I am just starting to learn Japanese, and with close to no knowledge whatsoever, other than about the spelling system, I have noticed so many words seen to end with the patterns suggested in the title of this post.

Can someone, in as brief and concise an explanation as possible, explain to me why this is? Are these declensions of done nouns, adjectives, or verbs, or other grammatical constructs I am observing?


  • 3
    There are many on-line and off-line resources that can help you understand this basic grammar. I don't think asking this kind of question would be very helpful for a beginner. It's better to read the grammar book and ask what you don't understand. Good luck. – Rathony Oct 13 '16 at 11:50
  • Thanks, Rathony. If you could quote some online resources that would be helpful. Thanks. – Jack Maddington Oct 16 '16 at 8:14
  • 2
    meta.japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/756/…. Good luck. – Rathony Oct 16 '16 at 8:15
  • Thank you. I actually have the minna no nihongo and a handful of others at my disposal, but still feel somewhat dissatisfied, but the books are nevertheless good. Thanks. – Jack Maddington Oct 16 '16 at 9:51

It is the formal (or polite) way of conjugating verbs.

書く (kaku) write (dictionary form)

書きます (kakimasu) write
書きました (kakimashita) wrote
書きません (kakimasen) don't write
書きませんでした (kakimasen deshita) didn't write

私は本を書きます。 (watashi wa hon o kakimasu)
I write a book.

です (desu) is
でした (deshita) was
ではありません (dewa arimasen) is not
ではありませんでした (dewa arimasen deshita) was not

これは本です。 (kore wa hon desu)
This is a book.

| improve this answer | |
  • @JackMaddington It seems you have many additional questions that would benefit from a more dynamic exchange. Since you have enough reputation, try out our Chat site for more fluid discussions. – Flaw Oct 16 '16 at 12:17
  • 1
    @JackMaddington Please don't ask follow-up questions in the comments section. That's not what the comments section is for. – snailplane Oct 16 '16 at 13:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.