That class of words which describe events and states and can be inflected or conjugated to indicate relative time, as well as many other nuances.

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40
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8answers
1k views

How should I choose between [知]{し}る and わかる?

Both 知る and わかる get used for "know", "understand", "learn", "find out", and various other concepts. How do you know which to use when? Are there any rules to help you decide? Additionally, both of ...
30
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the difference between the nominalizers こと and の?

As Derek mentioned in his postscript, both こと and の are nominalizers that can turn a verb into a noun. ピアノを弾く【ひく】。 I play the piano. ピアノを弾く【ひく】のが好き【すき】です。 I like playing the piano. ...
21
votes
5answers
1k views

Does -ou / -you / -mashou conjugation have a negative form?

Does the -ou / -you / -mashou (the "let's X") form have a negative counterpart? For example, how do I say "let's not X" for the following?: 行こう 食べよう 寝ましょう As far as I can remember, the Japanese ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

When is Vている the continuation of action and when is it the continuation of state?

Last night, when I asked my wife to send an email to me, she said もう送っている which I took to mean that she was "sending the message". (The message had a big attachment so I imagined that it could take a ...
19
votes
3answers
806 views

ことができる versus V~える form

Way back in the day when I was first learning Japanese, I learned that you could add ことができる to a verb to indicate potential. Like so: 食{た}べることができる (I) can eat (something) It became my ...
18
votes
3answers
724 views

How do I express sentences like: He is dying?

For instance, "He is eating" is "Kare wa tabete iru". However, "He is dying" is not "Kare wa shinde iru". Another example is "He is going to Japan" is not "Kare wa nihon ni itte iru". So if I can't ...
17
votes
4answers
7k views

What exactly is “なの” (nano)?

I asked a female Japanese friend to translate a sentence for me and it ends in "nano" which I took to be either an alternative question particle to -ne or -ka; or possibly two particles I don't know ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is 知りません the negative form of 知っています?

I'm reading Minna no Nihongo (Chapter 15) and it says what I wrote in the question. I would think the negative would be 知っていません。
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Passive-transitive-verb vs. Intransitive-verb (他動詞の受け身 vs. 自動詞)

I think I know the answer to this, but it still creeps up in my mind all the time; something I'd like to research more. I want to know technical differences as well as common usage. When do you use ...
14
votes
2answers
424 views

Plain verbs that end with ぬ other than 死ぬ

Are there any other verbs than 死ぬ whose plain forms end with ぬ? Why are they so rare? Is it because the verb 死ぬ itself has special etymology why it ended up having the ぬ ending?
14
votes
2answers
459 views

“太ってる猫” vs “太った猫”

Greetings people I saw this sentence in a textbook: 彼女は太った猫が好きじゃない。, which was translated to "She doesn't like fat cats". I was under the impression that 太ってる猫 means something like "cat that is in ...
14
votes
1answer
261 views

General applicability of the ~ませ conjugation

I have only found the ~ませ conjugation used in the following honorific verbs: いらっしゃいませ くださいませ なさいませ Can the conjugation be applied to other honorific verbs, like おっしゃいませ or めしあがりませ? Or even common ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

If Vて+いる isn't a gerund, then what is it?

I always thought that a verb ending in the て form along with the いる suffix was the English equivelent of the "ing" form of a verb. Thus: see = 見{み}る, seeing = 見{み}ている do = する, doing = している ...
13
votes
2answers
494 views

What is the difference in nuance and usage of the two kanji forms for なおす (naosu), 直す and 治す?

Stolen directly from Grigory M's question in the definition phase: http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/7526?phase=definition
13
votes
2answers
304 views

What is the te-form of 問う?

What is the correct te-form of 問う? Is it 問って or 問うて or both?
13
votes
2answers
500 views

The verbs of learning: 勉強する, 習う and 学ぶ

How are the following verbs which are related to learning different to each other? 勉強する 習う 学ぶ
12
votes
2answers
229 views

How do I know when to read the kanji 抱 as 「だ・く」, and when to read it as 「いだ・く」, or even 「うだ・く」?

This sentence was in a grammar textbook: 彼{かれ}は同僚{どうりょう}にライバル意識{いしき}、ひいては殺意{さつい}すら抱いていた ... it means: "He regarded his colleague as a rival, even to the point of considering murder." My ...
12
votes
3answers
714 views

Would the plain form of a verb usually be translated as future tense?

In a recent question I asked, this example sentence was offered: 映画を見る。 (I will watch a movie.) What struck me about this was that the translated version was the future tense. However, I always ...
12
votes
3answers
373 views

Do viruses あります or います?

Do viruses あります or います? Currently, I'm under the impression that animals and humans use います (though see this question), while plants and inanimate objects use あります. Do viruses fall under the latter ...
12
votes
2answers
501 views

Why isn't 「ある」's negative form 「あらない」?

ある is listed in dictionaries as having ラ行五段活用, which would suggest a negative form of あらない. However, that form does not exist. Why not? Confusing things further, おっしゃる is derived from ある, yet おっしゃる ...
12
votes
3answers
279 views

Dissecting つく verbs

I think we all are familiar with する verbs, which are verbs that are formed by appending する to nouns. Examples include 勉強する, 愛する etc. This pattern is very convenient because it can be appended to ...
12
votes
1answer
706 views

ひらく / とじる vs. あける / しめる

The verbs ひらく and あける both mean to open, and とじる and しめる both mean to close. I understand that ひらく and とじる are antonym pairs, as are あける and しめる, but have never been clear on the difference between ...
12
votes
4answers
435 views

To not have: 持っていません or ありません?

Whenever I go to the Life supermarket near my house, they ask me at the check out: ライフカードを持っていますか? (Do you have a Life [members] card?) I always respond with something like: いいえ、持っていません。 ...
11
votes
2answers
299 views

Can we optionally include (or exclude) an を particle in between the noun of the する-verb and the する itself?

When we have a する verb (e.g. 支度する、案内する、心配する), is it true that we could optionally insert an を particle in between the noun and the する? Because in the example sentences here and here, we can see this ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Usage of ~じゃん (~じゃない)

I'd like to know if I can put ~じゃん at the end of every adjective, if there are any exceptions to that usage, and if it's different from ~じゃない. Adj (na) + じゃん 便利じゃん 便利だったじゃん 便利じゃないじゃん ...
11
votes
2answers
266 views

Rare/Obsolete verb forms

I have noticed that some verbs have this "rare" or old form that is no longer used much (if at all). Here are some examples. おそる: おそるべき者 → One who is feared ほむ: ほむべきお方【かた】 → Seen often in my ...
11
votes
2answers
462 views

What are the valid potential forms of special “suru” verbs?

Good afternoon all, From what I understand, special "suru" verbs only have one potential form which is formed using the syntax: [verb-stem] + [せる] For example, 愛す・愛する → 愛せる and 訳す・訳する → 訳せる. ...
11
votes
4answers
561 views

Am I coming or going? 戻ってくる vs 戻っていく

A little while ago I was in a shop, and about 5 minutes after I left, they phoned me to tell me I had left my USB stick there. I said I would head back and pick it up. I used 戻って行く to mean "I'll go ...
11
votes
1answer
458 views

歩{ある}く vs 歩{あゆ}む

I always know that 歩く is the verb to use when talking about walking. But I'm aware the kanji 歩 has another verb 歩む. In WWWJDIC, the example sentence given is: ビルはあの会社の社長になるまで成功への道を歩み続けた。 Bill ...
10
votes
1answer
240 views

What is the difference between these four forms of “to do”?

There are at least four verbs that mean "to do" in Japanese: する, なさる, いたす, and やる. What is the purpose of each, and when is it appropriate to use them?
10
votes
1answer
181 views

Meaning of せい conjugation of する?

I came upon this line of dialogue in a book I'm reading, from a character who has old-fashioned speech patterns: できる限りの鶏肉を用意せい… I assume this せい is some form of the verb する, though I'm not even sure ...
10
votes
2answers
233 views

Which verbs have 辞書形 (dictionary forms) that look like ~ます conjugations?

I recently confused 励ます (hagemasu) for the ~ます form of 禿げる (hageru). Although this actually lead to a rather amusing conversation, I'm wondering if there are other examples of this to watch out for?
10
votes
1answer
440 views

How do 自他 triplets of related verbs work?

I thought this had been asked before (possibly by me), but I couldn't find it. I'm wondering why for certain verbs/words, instead of just a 自他 pair, there is a triplet (or possibly more) where two of ...
10
votes
1answer
289 views

自~/他~ペア:逆の形 — Transitive/Intransitive pairs: opposite forms

I've noticed (through much frustration) that many 自~/他~ pairs have "opposite" forms; particularly with the ~u and ~eru types. For example, 焼く・焼ける are opposite from 開く・開ける. 焼く (他) - パンを焼く ("Bake ...
10
votes
2answers
325 views

About -eru and -aru verb pairs that are not transitive/intransitive counterpart of each other

Most -eru and -aru pairs of verbs that I know are transitive/intransitive counterparts of each others. For example, 見つかる is the intransitive counterpart for the transitive 見つける, and 変わる is the ...
9
votes
3answers
321 views

What is the difference between ~すぎ and ~すぎる?

When I was playing a video game a few months ago, I noticed that some of the characters (mostly young teen females, in case it matters) kept saying ~すぎ instead of ~すぎる. For example, when one of the ...
9
votes
1answer
189 views

Usage of doubled non-past tense “た”

I've recently been noticing some patterns which look like two repeated past-tense verbs, but I think which indicate a command rather than the past tense. For example: さあ、行った行った。 "Get along with ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How to differentiate ~られる conjugation between passive form and potential form?

For verbs of group 2, whose ~ます form is formed by dropping the ending ~る from the plain form, both the passive and potential forms have the same conjugation: ~られる. Example: 食べられる 1. to be eaten ...
9
votes
2answers
180 views

How does one use the “[V ます stem] に [Vタ]” pattern (as in 待ちに待った)?

Every now and then I hear 待ちに待った, as in: 待ちに待ったライブ a long-awaited concert I started wondering if this pattern can apply to other verbs, and it certainly seems to, if Google is any indication. I ...
9
votes
1answer
439 views

Usage and meaning of [passive verb]-てみれば

I am familiar with the set phrase 「言われてみれば」 as a way to say "Now that you say that", but as I examine the phrase further, the phrase structure strikes me as strange. The 〜てみる conjugation is commonly ...
9
votes
1answer
222 views

How should I use 始める (はじめる) and 始まる (はじまる) as a suffix to intransitive verbs?

When describing intransitive actions that are commencing, I often end up saying dumb things like 沸き始まる (わきはじまる) instead of 沸き始める (わきはじめる) - starting to boil. Perhaps it's some meta pattern I am ...
9
votes
1answer
385 views

aru vs iru : Why is aru in “Watakushi-wa untenshu-ga aru” (私は運転手がある) unacceptable?

There is a generally expressed rule in Japanese that, when declaring existence, いる is used for animate subjects, and ある is used for inanimate subjects. There are some interesting variations in what is ...
9
votes
1answer
223 views

semantic difference between two keigo verbal forms : に なる(ni naru) and なさる(nasaru)?

Japanese grammar has a rich subset of grammatical forms named 敬語 ("keigo", formal language or respect's language). The rules allowing to transform a normal verb into a keigo verb are complex and I'm ...
8
votes
1answer
339 views

What's the difference between 思う and 考える?

These two words both seem to mean "to think", but is there any difference between them? Is it related to the difference between 言う and 話す by any chance?
8
votes
3answers
341 views

What conjugation/form is the ませ (for example: いらっしゃいませ)?

I know it's used for greetings in a restaurant or store. But what type of verb conjugation (ex: polite, plain, honorific, imperative, or something else) is it? Is it used with other verbs? Is it ...
8
votes
1answer
319 views

Can と and を be interchanged with 思う the way I think they can?

Compare the following two sentences: あそこに[行]{い}こうと[思]{おも}っている あそこに[行]{い}こうを[思]{おも}っている If I'm right about this, they both mean that the speaker is thinking of going somewhere. However, the ...
8
votes
5answers
218 views

Is there a general rule for deriving xasu→xaseru intransitives such as 死なせる from 死なす?

There are a number of verbs where there is a 〜xasu → xaseru transformation to produce an transitive verb from an intransitive, eg: 死なす→死なせる 生かす→生かせる 飲ます→飲ませる Is this some kind of generalized rule? ...
8
votes
1answer
210 views

Relation between -ますよ and -ましょう

They sound alike. Are they cognate historically? Morphologically, is よ in both cases a particle or part of the morpheme in -ましょう?
8
votes
1answer
378 views

Volitional + と + Verb

(In this question, I will use "Volitional" to mean "V-(よ)う".) As I understand it, Volitional + と + する is a phrase meaning "to try to do something". I've also seen similar phrases, but with different ...
8
votes
1answer
455 views

Is 感じる {かんじる} transitive or intransitive? Which particle to use?

Please consider 一段 {いちだん} verb 感じる {かんじる}. Sometimes I see particle に applied and sometimes particole を. In the Jisho.org vocabulary it is not specified if this verb is 他動詞 {たどうし} (transitive) or 自動詞 ...