite Present Indicative Form

hanashimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

hanashimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

hanashimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

hanashimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to talk

For Godan verbs ending in つ create the masu-stem using the following rule:

  • Masu-stem - Change the final つ (tsu) from the dictionary form to ち (chi)

Then create all the basic polite conjugations using the normal rules.

  • Polite Present Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ます (masu)
  • Polite Present Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ません (masen)
  • Polite Past Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ました (mashita)
  • Polite Past Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ませんでした (masendeshita)
tatsu

masu stem

tachi

Polite Present Indicative Form

tachimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

tachimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

tachimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

tachimasendeshita
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to stand
matsu

masu stem

machi

Polite Present Indicative Form

machimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

machimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

machimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

machimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb, intransitive verb
  1. to wait
motsu

masu stem

mochi

Polite Present Indicative Form

mochimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

mochimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

mochimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

mochimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to hold (in one's hand)

For Godan verbs ending in ぬ create the masu-stem using the following rule:

  • Masu-stem - Change the final ぬ (nu) from the dictionary form to に (ni)

Then create all the basic polite conjugations using the normal rules.

  • Polite Present Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ます (masu)
  • Polite Present Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ません (masen)
  • Polite Past Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ました (mashita)
  • Polite Past Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ませんでした (masendeshita)
shinu

masu stem

shini

Polite Present Indicative Form

shinimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

shinimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

shinimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

shinimasendeshita
godan verb, irregular nu verb, intransitive verb
  1. to die

For Godan verbs ending in ぶ create the masu-stem using the following rule:

  • Masu-stem - Change the final ぶ (bu) from the dictionary form to び (bi)

Then create all the basic polite conjugations using the normal rules.

  • Polite Present Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ます (masu)
  • Polite Present Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ません (masen)
  • Polite Past Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ました (mashita)
  • Polite Past Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ませんでした (masendeshita)
asobu

masu stem

asobi

Polite Present Indicative Form

asobimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

asobimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

asobimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

asobimasendeshita
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to play (games, sports)
  2. to meet up (with friends)
tobu

masu stem

tobi

Polite Present Indicative Form

tobimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

tobimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

tobimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

tobimasendeshita
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to fly (esp. 飛ぶ)
  2. to jump (esp. 跳ぶ)

For Godan verbs ending in む create the masu-stem using the following rule:

  • Masu-stem - Change the final む (mu) from the dictionary form to み (mi)

Then create all the basic polite conjugations using the normal rules.

  • Polite Present Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ます (masu)
  • Polite Present Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ません (masen)
  • Polite Past Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ました (mashita)
  • Polite Past Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ませんでした (masendeshita)
sumu

masu stem

sumi

Polite Present Indicative Form

sumimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

sumimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

sumimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

sumimasendeshita
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to live (of humans); to reside
nomu

masu stem

nomi

Polite Present Indicative Form

nomimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

nomimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

nomimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

nomimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to drink (呑む often means swallowing whole, gulping, etc.)
yasumu

masu stem

yasumi

Polite Present Indicative Form

yasumimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

yasumimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

yasumimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

yasumimasendeshita
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to take a day off
  2. to rest
yomu

masu stem

yomi

Polite Present Indicative Form

yomimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

yomimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

yomimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

yomimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to read

For Godan verbs ending in る create the masu-stem using the following rule:

  • Masu-stem - Change the final る (ru) from the dictionary form to り (ri)

Then create all the basic polite conjugations using the normal rules.

  • Polite Present Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ます (masu)
  • Polite Present Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ません (masen)
  • Polite Past Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ました (mashita)
  • Polite Past Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ませんでした (masendeshita)
aru

masu stem

ari

Polite Present Indicative Form

arimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

arimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

arimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

arimasendeshita
godan verb (irregular), intransitive verb
  1. to be; to exist (usu. of inanimate objects)
uru

masu stem

uri

Polite Present Indicative Form

urimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

urimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

urimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

urimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to sell
kaeru

masu stem

kaeri

Polite Present Indicative Form

kaerimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

kaerimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

kaerimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

kaerimasendeshita
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to return; to go home
shiru

masu stem

shiri

Polite Present Indicative Form

shirimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

shirimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

shirimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

shirimasendeshita
godan verb, transitive verb
  1. to know
suwaru

masu stem

suwari

Polite Present Indicative Form

suwarimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

suwarimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

suwarimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

suwarimasendeshita
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to sit
hairu

masu stem

hairi

Polite Present Indicative Form

hairimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

hairimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

hairimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

hairimasendeshita
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to enter
hashiru

masu stem

hashiri

Polite Present Indicative Form

hashirimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

hashirimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

hashirimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

hashirimasendeshita
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to run
wakaru

masu stem

wakari

Polite Present Indicative Form

wakarimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

wakarimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

wakarimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

wakarimasendeshita
godan verb, intransitive verb
  1. to understand

Group 3: Irregular Verbs

For 来る(kuru), you only need to remember the masu-stem:

  • Masu-stem - The masu stem is 来 - き (ki)
Note that even though the hiragana character has changed from く to き in the masu-stem, the Kanji 来 stays the same, just the reading has changed.

Then create all the basic polite conjugations using the normal rules.

  • Polite Present Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ます (masu)
  • Polite Present Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ません (masen)
  • Polite Past Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ました (mashita)
  • Polite Past Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ませんでした (masendeshita)
kuru

masu stem

ki

Polite Present Indicative Form

kimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

kimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

kimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

kimasendeshita
kuru verb, intransitive verb
  1. to come (spatially or temporally)

For する(suru), it is simplest to just remember the masu-stem:

  • Masu-stem - The masu stem is し (shi)

Then create all the basic polite conjugations using the normal rules.

  • Polite Present Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ます (masu)
  • Polite Present Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ません (masen)
  • Polite Past Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ました (mashita)
  • Polite Past Negative Form - Create the masu-stem and then add ませんでした (masendeshita)
suru

masu stem

shi

Polite Present Indicative Form

shimasu

Polite Present Indicative Negative Form

shimasen

Polite Past Indicative Form

shimashita

Polite Past Indicative Negative Form

shimasendeshita
suru verb (irregular)
  1. to do

Users following this list

flint ShinoharaJorge tiagomdepaula

Comments for this list

If you have a question or would like to make a comment on this list, please do so below. Your comment will appear in the forum for other users of the site to view and discuss.



Only registered users may post comments. You can register your free 楽しい Japanese account here.