Are these forms different? If so, how do they differ? I would appreciate an example, thank you.


I am not 100% sure but I would guess that what you refer to as 普通形 is what in English is often translated as "casual" or "standard" conjugation as opposed to 丁寧形{ていねいけい} that is the "polite" form instead. This link seems to prove me right.

On the other hand, 辞書形{じしょけい} is the so-called dictionary form and it's called this way because it is the form in which the verb is found in dictionaries.

To give a concrete example:

Verb: 買う{かう}- to buy

普通形: 買う (positive and non past. In this case this is the same as the dictionary form), 買わない (negative-non past), 買った (positive-past), 買わなかった (negative-past).

丁寧形: 買います (positive-non past), 買いません (negative-non past), 買いました (positive-past), 買いませんでした (negative-past).

辞書形: It's just 買う. This is how you find the verb "to buy" in any dictionary. You can see it as a non-conjugated basic form as it could be the infinitive in English (in dictionaries you find "buy", not "bought" for example).

  • Is 普通形 the same as "short form"? – MXMLLN Jan 17 '18 at 3:00
  • @MXMLLN well I suppose you can call it that way as well. Not sure what’s the best translation in English but I guess it’s clear what we are talking about here. – Tommy Jan 17 '18 at 3:50
  • "Short form" is the name used in the Genki Japanese books. – MXMLLN Jan 17 '18 at 3:52

辞書形, in fact, is part of 普通形, which consists of four different forms, including the 〜た form (past affirmative), the 〜なかった form (past negative), the ~ない form (nonpast negative) and finally the root form, a.k.a. 辞書形 (nonpast affirmative). For example, what the root form, 辞書形, is for a verb is much like what "be" is for "is", "are", "was", etc. You can find more detailed explanation here and here.

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.